One of the reasons why Christians who have been active settled down too soon was the spirit of the world getting in amongst them. What is the spirit of the world? It is the spirit of: ‘Have a good time! Let us have a good time! Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’ The people of Israel looked at the world around them and, if I understand it rightly, they said: ‘These people do not have all the hard time that we do. Our life is a life of continual battle. They do not know so much about that, but they believe in having a good time.’ I think that is how it was at this particular time. Instead of fighting the world they made friends with the world. They made the world their friends, and so they did not finish the work. Compromise is a dangerous thing to the inheritance! Trying to be on good terms with the world and having an easy time will result in our losing a large part of the inheritance.
In the history of the Israelites we find that God did not give up the battle against the enemy, and that whenever the people took up the battle and turned again on to the Lord’s side to fight the enemy, they found the Lord waiting for them. So we have the story of Deborah, the story of Gideon – and dare I mention Samson? However, although Samson was a poor sort of man, if only the Lord gets a poor chance, He will take it. You may not think much of Samson, but do you think better of yourself? We are all poor creatures! We have all been discouraged, we have all been tempted to give up, we have all stopped too soon, we have all been weary in well-doing; but take the sword of the Spirit again! Take up the battle again, and you will find the Lord is ready and waiting for you.
Gideon, Deborah, Samson, and all the others – but I think there is one who is better than them all. Do you remember that beautiful little Book of Ruth? Everybody is charmed with that book! What a lovely book of spiritual recovery it is! What a picture of the Lord’s patience, the Lord’s readiness to take advantage of every opportunity! How does that book begin? “And it came to pass in the days when the judges judged…” The Book of Ruth was in the times of the Judges, which until then was the most terrible time in history of Israel, but God was ready to change the whole picture. There are the two different pictures: the Judges and Ruth, but both were in the same period. Do you see what I am trying to say?