These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced
any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from
Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses. – Judges 3:1-4
Israel had lost their fight. The tenacious commitment to claim what God had promised had faded and years of living in safety had softened them. They needed to
go back to basic training. In order to get them back into shape, God kept a thorn in their side by allowing surrounding nations to stick around – some on the job training, if you will.
This brought to mind a question for parenting: Can my girls protect themselves? Are they equipped to turn away the attack? Have they picked up the skills and qualities that they need to venture safely through this world? We are working on it and that means facing the enemy.
The only way for the Israelites to be prepared for battle was to go into battle. Anyone in the military can tell you there is a difference between obeying orders in the safety and security of peace, and obeying them when the bullets are flying. It is the difference between a trained soldier and a seasoned soldier. One has equipment and information, the other has experience and wisdom. I want my girls to be seasoned soldiers for Christ.
This may require our children being in “risky” situations where feelings get hurt and character is tested. They may go into harm’s way for a good cause. Words like sacrifice, discipline and perseverance need to be understood at a deeper level. Failure is an opportunity to discover weaknesses to overcome. All of these must be rooted in a growing love for Christ.
We parents have our work cut out for us, but God is on our side.
Lord, help me lead my children into a disciplined life. Give me the strength and patience to put them through difficult circumstances. Help me to shape them into the person you have designed them to be. Let us all be overcomers for your glory and honor. Amen.