Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and its villages. (v. 27)
Because we live in an age of tolerance, some of what we read in the book of Judges
sounds strange. Why would God command complete nations to be wiped out? Christians today
could never imagine doing such things. We have Christ as our great example and his ways
are those of grace and kindness and love for our enemies.
In the book of Judges, however, we are faced with the fact that God had given the land
of Canaan to his people, the Israelites. Their job was to take possession of it. The
promised land was a gift, but they had to make it their own by occupying it.
That would involve driving out the enemy rather than settling among them. We can
surmise that the level of evil in these idolatrous Canaanite tribes was so great that
compromise was not possible. They and their sinful ways had to be eliminated
But Israel failed in that task. Instead, they tolerated the sin of their neighbors, and
after a while, those sins didn’t look so bad to them. Israel’s sad history shows the
result. Could we possibly be doing the same thing today? In some cases, compromise and
tolerance can lead us away from God.
Lord, help us to know when to compromise and when to hold fast to our faith.