Read Judges 1, Jeremiah 48, and Romans 10 today. This devotional is about Judges 1.
A repeated theme of Joshua and Judges is Israel taking the land God promised to them, but not completely. Their territory was larger at times and smaller at other times but Israel never occupied all the land God promised them.
Unbelief which leads to inaction.
Here in Judges 1, Joshua was dead (v. 1a) but Israel still procrastinated when it came to taking their land. Judah followed God’s word in verses 1-21 and won some significant territory. But notice that they took Jerusalem at one point (v. 8) but then apparently lost it again (v. 21) and did not have it again until David took it many years later.
Notice also the intriguing words of verse 19: “The Lord was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had chariots fitted with iron.” The Lord was with them… but they couldn’t dislodge the guys with iron chariots. Why not? Because God is no match for iron chariots? No; because Judah did not believe God would give them victory over people with iron chariots.
In other words, they were willing to follow God to a point. But, when it came to confronting their fear and moving out of their comfort zones, they stopped obeying God’s word, claiming God’s promises, and decided to be happy with less than all the land God had promised them.
This is already starting to feel like a “name it and claim it” devotional. I definitely disagree with that theology and don’t want to bend the principles in this passage too far.
But, think about what’s going on in this passage.
Do you ever do that?
God has made many promises to us. You’ve believed and acted on one or more of those promises. And, God blessed your faith with results. But, then, the challenge started to look hard. So, you quit and settled for less than what God promised.
Hasn’t God promised to be with us to the end of the age as we go and make disciples (Matt 28:19-20)? Yes, he has.
But, how much effort do you put into making disciples?
Hasn’t God said that we are his “handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10)? Yes he has.
But how much effort do you put into growing in grace, pushing out into new areas of ministry that might be uncomfortable for you?
What about in your work? Doesn’t God’s word say that, “All hard work brings a profit” (v. 23a)? Doesn’t it tell us to diversify what we do and try different things in order to find what will succeed (Ecc 11:6)? Why, yes, the Bible does say these things.
But are you stuck in a job that isn’t providing enough for your family because you feel comfortable and safe there?
How about when it comes to giving? Doesn’t the New Testament encourage generous giving to see God provide? Consider 2 Corinthians 9:6-8: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
But are you giving to his work sparingly or not at all?
Again, the New Testament doesn’t teach us that God wants us all to be rich or that we can have whatever we want in Jesus’s name if we just name it and claim it. But it does tell us that God will be with us and will bless things that we do for his glory. It may not be easy–iron chariots are nothing to sneeze at–but are we settling for less than God would give us if we stepped out of our comfort zone in faith and tried some things for his glory?