This week once again I am writing about the book of Judges. The time covered by the book was a violent, sinful, and cruel time. The book begins with the death of Joshua, the last of his generation who were delivered by God out of slavery in Egypt, to be led and provided for by God for 40 years in the wilderness. If you remember, he was one of the two spies who had believed God was capable of driving the Canaanites from the land promised to Abraham. Once the Israelites entered Canaan, Joshua began to conquer and rid the land of the Canaanites with their evil, vile, and sinful lifestyles.
But after Joshua died, it seems the Israelites stopped the conquests and moved among them and decided they knew better, that the Canaanites weren’t so bad after all. Really? Not so bad? Murder, idol worship, human sacrifice, child sacrifice, sexual immorality, not so bad? Anyway, they allowed the culture that surrounded them to influence them. The more I watch the news, read newspapers (yes, I still have one delivered every day), and study history I come to the conclusion that those times really weren’t so different than today. The evil may have a nicer term (a choice, a lifestyle, a tolerance), but it is the same evil. God help us!
So the problems began for Israel when they disobeyed God’s command to get rid of the Canaanites. When they didn’t, their culture influenced Israel. Right now, many of the bad influences in your lives are restrained by the fence of protection your parents have placed around you. You may not like it at times when your parents say you can’t do something ‘everybody’ else is doing, but they are a safeguard for you. Remember fences do two things: they keep something of value safe, and keep something harmful out. But you all are getting to an age when soon that protection may be far away when you go off to college or trade school or the military. At that point, it will be up to you to decide what you will do with those boundaries you’ve learned and have been raised with. Remember who you are, what you’ve been taught, and what you believe. Canaanites may come knocking on your door, but you don’t have to let them move in. Stay strong!
Hope to see you on Sunday! And remember it’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!
“What more can we say about these wonderful things? If the Lord is with us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31