I often say that “need is such a strong word.” It’s a way of reminding myself, and others around me, to choose to use that word carefully. On the most consumer-oriented day of the year, it’s good to remember what we really “need.”
The Israelites needed Godly leaders. We know that by watching their patterns from generation to generation. When they had a Godly leader showing them the way, they walked together with God.
But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways. (Judges 2:19 NIV)
People who do not see God, trust God, or walk together with God simply don’t understand where their path is leading them. They don’t know that they are standing in the tracks with an oncoming train racing toward them. They need someone to talk them off the tracks and, if necessary, to knock them out of the way. If nobody serves them in this way, they will get hit it.
Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and said, "Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. (Judges 2:20-21 NIV)
In the days of the Judges, God left the “enemies” in place because the Israelites were not faithful. These enemies would challenge the Israelites and their walk together with God. God didn’t abandon the Israelites, though. God stayed with them to help…if they wanted.
I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their ancestors did." The LORD had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua. (Judges 2:22-23 NIV)
Today, like back then, God will test us. God never tempts us. Testing teaches you first and then asks you to remember later. Tempting tries to trick you and get you to doubt what you have learned. Testing wants to build your confidence in the truth. Tempting wants you to doubt, worry, and fear. Testing sets you up for success. Tempting sets you up for failure.
We are in a world, even today, that we face tests and temptations. Godly leaders show us how to fight temptation and pass tests. Those of us who know how to pass the tests and successfully fend off temptations need to pass on these skills from generation to generation. God calls us to pass these things on. The question, though, is this: Will we answer the call?