SOAP Journal – 18 July 2017 (Judges 1:20-21)

Then they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had promised; and he drove out from there the three sons of Anak. But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem; so the Jebusites have lived with the sons of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.

Judges 1:20-21

The first chapter of Judges is a rehearsal of the victories and defeats of the Israelites after the death of Joshua. In a way, this first chapter feels like it ought to be the last chapter of Joshua. The victories end in this chapter and the Israelites go from idolatry to repentance to victory and on through the loop for the remainder of the book.

This morning’s verses caught my attention. These two verses feel like a comparison. Caleb, a solitary man of faith drives out three giants from his land, but the entire military might of the tribe of Benjamin — with the ability to call all of the other tribes for aid — cannot drive out the Jebusites from Jerusalem; cannot conquer a single city.  There is a temptation to look down on the tribe of Benjamin, then God whispers a question to me: “Have you done better?”

There are, basically, two ways to live my Christian life. I can live like Caleb: driving giants out of the land and conquering through faith. Or I can live like the tribe of Benjamin: falling short of fully taking possession of all that God wants to give me. There is not, as far as I can discern, anything in between.

How do I want to live?

Father, thank You for this comparison. Thank You that the battle belongs to You and that victory depends almost exclusively on You, though I know that I still have to obey. Please give me a heart like Caleb; a heart that trusts in You and Your promises and looks to receive all that You have for me.

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