This is only a test
Pastor Mark Jeske
The Israelites and their great leader Joshua had conquered the central portion of the land of Canaan. But they didn’t finish the job. The upshot was that the new nation was surrounded on all sides by intensely hostile enemies: Tyre and Sidon (Phoenicians) to their northwest; Aram (Syria) to the northeast; Ammonites to the east; Moabites, Amalekites, and Midianites to the southeast and south; and the dreaded Philistines to the southwest.
God decided to make the presence of those hostile nations work for him: “‘I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their ancestors did.’ The LORD had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua” (Judges 2:22,23). When the Israelites lost interest in the Lord, he let them be harassed by their enemies.
The entire biblical book of Judges shows how God successfully used Israel’s crises to lead them to repentance and to return to him. He then came to their rescue again and again to bring them security and peace.
You know, it may be that God has chosen not to take away all of our troubles and threats for the very same reason. Sometimes foolish sinners like us need his two-by-four upside the head to get our attention. But it’s not punitive. It’s corrective when our troubles lead us back to him.
He does it for our good, you know. He loves us.
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