Day 10 Joshua- Joshua 5:1-12

The scene opens with God literally setting the stage for what is to come.  News of the Israel crossing the Jordan spread quickly and it took the life out of their potential oppostion.  It strikes me that this is important since the Israelites were about to be circumcised and needed a safe place to heal and recover.  Basically, like shutting the lions’ mouths for Daniel, God put fear in the hearts of the Amorites and the Canaanites and they stayed back.

God is speaking regularly with Joshua about each step he should take in leading these people.  I wonder exactly how that happened? There are a multitude of very specific details for Joshua to follow…and without a notepad to keep track. It reminds me we have a great responsibility to each other to know what we are supposed to be about.  (Am I listening… and taking notes?)

Joshua met no opposition.  The men willingly complied so as to set apart and consecrated to the Lord’s use. After the cutting away came healing.  Specifically “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt for you.”  (The concecrating prayer I am practicing promises me the same…a daily place to be set free.)

It was fitting to celebrate the Passover for so many reasons…God’s provision of escape to be remembered, the 12 stones sitting in front of them, the manna from heaven still their bread, their healing and deliverance fresh before them.

And the next day…bam…”I am doing a new thing, can you not see it?”

About God?

God – provider, protector, deliverer, healer!

About Me?

Yielding to the Spirit leads to new Grace.

About the World?
There will be a day when every heart will melt and every knee will bow.

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Day 9 Joshua- Joshua 4

I love souveniers.  I could have written the line “been there, done that, bought the t-shirt!”

My Chase Bible study shirt makes me smile everytime I put it on. I think of friends when my morning coffee comes from my NSB mug. The posters and the photos and the knick-nacks – they all take me back and even if just for thirty seconds, I’m in that place again…remembering.

God apparentally is big on souveniers for this very reason and then some. He wants us to remember Him – what He has done for us, how much He loves us – and He wants us to tell stories about Him.  He wants to be our hero, our most favorite destination, and our best moment ever.

“Oh if I could write it with an iron pen…on a ROCK I would write…”I know my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last”. Job 19:23-25 (Thanks Jenny Moss)

“12 Stone church” – We Exist to Inspire Bold Crossings (Thanks DonnaRaeWoods)

“I fully bought into God’s promises. He told me to love my enemy. It worked. It set people free. It brought peace and joy. They hated us. We loved them. God honored it. See this dog food?  Just a stepping stone…” (Thanks Lora Barnes)

About God?
God is the ultimate Kodak moment!

About Me?

Lord, thank you for the gift of memory.

About the World?
Oh, you are wondering about that pile of rocks?  Well…..

Day 8 Joshua- Joshua 3

“Consecrate your selves” are the words for the day…actually for the next several weeks and maybe more.

I love what CLB wrote in her comments about the meaning of “consecrate” and how it preceded “the Lord doing wonders among you”. 

“In the Bible the word consecration means ‘the separation of oneself from things that are unclean, especially anything that would contaminate one’s relationship with a perfect God.'”  (CLB’s reference from http://www.gotquestions.org)

Why “consecrate”? Maybe because in our Bible study group we are reading about repentance and sin and unbelief.  And maybe because all week I have been wrestling with the author’s concepts and metaphors and trying to make a picture in my own head.  Maybe because I just don’t want to take someone else’s word for it if it doesn’t resonate with me. Maybe because if this is right and true then I want to know how to make it work in my yard – I want to know the bits, the whys and the how to’s.

So “consecrate yourselves” was the missing link for me.  It’s a no brainer that I want to see the Lord doing wonders.  The first “wonder”, selfishly maybe, but I’d like it to be in my own life.  I want to understand and change and grow up and do better.  I want to be whatever and all He intended for as much as I can in this world.

So, I’m taking on CLB’s prayer, daily until March 11. (That’s when the Bible study ends.)  It’s a practice I trust because the Holy Spirit highlighted the words right on the IF:Equip screen and said, “Hey, do this.”

CLB’s prayer:
Almighty, most powerful Lord, than you for doing amazing things in my life and in the lives others around me! I desire to experience even more of your wonders! I desire to be consecrated, cleansed, made Holy, and pure. Lord, would you reveal to me what areas of my life contaminate my relationship with you?

Thank you for your revelation, Lord.  I now see that I have been ___________.  Thank you for revealing this to me. I confess MY sin, and accept YOUR forgiveness and YOUR power to be free from the sin that has entangled me.  Lord, my eyes have been opened. I am ready to see your wonders!  Amen

About God?
Thou art near, O Lord; and all thy commandments are truth.  Ps 119:151

About Me?
Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Ps 51:10

About the World?
Seen any “wonders” lately?

Day 7 Joshua-Joshua 2:15-24

“Though your sins be as scarlet, they will be white as snow.” Is. 1:18

Hawthorne made famous the Scarlet Letter – the red “A” that shamed a puritan woman caught in adultery.   In that story, the religious community actively rejected and shunned the harlot, never forgiving her sinful act.

The Lord’s words to Isaiah are astounding in their contrast.  These words of Is 1:18 are immediately followed by this condition in verse 19 “If you are willing and obedient…”

There is no indication that Rahab was ashamed of her profession or convicted of any sin, per se, but she knew her need to be rescued.  She traded her scarlet letter for the scarlet cord.

About God?
The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; He is their stronghold in time of trouble. Ps. 37:39

About Me?
Lord, help me to be as brave as Rehab.

About the World?
There is power in the blood of the Lamb.

Day 6 Joshua- Joshua 2:1-14

So Joshua sends out two spies to check out the land and especially Jericho.  They enter the city and stay at the prostitute Rahab’s place – easy access and no one would notice the traffic, I guess.  The rulers get wind of Israelites being in town and they go straight to Rahab.  Maybe they were seen there, maybe it was just typical but they are quite frank in seeking her help and allegiance.  They tell her “they have come to search out the land” – it’s a matter of national security that we find them.

Interestingly her allegiance does not lie with her fellow countrymen.  She is aware that everyone is afraid of the God of Israel because they have heard what their God has done for them.  But her thoughts seem to go beyond fear and great stories.  She actually believes God is the true God because of the stories and she is ready to align herself with Him.

So she protects the spies and asks to be protected in return – when Israel takes the land.  She seems pretty certain that will come.

Of course the spies are eager to return the favor – “our lives for yours” is no small admission of their own vulnerability.  It also predisposes an understanding of their own people – they know Joshua and Israel will back them up. (Sadly a commodity in short supply – knowing that you and your people are on the same page.)

Well here’s the thing – the people of Jericho feared the God of the Israelites because they had heard what God had done. They heard “about how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt…”  How long had that been? 40 years!  They cross over and then wander in the wilderness 40 years and just now are they actually entering the promise land.  But something that happened 40 years ago has “melted their hearts.”

What comes to mind is God’s renown. He set in place the events that would accomplish His purposes and that would bring Him glory.  He will not be forgotten.  And further, it is clear, that as His people we are to testify to His greatness.  So today, I will focus on recounting His glory and telling!

About God?
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods. Ps 96

About Me?
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what He has done.  Ps 105:1

About the World?
God will make His name known – from everlasting to everlasting.

Day 5 Joshua- Joshua 1

I love the book of Joshua and I always think of God’s words to him to “be strong and courageous” so it is no surprise I am drawn to those words again today.  But today I have a bit of a different slant on courage.  As I have read The Power of Vulnerability lately, courage has been a key concept.  Courage is being brave enough to show up and be your true self; to reclaim the parts of you that have been lost because of fear or self-preservation by embracing vulnerability.

To my mind, there is nothing more vulnerable than living a life of faith.  It is not for the faint of heart, truly. In fact the Lord tells Joshua, “be strong and VERY COURAGEOUS”.  What is he to be very courageous about?  “being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left…” 

For me this tranlates to this: be VERY COURAGEOUS in following the light the Lord is giving me  – even if it is only one step at a time, take that step.  Don’t be side-tracked and veer off the way.  Today’s word is a step to embrace and own.

There are many paths of interest and I can imagine where they might take me. But for now, there is no light shining on a given path.  So I am paused, practicing courage and waiting for directions.

About God?
God’s Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

About Me?
Learn to practice vulnerability – it is the greatest measure of courage.

About the World?
If you are looking to understand your true self, talk to the manufacturer.

Day 4 Joshua- Deut 1

“You have stayed long enough at this mountain…” is what jumps out to me today.  As Moses addresses the people at the end of their 40 years in the wilderness, he recounts the history that caused them to be there, the time (probably a year) they had just spent organizing the nation into army like groups, and most importantly God’s faithfulness and promises to them.

Now “you have stayed long enough”  it is time to move on.

This is exactly where I am in my life…a time to move on from where I have labored for a very long time. To retell the history, I would certainly find times of disbelief, times of victory, times of organizational planning and implementation, times of strife and times of justice being served.  But those times have come to an end.

Before the new nation he reminds them of the ultimate prize…the promised land.  It would be hard work but they were ready.  They knew the big objective but no one was looking at the tiny details of how exactly this would be accomplished…all they really needed to know was it WOULD be accomplished if they would believe and obey.

I got no details either.  In fact, I’m not sure I even have a map of the land to be conquered.  None the less, the first step of belief and obedience is “you have stayed here long enough…”

They must have felt some excitement in spite of the task ahead.  I’m excited myself about new territory…and a little afraid – maybe aprehensive is a better word.  But for now I will let the excitement push me forward and I will cling to the truth that there is nothing ahead that I will meet without Jesus in the lead.

About God?

God’s timing is perfect.

About Me?

We walk by faith and not by sight.

