Read Judges 1:22-36
A. The Political Background (continued). There is a listing of various tribes and how they fared with the conquest of their land. It is interesting that many of them did not conquer all of their enemies. They simply got the inhabitants to do labor.
- Winning with God. Notice in vs. 22 that when God is with you, you can win. Furthermore, God is so big that He can be with you and others as the same time.
First, we should not be discouraged by the size of our obstacles. Nor should we be over confident in our own abilities. Our confidence should be in the Lord who has a track record of working through people.
Second, when we hear about God doing great things for others, we should not get jealous. God is big enough, powerful enough, and loving enough to take care of all of His people, according to His will.
Let’s work on living like we trust God to demonstrate His power and love for our benefit. Such living should be known for joyful and expectant obedience.
- Integrity and destroying sin. Notice in vss. 24, 26 that there is a man who sold out his people for his personal gain. Notice further, that this man went and started another town like the one he sold out.
First, we should work on being people of integrity and loyalty. There are too many who are way too quick to lie in order to save their hide. There are too many willing to lie or give up confidential information so that they can gain material goods at the expense of those around them.
Second, we should remember that if sin is not destroyed, it has a way of coming back in another area of our lives. Think about how bad relationships that should have been cut off can come back and bit us at the wrong time.
Think about how the bad habit of smoking or getting drunk can come back and bit us at the wrong time. Get rid of sin, so it doesn’t come back and bit us.
The best that we can do, is the best that we can do. However, we should make sure that we are giving our best to destroying the sin our lives. Let’s work on being people of integrity who strive to destroy the sin in our lives.
- Doing your best. Notice in vss. 27-28 that some battles are larger than others, and some require our getting stronger, so we can win.
First, it is one thing to learn to stop speeding in your car. It is another to stop smoking. Both are sin, but one is easier to deal with than the other. Some battles are larger and harder than others.
Second, there are times when we need more strength to do what needs to be done. If it is a matter of spiritual strength then we should focus on prayerful study and obedience with the support of disciples.
If it is a financial matter, we should focus on maximizing income and minimizing expenses, so we will have the financial strength for the matter at hand.
Let’s work on doing our best in fighting the battles before us. If we need more strength then we should be in a strength building program.
If the battles has to be fought in phases then we should be fighting this phase and getting ready for the next. What we don’t want to be guilty of is being paralyzed by feelings of being overwhelmed.
- Showing progress. Notice in vs. 30, 35 that the people of God put the people under forced labor as a step towards conquering them. As alluded to earlier, we may have to win our battles in phases, instead of one great conquest.
Think about how a person who is caught up in some bad relationships may have to get out of them in phases, especially if the person needs money from the relationships or there are harmful secrets being held over their heads.
Think about how in Luke 19:11-27, the servant who turns one talent into five is blessed at his level of faithfulness. The servant who turned one talent into ten was blessed more, and the servant who just made excuses was punished.
Let’s work on at least showing progress, even if we cannot get all the way to where we would like to go.
- Doing our part more than trying to figure God out. Notice in this chapter that there are the issues of forced labor and war. Both of these are negative practices for believers today.
We believe that it is sin to force people into labor. We believe that it is sin to kill people and take their land.
On one hand, we scratch our heads and try to figure out how can God be so mean towards the people who lived in Canaan? And how can God have His people involved in such disturbing acts?
On the hand, we are also challenged to make sure that we spend more time being one of God’s people, instead of trying to understand why God does what He does.
In other words, we should make sure that we are saved, so we will be the winners, in the story, instead of losers. Let’s make sure that we focus more on our part than on trying to figure out why God does what He does.
Let’s work on obeying, instead of disobeying God. God has so much for those who
obey His will.