I was surprised this morning to find a strange parenthesis in a verse during my Quiet Time. I read it several times to make sure I was reading it correctly. It’s Judges 3:2. The passage says: “These are the names of 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).”
God left enemies nations in Canaan for one reason — so the younger generation would have battle experience and learn the art of warfare. This undoubtedly refers back to the book of Joshua, when the older generation had faced conflict by trusting God with victory and adhering to His Law. When personal sin occurred, the entire nation was weakened (Joshua 7); but when they obeyed, the Lord fought for them victoriously (Joshua 3:5). These same lessons were now needed by the new generation whose story would be told in Judges.
The Living Bible renders Joshua 3:2: “God wanted to give opportunity to the youth of Israel to exercise faith and obedience in conquering their enemies.”
The Lord sometimes allows enemies into our territory to teach us the techniques of warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18). He wants to show us how to live victoriously by trusting Him during occasions of spiritual combat.
Today it helps me to think of myself as a student in God’s Military Academy, learning to fight, not with the weapons of the world, but with the weaponry of faith, Scripture, prayer, and obedience (2 Corinthians 10:4).