Like many books in the Old Testament, a significant parallel can be drawn between the event described in history and our growth as Christians. Judges Chapter 1 tells us how the Israelites were given the promised land by the Lord and told to drive out the existing inhabitants in order to claim it. Judges 1:1-2 “After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?” The Lord answered “Judah is to go; I have given the land into their hands.” Although the Israelites were clearly told they were responsible for the process of driving out the existing inhabitants we see that they didn’t pay attention to the Lord.
Judges 1:27-34 says: “But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam of Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determied to live in that land. When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely. Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites continued to live there among them. Neither did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, who remained among them; but they did subject them to forced labor. Nor did Asher drive out those living in Acco or Sidon or Ahlab or Aczib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob, and because of this the people of Asher lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land. Neither did Naphtali drive out those living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for them. The Amorites confined the Danites to the hill country, not allowing them to come down into the plain.”
The failure of the Israelites to heed and comply with God’s instruction to completely drive the inhabitants out of the promised land led to the tribe of Dan being kept in the mountains and away from the fertile land of the plain. Here’s the parallel. In a similar manner, the Holy Spirit and God’s Word instruct us, as believers, to drive many things out of our lives. Rather than comply, however, we choose to misuse the power of the Lord and the Holy Spirit to keep those things under control and in submission rather than completely driving them out. As a consequence, we fail to develop and produce fruit as the Lord intends.
There is no way to successfully control sin! When you are made aware of any sin through God’s Word or the Holy Spirit, get it completely out of your life! If you deliberately allow controlled amounts of sin to become part of your life, you’re cheating the Lord and yourself out of the fertile Christian life that He intends for you to experience. When you don’t harvest a crop that is ready, it will rot and be destroyed. Matthew 9:37 says: Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” The Lord clearly intends for all of us to be workers in the harvest. We all have a portion of that harvest that is our responsibility. Will yours rot on the vine or will it be brought into the storehouse of the Lord?
Thanks to a wonderful man of God, Wayne Ledbetter, for the inspiration to write this.