And the people of Israel inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall we go out once more to battle against our brothers, the people of Benjamin, or shall we cease? And the Lord said, Go up, for tomorrow I will give them into your hand.
Judges 20: 27-28
Lately I’ve been reading the book of Judges for my daily devotions. This particular story struck me as a plot-twisting tale that tells how the Lord teaches life lessons to His followers and how He eventually accomplishes our victories in His timing. Basically, this story is about how the tribes of Israel rise up to revenge the Benjamin people who had committed a horrific assault on a sojourning Israelite in a city belonging to the people of Benjamin. In the book, the Israelite plead to the Lord about whether to launch their attack every morning, and the Lord gave them a positive response, yet for two days, the Israelite lost a great number of people in the battle. Yet every morning, they continue to plead to the Lord for a response. On the third day, He said “I will give them into your hand.” Behold, the Lord directed the people to set up an ambush for the Benjamin people and in turn completely defeated them down to the core.
Initially, I was puzzled over why God had kept telling Israelite to battle yet cause them to lose for the first few days. Then I realized that this story is eerily similar to my personal experience in life with God. When I pray for something, He doesn’t usually make it happen right away and fulfill my wishes. More often, He answers in a long while, or in different ways than my expectations, so that after a while, I don’t even remember what I had prayed for, and it’s already been answered in the meantime. The most important piece of it all, is that through the process of waiting for Him to answer my prayers, I learn to persevere, endure, have patience and have hope. If God is like a father, how foolish and unhelpful would it be if He always gives us what we ask for immediately? Instead, He does what’s best for us, and sometimes, that includes withholding, rebuking, and suffering.