January 30, 2024, 10:05 AM

The book of Judges picks up where the book of Joshua drops off.  The people of Israel have entered the Promised Land, partially conquered it, and celebrated together.  Now, they are tasked with beginning to live in the land that they have only partially conquered.  As you can imagine, it is difficult to move into a neighborhood when you were just at war with your new neighbors.  

The partial conquering of the promised land was the Israelites' great compromise.  A compromise that would haunt them for generations to come.  In many ways, it has proven to haunt them even to today.  So, what was the compromise and why has it been such a big deal? For that answer we turn to Numbers 33:50-56

50 Now the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho, saying, 

51 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: When you have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 

52 then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their engraved stones, destroy all their molded images, and demolish all their high places; 

53 you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land and dwell in it, for I have given you the land to possess. 

54 And you shall divide the land by lot as an inheritance among your families; to the larger you shall give a larger inheritance, and to the smaller you shall give a smaller inheritance; there everyone’s inheritance shall be whatever falls to him by lot. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers. 

55 But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell. 

56 Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them.’ ”

As the Nation of Israel stands across the river and stares into the Promised Land, the Lord instructs them to do several specific things.  First and foremost is to drive out all the inhabitants of the land.  Then, destroy all traces of their pagan religious practices.  This is a land for Israelites to live in as worshipers of the One True God. It is not an experiment in missions.  It is not an opportunity to explore the benefits of globalization.  It is not a call to love the sinner and hate the sin.  

In verse 56, we can see that it is a time of judgment on the inhabitants of the land.  Failing to drive out the inhabitants of the land will lead to a social moral decay that matches their new found neighbors.   Which will ultimately bring the same judgment on the Israelites that God was intending to bring on the pagan nations inhabiting the land.  We see that fulfilled judgment on the sins of Israel in the divided kingdoms, and ultimately the fall of both kingdoms.  

The failure to drive out the inhabitants of the land was the first and great compromise.  But, it was the first of many.  It put the temptation of paganism right next door.  It built into their society an element that naturally questioned God.  Instead of looking to God’s revelation to determine truth, man’s reason would now take center stage in the determination of truth.  


So What is Compromise? 

Spiritual Compromise is any time we try to straddle the line between Holiness and Worldliness. 

Proverbs 3:5-8    

    5     Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

    And lean not on your own understanding;

    6      In all your ways acknowledge Him,

    And He shall direct your paths.

    7      Do not be wise in your own eyes;

    Fear the LORD and depart from evil.

    8      It will be health to your flesh,

    And strength to your bones.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; We compromise spiritually when we “lean on our own understanding.”  Truth is God revealed, not man made.  When we turn to our own logic and reason to splice together truth, we compromise God’s truth, and thus we compromise God’s will. 

In all your ways acknowledge Him: we compromise when we know what is right, but we also try to mix in a little bit of wrong with it.  Compromise is a lot like burnt popcorn.  It looks mostly fine, but it still leaves a bad taste.  

Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.  Compromise is the easiest path to a hard life.  We compromise God’s will when we begin to think that we have figured out a better path or strategy than God.  We profess our self to be wise as we wade off into sin.  Our sin carries consequences that we cannot know beforehand.  Consequences that will complicate our lives down the road.  What seems like the easiest path today, is really just storing up difficulties (plus interest) for later.