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God’s Testing

I have many random notes since I last blogged so let’s get started. First, I want to know how you are doing with reading through the Bible. We’ve come through a difficult portion with lots of regulations, the

calling of Joshua, the death of Moses, the death of Joshua, a reminder of the history of Israel and so much more.

Are any of us like Achan, who confesses his sin but still suffers the consequences? Often, we hear false teaching that when we become a Christian, we won’t have problems, we won’t suffer but that is a lie. Peter reminds us “There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.” (1Peter 1:6-7a) Or we can look at James, “count it all joy, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2) All this without having sinned but Achan did sin and I suspect he thought, like many of us, that that would be the end. But remember, we will suffer the consequences for our sin. Also remember, it is the right thing to do when you confess your sins to our Lord!

I’ve heard many make the comment that the Old Testament is of no use today but I implore you to continue reading because so often we can see ourselves (as we live our lives) in the behavior of the Israelites.

The Israelites were close to the Lord, wanting to do what He wanted them to do, but within a short time, we see they “did what was right in their own eyes” and that is never good, whether back then or today.

There is a time in Judges 16:20b where Samson woke up not realizing that the Lord had left him. That is so sad but again, we all struggle with the same thing. Life is going good and we stop reading our Bibles, we “get so busy” with life and don’t pray as often, and before we know it, we forget to seek the Lord in the most important situations of our life. Indeed, the Old Testament is of great relevance.

Ruth is a remarkable little book that does show us that God uses women. Not only does He use women, He uses women that aren’t one of His chosen. Let’s bring to mind that He used Tamar (Gen 18:1-30). When Judah did not keep his promise, she tricked him and became pregnant by him, giving birth to twins, one of which is in the line of Jesus. Ruth, a Moabite, also gives birth to a child in the line of Jesus, Obed the son of Boaz.

Next, we start through 1 Samuel and find that Israel is pretending to serve the Lord but didn’t pray about decisions concerning going into battle. They put on a show, a pretense of calling for the Ark of the Covenant and paraded it around the battlefield. Not only did they lose the battle but the Ark was taken by the enemy.

The importance of obedience is explain in 1 Samuel 15:22, “What is more pleasing to the Lord; your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to His voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” Not only does God ask the question, He gives the answer.

I also thought it important to remind us that God explains mankind as a whole. For those of you that are young, that means both men and women…never thought I would have to explain that. 1 Samuel 24:13 points out, “As that old proverb says, “from evil people come evil deeds.” Jesus makes the same point in Matt 7:16-20, “Beware of false

prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

Again, we see that the Old Testament introduces a subject and the New Testament confirms exactly what the Old Testament is teaching.

Finally, I was interested in seeing the subject of 2 Samuel 8 about David going into battle and the defeated people “became David’s subjects and paid him tribute money.” I cannot find a lot written on this in the commentaries but I wonder if that tribute money was like taxes being paid? What would that mean for our country where the citizens pay taxes every year and throughout the year? Instead of giving other countries our tax dollars, perhaps we should be having them pay a tribute. Following the Bible would bring blessings to our country but we are falling further and further away from God’s Word.

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