As a parent, one of the most difficult things I had to deal with involved the excuses I got from one of my children for not doing what I had asked them to do. There was no problem if they told me the truth. I could handle the truth. But the excuses I got for not doing something drove me crazy. I would ask my son to carry out the garbage and he would say yes, but would forget to do the task. He would use the excuse which would irritate me to no end. It’s probably the same feeling my parents got from me when I gave them excuses. Excuses are a common pattern when we are confronted with something we have been asked to do and for whatever reason that something hasn’t been done.
I was reading about the adventures of the Israelites as they came into the promised land and began taking over pieces of property that had belonged to other nations and tribes. God gave them a command to utterly destroy the people of the land. (Deuteronomy 7:2, 20:17, I Samuel 15:3, 18) Questions could be asked as to why would a loving God want to kill other nations and people s by His chosen nation, Israel. It does say that these nations were wicked and they worshipped other gods and served them. It’s a question that I don’t fully understand and won’t until some time in the future. This jlog is not to debate the justification of a decision that God set up for the Israelites to carry out but to look at excuses we all are tempted to use.
What I find fascinating in my readings involves the responses of the 12 tribes of Israel seeking to carry out His command of utterly destroying the enemy who lived in the promised land. Here are the accounts of some of the tribes as they took action on God’s command. “The Benjamites, however, did not drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites.. . .But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land.. . .Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites continued to live there among them. Neither did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, so these Canaanites lived among them, but Zebulun did subject them to forced labor. Nor did Asher drive out those living in Akko or Sidon or Ahlab or Akzib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob. The Asherites lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land because they did not drive them out. Neither did Naphtali drive out those living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for them.”
Judges 1:21, 27, 29-33 NIV
They were given a command, yet they didn’t do what God commanded them to do. Some of the readings indicate that the enemy had iron chariots that caused the task to be too difficult to accomplish. Giants in the land caused some Israelites to wither away and make excuses for inaction. Excuses have been a part of relational interactions for centuries and will continue to dot the journey of future travelers on this earth.
On this journey, we have the opportunity to erase the excuse and take note on what we are called to do by God and do it. There are always going to be obstacles to accomplishing the task at hand, but removing the excuse opens the door for completing our mission.