Judges 18 School of Hard Knocks

Israel was permeated with a spirit of unbelief and a lack of courage. This is clearly seen in the tribe of Dan who failed to believe God, failed to lay claim to their inheritance in the Promised Land.

Remember, Joshua had led the Israelite army to conquer the major city-fortresses throughout Canaan. He had broken the back of the enemy so that a major alliance could not be formed against the Israelites. Once the Promised Land had been divided among the twelve tribes, it was up to the individual tribes to complete the conquest of their inheritance.

Only small pockets of resistance remained. But as the Israelites settled down in their various inherited territories, many of them became lax and complacent, failing to continue the conquest. Dan was one of these tribes.

The Danites become complacent, lax, comfortable, “at ease in Zion”; and they failed to lay claim to their full territorial inheritance in the Promised Land. As a result, throughout the decades they became squeezed between the Amorites and the Philistines. And their faith in the LORD weakened so much that they did not trust Him to help them drive the enemy away.

Thus, the Danites had to search for more land. Their leaders appointed five spies and sent them out on a reconnaissance mission to find land that would be easier to conquer. As the spies made their way north, they came to Ephraim, to the house of Micah, where they spent the night.The Israelites had become lax, lethargic, and complacent, “at ease in Zion”—so much so that they failed to lay claim to the full inheritance promised by God. The tribe of Dan never received its full inheritance.

This speaks strongly to us. How often we become complacent and lethargic, comfortable enough to compromise with the world. We become satisfied with what we have in Christ. Laying hold of any more of His promises or committing any more to Him would cost too much: too much energy or effort, too much money or personal sacrifice.

The result is tragic: we fail to give as we should, we shrink back from bearing strong witness to Christ, lest we be embarrassed, ridiculed, or persecuted. We fail to exert the energy and effort to teach or visit or serve in other capacities when requested by the church. Our list of failures due to complacency, lethargy, comfort, and “being at ease in Zion” could go on and on.

Are you at ease in Zion?

Listen to this message here:

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