Proving Ground

So the Israelites moved into the land God had promised their parents forty years earlier. He had commanded them to destroy all the people living in the land. They did not. Oh. They fought a lot of battles and killed a lot of people. But they didn’t kill all the people. And this would come back to haunt them.

God had specifically told them to destroy everyone in their new homeland, because the people living in Canaan were wicked. They were not followers of God, and they would lead the Israelites astray. If left alive, the Israelites would befriend their enemies. They would work together. They would play together. They were marry each other. They would learn to worship the false gods of their enemies. That’s exactly what God didn’t want. And that’s exactly what happened.

I’m sure it was easier to not kill everyone, because killing is hard business. But it was God’s command. And they disobeyed. So God let some of the nations of Canaan remain alive. This was a proving ground for the Israelites. The people who had sworn to always follow and obey God were put to the test. He wanted to test his chosen people to see if they would remain faithful to him while living with the enemy. We can already guess how the story goes.

Oh. God could have destroyed all those remaining nations of Canaan on his own. He didn’t need the help of the Israelites. This was a test. And as we know, we tend to rely more on God when faced with tests than when life is easy.

God allowed their enemies to live, because he wanted his people to learn to know war. Sounds a little odd. Why would God want his people to learn about war? Because this generation had never known war. After all, they had abandoned the God who had brought their ancestors out of Egypt. They worshipped idols and did evil in the sight of God. They angered God. That meant that neighboring nations would war against them. They must become acquainted with war.

To read more of this story, read Judges 2-3.


You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13


The tower of Babel was built by people who had everything. They wanted to build a city and a tower that reached toward heaven, so they could make a name for themselves. When God saw their hearts, he confused their languages so they couldn’t understand each other. Then he scattered them throughout the earth, and they stopped building the city. 

God knew they didn’t trust him and that their plans were evil. He saw their rebellious hearts and separated them. He knew there was great potential for these people to commit evil atrocities, so he put a stop to it.

The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. Genesis 6:5

Our country was founded on Christian principles. Our founding fathers fashioned the words of the documents declaring independence and the formation of the nation on biblical principles. Yet look where we are today. Our nation is far removed from biblical principles. And we wonder why we’re experiencing troubling times. Godless leaders. Extortion. Bribery. Lies. Corruption. Mandates. Killing of unborn babies. Gender identity issues. Liberal agendas that mock God.

Our country is much younger than the nation of Israel. We’ve only been a nation for two hundred forty six years. We hear of wars and rumors of wars. Devastating weapons are at the ready for evil leaders if they wanted to wreak havoc on the world. Famine is predicted. Inflation is at an all-time high. Shortages of food and fuel may be on the horizon. And it doesn’t have to be this way. But we as a nation have rejected the commands of God. We flaunt our defiance and liberalism in his face. It’s no wonder we’re in this moral decline. We’ve pushed God away from our nation.

I wonder how many times God doesn’t remove evil from our path to see if we’ll remain faithful to him. It’s obvious how that test is going. Oh. How the mighty have fallen. It’s time for a revival in our country. We have an opportunity to turn this nation around and serve God once again. Will our leaders repent? Can we get godly leaders elected who will stand for biblical truths? Our time may be running out, but we can still repent today.

Hope Eternal

I stood there with tears streaming down my face.  The door to the past was closed.  The future uncertain.  Trust was at its lowest.  Fear loomed large.  I cried out to my God.  Please show me hope.  Show me hope today.

Later that morning, as I stood in the rain with my dog, I looked over and saw signs of spring.  Purple hyacinths were popping their heads out of the green.  The yellow of daffodils was opening.  The leaves of the bleeding hearts were rising from the ground.  Peonies were poking through the soil.  I saw hope.  Even in the rain, hope was around me.  Hope of better days.  Hope of new beginnings.  Hope of building trust again.

I saw hope on another day.  Male cardinals vying for the female’s attention.  Loud chirping.  Swooping tails in flight.  Chasing each other through the branches.  I saw hope.  Hope for rebirth.  Hope for renewal.  Hope for dreams fulfilled.

Perhaps there was hope for me.  A phone call.  An encouraging text.  A lunch and movie.  Time with friends.  Renewal.  Rest.  Reset.  Hope.


But forget all that – it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.  For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?  Isaiah 43:18-19


The Israelites had been mistreated for far too long.  They were waiting for a savior.  One to rescue them.  One to right their wrongs.  Oh.  Their suffering became worse before it ended.  Perhaps hope did wane.  Discouragement can cloud hope when it seems as if God isn’t listening.

But God was listening.  He heard their cries.  God offered hope when He sent Moses to deliver them.  And God delivered His people in a mighty way.  Miracle after miracle flowed from his fingertips into their lives.  God proved with his mighty hand that he was in control every step of the way.  God destroyed their enemy in front of their very eyes.

