A test of faithfulness.
By Ysrael De la Cruz
Regardless of what we go through in life one thing is constant. God’s faithfulness to us. Last week I preached about his faithfulness in keeping his promises to his people. This reminds me the passage in 2 Timothy 2:12-13 12if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.
God is always faithful; we are the ones who are not faithful to him at times. God would use situation, circumstances, and people to test how faithful we truly are to him. Your faith in God, your commitment to him or love for him, your faithfulness to him will always be tested to see if it’s genuine or not.
God entered a covenant with the nation of Israel; God promised to take him to a prosperous land if they followed his ways. You will be my people and I will be your God. We read about God fulfilling this promise to his people in the book of Joshua. Then we come to the book of Judges. This book highlights God’s faithfulness to his people despite their unfaithfulness.
God’s faithfulness displayed (v.1-2)
-God was faithful to his covenant. He brought the people out of slavery and into the land he swore to give them. “I will never break my covenant with you.”
Israel’s unfaithfulness (v.2)
Israel broke the covenant or agreement with God. They did not break down the altars to foreign gods. They disobeyed the LORD.
Consequence for disobedience (v.3)
-God will not drive out the remaining nations.
-They will be like thorns in your sides and their gods shall be a snare (lure) to you.
The nation wept when they heard the words of God. They knew that was a punishment to their unfaithfulness.
Verse 6-10 is like a parenthesis telling us about a generation that was faithful to the LORD. Then tells us about another generation who arose and they did not know the LORD v.10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.
Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. (v.11-15)
-Did evil in the eyes of the LORD by worshiping Baals (fertility deities, idols)
-They abandoned the LORD and went after the gods of the nations around them.
-They provoked the LORD to anger (v.12)
-The LORD delivered them into the hands of plunderers (robbers, looters)
-Israel could not withstand their enemies because the hand of the LORD was against Israel due to their disobedience.
God’s faithfulness to save. (v.16)
-God would raise up judges to save the people of their enemies.
-Israel’s continued disobedience (v.17) They did not listen to the judges; they continue to prostitute themselves going after other gods.
-God would raise the judge to save his people for he had compassion on them
-When the judge died, the people would go back to their wicked behavior, to being even more corrupt.
God’s judgment on the people (v.20-23)
-Because they had broken or violated God’s covenant. God said he will not drive out the nations Joshua left when he died. These are the nations which would become thorns on the side of Israel and lure them away from the LORD.
-God would use them to test Israel’s faithfulness. (to see whether they will care to walk in the way of the LORD or not. (v.22)
God uses circumstances in our lives and people to test our faith, to test how faithful we’ll be to him.
You won’t know how faithful you are to God until you are tempted to go against him and still remain faithful to him. Your faithfulness to God is more evident in the midst of possibilities and temptations to go against him. The bravery of a soldier is only known in time of war or conflict. Love is shown authentic when a person could have the possibility to love anyone, but he or she chooses to love you in the midst of many possibilities. True love cannot exist where there are no rules or law. God gave the Israelites the commandment to love only the LORD and to worship only him. That was the rule; now they would live among people who did not worship the LORD; they worshiped made-made gods. God will test Israel’s love for him; will the nation be true to the LORD or pursue other gods?
Will Israel love God only or would Israel compromise his love for God and go after other gods?
Peter said that your faith is proven genuine after going through fiery trials. 1 Peter 1:7
God left those nations to test the faithfulness of Israel. Who has God brought to your life to test you, to challenge you to be faithful to him?
Jueges 3:1-6 gives us the names of those nations.
God would also use these nations to teach Israel warfare. (v.1-2)
The new generation had not experienced war and God will teach his people war through these nations surrounding Israel.
-5 Lords of the Philistines
-All the Canaanites
God left these nations to test Israel’s faithfulness to him and to teach Israel war since they had not experienced it.
God would use situations and people to teach us something we have not learned.
When you have not learned to be patient, God would surround you with people who are hard to deal with and constantly test your patience. Israel needed to learn war, conflict and God left those nation by which Israel would be taught to fight.
God has a plan even through the conflict we experience in life; there are always Godly lessons to learn. He is using the conflict to teach us and to develop us into more seasoned Christians. If you want to avoid conflict, you will always find conflict. There are people who want to avoid the Amorites and go somewhere else to be away from the Amorites, just to be among the Jebusites. God will use those people we may even dislike to teach us valuable lessons we have not learned yet. God is using them to test our faithfulness to him; he would use them to equip us so we become more seasoned, more mature as his people.
God is always faithful, the question will always be, how faithful will you be to him? What or who is God using today to test your faithfulness to him?