“However, Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; for the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land. And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Caanites under tribute, but did not completely drive them out.” Judges 1:27-28
And the list continues of each tribe that did not drive out all the inhabitants of the land they were inheriting.
They had been warned by Joshua before his death that those peoples who were not driven out of the land would be “snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.” Joshua 23:13
You would think that such a warning would have compelled them to fight until victory was complete. But they didn’t. They acheived a measure of success. In fact they were probably mostly successful. But they remained content with a job unfinished. Maybe they just got tired of fighting and an enemy determined to stay in the land was a bit more than they felt like dealing with. After all, if they could put the enemy under tribute, if they could keep that enemy under their control, wouldn’t that be good enough?
These people allowed to remain in the land were a continual cause of stumbling to Israel. We would do well to learn a lesson from this. That seemingly insignificant compromise that we tolerate and make a convenant of peace with is the compromise that will one day gain the strength to make all out war against our soul. The command of God is that all foreigners (and what should be more foreign to the life of a blood-bought believer in Jesus than tolerance of sin and compromise) must be driven out and He has promised His own help. The Spirit of the Lord Jesus, the ultimate overcomer, dwells in us, faithfully showing us those enemies and then empowering us to be free of them. But we must rise up determined that none shall remain. Those enemies you do not fight, you will live with. So let us fight by taking hold of God in prayer. Let us fight by clinging to the promises of His word. Let us fight by a daily surrender of ourselves to the will of God. Let us fight brothers and sisters, and never be content to merely keep those enemies suppressed. But let us live in the glorious freedom purchased for us by our Lord Jesus.
Amen. And let us be as clear about military metaphors as was Spurgeon: