MIDWEEK MINUTE 5/3/19: Joshua’s Enlightenment
We talk a lot about how God can help us. How He can help us overcome our financial issues, overcome our health issues, and overcome our hurts and struggles. We also talk a lot about our blessings; how God has delivered us, how He has provided for us, and especially how He has Saved us for eternal glory!
God has done so much for us. Thankfully, He is a God of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. I’ve thought a lot about this lately. About how God is all-in for us, even to the point of sacrificing His own Son that we could be one with Him, and walk with Him. So then, that begged the question… do I live in gratitude? Do I live in this world as a Child of God? Do I reflect His love to others? Do I exemplify His morality and ethics to a world that seems to have no moral compass or rudder?
I must confess… as much as I try to live a completely honorable Christian life each and every day, I do mess up my fair share of times. It’s hard to live what we might call “the Christian life” and see the world purely through a Christian worldview. It is EASY for my daily situations to get the best of me, so that I turn my eyes from the Lord.
Fortunately, He constantly thumps me on the head and says, “David! What are you doing? Pay attention!” I am grateful for those reminders that help keep me on the path of following God’s will. But like I said, it’s EASY for me, easy for us, to think that we know best, and to fall into the trap of seeking our own wisdom instead of inviting God into our issues. That’s usually when things begin to fall apart.
One of my favorite books in the Bible is Joshua. He was a mighty warrior that led the Israelites into the Promised Land after their exodus from Egypt. Just before Joshua’s famous battle of Jericho (remember the walls coming down?), he was visited by an angel of the Lord. Joshua asked the angel whose side God was on – the Israelites or their enemy. The angel responded, “Neither, but I have come as the commander of the army of the Lord! (Joshua 5:14).
“Neither!” That must have surprised Joshua! So Joshua quickly realized that the battle wasn’t about God being on his side, rather, it was about Joshua being on God’s side! He had to be fighting in God’s will, fighting for God’s greater purposes, and fighting for God’s ultimate agenda. If Joshua fought from his own strength, he would have been confronted by disaster. But by fighting through obedience to God and God’s plan, the enemy was defeated.
Joshua got it right. He knew where His strength came from. He was so convinced of God’s leadership and guidance that he said in Joshua 24:15, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD!”
And because of the example of faith demonstrated by Joshua’s obedience to God, and his willingness to do things God’s way, Israel was supremely BLESSED for a long, long time.
BUT… after Joshua died, the people wanted a KING to lead them. They felt vulnerable. They felt naked. The problem was, that GOD was their king, their protector, and their provider. God was certainly much better than an earthly king. But the people didn’t see it that way because all their neighbors had kings. So, the Israelites took matters into their own hands and abandoned God by trusting their own wisdom.
God sent the people a series of judges in order to keep them on the right track, but they just couldn’t keep themselves from abandoning God. They wanted to trust themselves and be like all the other nations around them. This is summed up in the last verse of the book of Judges: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 21:25).
Finally, God told the prophet Samuel to give the people a king, but God said to Samuel, “It is not you they have rejected, but it is Me they have rejected as King” (1 Samuel 8:7).
Now, I know I’ve been long-winded here, so I’ll finally get to my point…. One minute the Israelites are all about trusting God. The next minute they have abandoned God. When they were with God, the crops were fruitful, the enemies were gone, the people were happy. But when they fell away from God, there was famine, their enemies overran them, and they were miserable.
There’s an old saying, “Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it.” It seems like today there are a lot of people who have never studied the history of the Bible, or tried to learn about God, or tried to see that He is a God of provision, forgiveness, and love.
For those that have studied the Bible, and understand the ups and downs of faith, it can still be a struggle to keep God at the Number One spot in our lives. In our self-importance we have become like disobedient children. We want to have things our way, and we don’t want to be disciplined or held accountable by this “God-thing” because His way is constricting and is too hard. We want the easy way, our way. Whaa-whaa-whaa!
But because God will never forget us nor ever forsake us, He is always waiting for us with open arms of love and forgiveness. He is the loving Father who expects us to take the high road, as He is trying to raise His children rightly.
If we can hand over to our Heavenly Father OUR agendas, OUR desires, OUR opinions in order to seek HIS will, HIS desires, and HIS moral and holy character, then half of the divisions and divisiveness we see in the world today would wither away and we might see a glimmer, just a glimmer, of cooperation and peace. Sure, we might have to hang up some of our opinions and desires in order to seek GOD’s care, but just think of how much better the world could be as we await our journey home to Jesus!
God is our King. Jesus is our King! We need to be mindful of this fact ALL THE TIME! I pray that me and my household will serve the Lord. And I pray that yours will also.
God bless you all, and we hope to see you Sunday!