About the World?

“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins…” Mt. 9:17

Day 3 Joshua- Numbers 14:10-39

For a semi-recovering perfectionist grumbling is a kinder word than criticizing, right? Because I’m guessing the posting for yesterday should have been Numbers 14:1-9 so that today’s entry is 10-39. Not a few minutes of my morning have been spent trying not to judge this typo.  Not to mention the anxiety I feel over my journal entries being not properly synced.  I mean, really – it occurs to me that I should go back and rewrite yesterday to limit my comments to the appropriate passage! No, really  – this is how my brain works – and it is whacked!

So, deep breath…this has been a test…it is only a test.  Yesterday’s manna was yesterday’s manna, typo or not.  Today here is a perfectly set up opportunity for my pea-brain to grumble while being perfectly synced to the verses that address it. A clear opportunity to chose – to grumble or not to grumble, that indeed is the question.

I know. Mistakes  are confusing and I only want to be doing it “right” but really – so much angst?

Lord I pray 10,000 compassions on the person who might feel embarrassed or small if this was a typo.  I pray mercy for me to just go with the flow. And I am grateful for the insight of how easily grumbling comes to mind and how it is painful to Your ears and how I am so NOT wanting to be a grumbler.

So these people grumbled and God called it unbelief.  This was huge unbelief considering the deliverance they had just experienced and in this case it had huge consequences.  I cannot even fathom what they had seen and done nor why they could so quickly blow it off.

I can understand the moments when my belief in God’s plan and God’s goodness is small.  Self-perservation kicks in and my anti-vulnerability shield goes up. I dig in for battle and make ferocious sounds and faces to ward off clamity.

And God says, “Tell me what you fear?” And I am learning to stop and answer His question.

About God?

God wants the people He loves to trust Him.

About Me?
Grumbling is a sign I am afraìd.  Lord, You are my hiding place.

About the World?
Grumbling?  How’s that working for you?

Day 2 Joshua- Numbers 14

There are so many things to “unpack” in this chapter. (“Unpack” is the new fancy term for looking at things more closely, I think.)

You’ve got grumbling and complaining. You’ve got Godly friends sincerely pleading for people to trust God.  You’ve got compassionate intercessation.  You’ve got consequences.  You’ve got “I can do this myself, thanks.” You’ve got God’s steadfast love and forgiveness.

I have been everyone of these – the grumbler, the one being encouraged, the object of intercesstion, the go it alone-er and the loved and forgiven. And I’ve looped through these like 40 laps in the desert.

Lord, every day and in every situation, help me to trust You.

About God?
God offers a land of promise to anyone who will believe.

About Me?
It would not be my natural reaction to intercede on behalf of someone who totally missed the point and blew me and God off.  I’ve got a lot to learn from Moses.

About the World?
Even in our broken world, God continues to call us to follow Him.

Day 1 Joshua- Numbers 13

God is the giver of plans to anyone who wants to listen.  This was true of Nehemiah out of my children’s church lesson yesterday and now God delivers His plan to Moses.

You know God could have just cleared the land He had chosen and set the Israelites down there – no fus no mus but He didn’t. In Brene’s terms, he did not over-function! This was to be their land and they needed to take it and own it but in partnership with God. 

They were to be faced with hard work. On this very first step the crux of the matter comes right to the front – this seems impossible on their own. Thinking about only what you can do – all by yourself – is our default but add the facts and it was a no brainer – not gonna happen.

This was no small investigation.  The spies spent 40 days gathering information and bringing back samples.  They traveled all over the land – hills and valleys and coastline; named all the resources and people groups and analyzed the data.  Based on the research, well, they couldn’t do it.  Couldn’t do it even if one guy, Caleb, just blurts out “Let’s go for it!”

Why, exactly, was Caleb so confident?  Maybe because Moses had conveyed this tiny bit of information to the spy team at the onset.  Maybe and likely because in choosing them based on God’s orders – “according to the command of the Lord”, he told them what God had told him.  This is what Caleb remembered that the others forgot: “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel.”

I also have to say, this was not their first rodeo.  They had recently been delivered from Pharoah.  God had done most of the work and used Moses – plagues and such. And then that very dramatic, life or death escape when the Red Sea opens for them to cross.  Hard to think they had forgotten that part.

But too, lets realize, God was now asking something of them – not just Moses – and they had not actually made the connection that this God wanted to partner with and lead them.

Let this be a lesson about passing down one’s faith. You can tell and you can show how God has been faithful to you and you should.  You should shout it from the rooftops.  But for that faith to belong to someone else, they need their own challenge to believe God.

About God?

God’s plans call us first to believe and then to action.

About Me?
1.  Get the plan from God.
2.  Trust Him and believe.
3.  Own the plan and get to work.

About the World?
I can tell you about the faithfulness of my God, but you’ll have to take the challenge for yourself.