Then Moses turned again to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you mistreated this people? Why did you ever send me? Since I first came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has mistreated this people, and you have done nothing at all to deliver your people.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh: Indeed, by a mighty hand he will let them go; by a mighty hand he will drive them out of his land.”  Exodus 5:22-61 NRSV

This is Easter Week.  Holy Week.  Just the name implies hope.  But in order to see that hope appear, horrible events took place.  The sentencing of an innocent man.  Sentenced to death on a cross.

When Jesus cried out asking why God had forsaken him, I wonder if God turned to him and said.  Now you shall see what I will do by my mighty hand. 

Did Jesus see hope as he was dying on the cross?  Did he see hope for you?  For me?

Oh.  Two days later as he left the tomb very much alive, hope came in a bright light.  Hope rolled the stone away from his tomb.  Hope breathed life into his torn body. Hope shown through him as he appeared to Mary Magdalene.  Hope appeared as he showed his scarred hands to Thomas.

This was a different hope. This was a new hope.  This was hope eternal. Everlasting hope.

Today the daffodil bloomed.

Fighting Battles

It wasn’t even my battle.  But I was asked to fight it.  I was asked to fight for someone else’s cause.  It wasn’t a battle that interested me.  Quite frankly, I didn’t even know it was an issue.  It seemed petty once I heard the details.

They wanted certain words to be written to a group of people.  They wanted the sentence worded in a certain way, but they didn’t give me the words to say.  Or the authority.  They just said, “Don’t say it like this”…  They told me how not to say it.

It felt odd fighting someone else’s battle.  I was caught in the middle.  No matter what happens, I wouldn’t be the winner.  It was a very uncomfortable position to be in.  If I’m facing a battle, I prefer to fight my own.  Not a battle I don’t believe in.  I know what my goals are.  I know what my strengths and weaknesses are.  I can’t read someone else’s mind to know how they want their battles fought.

I’ve been asked to fight other battles.  Sometimes it’s a war of words.  Sometimes it’s actions. Sometimes it’s inaction.  Nevertheless, it seems there’s always a battle.  And never mine.  It wasn’t mine to fight.  It wasn’t mine to win or lose.

I’ve wondered what those on the other side of the battle think of me.  Do they recognize that I’m the pawn in the game?  Did they realize my words and actions are sometimes led by the fighter?  I’m only the messenger.  Am I just being manipulated?

My advantage was that I could set the tone.   The “fight” doesn’t have to be nasty.  Perhaps the messenger is the most important soldier.  Trying to please both sides while remaining neutral.  Nevertheless, I was still in the fight.  I wasn’t the general.  I was the messenger.  But does it really matter?  If I’m associated with the fight, am I then a fighter?  I was recruited rather than enlisting on my own.  That only matters at the beginning of the fight.   Right?  Once the fight begins, you’re in.

There’s a difference between picking a fight and facing a hardship.  Getting even or getting your way is picking a fight.  Facing a hardship or loss is a battle.  We pick our fights but battles are another story.  It seems that way, at least.


You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you. Deuteronomy 3:22


It isn’t in my nature to pick fights.  But I have seen my fair share of battles.  Battles I wouldn’t choose, but they come regardless.  Hardships and trials are battles that must be fought.  They require courage, prayer and faith to see victory.  I can’t fight these battles alone.  I’ve chosen not to.  I know a mighty warrior who fights all my battles.

This mighty warrior has fought battles for many others.

I think of the battle he fought for the people of Israel.  Moses was their leader.  The mighty warrior fought hard.  He brought the ten plagues to the Egyptians when their leader wouldn’t obey.  In the end,  this mighty warrior won.  He delivered his people from a tyrant.

I think of four men.  Daniel.  Shadrach.  Meshach.  Abednego.  All four men were captured and forced to serve a king they didn’t agree with. Yet they remained faithful to their God.  The God who created the universe.

Daniel didn’t waver from his beliefs or daily habit of praying to the only God.  Even when his life was in danger.  Even when others meant harm, God did good.  When Daniel was in the lion’s den, this mighty warrior calmed the lions so they didn’t harm Daniel.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into a furnace when they wouldn’t bow down and worship their king.  The furnace was so hot that the flames killed the soldiers who threw them in.  Yet these three men survived.  They weren’t burned.  At.  All.  They walked out of the furnace.  Fully alive and well.  The mighty warrior fought for them.  He saved their lives.

I turn to this same mighty warrior when I have battles that need fought.

This mighty warrior will fight our battles.  God is this mighty warrior.  God fights for us.  The Bible says he does that in many different ways.  He knows our thoughts.  He knows our strengths and weaknesses.  He knows our temptations.  He knows the battle is coming before we even feel the first punch.  He knows who he’s fighting.  He knows how to fight them.  He doesn’t fight dirty, but he does fight to win.