In Judges 3:1-4 it tells us that God left the enemy in the promised land both to teach His people about war and to test their faith. God left the enemy when He could’ve removed the enemy?!?. How can this be?!? What was true for the Israelites is still true in our lives today.
Remember, the Old Testament is full of types and shadows. Types like Joshua representing King Jesus and leading His people into the land of promise. Shadows like sacrifices that were made to take away sin but, ultimately, pointing to the one time sacrifice, the cross, that would forever do this (Hebrews 9:28, 10:14).
God is a good Father and He knows that for us to become mature sons and daughters we don’t just need to be listening to more sermons and attending better conferences. Faith must be tested and squeezed. I have found that faith grows best in everyday life, when we actually have to use it to overcome what is coming against us.
God testing our faith? My flesh responds, “That must be Old Testament.” But the truth is that it’s not (James 1:3 & 1 Peter 1:6,7). He still does test our faith, seeing if we will choose Him and that, through the testing, receive an upgrade in faith. Or if we will trust in ourselves and not rely on Him through the test.
Upgrades await the people of God when we choose to live by faith. When we choose to believe God and trust Him despite what is happening with our circumstances and situations in life. Our flesh wants the easy road but that road isn’t the road of faith. That road of faith requires us to take up our cross and joyfully follow Him.
Psalm 105 contains some of my favorite verses when it comes to understanding the heart of God in warfare and times of testing. In this Psalm David tells us that God made the enemy to hate His people…but David also tells us that God made His people stronger than the enemy. Why would God make the enemy hate His people? That He may teach His people to live by faith and dependency on Him…and when they do they will see that God has made them stronger than the enemy that is coming against them.
Remember who is our enemy? “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Problems, trials, and spiritual enemies are designed by God to point us to Jesus. I am not saying they are all from God but I am saying God can use them to upgrade our faith and cause us to gaze at His Son.
I love that when David had to walk through the valley of the shadow of death God invited him to sit down and eat. God in His wisdom thought to prepare a table of food, spiritually speaking, for David in the midst of the war that was raging around him. The Message Bible words it best, “Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid…You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.”
Yes, God left the enemy in the Israelites lives and still does the same with us today…BUT may we never forgot that they’re only there to upgrade our faith and dependency on King Jesus. God wants to use enemies in our lives as a springboard into His presence. He is teaching us one of the best tactics of spiritual warfare: sitting down and having a meal with God in the midst of our troubles.
When the enemy encamps against us, may our response be the same as David when God asked Him to seek His face during warfare:
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.” (Psalm 27:8)