“And they did not drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites to this day and have become forced laborers.”
Both Joshua and the early chapters of Judges, tell the story of Israel’s occupation of the land of Canaan. After the initial strikes led by Joshua, the land was divided into twelve lots. Each tribe was given the responsibility of possessing their territory. While we read of some great victories that illustrate dynamic faith, we also read a reoccurring theme where the tribes either did not, or could not, drive out one people group or another. Sometimes it was a failure on the part of the people to trust God and step out in faith, other times it was due to convenience. In the case of Benjamin, they allowed the enemy to remain within their borders because they believed they would personally benefit from keeping them around.
Benjamin was not alone in this. Later, we will read of king Saul, who, instead of dealing with the Amalekites, chose to keep what he believed to be personally profitable. This did not end well for Saul, for in the end, he was killed by the sword of an Amalekite.
The best approach to dealing with sin and temptation is to remove it as far from ourself as possible. As long as we think we are strong enough to keep it in check, we run the risk of falling back into that sin in a time of spiritual weakness. It would be like building high walls around an ancient city and leaving the gate wide open. History bears record of great cities falling for no other reason than failing to lock the gates, or close off an opening. Paul gave us his approach to dealing with temptation when he wrote,
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”