Drive Out, Move In, and Destroy the Idols

(Today's post by James Rooks)

Judges 1:1 – 2:5

Background/ What happened

We have a brief account of Joshua's death and a passing of the torch for the tribes of Israel to drive out the Canaanites and to take possession of the Promised Land. All of the action in this passage takes place in and around what is now present day Israel. From 1:1- 1:26 we see the obedient response of Judah to drive out the inhabitants, then beginning in 1:27 – 1:36 the tribes do not drive out the inhabitants. Rather than following through with God's directive, they compromise and live among the inhabitants with some pretty disastrous results. Judges 2 begins with the angel of the LORD bringing a strong rebuke to the Israelites.

God's command to drive out, move in, and destroy the altars was only partially obeyed. We see even in the short passage of today's reading plan where the Israelites begin to worship other gods and even falling into slavery to the people that they were supposed to have victory over. It is easy to see, even today, that the region of the middle east (Israel in particular) is the object of much turmoil and conflict. One has to wonder what the picture would look like now had the Israelites followed God's instructions.

We've looked at the literal side of events here, but what about the principle can we learn from it? When I think about basic components here: Drive out (sin), Move in (walk in God's promises), and destroy idols (worship only God)…these apply to us today as they did to Israel in the book of Judges. How many times have I fallen into the trap of sin because I didn't quite kill it all the way? Maybe its a habit that I feel convicted about so I take action..just enough action against it to say that I'm in control of it. However I don't quite kill it only to find that one day it again has control of me. Anybody else been there? I've heard pastors say before “always be killing sin or it will be killing you”. After walking through Judges 1:1 – 2:5 I see that same principle being played out. I have to see sin the same way that God sees. it. When He tells me to move, I need to move. And I HAVE TO actively remove idols and gods that vie for my attention and affection. As we see in Judges 1, the results on partial obedience lead to disaster.

A take away for me, and one that I've been thinking about since Sunday is how I don't use my job as a mission field. I feel like I've made being accepted by others and/or being a cool guy to people a higher priority than being on mission in the work place. I've made their opinion of me a higher priority than God's call. If I'm ok compromising there, what else am I unknowingly allowing to creep in? Its time to start killing sin (of pride and compromise) and walk in the call that God has for me in the workplace.

What is your take-away today?


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  • James Rooks

    Another comment before we turn the calendar over to friday. Part of the beauty in these Old Testament passages is that we see history playing out but also learn principles that are true today. Confirmation that God’s ways are timeless. God’s standard is just, perfect, and right. I know that as good and perfect as God’s ways are, there is no way that I can live up to it, no one ever did (well…ONE did). So i no longer have the weight of sin and condemnation hanging around my neck, but as I read the Word, even today’s passage I can sense God leading me to be the follower He wants me to be (not that I’ve arrived). I’ve heard the phrase “sweet conviction” used before and I think it applies in this case. Burdened because I’ve blown it? Down trodden because of my failures? Depressed because I can’t measure up? No, No, and No. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. His “sweet conviction” shows me my error and draws me to His side and helps me to lean on Him. That my friends is a good place to be.

  • Steven Gregory

    I have to wonder why the Isrealites didn’t do as God commanded but instead chose to live alongside the Caananites. Maybe lack of faith, maybe feared that it really wasn’t Gods will or just fear of the Caananites in general. So many times I feel I do not do something whether it be something simple or large because I start to question whether is was really the Holy Spirit speaking to me, was it just an idea in my head or one of many reasonings. You think and reason and then before you know it an opportunity is missed and I and no telling who else misses a blessing.
    After thinking about this I am going to pray daily that God will help me to Discern his nudges and not fear or reason things out.

    • Boy, I can really relate to that Scuba Steve. Well said.

  • scott alexander

    God didn’t offer the Israelites an “easy” way or any way other than following his commands 100%. They, of course, wanted the land that was promised by God, went in with his blessing and conquered, BUT didn’t do it his way. It’s easy to obey God as long as its in line with my life/goals/wants, it becomes a lot more difficult when obeying goes against what’s easy for me. This is when I have to be intentional in obedience (thanks Marc), and when I have to lean on The Lord the most – it’s also during these times at I am the most unsuccessful in obedience. It’s my prayer that that we are all more intentional in obeying God as he has asked rather than only obeying when it’s easy.

    • Scott..this line is profound : “It’s easy to obey God as long as its in line with my life/goals/wants, it becomes a lot more difficult when obeying goes against what’s easy for me.”
      Great reminder that ‘truth/the right thing’ is not always easy.

  • Marc Cannon

    My take on things: I’ll have to admit to you gentlemen that I get lost a lot in the Old Testament. It’s difficult at times to discern what the Good Lord is trying to reveal but as I read Trey’s commentary I was slapped dead in the face! HARD! I’m a lot like those folks over in Judah. And I also relate well to what Queen said as well. I struggle with a lustful mind at times(GASP! I know right… Earth-shattering news from a man) and when I find myself “Doing good” for a while I get proud about it. Then more often then not I get this thought “Well, what’s it gonna hurt just this once, I’ve been doing so well for a while now” and those thoughts SOME SIN creeps back in and it’s very easy to fall into a slave mode to it. We hear the word Intentional a lot in church these days and I don’t particularly care for the term in most cases. I feel like it breaks away from acting with the heart first. But in following in Christ it’s a choice…We have to be intentional in our obedience. I find myself looking at 2 questions today – Some Sin? All In?

    • All-in, baby. C’mon king. I need a king.

  • Brad Bacon

    Strong start! Andy makes a great point, we cannot give 100% here, we are dependent on the grace of Jesus to wash us clean of our sins. Also, echoing James (Rooks), the sermon on Sunday was convicting to me…at WORK I must do a better job of representing Christ.

    • Thanks for sharing Brad. I know the world you work in, and it must be tough to maintain a positive influence and a surrendered lifestyle. Praying for you bro. May tomorrow be ‘opportunity’ for Christ to shine through you in some small way.

  • Andy Mitchell

    If we are applying this scripture to whether we give 100% obedience to God, then we are going to be wrecked by that Law. None of us in the flesh are capable. Our only Hope to see this improvement in our work through the Spirit is to find REST in the gospel of grace. Jesus is the One who pleases God. His righteousness in us by grace alone is our only hope. We should pray for a renewed mind focused on His work for us. The next time we feel the burden of living in accord with God’s standards, we should fall back on scripture like this. It shows us that we will fail in the long run, it may work for a while by through individual dedication, but eventually you’ll tire in your obedience and faithfullness to God. Living in light of the gospel, remembering “It Is Finished”, gives us the grace to strengthen and WANT to live for Him, not the burden of thinking you MUST or else.

    • Well said Andy. Reminds me of Romans 12:1-2.

      “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1, 2 NLT)

  • Remember all those years of wandering around in the desert?
    Now they are IN the land God promised them. WAHOO!
    He gives them some instructions..
    because He loves them..
    because He knows what’s best for them..
    because He knows what great things happen when His children obey..
    YET THEY STILL DISOBEY..I mean..they “almost” obey.
    (and IN the Promised Land, no less..I mean..they’re riding a spiritual high..mountaintop stuff here, yall.)

    I can relate to you guys this morning. I can see myself “almost” obeying all the time. And as you have already pointed out..almost obeying is still disobedience. This happens on the mountaintops..during those’s what takes us to the do we miss it?

    I want to kill some sin..dead. Not allow just a smattering of it to lie around in wait.

    And the crazy part is..I can’t kill it dead myself. I need someone, something greater than me to put these thoughts and almost-obedience to rest. I need Jesus. The Victor over sin and death. I certainly have a part to play..that’s the confession and repentance part. I’m taking care of that this morning (and I’m praying the same for you guys.) But THEN I’ve got to give the Holy Spirit permission to speak to me all through the day. Well..maybe not permission..maybe I need to be listening better today.

    I will NOT TRY HARDER today..but I will LISTEN more intently to what Christ, through the Holy Spirit, is saying to me today. I want to obey all the way.

  • Chris Queen

    Wow. How many times do I find myself almost obeying God? When I do, I wind up so full of myself and my own pride that I might as well have gone ahead and completely disobeyed Him!

    God calls us to obey him 100%. Anything less than that – even 99% – is sin.

  • Lem Hill

    A lot of the times I find myself being partially obedient to God. I try to do just enough to please Him. God doesn’t call us to be dedicated 60 or 70 percent of the time. He wants 100% dedication.

    • Dude!?!

      I get that.. Why do we always err on the side of least resistance?

      Why do we ease into the grey area, inching closer and closer to full blown sin..but yet convince ourselves that we are ‘ok’?

      Once again we see ourselves trying to give God the ‘majority’ of ourselves instead of 100%.

      Thanks for this honest post Lem.

  • Brice Hope

    I too fall into the the trap of not “killing” sin like God has asked me to. The two things that keep me from being obedient in this area is procrastination and pride. I procrastinate saying I will handle things later, when I have more time or when it’s more convenient. Pride stands in the way because part of killing the sin involved confessing the sin. I’m slowly (procrastination again) working through these things.

    • Confession is terribly difficult. I mean, finding someone who will love you unconditionally and not judge you for being an honest flawed human being..that’s a difficult find. The church world calls it an accountability partner. AA or Celebrate Recovery calls it a sponsor. But either way, I agree that confession is difficult, yet needed to grow.

      “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16 NLT)

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