Our actions and our lack of actions have consequences
As the Israelites prepare to enter the territory God promises to give them. Moses, relaying God’s words to the people, gives them a stern warning.
Though God plans to give the land to his people, they must do their part to fully receive it. God expects them to drive out the inhabitants, destroy their detestable religious practices, and take the land. Then they can settle down. Of course God will help his people do this, directing their actions and offering supernatural assistance. Yet they must do their part.
If the Israelites fail to do so, it will come back on them. The people they were supposed to chase away will eventually become the source of their downfall. These foreigners will cause problems and distract God’s people so that they don’t obey him and don’t put him first as they should. They will be a snare.
If this happens, the punishment intended for these foreign nations will boomerang on the Israelites.
We know the rest of the story. They do not fully chase away the other nations; they do not fully take the land. They coexist with their enemies, intermarry, and adopt their foreign religious practices, something that is an anathema to God.When God speaks we better listen–and obey. Click To Tweet
God gives them chance after chance. And though there are times of revival, they are short-lived. After several centuries of mostly disobedience, God does exactly what he warns them he will do. Because of their failure to drive out the other nations, they are themselves driven out – first the nation of Israel and later the nation of Judah.
The people hear God’s instructions, but they only partially obey, which is the same as disobedience. There are consequences.
How is partial obedience the same as disobedience? Is partial obedience ever enough?