PUT DOWN YOUR PENCILS

Have you ever faced a VERY DIFFICULT test?! What was your feeling when that test was finally over? The book of Judges opens with the nation of Israel failing to do all the Lord commanded them. The Lord told Israel to drive out all the nations who were in the land and that He would go before them guaranteeing them victory. But they failed to eliminate these nations completely. Consequently, the Lord refused to give Israel victory over the nations that remained in the land and said these same nations would become thorns in their side and snares to them. The Lord also used these nations to test whether the people would obey and worship Him or fail and worship other gods. They failed the test. The nation worshiped other gods and gave their children as husbands and wives to the people of these nations.

The Lord commanded a direction that would have prevented Israel from being tempted by idolatry. Yet He allowed the nations to remain in the land to test Israel. God was very aware what would happen when the gods of the nations became a temptation to His people and His test demonstrated to them their own weakness and unfaithfulness. The Lord also tests us. He allows us to face difficult situations to test our faith, our endurance and our faithfulness. James writes “…the testing of your faith produces endurance…let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4) and Peter comments on “…the fiery ordeal…which comes upon you for your testing...” (1 Peter 4:12-13)

When testing comes, how do you respond? What is your knee-jerk reaction to difficult times or fiery ordeals? Have you been obedient to the Lord’s direction in ridding from your life things that could become a temptation? Do you compromise because you believe yourself strong enough to overcome temptation? The Lord wants to provide you a life characterized by victory. But He will not do it if disobedience or compromise characterize your life. There is a day coming when the testing will be over and He will tell us to ‘put our pencils down.’ Then what will be the next sentence He utters to you?

by Curt Krohn

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