Scripture Read: Judges 3:1-8 Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan; only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it formerly). These nations are: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. They were for testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers through Moses. The sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and they took their daughters for themselves as wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods. The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years.
Application: Trying to get our mind to comprehend the mind of God is something we always seem to try and do, and always will fail to do. One thing we need to remember is that God usually has more than one purpose when He does things and He is the ultimate in getting everything out of an investment that can be gotten out of it. God has made it clear that His desire is that those that claim to love Him would live close to Him in peace, allowing God to nurture and love them. Sounds great doesn’t it? Then why don’t “THEY” do it? As honest as I try and be Lord, that lie is the one I also commit many times. “They” are not the only ones that don’t do it, “I” fail to do it far too often also. I know what You want, I know it is the best place for me, but I listen to my flesh and go my own way! When any of us do that, You in love chastise us in love because living in sin is deadly and You know that and are endeavoring to protect us from that, while honoring the freedom of choice You have extended us. God is motivated out of love to allow Israel to experience the consequences of their sin. In doing so, see two clear purposes - to test them to see if they will wise up and repent, and to teach them war.
Only You Lord can multiply the lessons the way You do. You did the same in Acts 10. God desired to bring a Roman soldier into a relationship with Himself. What is interesting is what else He accomplishes during this time. The Lord teaches Peter that the gospel is to go to the Gentiles, He makes it clear that the ceremonial laws forbidding certain food to be eaten no longer is an issue, He teaches Peter humility by requiring him to enter a Gentile’s home, which led to the first Jerusalem counsel concerning Gentiles becoming believers which paved the way for the big meeting in Acts 15 where Paul and Barnabas needed to defend their mission work among the Gentiles. Lastly it also demonstrated that the baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at conversion.
Most of us understand the reason for the testing that God is putting Israel through, but why would He desire for them to "learn war"? This is where we see how practical and honest You are Lord. You have given man, for the most part, stewardship of this world. You know that in the fallen world we live in, war will be a part of that. Your nation will need to learn how to deal with that reality. Perhaps we all need to step back and take a look at the trials we go through and ask ourselves if it is not possible that some of the purposes for these trials is to prepare us for certain realities that are existent at this moment or that might come in the future. As a loving Father He wants to prepare us for the realities of living in a fallen world.
Meditation Questions: When you are being tested, is your major focus on it getting over with or to learn as much as you can from it? What must take place for that to happen? Have you ever doubted God’s love due to a test? What did you do about that? Have you spent anytime remembering certain tests and considering what growth was brought through it? Why would you want to do that? Is there ever a time we are not being tested? What does your answer show you?