Ever pondered why God does not remove all the obstacles that block your path and the adversaries who challenge your peace? I am studying through the book of Judges in preparation for preaching this in the near future. I have read Judges numerous times and again I stand amazed at how this Old Testament book mirrors the times in which we live.
Yesterday I was confronted with the opening verses of Judges 3 and their relevance for today. In these verses God explicitly states that He allowed other nations to remain in the Promised Land for two purposes. First, to test the Israelites faith as they lived in the midst of pagans who did not know the one true God. Judges 3:4 says, “They [the nations] were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.” They failed this test and began serving other gods every single time.
The second purpose for God allowing other nations to remain in the land was so God’s people could learn to fight. Through the threat of battle, God provided the opportunity for His children’s strength and resolve to stand firm to increase. With war looming overhead God’s people would be forced to a deeper level of dependence upon Him than they had ever experienced. God wanted their perseverance and determination to be hardened by the challenges they faced. He wanted them to know war and become warriors!
The same two challenges face every Christ follower today. Will we remain faithful in the midst of blatant immorality, idolatry, and ever-increasing sensuality and will we learn the art of war and become warriors? From my years in the ministry I have surmised that most Christians are not good fighters. They don’t know war and are not warriors. We are a weak army, having been softened by the ease of Christianity in America. No longer do we stand for God regardless of what we face; no longer do we look the enemy in the eye while falling to our knees to engage in battle. We do not reside in the Word of God to find the unsurpassed strength needed to stand. The American church cannot be classified as warriors because we have forgotten how we are supposed to fight and have lost the will to do so. For this reason God is testing the church today to develop faithful fighters who stand for what is right at all cost.
My prayer for the Church in America is that we will again resolve to fight, to stand firm, to faithfully trust God in this time. May we be refined like precious gold and strengthened like stainless steel. So that when God does a troop inspection He will know that we have been pressure tested and found faithful. What about you?
Never yield your shield… Stay in the Battle!
In Christ alone,