There are some lines you have to draw. There are some compromises that you cannot make. Sometimes things ARE black and white. Sometimes one thing is right and the other is wrong.
And how we need to put up that fence with care.
I was scan- reading Joshua 15-17 and this bit nudged itself into my brain:
“The land allotted to the tribe of Judah, according to its clans, extended down to the territory of Edom, to the Desert of Zin in the extreme south….[but] Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.”
I almost missed it, amidst the mist of all the lists.
Telephone directories are tedious, but they provide crucial information. In fact, all lists lack plot, and these chapters are no exception! They describe the way that Joshua carved up the inheritance for the various tribes of Israel. But God has a valuable word to speak.
The word is this: You either go all the way with God or you settle for a compromise that leads to trouble further on.
This is where you draw the line.
Here’s the first part: it’s the story of the bold adventuresomeness of the Caleb family:
In the account of Judah (15:1-12) the Caleb touch is revealed once more: a flash of the old man’s fire as he offers prizes for bravery- the leader inspiring the led. And it flares up again in his daughter: in fact, her claim resembles her father’s boldness. “Give me this mountain” sounds very like “Give me also springs of water.”
There is a story told of Alexander the Great: the king was accosted by a beggar who demanded a farm, a dowry for his daughter and a sack of gold. He promptly granted all three requests. When his courtiers remonstrated, he replied that the beggar had treated him like a king. And so he had responded as one with the power to give. I wonder what would happen to our prayer lives if we really believed in God as a king with the power to give!
But Caleb’s boldness is only one side of the picture. The other side reveals compromise. weakness of intent and failure to complete: As a symbol of this: Jerusalem itself remained in enemy hands right through this period up until the time of David (2 Samuel 5:6-10).
And that’s the general story: tribe after tribe admits that it simply could not drive out the Canaanites who dwelt there:
“The Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites to this day and have become forced laborers.”
Why could they subjugate them but not drive them out? It’s a tiny compromise that seemed innocent, but which provided a door for later problems. This is one reason why we see so many struggles in the days of the Judges. If you leave even a tiny cut untreated, the infection may spread into something far more serious.
Jesus once said that “The Prince of this world comes, but he has no hold on me” (John 14:30) The problem with any kind of compromise is it is less than obedience and provides a handhold for later attack.
Search me, Lord, and see if there is something in me that creates a compromise.
I want to be completely set on following your will. I understand that if that is not so, then when things get tough, I won’t be able to stand.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139).