Some days, I’m the hammer. Some days, I’m the nail.
Some days, I’m an indomitable force of conviction, courage and self-discipline. Other days, it seems even the slightest pressure can pound me into submission.
Whether it’s diet, spending, spiritual disciplines, self-improvement, overcoming unwanted habits or maintaining new resolutions, sometimes I am impressively victorious…and sometimes I am too easily conquered.
WHEN GOOD INTENTIONS ARE NOT ENOUGH
I’m not alone in this. Anyone can recognize areas where they are particularly vulnerable to fail.
You may be unfazed by many temptations, but when confronted with a certain one or two, you consistently feel powerless to resist.
You may maintain a responsible budget, except when it comes to this one indulgence.
You may function well in most situations, but around this person or in that type of environment, not so much.
You may have resolved to establish a more consistent routine of prayer, Bible reading, participation in a church family, etc., but months, weeks or maybe even days into it, these are again neglected.
Why?! If we have genuine intentions to do what is best and to be the best version of ourselves, why aren’t our desires and intentions enough?
If we truly want victory so badly, why are we still so easily defeated?
I have come to recognize a pattern, certain dynamics that contribute to me being either victorious or defeated.
As a minister, I see the same pattern of dynamics in those to whom I minister.
In fact, these dynamics even explain how an entire city was overthrown by a handful of losers.
A CITY DESTINED TO FALL
After Joshua, the leader of the Israelites, died, it was up to the tribes to claim their territories. All the tribes were successful (to varying degrees)…except Dan.
While other tribes conquered and confined their enemies, the Amorites confined the Danites to the hills (Judges 1:34).
By Judges 18, they still had not found a territory they could conquer, and they were desperate.
Finally, a city they–even the Danites–could conquer.
The question is, what was so WRONG with Laish that made them so RIGHT as a target?
It’s an important question because the same things that made Laish conquerable are the same things that make us so easily defeated.
7 [The five scouts] came to Laish, where they saw that the people were living in safety, like the Sidonians, at peace and secure. And since their land lacked nothing, they were prosperous. Also, they lived a long way from the Sidonians and had no relationship with anyone else.
8 When they returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their fellow Danites asked them, “How did you find things?”
9 They answered, “Come on, let’s attack them! We have seen the land, and it is very good. Aren’t you going to do something? Don’t hesitate to go there and take it over. 10 When you get there, you will find an unsuspecting people and a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothing whatsoever.”
11 Then six hundred men of the Danites, armed for battle, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol.
27 Then they…went on to Laish, against a people at peace and secure. They attacked them with the sword and burned down their city. 28 There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else.
FOUR WAYS TO BE EASILY CONQUERED
From this, we see four dynamics that led to Laish’s defeat, the same ones that contribute to our own:
To be easily conquered:
1 | Be safe and secure.
2 | Be unsuspecting.
3 | Lack nothing.
4 | Be isolated.
If the Danite scouts were ecstatic to find these qualities in Laish, we can be sure our enemy, too, is seeking these same qualities in us.
It may be difficult at first to see how some of these could work against our welfare, so over the next several posts (Thursday, Monday, Thursday, Monday), we will unpack how each of these contributes to our victory or failure.
Begin praying now for God to help you see any of these, or other factors, that make you vulnerable.
Part 2: “Be Safe and Secure” coming soon!