Judges 1

Hang Together, or Hang Separately

In 1776 a new nation was painfully being given birth. It was not a good time to be an independent thinker. England expected unwavering allegiance. Any opposition was swiftly dealt with. Spies were everywhere, Red-Coated soldiers of the crown were plentiful, and treason against the King was punishable by death. It was under these circumstances that our Continental Congress fired a shot across the bow of an empire so vast that the sun never set on it. They declared their independence and then had the audacity to sign their names to the official proclamation. One delegate to the meeting had the following to say just prior to signing his name.

“We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

Benjamin Franklin – In the Continental Congress just before signing
the Declaration of Independence, 1776.

The struggle was long and hard, but obviously they did prevail. If they had not, they would have been hung separately on a gallows until dead. But they hung-together, worked together, and a new nation was born.

I see a similar struggle happening in the book of Judges. God has told the Israelites to conquer the land – to wipe everyone out.

After Joshua died, the Israelites asked the LORD, “Which tribe should attack the Canaanites first?”

The LORD answered, “Judah, for I have given them victory over the land.” – Judges 1:1-2

Great job, they asked the question, “Who should lead the battle?” Notice Judah’s response.

The leaders of Judah said to their relatives from the tribe of Simeon, “Join with us to fight against the Canaanites living in the territory allotted to us. Then we will help you conquer your territory.” So the men of Simeon went with Judah. – Judges 1:3

Very wise! They knew they were to go fight, but they also knew that by working together they could accomplish much more. The results speak for themselves.

When the men of Judah attacked, the LORD gave them victory over the Canaanites and Perizzites, and they killed ten thousand enemy warriors at the town of Bezek. – Judges 1:4

And the story was similar everywhere else they attacked. Together they prevailed.

Then Judah joined with Simeon to fight against the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they completely destroyed the town. So the town was named Hormah. – Judges 1:17

But, then things changed. They hung separately…

The tribe of Benjamin, however, failed to drive out the…
But they (Judah) failed to drive out the people living in…
The tribe of Manasseh failed to drive out the people living in…
The tribe of Ephraim also failed to drive out the…
The tribe of Zebulun also failed to drive out the…
The tribe of Asher also failed to drive out the residents of…
The tribe of Naphtali also failed to drive out the residents of…
As for the tribe of Dan, the Amorites forced them…

Notice that the various tribes are fighting alone. They lost alone.

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:12

A sure sign of spiritual attack, of spiritual weakness which the enemy will smell like a blood-crazed hound, is when we think we can do it alone.

Lord, may I remember to call on my brothers. I cannot do it alone. I was not made to do it alone. Thank you for placing faithful men in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Hang Together! Jan

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