“The Lord was with the people of Judah, and they took possession of the hill country. But they failed to drive out the people living in the plains, who had iron chariots.” (Judges 1:19)
After the death of Moses, the Israelites asked the Lord which tribe should go first to possess their land. The Lord told them Judah, so Judah went and got help from the tribe of Simeon and went to war. The Lord gave them victory over the land, conquering the hill country, yet they still failed to drive out the people in the plains. The rest of the chapter describes failure after failure of all the other tribes driving out the Canaanites, Perrizites and Amorites. They did take control of them and forced them as slaves, but they didn’t drive them out.
I don’t believe for a second that if the people of Israel could force their enemies to be their slaves, that they couldn’t kill them, driving them from the land and fulfilling the commands of the Lord. It says in verse 19 that the Lord was with them- but they still failed! That is an oxymoron- if God be for us, who can be against us? You can’t have God with you and fail- the truth of the matter is, they gave up trying and chose not to drive them out, but became satisfied to have them as slaves. I mean, it makes sense, they’re more useful as slaves, right? But that wasn’t the Lord’s orders. He told them to drive them completely off the land, otherwise they would be thorns in their sides and a constant temptation to them. Remember then, that if you fail, it’s not because God wasn’t with you to help you, you gave up the fight. We have all done that, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Remember the phrase that says, “failure is not falling down, but not getting up and trying again.” Sure, the Israelites would have had battles they lost, we all have- but they didn’t get back up- what will you do? Have another go! And remember- if God be for us, who can be against us?
“Lord, thank You that You have made me an overcomer- more than a conqueror in Christ! Help me to always get up and try again, knowing that You are with me, to help me defeat the enemies all around me, in Jesus’ name, amen.”