"Now these are the nations that the LORD left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. It was only in order that the generations of people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before."
The LORD left nations in the land to test the Israelites who had not experienced war. Even with all the warnings in Scripture, I find it easy to forget that life in this world is a battle for the follower of Jesus Christ. How can I overlook Jesus saying in Luke 10:3, "Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves." Do I discount Jesus' instruction "You will be hated by all for my name's sake." in Matthew 10:22? What is my response to John 15:20? "A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you."
In Ephesians 6:11-12, we are instructed to "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Paul continues by describing instruments of war as necessities for Jesus Christ's followers. He refers to the whole armor of God; the belt, breast plate, shoes, shield, helmet, and sword. The necessity for each tool of war is apparent when we examine the enemy. What capability do I have to struggle against "rulers...authorities...cosmic powers...spiritual forces of evil"? I know that is a redundant question, it needs no answer but why then do I not "suit up" for battle each day?
I fear it is because I am part of a generation like the one which came after Joshua, who is unaccustomed and unprepared for the struggle necessary to keep the faith. Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I finished the race, I have kept the faith." So the question is, am I fighting the good fight or am I acquiescing to the enemy? Am I passing the test?
Lord Jesus, forgive me for not heeding Your warnings. Forgive me for living as if the ruler of this world was not the devil himself. I know in You alone is salvation, not just for the future but today. Holy Spirit, convict me to put on the armor of God daily. Please teach me to use every instrument You provide to defend myself and my family.
"You who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it." If this verse seems contradictory to your understanding of how the people received the law, welcome to my world. However, there is a lot of Scripture that supports Stephen's statement. In this chapter of Acts, in verses 30 and 35, Stephen says an angel appeared to Moses in a flame of fire in a bush, and an angel spoke to him at Mount Sinai in verse 38.
Hebrews 2:2 says, "For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?"
Galatians 3:19 says, "Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary."
In the OT, the "Angel of the LORD" makes multiple appearances. Usually, if not always, this is the pre-incarnate Christ. In Exodus 3:2, "The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush."
So did the LORD deliver the law to Moses on Mount Sinai? Yes. Did angels deliver the law? Yes.
Holy Spirit, we confess there are times we do not understand all You are telling us from Your Word. But we believed and have come to know Your Word is true. Help us in our struggles to not only know Your instruction but to faithfully apply it to our lives.