This section of Joshua is primarily about apportioning the land that Israel had subdued through Joshua’s campaign. One thing, however, that you see cropping us here again and again is the failure of the various tribes to completely drive out the Canaanites. Now granted, God told them that they wouldn’t drive them all out immediately, because the land was too large for them to completely occupy. But the writer of the book of Joshua, writing after a number of years later, noted that the Canaanites lived among the Israelites “to this day” as forced laborers. Bottom line, the Israelites grew weary of war and the “mop up” operations that would have guaranteed their fidelity to God in their beliefs and religious practices and guaranteed all the blessings that God had promised them. Instead, they opted for peaceful coexistence, possibly “celebrating diversity”, and guaranteed themselves the curses God promised them for faithlessness and idolatry.
Are there things for us to learn here? We must be careful to carry through God’s commands all the way. Partially observed commands won’t cut it; such obedience only fools us and doesn’t satisfy the Lord. And it’s not like full obedience is really just about satisfying some supposed OCD thing that God might have. It’s about blessing for ourselves. A little bit of poison or pollution or disease is enough to make us sick or kill us; so also a little sin, a little bit of a slack hand in obedience, a little bit of compromise, a little neglect of His commands is enough to have its negative effect on our own souls, the church, the community, our children, and the future. Following through to completion is important, refusing to compromise is important, and vigilance is important.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.