Judges 2:2 " You were not to make any covenants with the people living in this land; instead you were to destroy their alters. Why have you disobeyed my command?"
Not too many years ago there was a message that was prevalent in American culture: "Separate, but equal." This message, and subsequent judicial ruling used to justify or explain segregation, held sometimes opposing connotations by the two races it effected. For black and white America it allowed the two races to function in separate worlds with their own economies and cultural norms. Well... we know how all that turned out. But let us rewind a few more years, how about a few more centuries, and look back at the Israelites and the mandate God gave them to live apart from pagan society.
Judges 2:1-3 " The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim with a message for the Israelites. He told them "I brought you out of Egypt into this land I swore to give your ancestors, and I said I would never break my covenant with you. For your part, you were not to make any covenants with people living in this land; instead you were to destroy their altars. Why then have you disobeyed my command? Since you have done this, I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you."
Oh, how we see that God means business when He gives us guidelines to follow. Verse 1 outlines God's promise - He will never break His covenant with us, verse 2 tells us His parameters - don't make covenants with these people, and verse 3 lays down the penalty for not following His guidance - the people who have invaded will be constant thorns in our sides. God instructed His holy people to go and take over the territory He had given them. For one reason or another, fear/ laziness/ disobedience, they did not do exactly what God told them to do, so what happened... Read Judges 1: 19-36 and take a look at how the Israelites compromised in their task. Not only did they disobey God by not destroying the alters of the pagan gods in the land, but they began to worship these gods (Judges 2:12-13, 19) and even commingle with he people of the lands they were occupying (Judges 3:5). Now, now, don't be so judgemental! Take that look of shock and dismay off your face. What? You can't believe that God's chosen people would so flagrantly disobey His rules, huh? Just think, after all of the blessings and favor God has showered upon them, they make it a point to go an live any kind of way. Hmph! Some nerve, right?
Well let's take a look at our present day culture. As Christians, we are to be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-14). "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16. Yet how many of us allow ourselves to commingle so seamlessly into the culture that we are no more recognizable than a needle in a haystack. We can become so entrenched in the worldview and culture around us that we compromise our own sense of religion and Christ's influence on our lives. God has called us to set ourselves apart from the world at large - figuratively. Although the though of moving to a state, country, or continent of only disciples of Christ sounds appealing (I think...), that's just not something that is going to happen. So in the meantime, we must work against the system that can so easily ensnare us.
This is our test.
Can we seek God in the times when a little compromise could lead to a large setback? " The Lord left certain nations in the land to test those Israelites who had not participated in the wars of Canaan... These people were left to test the Israelites - to see whether they would obey the commands the Lord had given to their ancestors through Moses." Judges 3:1 & 4. How are you doing on your test? We have been called to set ourselves apart - apart from the worldly, the un-Godly, the hedonistic. It's not easy honey (trust me, I know firsthand), but as we focus on God and not the lusts of our eyes and flesh, we gain the strength we need to move forward. So enough with all this commingling! Separate yourself from that which hinders your progress toward he high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Start shutting those pagan idols down! You know, in a Godly type of way...with finesse ;-)
Stay fly girls!