“And they were left, that He might test…”
– Judges 3:4
Crossing the Jordan into Canaan has been depicted as a picture of entering into perfection and heavenly rest. This view cannot be more incorrect! In the correct view of heaven, there will be no enemy left in a land of perfection. It is written, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
The nation of Israel was given commands to altogether remove the inhabitants of the land. However, they neglected to do so. As a result, they were left with a culture in their midst that served false gods. Eventually, the chosen people began worshipping and serving those same gods. The Lord did not remove them from Israel, though. Instead, He used them for His good.
God left some of the other nations to train those who had never been through adversity and to test hearts for obedience to Him (Judges 3:1). The time of the Judges became a time of repetition of sin and then restoration to God. The souls of the people would stray from serving God and then come to a place of repentance. Lessons in their walk with God had to be learned again and again. Desires for God were tainted by those “birds in the branches” that Jesus describes to us in His beautiful parable (Luke 13:18-19).
Today, during this time of “the kingdom of God,” where the Lord’s rule of grace is found in the world, there will be opposition. From the time of Jesus’ first arrival until His second, we are promised many false teachers and false religions would be established. As Christians, we find ourselves directly in the middle of it and can be deceived.
It is vital to remain obedient to Christ, as disobedience brings correction. A wise man once wrote, “God always chastises His children twice if they do not bear the first stroke patiently.” Discipline is for our purification and to draw us nearer to Him. When corrections come, it is important to remember they are sent to us and arrive in love. After all, the Bible says, “He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men” (Lamentations 3:33). May we as Christians pass the tests of obedience but remember God’s grace when we fail.
“For the Lord will not cast off forever. Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.”
– Lamentations 3:31-32