Monday, May 25, 2015

Joshua 14 - Special Blessing

As the newly conquered lands are divided among the tribes of Israel, there was one man who was specially recognized with a piece of land for himself separate from the tribes. Caleb had been among the spies that went into the promised land and came back believing the land was good and that God was able to conquer it and give it to them. Caleb didn't focus on the might of the men in this promised land or the difficulties. He merely trusted. 

Caleb's trust in God came at a time when the nation was living in doubt. They were tired of their wanderings, yet unwilling to yield themselves to God. Standing on faith in the faithless was the mark of Calebs character. He was not afraid to separate from the crowd and stand for right. 

Caleb was honored by God as the distribution of land occurred. Furthermore his name is recorded in scripture that every generation would know of his faith and his character. Joshua 14:14 records tha Caleb followed the Lord God of Israel wholeheartedly. What a testimony to have recorded!

Caleb stand out in scripture as one we could pattern our life of faith after. To be able to stand firm when the tides of opinion are against you and to speak truth when it is not popular is something we should aspire to as believers. I believe God offers a special blessing to those who do. Will you take the challenge to follow God wholeheartedly and leave your welfare in His hands?  

May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Joshua 13 - Promised Inheritance

Recently, I heard a pastor say as he spoke to his congregation "I am believing that you will be enlarged in 2015". His congregation responded in "amens" around the room. When we look to the Lord a our provider we take a different attitude about possessions and worldly gain. Our goal becomes godliness and we find ourselves clinging less to the image of worldly success we once held so dearly. 

In Joshua chapter 13, the Lord instructs Joshua on the division of the land going tribe by tribe. Their boundaries were established so no one would question the lands. They were established by God himself. 

The Levites were mentioned several times because they were not to inherit any of the land for God was their inheritance. The Levites were not poorer than their kinsman tribes, they had merely been called to special service for God and He did not want them to set up for themselves turf in this world. God had a better plan for this tribe that would belong to Him all the days of their lives. They would not lack because God made provision for them. 

God may be enriching your material wealth here and may be using your wealth to supply the provision for His full time servants or to establish a ministry that proclaims the power and love of God to those who desperately need a word of hope. If you belong to God, material wealth is just as much in God's hands to accomplish His purposes as our lives are. We don't need to fret about our provision, we do however need to be faithful in applying the wealth that God supplies to its highest purpose. When we view our role as stewards of God's provision we act differently related to our inheritance. 

If we like the Levites have no land and nothing to call our own, we can also trust that God will use that circumstance for His  glory. We are not forgotten if we are not given a great possession here. God may be preparing us for an even greater inheritance. God himself may be our inheritance and we will be blessed beyond all worldly understanding. 

Matthew 6:33 tells us, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well". God doesn't forget to provide for his children. Make knowing God and faithfully serving Him your goal and you will be enlarged more than you ever imagined. 

May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Joshua 12 - Taking Stock

Now that the Israelites have had a number of victories and have begun to settle in the promised land, rather than pressing forward to the next task, Joshua does something interesting. He stops to take stock of the victories God has given. When we are tired from the battle and know there is so much further to go, we should remind ourselves that we do not go out alone. We belong to God and our victories and defeats are in His hand. We serve His purposes and He is using our lives to tell of His greatness to the world. 

In this chapter, Joshua lists out the kings that were defeated in both the east and west of the Jordan. He numbers the kings on the west side, 31 kings were defeated by God. God included the people in the battle so that they could sense the victory and share it with God. 

By writing down the victories, the nation was preserving for themselves a letter of encouragement for the next time they were to face a formidable enemy. They could be reminded of the ways God had acted in the past and look to God for their course of action for the future. 

We too are in the middle of God's story being written. It would be a good record for us to examine our own lives and the way God intervened to order our steps to this point. For instance, when you consider your salvation, who are the people God involved to bring you to Himself?  Were there times in your life where you had danger or conflict and God brought you through?  Were there accomplishments or victories that God allowed to shape you and mold you as you developed?  

How has God discipled you?  Has He changed your desires from within? Has He placed people in your life to help you understand deeper things about God?  I challenge you to write th down and create your own record of God's hand in your life. Take stock now so that when the conflicts and tests arrive you too will be encouraged by how God has acted in the past on your behalf.

God is writing His story using your life. Know that you are not alone in the battle and the victory belongs to the Lord. 

May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Joshua 11 - God our Captain

After the tremendous victory God gave Israel over the five cities in Joshua chapter 10, if I lived in the land, I would be reflecting on what hope I had for the future. But Jabin king of Hazor decided to double down and planned an attack of his own. Obviously, he didn't understand the power of God at work to defeat the nations around them. 

God speaks to Joshua and gives direction for battle. With an assurance of God's promised defeat of the enemy and a plan for how to overcome their troops, Joshua's men March off to take the opposition. God uses the faithful service of the Israelites to deliver the promised land into their possession. God was fulfilling his promises to Abraham and Jacob nearly 500 years prior. 

As Christians we too are given a plan and assurance of victory. We need to be careful as we consider the goal however. We were saved by Jesus Christ to be his examples to the world and to stand out by living differently from the world so that theyay know there is power to overcome conflict, but also to offer the world the same hope we have. Our goal is not for leisure and personal pleasure here. Our enemies don't have to be on opposite sides from us. There is plenty of room on God's side and many benefits too. 

Like Israel, we have a special relationship to the Almighty having been purchased from sin and received forgiveness. We have the hope of eternity with God in Heaven. Our promised land is yet to come and no doubt there are battles to be won as we march toward the righteous life, looking for our King to appear. 

We are closer than ever to the return of our Lord and then we will see our final victory. For as long as God has us here, we are sojourners in a foreign land. Things don't fit, they aren't smooth. Our home is in Heaven so we are being molded and remade to become the perfect bride for Christ. Our character is being developed with each conflict, but we do not fight alone. We have the power of God inside us to meet each challenge and God alone gets the victory. 

One day we will experience the rest that was described in the last sentence of this chapter. "Then the land had rest from war."  Battles still rage on all around us and we are hallenges to live wisely among people hungry for war.  God has his children in His hands and will not let them go until they have entered into their land of rest. The inheritance of promise. 

Look to the Lord for your direction. Seek Him and He will be found. look for God's wisdom in scripture and pray for His provision for the conflict. May God allow you to see His glory as He uses your circumstances to write His story here. 

May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him.