Living with the enemy!
God will win the victory if we will engage in the battle.
Now in those days Israel had no king. And the tribe of Dan was trying to find a place to settle, for they had not yet driven out the people who lived in the land assigned to them.
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Living with the enemy!
Have you ever heard someone say, ‘I don’t need to go to church; I have my own personal way of worshipping God.’ Some of these people have had bad experiences within a local church. Others don’t want to be connected to a local church because they don’t want someone telling them how to worship God.
In our account today, we see the tribe of Dan trying to find a place to settle. In the book of Joshua, the Promised Land was divided amongst the tribes of Israel. Dan’s allotment fell in the northernmost part of the land; they were the furthest away from the center of the nation. It also put them the furthest away from where God would build His temple in the time of Solomon.
One of the things God told the people of Israel to do was to drive out of the Promised Land all of the foreign nations. God promised to give Israel the land and promised to help them remove all the idolatrous nations that were living there. Decades have passed and the tribe of Dan still hasn’t driven out the foreign nations from their territory. Is that because God was unfaithful to them? Not a chance! God is always faithful!
Reading further in this chapter you find the warriors of Dan stealing the household idols of a man of Ephraim. This man was an Israelite, he shouldn’t have had household gods, and the warriors of Dan shouldn’t have stolen them. The reason God had not driven out the people living in Dan’s territory is because their hearts were unfaithful to God. They were worshipping idols, even though God had told them that was one of the reasons He was driving out the other nations from the Promised Land. He also warned the Israelites that if they worshipped false gods, he would drive them out as well.
The tribe of Dan eventually moved into their territory, but they never fully drove out the foreign nations. They were eventually taken away captive by the Assyrians, one of the first of the tribes to fall. The lesson for all of us is simple; if you are living close to enemy territory, you heart needs to be even closer to God. If they had been faithful to God, He would have protected them from the attacks of the enemy. And because Dan fell to the enemy, the rest of the nation was more vulnerable to attacks.
Some of us may have no choice but to live in close proximity to unbelievers. In fact, that probably describes most people. They are your neighbors, co-workers, classmates, or teammates. They might even be members of your own family. As long as we are in this world, we will be exposed to the influences of unbelieving people. But if we are to experience the life that Jesus promised us, we need to make sure none of those enemies are living in our heart. God will drive out of our heart all the ‘foreign things’ if we will stand up and face them in His name and in the power of the Holy Spirit. God will win the victory if we will engage in the battle. Jesus, teach us to fight Your enemies in our heart.