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The Consequences of Compromise

Charlie Boyd - 2/19/2022


The book of Judges is so disturbing, it’s not uncommon to ask, “Why is this book even in the Bible?” Like all Scripture inspired by God, it was “written to teach us and to give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled” (Romans 15:4 NLT). You see, the Bible is not a book of virtues. The Bible doesn’t sugar coat life in this broken world. Rather, the Bible tells us the ugly truth about us and why the world is so messed up. And Judges paints this ugly picture so clearly that we are shocked awake by how God’s very own people so easily fall away from their faith and end up under God’s discipline. In Judges 1:1-2:5 we see that when God’s people forget who God is and what he’s done for them, they inevitably compromise their faith and obedience to God and they end up living like people who do not know God.

SCRIPTURE: Judges 1:1-2:5


  • Our primary concern: How life in the book of Judges intersects with life in our world today.
  • “In those days, there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (21:25).
  • We live in a day very similar to the days of the Judges–a day when everyone does what is right in their own eyes.
  • God commanded Israel to wage a bloody, military campaign against the Canaanite nations. How do we make sense of that? First, this was God’s judgment on those pagan nations for 100s of years of cruelty and violence. God, in his holiness, cannot tolerate or excuse sinful rebellion forever. But God is also patient and merciful. He gave those nations 400 years to repent (see Genesis 15:13-14). These Canaanites were a violent people. They were cruel and merciless in warfare. They offered their children as sacrifices to their gods—burned them with fire. They were evil and immoral to the core, and yet, God waited patiently for them to repent and change their wicked ways for 400 years. But their wickedness went from bad-to-worse-to–“that’s it—time’s up”—and God’s judgment came upon them. (two examples of the Canaanites who understood this–Adoni-bezek (1:4-7) and Rahab the harlot (Joshua 2:9-13). Second, God related to ancient people in a way they could understand, not in a way modern people feel comfortable with.
  • As the book of Judges opens, the people seem to start strong but there are hints of compromise from the very beginning. They had the promises of God (Joshua 1:2-6, 9) and they had seen God do great and mighty miracles when God delivered them out of Egypt, but they didn’t act in line with what they knew about God.
  • Several things led to the downfall of the Israelites. First, the Israelites faced seemingly impossible circumstances–iron chariots and enemies more determined to keep their land than the Israelites had to take the land. Plus, it made more economic sense to force their enemies into slavery than to drive them out completely. These things led to one compromise after another.
  • Compromise begins with looking at our circumstances and saying, “I can’t.” But, when God says, “You can,” if you say, “I can’t,” then God hears, “I won’t.”
  • Compromise ⇒ outright disobedience ⇒ God’s discipline
  • Compromise is the result of our forgetting who God is and what he’s done for us.
  • There is a dramatic tension in this story and all through the book of Judges. ​​You see the tension when you compare verse 1 and verse 3. In verse 1, God says, “I said, I will never break my covenant with you”—and then in v3 he says—“But I also said (my paraphrase)--if you compromise with these nations I will not drive them out.” On the one hand, God is holy and just and cannot tolerate or live with or bless evil. But on the other hand, God is loving and faithful and cannot tolerate the loss of the people He has committed himself to. This tension hangs in the air all through the book of Judges, and really, it hangs in the air of the entire OT. So the question is–How does God resolve the tension between his holiness and his faithfulness to the people he loves?
  • The tension is resolved in Jesus. It is only on the Cross that we can understand how God is able to resolve the tension. On the Cross, our sin was imputed to Christ so that his righteousness could be imputed to us (2 Cor.5:21). On the Cross, Jesus took God’s judgment into/upon himself. He died in our place and he satisfied God’s justice because sin was punished. And on the Cross, we see God’s great and limitless love for us so that now he is forever able to accept and forgive us. That is why Paul says only the Cross makes God be both “just and justifier of those who believe” (Rom4:26).

*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.