Partial Obedience?

Partial obedience is an oxymoron. It is also the grounds of disobedience because it is not wholehearted. Do you remember when Moses sent out 12 spies? Joshua and Caleb came back with a good report, but the others didn’t. Joshua 11:15 says, “As the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord Lord had commanded Moses.”

Hmm. I had to ask myself: is there anything that I have left undone that the Lord has told me to do? Joshua 14:14 says, “Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb…because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel.”


In Numbers 33:55 Moses warned the children of Israel what would happen. It says, “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides…”


The children of Israel only partially obeyed. Their disobedience set them up for failure because they failed to drive out all the inhabitants. You can read these verses for yourself. Joshua 13:13, 15:63, 16:10, 17:12. What haven’t we driven out of our country that are now irritants and thorns?


In Joshua’s last address to the ones he had lead to the promised land was recorded in Joshua 23. Verse 11 says, “Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God.” Verse 12 was the warning that if they clung to the remnant of the nations that remained among them. Verse 13 says, “…they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns ini your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.”


Joshua’s words are timeless. They speak to us today. Let us take them to heart on our knees. The Lord’s spoken words are His oath. His word will not return to Him void. His purposes will not be thwarted. May the words in Joshua 21:45 hold true for us today as well. It says, “Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.”

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