Now these are the nations that the LORD left, to test Israel by them… They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the LORD. (Judges 3:1, 4 / ESV)
Sometimes God allows testing in our lives, not to tempt us to fail, but to strengthen us spiritually and give us the opportunity to demonstrate our obedience to Him.
Testing for Obedience
When the Israelites first came into the Promised Land, God instructed them to purge the land of the pagan people who lived there. But He purposefully allowed some of the nations to remain as “testers.” He providentially allowed this to provide the Israelites the opportunity to obey God’s commands.
Unfortunately, they failed the test miserably – multiple times! Instead of shunning the idolatrous inhabitants, they chose to live among them. Rather than maintaining their own sense of identity and following God’s commandments of not mingling with them, they chose to inter-marry with them. Surprisingly, they even chose to serve their pagan gods! They “did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.” So, God punished them for rejecting Him and not following His commands.
Thankfully, after a period of punishment, the Israelites cried out to God in repentance. As He always does, He heard and rescued them. He provided periodic “deliverers.” These champions rose to the occasion and rescued them from their current oppressive circumstances. God didn’t rescue them Himself. He used people – ordinary people – through extraordinary means.
What testing has God allowed to come into your life? Is it something to test your level of patience? Or your willingness to forgive? Could be an opportunity to love someone who has wronged you? Maybe it is something designed to help overcome your anger? Perhaps it is something to deepen your commitment level to Him? Whatever your test is, rest assured, it is not designed to make you fail. James 1:14 confirms that God doesn’t tempt us. He tests us as a way of strengthening our spiritual resolve and proving our obedience to Him.
- “The LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 13:3-4)
- “So that the tested genuineness of your faith…though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:7)
- What “tests” or difficult situations are you facing today?
- Are they drawing you closer to God and have you thanked God for them?
- What course of actions could you take to demonstrate your obedience to God through the tests?