Old, But Always New

 

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Do you ever have one of those times that you are reading a biblical passage that you have read many times and suddenly see something new? I am guessing you have! I have experienced that many times and it never fails to delight me.

 

The incredible thing about scripture is that it is not new and yet always new at the same time.

 

I am currently reading the book of Judges and as I was reading the opening of the third chapter I had one of those moments that caused me to pause and reflect.

 

IMG_2453In those first two verses, the writer states that the Lord had left nations after Joshua “to test Israel by them”. Even with Joshua leading, the children of Israel had often faltered in their faithfulness. Now they would be absent that leadership and a series of judges appear to guide and lead.

 

The verses go on to say the testing was for those in Israel who “had not experienced all the wars in Canaan”. Because they had not experienced those things they hadn’t seen the hand of the Lord over and over again at the parting of the Red Sea, the collapse of the walls of Jericho, and so much more.

 

The second verse adds this; “It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.”

 

We so often talk about peace and our desire for it. If we have read much of the Bible, we know what it says about it and where it comes from and still we wish for the idyllic peace of Eden.

 

When I consider what that might have been like before the fall, I wonder if we forget to a-signremember that Adam and Eve were untested prior to the serpent. Was the serpent allowed in the garden to test them to develop their character?

 

Over and over again I see that testing produces character and that tends to come from two primary things. First, we learn more of the truth about our own condition and ourselves at that time. Secondly, we invariably learn more about the Lord and who He is.

 

Each testing time in my life has never failed to do both. Each time has also taught me more about warring against those things within me that are not like Him as well as how to be more effective at warring against the enemy who still seeks to defeat and destroy each one of us who are called by His name.

 

In the Judges passage the Lord used physical enemies and battles and wars that allowed testing. I think that sometimes occurs today as individuals are involved on physical battlefields and countries are forced to determine what actions they will take when evil seeks to overtake them. We also see that many who are not serving as soldiers armed with physical weapons are caught up in the battle, but for many of us the battles are not as graphic. Even so Paul reminds us of the armor we are to wear in Ephesians 6.

 

The truth about armor is that it will never be effective if you try to put it on when IMG_2452you are under attack in the midst of the battle. It must be put on before you go into battle.

 

Too often we do not remember that and are trying to put it on in the midst of a battle that needs our focus. Not a very beneficial strategy at all and yet it is too often our default position. Paul reminds us in I Thessalonians 5 how true that will be at the end time when the Lord returns. It suggests clearly as do other passages that we are to be watchful, ready, and already dressed for battle.

 

Peter reminds us as well about our need for preparedness in 1 Peter 4:12 ESV:

 

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”

 

I am not eager for testing, never am I eager for that. I also do not believe the Lord is sadistically planning for pop quizzes and crushing exams to trip me up. I believe He is wanting each of us to be aware that we live far from Eden in a world that is far from perfect, often evil, and even more so as His return approaches.

 

It is His great love and care for us that cause Him to use any and all things to prepare us so we can stand and fight as His army alongside Him. He does not want us to be unprepared. Before David ever met Goliath, he knew well how to use a sling in other dangerous experiences. He was tested and so were his weapons. Should it not also be true of us?

 

We may not embrace the trial or test, but may our hearts echo the words of Job 23:10:

 

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

 

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12 thoughts on “Old, But Always New

  1. I’ve been having similar experiences in the book of Judges lately! I am finding it so encouraging to be reminded that God is neither surprised nor appalled at the depravity of our world these days. He knew about it a long time ago and already set in motion the PLAN to make all things right! Thanks so much for linking this up at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week!
    Tina

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved the insights from Judges and Ephesians (the armor we need to have–and put on before confronting difficulties). I am learning that more and more I need to be prepared with every
    encounter that comes my way.

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  3. Love your article. I often feel this way. Like I am trying to slip into my armor right in the midst of the battle.
    What are some practical ways we can put our armor on before the battle?
    The enemy has really tried to get my blog! I write about God a good deal on there. Come to think of it I haven’t written about God in a while and the attacks seem to have subsided. I am starting to realize where the attack comes from, which at first I didn’t. Because I now realize this I go more quickly to The Father instead of trying to battle myself. I am going to pray about this today: How can I get my armor on before the battle.
    See you’ve got me talking to my Father and reaching for my bible. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I think what you described happens to all of us at various points. I think one thing I am aware of is that if I am attempting to do or be something that will bring the Lord glory or point others to Him, the enemy will always be trying to get at me in one way or another. If nothing else, he will create doubts in me that will immobilize me from risking moving forward. As a result, if I know, sense, or believe I am in one of those situations, I need to be sure I have been in His Word that day and found His faithful encouragement, that I have spent time not only praying, but also listening to the gentle sound of His voice. Invariably when I do those things, I move forward the what gets accomplished that day is great!

      The challenge is that too often the affairs of life, tiredness, laziness, etc. on my part gets me out of doing those things first in the morning and I can be pulled off course and I always discover that those other things I thought were important and did actually reduced how much I accomplished all day.

      Writing can be one of those places we forget to take heed of. We usually write alone somewhere and risk being vulnerable to share as God leads us. Alone without that time with Him makes us an easy target.

      Lately I have felt a great urgency about what I am writing and posting on my website and felt a great need to be far more disciplined about how I approach my writing. (It has been doubly a challenge as I am nearing completion of my first book.)

      In my experience, the enemy will leave us alone when we are not seeking to bring God glory and honor. He really cannot stand (and never could) that he was not getting that glory for himself!!

      Blessings on you and thanks for your openness! Go get ’em! You have a story to tell and someone out there needs to hear it!

      Love and hugs to you!

      Like

  4. Pam, I really appreciate this. When I was in Israel, our guide said their soldiers are either at war or preparing for war. There is no down time. I thought that summed up our spiritual lives very well.

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  5. When I read about putting on the spiritual armor I often forget that it needs to be put on before a battle.
    “He creates the toughest soldiers through life’s hardest battles.” I love this!

    Liked by 1 person

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