When “Good Enough”… is Not Enough

This morning I headed to Denver and connected with Christian. I ended up buying a “new” really the same car that I have. It is the same color and make only two years newer with 53,000 less miles. I am pleased that my friend Paul Irwin is visiting from Washington, D.C. We had lunch with Christian before returning to Fort Collins. Paul will be our guest speaker at the Timberline Men’s meeting tonight.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… At the same time the Benjaminites did not drive out the Jebusites who were living in Jerusalem. The Jebusites have lived among the Benjaminites in Jerusalem to this day.”  Judges 1:21 HCSB

There is saying that is related to not doing a job well, “good enough for government work.” As a former politician, I should take offense at that, but I have to admit I have used it in the past, when I gave up and “stopped short” of doing a job completely well.

Joshua instructed and warned God’s people, “Be very strong and continue obeying all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you do not turn from it to the right or left and so that you do not associate with these nations remaining among you...So be very diligent to love the Lord your God for your own well-being.  For if you turn away and cling to the rest of these nations remaining among you, and if you intermarry or associate with them and they with you, know for certain that the Lord your God will not continue to drive these nations out before you. They will become a snare and a trap for you, a scourge for your sides and thorns in your eyes…” (Joshua 23:6-7;11-13 HCSB)

After Joshua died, God’s people under the leadership of the priests and the leaders of the tribes of Israel moved to complete the conquest of the Promised Land. This transition would have been the most challenging. No more, “out front” dynamic leader. They had to trust and obey the Lord completely.

Judah moves out and is successful in accomplishing its task. The various tribes move in to take possession of their inheritance and they are successful….almost. They occupy, but don’t conquer. First we read the “…Benjaminites did not drive out the Jebusites…” It notice that it did not say they, “could not” but they “did not.” The clear instructions from the Lord was to not make peace with the people of the land. They were not to intermarry and commingle and “co-exist.”

It is important to realize that the reason for this is that the Lord was using His people as instruments of judgment against the idolatry, wickedness and bloodshed of the Canaanite nations. They were not to tolerate, be tempted by or participate in their sins.

We then begin to read, Manasseh failed to take possession…Ephraim failed to drive out the CanaanitesZebulun failed to drive out the residents of KitronAsher failed to drive out the residents of AccoNaphtali did not drive out the residents of Beth-shemesh…” (Judges 1:27-33 HCSB) 

One by one the tribes made head way, they had some victories, but they settled for less than God’s best and did not fully obey the Lord. As a result of not fully obeying the Lord, they did not fully receive the blessings the Lord had for them. In time we see that the compromises of one generation, become the norm for the next.

The Angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim and said, “I brought you out of Egypt and led you into the land I had promised to your fathers. I also said: I will never break My covenant with you. You are not to make a covenant with the people who are living in this land, and you are to tear down their altars. But you have not obeyed Me. What is this you have done? Therefore, I now say: I will not drive out these people before you. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a trap for you.” When the Angel of the Lord had spoken these words to all the Israelites, the people wept loudly .”  (Judge 2:1-4 HCSB)

The nagging question of the angel is, “what is this you have done?” It clearly shows that God had not failed; but the people stopped short of following God’s full instructions and took the attitude, “that’s good enough…we can live with this outcome.”

Do we today settle for less than God’s best for us? Do we partially obey and settle for a “partial blessing”? Do we too quickly “give up on God” and fail to believe for anything but the best for our lives and that of our family? Do we settle for obedience in “some” areas of our life, but not all?

The Lord did not leave or abandon His people. But their willingness to go only “so far” resulted in generations of disobedience, hardship and experiencing less than “God’s best.” The people had declared to Joshua, “…We will worship the Lord our God and obey Him.” (Joshua 24:24 HCSB)   The big idea or question is, “God will always be faithful to His word; will we be to ours?”