…and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you. Judges 2:2-3
As instructed, and with God by their side, the Israelites begin their conquest of the promised land. The walls come crashing down just as God had told them. They defeat and drive out MANY of the inhabitants who were evil in the eyes of the Lord and worshiped many false idols and gods, but NOT ALL of them.
God had instructed them to destroy everything; to leave no remnant of future temptation. God knows that the temptation to follow the way of the people over His ways will be strong. He is seeking to eliminate this burden on them. But they don’t fully obey God and it is going to cost them.
God tells the Israelites these things they left behind and didn’t destroy will become thorns in their side and snares to them. They will make their lives much more difficult than they needed to be.
Why do we always feel like we know what is best over what God tells us to do? We try to compromise with God…a little obedience with a side of, “I can handle this little thing.” Ebenezer Erskine says, “So often we give God a partial obedience. We do not dare to disobey, but we do not care to obey fully. So we compromise. We do some of what we should, thus removing the stigma of disobedience. But we refrain from the most difficult or objectionable or uncomfortable part, and thus try to get the best of both worlds.” The obedience is for our own good. Partial obedience is disobedience that will only get us in trouble.
When we feel God is telling us to let something go or to get rid of something, we should listen to Him. He is always looking out for us. He wants us to succeed and to enjoy a relationship with Him. He wants to help us remove things that will keep us from loving, seeking, and serving Him, and in return enjoying His peace, provision, and joy.
Question: How often do you partially obey God, rather than entering into full obedience to what He is calling you to do?