In Dt. 9:5 Moses explains to Israel, "It is not because of your righteousness, or even your inner uprightness, that you have come here to possess their land. Instead, because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out ahead of you in order to confirm the promise He made on oath to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Then in Dt. 31:3,6 he says, "As for the LORD your God, He is about to cross over before you; He will destroy these nations before you and dispossess them...Be strong and courageous! Do not fear or tremble before them, for the LORD your God is the One who is going with you. He will not fail you or abandon you!" (NET)
In our passage in Judges 1 we read how the Israelites continued to possess the land after Joshua died. We find repeatedly that they failed to drive out groups of the inhabitants, and as a result they were negatively influenced by the wicked people God had told them to destroy. Judg. 2:1-3 summarizes the situation, "The LORD’s angelic messenger went up from Gilgal to Bokim. He said, “I brought you up from Egypt and led you into the land I had solemnly promised to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my agreement with you, but you must not make an agreement with the people who live in this land. You should tear down the altars where they worship.’ But you have disobeyed me. Why would you do such a thing? At that time I also warned you, ‘If you disobey, I will not drive out the Canaanites before you. They will ensnare you and their gods will lure you away.’”
The situation Israel faced seems relevant to our personal lives with Christ. He wants our entire life to be dedicated to Him and gives us power through the Holy Spirit to conquer any strongholds of the world that are still lingering in our minds and actions. But how often do we choose to not 'conquer the land', but allow the world to influence our lives? This is disobedience to the Lord just as the Israelites were disobedient when they didn't completely drive out the inhabitants of the land, and especially when they adopted their gods and practices.
Another passage from today, Luke 21:34-36 speaks on the importance of remaining diligent as the day of His return draws near. “But be on your guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day close down upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will overtake all who live on the face of the whole earth. But stay alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that must happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Another passage from today, Psalm 90:12 has a similar reminder. "So teach us to consider our mortality, so that we might live wisely."
Lord, show us places we are harboring sin and help us to conquer it through the power of your Holy Spirit so that we will live lives that honor You and be a light to those around us.