"Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. 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."
Why does God allow hardship in our lives? If He is loving and all-powerful, why doesn’t He just stop evil from happening? Why doesn’t He stop the pain?
This introduction to the book of Judges gives us an answer. God wanted His people to know how to fight, and there is no way to learn that in a classroom. You can study the theory of fighting from a book, but it’s not the same. When the enemy comes at you shooting, you had better be ready to fight back.
There’s an old Latin proverb: “Si vis pacem, para bellum.” If you want peace, prepare for war.
Spiritual warfare is no different, but it’s fought the opposite of what we might expect. You and I need experience at holding our ground against the enemy. We have to learn to respond to difficult and painful things in God’s way. We have to learn to counter unkindness and hatred with love and forgiveness, looking to Jesus. Hardship and pain are countered with faith in God’s promises and His faithfulness to keep them. And that takes practice.
Lord Jesus, You have called me to prepare for spiritual warfare. Fill my mind with your Word and my heart with your Holy Spirit so that I can stand in faith when trouble comes. Strengthen me in these practice runs so that I’m ready for the real battle. Amen.