Today we’ll pick up the pace and move on into the Promised Land, where the Israelites have settled in among the neighboring nations despite God’s warning to completely drive out the inhabitants of the land. Oh they drove out a few, but then I suppose they grew weary of the work and settled in among the rest. Sounds a lot like how we handle our own enemies of God. You know how it goes. We won’t watch this show on television, but it’s just too much work to keep such diligence over what enters our minds so we might watch that one occasionally. Or we don’t usually gossip, but occasionally, when you have an especially juicy morsel to share, you might chew on it for a while with a friend. No big deal. That’s what the Israelites thought too.
But there was a real danger in “settling”. Some of the good Jewish boys noticed a few of their neighboring gals and before they knew it wedding bells were ringing. And a few of the Jewish farmers realized the neighboring merchants had good prices on their plows and business relationships were begun. No harm, right? Wrong. Step 3, the good Jewish folk started going to the Canaanite and Midianite and every-other-ite homes for dinner and coffee. They started talking politics and religion, as is our tendency. Before long, there were conversations like this going on:
Wife: I noticed Mr. and Mrs. Bedite don’t worship our God. They have several gods. And if they pay homage to their gods, they do special things for them. They bless their crops or give them more boy children.
Husband: Hmmm. Interesting.
Wife: Our God doesn’t do us any special favors if we plead with Him. And He makes us obey all these silly rules.
Husband: Hmmm. You have a point there.
Wife: Maybe we should keep worshiping our God, but we should also get one of those little statues I saw at the Bedites and pay homage to it too. You know we could really use a few more boy children to help you out with the work around our farm.
Husband: Hmmm. Maybe we should.
Wife: I’ll take care of it tomorrow!
And so in Judges 2:12 we read: