Learning From the Mistakes of Others (Part 1): Testing

(Judges 3:1-4 Pas. Baines, Jr. 4/2018)

Introduction: A possible benefit of knowing history is that we can learn from the mistakes of others. In our text, we should learn from the mistakes of those who failed the testing of God. This discussion centers around how “We should work on passing God’s tests.”

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Key Points:

1. God may be testing you as a soldier. Notice in vss. 1-2 that the Lord left some enemies in Canaan to test and train them as soldiers in warfare. Somethings must be learned from our own experiences. After our best prayer and effort to live right, persistent trouble may be God’s testing and training you to be a good soldier.

It’s easy to praise and serve the Lord when you are happy, healthy, have money in your pockets, and your family and friends are loving on you. But it takes a soldier to be able to praise and serve in warfare.

To be a good soldier for the Lord, you have to go through some testing, training, fighting, and suffering (see II Tim. 2:3). Let’s consider the possibility that we are being tested as soldiers.

2. Know your orders. Notice II Timothy 3:16 teaches that God’s word is profitable for teaching and training in righteousness. To be a good soldier, we need to know our orders.

The Bible is not just a church book. It is God’s life book. There are principles for every area of our lives in the book (e.g., mindset, health, wealth, relationships, contribution, church, job, community, etc.). Let’s study the Bible like we want to be familiar with our marching orders.

3. Stay in communication with your chain of command. Notice I Thessalonians 5:17 teaches us to pray continually. We should never get so busy or frustrated that we don’t make time to pray.

When prayer doesn’t change things the way we want them to be changed, prayer can still change us. When prayer doesn’t move our enemies, it can give us strength to live victoriously, despite their presence. Let’s work on praying and being open to whatever way God responds to our prayers.

4. Expect and endure suffering. Notice that Psalm 30:5b talks about weeping nights and joyful mornings. The Christian life is not like being in a spirited worship service 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. We have some hills and valleys, storms and calms as well as friends and foes.

We are called to stay calm and focused on living for Jesus, no matter what happens in our lives. Instead of bemoaning your training days, thank God for preparing you for war. Let’s work on enduring our suffering like victorious soldiers, instead of complaining victims. As in the text, especially our young people should brace themselves for some hills and valleys in life.

5. God may be testing your commitment. Notice in Judges 3:4 the Lord left some enemies to test if the Israelites would stay committed to obeying Him or not. Think about it. When God calls you to pay your tithes and give your offerings, but you desire to use the money for other purposes, who wins that battle?

Who wins the battle of inviting and trying to bring people with you to worship and growth groups? Let’s work on passing the test of staying committed to obeying God’s will.

6. Three reasons to obey God. First, notice that Matthew 6:33 supports the idea of obedience leading to blessings. Someone could and should testify that when you obey God, God has a way of keeping food on your table, peace in your heart, and strength to press forward.

Second, notice that Deuteronomy 30:19 supports the idea that choosing disobedience leads to misfortune. The devil does promise cheese. But what he doesn’t tell you is that the cheese is in his mouse trap, and you are his mouse.

Third, notice in Romans 5:8 that God loved us and gave His Son for us, while we were yet sinners. As in the text, God has been so good to us. Even if our lives are not as comfortable as others, Jesus’ death reminds us that things could have been worse. And His death reminds us that the best is yet to come. Let’s work on choosing to obey God.

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