We see a report of the western tribes. SO MANY of them compromised and let some of the original inhabitants remain. This is NOT what God told them to do!
I was looking at all the tribes mentioned here. With the exception of Issachar, all the western tribes were accounted for in this first book of Judges. We don’t know about the goings on with the eastern tribes but the western ones were having an issue. They were NOT following God’s command to eliminate the original people from the land.
Judah and Simeon were not compromised in this way. Judah was not able to drive out the Philistines but they didn’t comingle with them. The places that had “iron chariots” kept their territory and Judah pulled back into their own places. Simeon was completely surrounded by Judah and Judah also helped them with totally acquiring their territory. I don’t think Judah wanted enemies in their midst so were well motivated to help Simeon with their lands.
The rest of the western tribes didn’t remove the inhabitants completely. They let them live among them instead. This meant letting them continue to worship their own gods. Later on, the original inhabitants were “put to forced labor” among the tribes but the damage had already been done.
I feel for the people on both sides of the issue. I understand God’s intent to isolate Israel from false religions but I have a hard time with the “ethnic cleansing” aspect of it. Why did even the children have to be killed? There was no mercy and no quarter to be given. I wouldn’t want to be the one giving or receiving this strategy.
Maybe it is because I look for the good in nearly everyone. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt until I have been proven wrong enough times that there remains no doubt. I have a feeling it goes along with how many times God has forgiven me.
But God wasn’t looking at just the short term issues here. He was looking to bring His Son into the world and He needed a holy people, one who was dedicated to Him, to do that with. He wanted to start Israel out on solid footing. He wanted them to have no other distractions in their spiritual life. And the other inhabitants definitely brought distractions. They brought the worship of their gods right into the middle of the people God had called to be separate.
Some of the tribes let one city with its towns keep some of the inhabitants. Others let several towns remain. The tribe of Dan wasn’t able to take even one town of their inheritance. I believe the inability to remove the inhabitants had more to do with the spiritual condition of the people than the battle prowess. God said He would fight for them WHEN & IF they followed Him. NONE of these battles would have been impossible for Him to give His people victory IF they were walking in His ways. Their heart condition was reflected in their physical condition or maybe vice versa. I don’t know which came first.
How many of the “inhabitants” are still living in “my land”? What have I allowed to remain in my life because it was easier than completely cleaning house? Is their presence impacting my spiritual health? It doesn’t matter if I have made “slaves” of them. Their damage has already been done. I have to remove them AND their roots now. If I would have removed them in the beginning there wouldn’t be so much work to do now.
Help me Father God to remove the things in my life that get in the way of our relationship, whatever they may be. Thank You for all the blessings You have given me. And forgive me for not turning over ALL the parts of my heart from the beginning.
Thank You Holy Spirit for the steps that You have already authored in my heart. There is still a ways to go though so DON’T give up on me. Keep me ever striving to walk closer with You every day. Help me recognize future trouble as it presents itself so I can nip it before it has a chance to take root.