Scripture Read: Judges 1:1 Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel inquired of the LORD, saying, "Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?"
Application: Judges 1 begins after the death of Joshua. What is very important about this chapter is what "did not" happen. God told the people the land was theirs and they were to drive out ALL the inhabitants. God knew the land had to be totally cleaned out of all of the idolatry. Yet as we read of the exploits of Israel we see -
But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites, But Manasseh did not take possession of ... so the Canaanites persisted in living in that land, It came about when Israel became strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely, Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites... so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them, Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants...so the Canaanites lived among them, Asher did not drive out the inhabitants...So the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out, Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants
When something is done only half way - it often comes back to bite you. This is where we see the difference of talking about following the Lord, versus really following the Lord. Talk won't get us there, we may start out well, but we will fade towards the finish. We need to begin with action to our talk, as time presses on our obedience becomes a lifestyle and that makes it much more difficult for the flesh to ever get a foothold again.
Judges 2: 1-5 Now the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you, and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done? “Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.’ ” When the angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. So they named that place Bochim; and there they sacrificed to the Lord.
God then confronts the people and His accusation in verse 2 is quite pointed - "you have not obeyed me; what is this you have done" God knows their failure to obey all the way is going to effect more than just themselves. In verse 3 the descriptions "thorns in your sides" and "their gods will be a snare to you" sets the tone for the rest of this period of history in Israel. We are told in the NT that these things should be examples to us so we do not make the same mistakes. Half obedience is disobedience! Go all the way, fully do what the Lord has asked you to do.
Meditation Questions: Is there anything in your life that you know God wants finished? What are you doing about that? What does your answer show you? What does it mean to obey all the way? What does it mean to finish well? What can you do to make sure that happens? Do you take the time to allow the Holy Spirit to teach you the lessons that Israel had to learn? How would that help you? Why would that be important?