Like Oil and Water…
Today I was reading the book of Judges; one of the most frustrating books of the Bible to read. God had brought the nation of Israel to the promised land and as the people relied on God, God destroyed the city of Jericho and began to give them possession of the land. But, by the time the book of Judges opens up, we see that there are already problems. The nation of Israel cannot and/or will not drive out the inhabitants of the land. They also begin to serve the gods of the people in the land, directly defying the Lord. The book of Judges is like a rollercoaster. The people follow God for a while and experience good times. Then they turn away from God and are taken captive themselves. Why do they do this? There are several reasons but one came to my mind this morning as I read the following verse from chapter 1: 28 And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites under tribute, but did not completely drive them out.
When Israel was strong they put the Canaanites under tribute. I think that the writer here is saying that when Israel was strong in their own power, they put the Canaanites under tribute. They weren’t relying on God’s power. If they had, the Canaanites would have been driven out as God had said He would do. But Israel relied on her own strength. I can’t help but think this is how it is with me too many times. I don’t rely on God…I rely on me. And sometimes I do pretty well; in my own strength. But God doesn’t want us to mix our strength with His strength. Rather, God wants us to totally rely on Him so that His strength is our strength. Just as oil and water do not mix, God’s strength and my strength do not mix. I am to trust in Him, not myself.
Don’t settle for a partial victory in your own strength…and what will inevitably be a defeat. Rather, obey God. Love Him. Trust Him. Let His strength become your strength and win the battle each and every time.