Judges 2: 2- 3 “For your part, you were not to make any covenants with the people living in this land; instead you were to destory their altars. But you disobeyed my command. Why did you do this? So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.”
Wow…only a few verses back, the Lord gave the Israelites victory over their enemies. They had obeyed by going into the land and driving out the enemy. But, they had failed to continue on and drive out all of the enemies. The scariest part of this verse is the beginning of verse three, “So now I declare that I will no longer drive them out…” To not have God on your side; not good.
When the people heard God’s degree, they wept loudly and offered sacrifices. Unfortunately, it was short lived. They still did not drive all of the enemies out of the land. The outcome of not obeying the Lord is described in the verses that follow, “This made the Lord burn with anger, so He handed them over to raiders who stole their possessions…they were no longer able to resist them. Every time Israel went out to battle, the Lord fought against them, causing them to be defeated, just as He had warned and the people were in great distress.” (Judges 2:14) We’re talking cruelty that was so bad, the Israelites had to make hiding places in caves (Judges 6:1).
So, Lord, are there any enemies in my life that you have called me to drive out that I haven’t? Eating for comfort, turning to chocolate for a pick-me-up instead of You, living each day for the next “good news” instead of in His joy, living by my emotions instead of in His Spirit….
What is the enemy in your land? Maybe they are the same as mine. Maybe you struggles look different: unhealthy relationships? unforgiveness/bitterness? poor stewardship of finances? the Internet?
The one thing that I forget is that when I obey and drive these things out of my life, it brings FREEDOM! It brings peace. The anxiety and temptation, after being neglected day after day, begins to loose their power!
This spring, I chose to give up chocolate and sodas. It has been hard (I didn’t realize how much chocolate I was eating!)It has been a real check for me on why I eat them and what I am looking for when I crave them. Yesterday afternoon was pretty stressful. I took my two Gather & Grow groups to do a photoshoot for the January issue of the Proverbs 31 Woman magazine. They did well, but taking pictures for two hours with nine middle schoolers is exhausting! When I finally got home at 7:45 p.m., I was ready for my pajamas. I found myself wishing that there was some chocolate somewhere that I could eat. Fortunately, there wasn’t so I decided to drop into bed at 9:00 p.m.! These situations in my life, when I look back at them, make me want to ask myself the question: Do I look to other things when I need to be looking to Him? What am I missing out on when I turn to things other than Him? I know that I don’t want to be in the place where because of my disobedience the Lord is no longer driving out the enemy on my behalf.
HELP US! Help us to do the hard stuff…to drive out the enemies in our lives, the enemies of our relationship with You, especially _______________ (fill in the blank). We desperately need YOU to drive out the enemy for us in our lives; may we partner with You by obeying. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!