Today’s Reading: Judges 1-2
Today’s Reflection: Judges 1:28
When Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not drive them out completely.
In Joshua’s last address to Israel concerning the conquest of the Promised Land, he made one thing perfectly clear: Israel was to remove all of the native Canaanites from the land. If they failed to do this, Israel would be seduced by idol-worshiping ways of the Canaanite people and be caught up in practices that God abhorred.
After being given this warning, Israel… completely ignored it (Judges 1:27-36). They enslaved the remaining Canaanite peoples rather than removing them. And after Joshua’s death Israel began to worship the idols of Canaan and turned away from God and towards all manner of vile behaviour, just as they had been warned.
Though Israel had been told of the danger of allowing pagan influences to remain in their lands, clearly they thought they could make use of these people for their own purposes. Ultimately Israel wound up serving the purposes—and the gods—of the idol worshipers.
Just as Israel was instructed by God to rid Canaan of pagan influences, we are instructed by God to rid ourselves of sinful influences. When we begin following God we turn the territory of our hearts over to Him. As we let Him in God occupies more and more of us. And He desires to have complete dominion over every part of our lives.
But sometimes, there is a sin that you want to hold onto. That relationship you shouldn’t be in but feel you need. That illegal substance you shouldn’t be using but can’t make it though the day or night without. That less than scrupulous business practice that you think you have to keep doing to pay the bills. You feel that sin serves you. You think it meets your needs. That it helps you. The truth is the exact opposite.
Moral compromise in one area leads to erosion of character in all areas. When you allow one sin to have reign even in a small part of your life, all other sins seem less horrific and destructive than they actually are. The lines between right and wrong begin to blur. Soon sinful practices you would never have imagined yourself engaging in become common practice. The sin you felt was serving you has now become the master. And you are the slave.
Understand this: sin isn’t harmless and it isn’t helping you. Sin is slowly killing you. Get rid of it before it finishes the job.
James 1:14-16 – 14) But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15) Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. 16) Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.