Stopping Short of Complete
“And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.”
The Book of Judges shows the beginning of the decline of a nation that had been blessed by God like no other nation. After Joshua died, Judah yoked up with Simeon to conquer their inheritance, but they stopped short of completing all that God had given them. Their excuse for not driving out all the inhabitants was that the inhabitants “had chariots of iron.” The sad part about the verse above is that it says, “And the LORD was with Judah…” There was no reason for stopping short of complete because the LORD would have helped them if they had continued.
Sadly, many Christians make the same mistake of Judah by stopping short of complete with God’s will. You may not have iron chariots that you face, but your excuse is as elaborate as the iron chariots. Just like the iron chariots were not difficult for God to defeat, likewise, your excuse for stopping short of what God wants you to do is not a good excuse. This story teaches four lessons about stopping short of complete.
First, stopping short of complete is simply not obeying the LORD’s command. God commanded Israel to completely drive out the inhabitants of the land. If the LORD gave them that command, then He also gave them the wherewithal to do it. If God tells you to do something, He will always provide the method and the power to fulfill His command. Disobedience is the only thing you are doing when you don’t completely follow the LORD’s command. Stop blaming your disobedience on the “iron chariot” excuse.
Second, stopping short of complete is the excuse others will use to stop short. When you continue in this chapter, you will find five times that others tribes didn’t follow through with God’s command. It would be a horrible thing for your disobedience to be the excuse that others use to disobey. You should complete God’s will for your life so that others can’t use you as their excuse for not serving the LORD.
Third, stopping short of complete is the beginning of compromise. In Judges 2:2, you will see that Israel began to make leagues with the inhabitants of the land. God commanded them to make no league with the inhabitants, but stopping short of complete was the excuse to validate their compromise. When you stop short of complete, you’ll excuse compromise to validate your lack of faith. Every person who compromised has always compromised because they stopped short of what God commanded them to do. You have to understand that stopping short is compromise. You may not be living like the world now, but you will one day because stopping short is the first step towards worldliness. Don’t stop short of completing God’s will for your life if you don’t want compromise to be a part of your life story.
Fourth, stopping short of complete always causes you to wonder, “What if.” After Israel had compromised and God pronounced His punishment, Israel lifted up their voice and wept. If you don’t want to live a life of wondering “What if,” don’t stop short of God’s command of faith. Many people have lived their life wondering what would have happened had they obeyed God’s will to follow faith. Many people have wondered what God would have done had they continued to the end. Christian, don’t let your life be a what if. Live for God until the day you die and obey everything He tells you to do, and you will never wonder what God would have done.