At that time Manasseh failed to drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, and Megiddo, or any of their villages; for the Canaanites were determined to dwell in this land.
I. THERE ARE MANY WHO HELP THE TRUTH FROM LOWER MOTIVES WHO MIGHT DO SO FROM HIGHER. Expediency; public benefits of religion; ties of relationship; reputation. How great the blessing to Christ's cause if the same things were done from higher motives!
II. THEY ARE BLESSED, BUT NOT AS THEY MIGHT OTHERWISE HAVE BEEN. A better service would have secured a higher reward.
III. THEY CANNOT BE RELIED UPON, AND THEREFORE MAY NOT BECOME PART OF GOD'S PEOPLE. The conquering host could not trust the traitor whose help had won them the city. He must go forth with his reproach. Many churches contain the elements of weakness and ruin because they have failed to exercise a wise censorship over those admitted to their communion. The true Church is composed of those who serve God from the purest motives. - M.
Joshua 17:12). The Hebrew word rendered "would dwell," intimates that the Canaanites wished to arrange the matter agreeably; that they made friendly overtures to the men of Manasseh to be permitted to remain — a permission which was granted them on condition of their paying tribute. Such is the attitude which, in these latter days, the world frequently assumes towards the Church of Christ in Christian countries. It is willing enough to pay tribute, both in gold and outward forms of deference, if only the Church will allow it a peaceable lodging and refrain from using against it the sword of the Spirit. Too often has the Church, like the men of Manasseh, consented to accept tribute money, whether of the State or of private individuals, as the price of permitting the world to remain unmolested within its borders; and how often has she found, in her bitter experience, the degrading and enslaving effect of such compromises — verifying to the letter the prediction of Joshua in regard to such unhallowed connections (Joshua 23. 13).
Neither did Manasseh drive out.
I. MEN FORSAKING A WORK WHICH HAD BEEN BEGUN AFTER LONG PREPARATION. The plagues of Egypt, the miracles of the wilderness, the gifts of the manna and other supplies, and the long period of discipline in the desert, were all designed to lead up to the full inheritance of the land.
II. MEN FORSAKING A WORK WHICH HAD ALREADY SEEN PROSECUTED WITH GREAT ENERGY AND AT GREAT COST. The Church has thrown away not a little energy for want of just a little more.
III. MEN FORSAKING A WORK ABOUT WHICH THEY HAD CHERISHED ARDENT HOPES. The whole way up from Egypt had been a long path of expectation. We see here brilliant hopes blasted for ever for want of a little more faith and a little more service. How many of our once cherished visions have fled for the same reason!
IV. MEN FORSAKING A WORK IN WHICH THEY HAD ALREADY WON SPLENDID TRIUMPHS. The path of their past prowess was almost vocal against this sinful inaction and unbelief.
V. MEN FORSAKING A WORK TO WHICH GOD HAD COMMANDED THEM, IN WHICH GOD HAD MARVELLOUSLY HELPED THE, AND IN WHICH HE NO LESS WAITED TO HELP THEM STILL. They did not "remember the years of the right hand of the Most High." "They forgat His works." No less did they forget His absolute commands, and His unbroken promises.
(F. G. Marchant.)
(L. H. Wiseman, M. A.)
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