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.

This is a Test

Do you think God trusts you? No, really. Do you think God trusts you? Has God ever tested your faithfulness to him? Would you know it if he has? Do you think you passed the test? Hmm. Let’s think about this for a minute.

If you read the Bible, you will find that God tested people. And he didn’t let them know their struggles were a test. A test of their faithfulness. Imagine the nerve. But he did it anyway. After all, God alone is God. He knows our hearts. He knows if we will turn to him in those moments of darkness. And he knows if we will turn away from him.

In Exodus 15, God decided to test the Israelite people as they were settling into a new camp. Oh. He didn’t tell them about his plan, but he mapped out the requirements for the test.

  • Listen to the voice of God
  • Do what is right in God’s eyes
  • Obey God’s commands
  • Keep all of God’s decrees

Seems simple, right?

Listen to the voice of God. What does God’s voice even sound like? Have I ever heard him speak? Have I heard his voice? Would I know it was God if he spoke to me?

Now. God may have spoken audibly to Moses. But God also spoke to Moses through a burning bush. He has never spoken to me in an audible voice. And I’ve never seen a burning bush.

However, I do have a conscience. I know when I do right. And I know when I do wrong. I know when my heart is pounding out of my chest and I have to choose which path to take. Which words to say or not to say. That is God speaking to me. I must listen closely and not close my ears and heart to God. I must listen to God.

Do what is right in God’s eyes. If I’m listening to God and obeying him, then I am doing right. If I’m not listening to God, all bets are off as far as what I may or may not do. And if I’m not listening to God, then who am I listening to? And does the speaker I’m following speak the truth? Would I know the truth if it hit me smack in the face?

Obey God’s commands. I think immediately of the ten commandments (Exodus 20:3-17).

  1. You must not have any other gods before me
  2. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind
  3. You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God
  4. Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy
  5. Honor your father and mother
  6. You must not murder
  7. You must not commit adultery
  8. You must not steal
  9. You must not testify falsely against your neighbor
  10. You must not covet

But those aren’t the only commands God gives. There are many, many commands that God gives in the Bible. God commands us to avoid certain things, to beware of specific evils. We are commanded to do things and not to do things. The Word of God is full of commands. We only need to look for them.

Keep all of God’s decrees. According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, the decrees of God are his eternal, unchangeable, holy, wise, and sovereign purpose. They comprehend all things that come to pass. What does all of that even mean? One of God’s decrees that pretty much sums up everything says: Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. Ephesians 1:4

It was there at Marah that the Lord set before them (the Iraelites) the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to him. He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.” Exodus 15:25-26


And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28


And then there’s Job. God told Satan to test Job. And he gave clear instructions on how the test was to be conducted. He told Satan what he would allow and what he would not allow. So Satan obeyed and carried out those tests as if it were his only job. He made Job’s life miserable and destroyed everything Job had worked for. He killed all of Job’s children and his livestock. Only a handful of servants were spared. Yet Job persisted in his faith in God. His faith held firm. His trust in God withstood every test that Satan threw at him.

How do I know that some of the troubles that come my way aren’t designed by Satan? Under God’s approval. I’ll never know this side of heaven. I’m not sure it matters who designs the test. God or Satan. The point of the test is to prove my faithfulness to God. I wonder. Would I be found as faithful as Job if I were put to the limit, as he was? I pray that I will be found as faithful as Job. Will you?