Grace and peace be unto you.
The story is told that there was a time when Israel had no king. Evil was rampant and some Benjamites raped a Levite’s wife until she died. The leaders of the tribes of Israel were enraged and asked the Benjamites to hand over the abusers, but they refused. Hence, the leaders decided to wage war against the tribe of Benjamin.
The Israelites assembled an army of four hundred thousand men. After which, they inquired of the Lord who should go up first, and he said Judah. Judah went up against the Benjamites and was badly defeated. Shocked, the Israelites wept before the Lord from morning till evening and queried whether or not they should go again, and he gave them permission. They went up again and was defeated a second time. They were devastated. The whole army wept, fasted, prayed, and presented burnt and fellowship offerings unto the Lord. Then, the Lord told them to go up against Benjamin for they would be successful. They obeyed and God gave the Benjamites into their hands (Judges 19-20).
Interestingly, God gave the Israelites permission, still yet, they were defeated two times. One would have thought that victory was inevitable whenever God gives permission. But not necessarily so, God has requirements for us to follow and the Israelites were reminded in a humiliating way.
All the Israelites had sinned, consequently they were in need of repentance and consecration prior to going to war. They knew God’s expectations, as such, it was disrespectful of them to go to battle in their sinful state. Furthermore, they were fighting the Benjamites for the sins of rape, murder, and inhospitality, while they were harboring unconfessed sins. Scripture says, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). God used the two defeats to show them the error of their ways. They were humbled and subsequently repented. God forgave their sins and grant them victory.
Perhaps God has given you permission to do a specific assignment and you are experiencing failure. My friend, the failure is meant to draw you closer to God and not farther from him. He wants you to seek his face in prayer, fasting, and repentance. The Bible says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you…” (James 4:8). When you do, he will give you further directives on how to successfully complete your assignment. God is interested in how you do your assignment as well as its completion.
Heavenly Father, you are holy, righteous, and just. Please forgive us of our sins and teach us your ways. In Jesus’ name, amen.