I was confused, I thought all the lands had been conquered, but Judges speaks otherwise. There are still lands that are conquered after Joshua's death--a king even gets his big toes and thumbs cut off! Yuck! So much for the peaceful ending of Joshua!
A few of the tribes did not drive out the current residents, but forced them into hard labor and lived alongside them. God was not very happy with this and sent an angel with a message: "cool, disobey me, but these people are going to be royal pains in the behind for the rest of your lives!"
The people lived and reproduced but did not pass down the Law as instructed. A new generation that had no knowledge of what God did for them in Egypt arose that sinned fiercely and worshiped other gods. God let them fall to their enemies and fall to raiders of the lands. God raised up judges to save them, but they would not listen to them. God decides to no longer drive out their enemies, but to use them to test the people to see if they will turn to God in their distress. My guess is they will fail this test miserably, but I'll be optimistic and give them the benefit of the doubt.
It was inevitable that over the years the Law would fall to the wayside. It's a sad component of human nature...time makes everyone forget eventually. Things that were a burning passion become a dim flicker and eventually burn out over generations. But God knows what He's doing and will work all things for His glory. Think about how much He's already used His people--they've sinned and turned away countless times, but still the name of the Lord is feared and revered throughout the land. Nothing can stop Him :)
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