All of us are called to face enemies and fight battles we don’t want to fight. It was one of the primary mistakes the Children of Israel made when God called them to conquer their promised land. The Bible says in Judges 1:28, “…when Israel grew strong, they…did not drive…out (their enemies) completely.” They didn’t do what God told them to do: drive the enemy out of their inheritance… their future….Over and over again, they put off absolutely essential, crucial battles. They didn’t realize a fact of life: the enemy you refuse to fight today you’ll have to fight tomorrow. What enemy of your soul are you unwilling to face and fight?
It is enough to get the wheels in your mind turning. What battles do you knowingly face that you REALLY do not want to fight? Well, here is what happens when we do not address these and drive the evil completely away…Judges 2:2-5 says,
But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? 3 So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you." 4 As soon as the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the people of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. 5 And they called the name of that place Bochim. And they sacrificed there to the LORD.
Repeatedly, God gives the people of Israel directions on what to do and time and again Israel does not respond and do as He says. Then, when things get intolerable, the people cry out to God who sent individuals to deliver them from their distress, suffering, affliction, and oppression. God’s word says He brought them judges, then Othniel the son of Kenaz, then Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man, then Shamgar the son of Anath, then Deborah, Jael and Barak, then Gideon the son of Joash, and so on and so forth. Albeit, this was over the course of generations but how easy is it, in our own lives, to continually disobey God’s commands?
God calls us to be faithful, to trust Him, and to follow His instructions. When we do not, we make things difficult on ourselves. Then, of course, we run to God crying out for His mercy and grace. Which, He gives. The people of Israel, described above, allowed evil to swirl around and consume them. They did not fight against it or drive it out from their place. I believe all of us deal with this, today. The people of Israel continuously engaged in toxic relationships with individuals who oppressed them and caused them great distress. How often do we get ourselves into bad situations, despite God’s guidance, and then cry out to Him for deliverance?
32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 "For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?"
35 "Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?"
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
(Romans 11:32-36. ESV.)