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So… as I begin Judges (just a little behind), I am struck by the intro to the book. There is a synopsis of some battles and the fact that many of the tribes are not able to drive out the Canaanites that were living in the areas where they were to live. Many times the Canaanites were forced into labor, but they remained.
I find it interesting that at the end of chapter 2 and beginning of chapter 3 it says that God had allowed those nations to remain to test the Israelites… to see whether they would follow God and to teach the young Israelites warfare. God had specifically told them to run everyone out and tear down the altars, etc. of idol worship. But he didn’t tell them how long it would take or how difficult it would be.
It seems that it was not his intention to drive out the nations quickly or easily. And at least part of that reason was to prepare the Israelites for future battle.
It was also to test the Israelites trust in God. They were presented with Baal worship and other evil practices to see if they would choose God. They were so enthralled with “the seen”– the things they could see around them, that they lost sight and even knowledge of “the unseen” — the mighty hand of God. (Judges 2:10)
They had no idea what God was doing. They didn’t know or understand that he had a purpose in what was happening. They were just living life and going with what was most comfortable and convenient.
As I look at my life, I believe I am much like the Israelites. I am just living life unaware of what God is doing. Is he preparing me for a future battle? Is he finding out if I really love and trust him and willing to serve him? Am I passing the test? Even in difficult times, God is in control. He knows exactly what he is doing. (Is 55:8-9) It is my job to trust him and follow him and lean on him. He is preparing me for future battles in order to accomplish his purpose, for me and for his glory.
I pray that we all trust and depend on God and don’t get fooled by the ways of this world. Because the consequence of following my own path puts me in opposition to God. And as we read more of Judges we find that is not exactly the best place to be.
And one more thing… just because we are in God’s will, following God, does not mean that life is going to be comfortable and easy. Part of God’s plan was for Israel to be in battle for a long time! War at that time was no less difficult than it is today. If you look at David’s life, he ran from Saul living in caves and fearing for his life for a long time, even though he was God’s chosen king. So there are no promises that walking with God is easy. Only that walking with God is the only way to relationship with him and eternal life.
Food for thought… Laura
As a husband, father of three boys (no, wait, strike that!) FOUR boys... a preacher and part-time High School Bible teacher... I am used to nobody listening to what I have to say. But I'll keep talking, writing and blogging... and surely eventually I'll say something worth remembering.