A really mixed bag of results. Israel dispossessed many of the Canaanite peoples and took their lands, but a goodly number of Canaanites withstood Israel and persisted in living in the land. Even in the city of Jerusalem, which would one day become Israel's capital, the Jebusites continued to live. I know I need to be careful, here, with allegory but when I read these chapters, and I see the ebb and flow of these events, and the changing behavior of Israel from loyalty and obedience to rebellion and sin and back to obedience (seemingly, a never ending cycle in the book of Judges), I cannot help but think of our own lives.
We do love the Lord. We do love his Word. We do desire to do his will, and we strive after obedience. But we find that our personal records are so mixed. Sometimes faithful, sometimes not. Sometimes content, sometimes not. It is so easy to say of Israel that she should have done better. But we have to say the same about ourselves. When we reflect on the behavior of Israel, and when we look at our own lives, we grow more and more appreciative of the grace of the Lord. Over and over, “When the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them” (3:9). We find ourselves, more and more, loving our Savior who suffered so much and died for us. Our hope is based on nothing else but Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand:
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand. -- Edward Mote (1834)