Why does God test us?
As I was reading Judges 3, I made it to the second verse before the Lord stopped me.
“These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wards in Canaan 2 (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience):…” (NIV)
And it goes on to list the nations.
The first time I read this, I thought about the Lord testing the Israelites, as in—did He want them to fail? What was He testing? Their abilities?
As I read on, I realized God had good in mind for His people. He wanted them to learn how to do battle, because do battle they would, if they were going to claim their Promised Land.
Sometimes I forget that when God allows hard things into my life, He has good in mind for me.
It’s true for all of us.
We have to understand that we may not see His good in ways we expect.
God’s specific purpose for leaving some of the nations in the Promised Land was to test the Israelites.
Test—as in give them practice in mastering the skills of warfare. So they could use those skills to gain their reward.
God doesn’t send us into this world clueless and on our own. He gives us opportunities to practice battle skills in our everyday living— to develop disciplines that will strengthen and prepare us for life’s skirmishes.
Because we will all be caught in the fray of life’s hard at some point.
The Israelites engaged with very real enemies. Battles were fought not only on a physical level—learning how to wield weapons effectively, or to strategize how to attack a city—but also on a spiritual level.
Our God is a relational God. He desires fellowship with His children. He also requires obedience.
Part of the Israelites’ battle preparation came in learning to obey God,
. . . to have a relationship with Him,
. . . to lean on and listen to Him.
To trust Him.
When has God placed us in situations where we are tested . . . where circumstances are way bigger than our ability to deal with them?
How many times have we found ourselves in a place where we don’t know how to move forward?
He prepares us for tests we’ll face in this life. (Click to Tweet)
We may not always recognize His teaching methods as such. But, as we walk through our days,
. . . as we learn to hear His voice,
. . . as we learn to trust Him,
. . . we are building up our arsenal of skills for when the tests come.
And come, they will. We live in a fallen world.
When life’s hard swirls around and inside us at a dizzying pace, what are we going to do?
Will we try to battle it out in our own strength?
Will we swing our sword at every shadow we spot?
Will we aim our arrows toward the circumstances, release, and hope they hit a target?
Or, will we choose to seek Him? Will we cry out to Him for help? Will we take a step back, ask Him for His battle plan before moving forward?
Can I be honest and say that, too often, I’ve been the one who flies onto the battle front, sword drawn and swinging wildly.
I’ve been the one who ends up discouraged and exhausted when the tests goes on, the circumstances don’t change, and I’ve expended all my energy.
God is always with us. He wants us to seek Him, to depend on Him as we engage the tests in this life.
He doesn’t test us out of spite.
He tests us to help us learn how to draw close to Him. And, also to show us the victory when we walk through the battles with Him.
Because there are victories in this life. We do overcome our enemy. Sometimes we see victories this side of heaven. Other times, we see them when we come into His presence. And we hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
When we walk through tests, remember God is for us. He is with us. And, He loves us.
What about you? How has God equipped you for tests you’ve walked through? When have you seen a victory in a test or a battle?