We’ve talked about some of the things in Judges 1 before. It’s a summary of the conquests of the tribes of Israel in Canaan, but more specifically it lists all the Canaanites that the Israelites didn’t drive out.
First, we read that Judah defeated the Canaanites, and then we’re told the Benjamites couldn’t drive out the Jebusites, specifically saying that Judah couldn’t drive the people out of the plains.
I wasn’t there. I am not an eye witness. I am an eye witness, though, to the truth of the Bible and the God who wrote it. His word is true, so anytime we see an issue, it’s in our understanding and not in the text. Scientific and historical discoveries have repeatedly shown parts of the Bible to be true.
Here it seems they were driven from the hill country by Joshua’s conquest and fled to the plains. The Lord directed Joshua to burn the chariots (when he was fighting the many kings and cities at once), but the Jebusite’s chariots of iron didn’t burn.
You’ve personally told a story before. You know there are so many details that could be told and you have to pick and choose. You aren’t lying. You just can’t possibly tell every little detail and your listener doesn’t want to hear every little detail. Just because we don’t see the whole picture doesn’t mean the whole picture didn’t happen.
As we continue through the chapter, we start to read many stories of Canaanites not being driven out. They instead turned the people into forced labor when the command had been to completely remove the people from the land.
We’ve talked about that before, the seeming victory, but it was their actual defeat in the long run. Joshua mistakenly makes a peace pact and the one people become forced labor instead of being killed.
Then it seems the tribes take turns turning some of their conquests into forced labor. Maybe they liked the idea of having slaves. It would be to their death and downfall.
Never go for the short-term victory at the cost of the long-term one. Obeying God is the only way to win the long game. The partial obedience isn’t obedience. We don’t get to take God’s commands and then mold them into what we think would be best and then obey that as if we’re following God.
Trust and obey means giving up what seems like the win, what seems like the best result. It’s trusting there’s something better, even if we never see it ourselves.