Day 15 Joshua- Joshua 24:28-33

“So Joshua sent the people away, every man to his inheritance.”  And then the passage goes on to tell of these leaders who have died and been buried…each one in the land of his own inheritance.

Joshua in Timnath-serah of Ephraim; Joseph in Shechem; and Eleazar at Gibeah.

God delivered on His promise to give them an inheritance and these men experienced that fulfillment.  The very fact that their bones rest, each in their own unique place, is a testimony and memorial that God has been faithful to His Word.

In the middle of the passage we find this:
“Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel.”  It is wonderful.  You might call the time of Joshua and his generation the “glory days.” Israel served the Lord.  The leaders had known first hand all the Lord had done and it served the people who looked to them. 

But the verse implies something not so wonderful, that when those leaders were gone Israel stopped serving the Lord?  It’s historically true.  The nation lost it’s focus.  New leaders rose up and the bad out weighted the good.  So what’s the lesson here?

1.  To me as an individual – “fix my eyes on Jesus.”  His leadership never wavers or goes away.  He “knows all the work the Lord has done” and the Holy Spirit will bring that to my memory.

2.  To me as a leader (of whatever description) – be that reminder that Jesus is alive and well and working in our midst – speak to this reality FROM MY OWN LIFE.  Joshua and his leadership KNEW and SAW what God had done.  Maybe if the next set of “leaders” had experienced God for themselves they might have had a stronger message of encouragement. 

3.  Everybody is some kind of leader, some kind of message. What’s the billboard I’m holding up?

About God?
You LORD, are the one and only TRUE LEADER.

About Me?
In every situation, ask myself: “How do I fix my eyes on Jesus in this?”

About the World? 
How I live my life is a message for all the world to see.

Day 14 Joshua- Joshua 23 & 24:1-25

“A long time afterward, when the Lord had given rest to Israel…” Joshua as the leader of the nation calls them together so as to give them his last charge. It is a call to remember what God has done and to choose to serve Him because of it.

There are two things that I notice here.  First, the nation is at rest.  For the moment they are not fighting or doing battle or on the proverbial front lines.  Every moment doesn’t seem like a life or death situation. There is no army breathing down their necks; they are not standing in front of a raging sea and deciding how they will escape; their adrenaline is not pumping.  They are instead sitting back – relieved, relaxed, eating grapes and enjoying life.

Don’t forget, while you are at rest, the battle for your alliegence is still being waged.
Don’t forget who has brought you to this place.

The second thing is CHOOSE – choose again.  Choose, solemnly before the LORD. Choose because that is how this works. You choose God who loves you and will carry you through – all the way through; or you choose the things that make you forget; numb your senses and sensibilities; make you fat and comfortable and lazy and complacent – because at a time of rest – YOU, my friend  are an easy target.

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness.”

Chosing is not a flippant activity. God is Holy and I am dust.  And though He loves me with an immeasurable love, He is not mocked. So fear Him when you make this choice.  When God is properly feared then I understand the sincerity and faithfulness required in order to serve Him.

About God?
God is holy – incomparable in majesty- worthy of awe and reverence.

About Me?
I have been offered the highest priviledge…to choose this day who I will serve. I choose the Lord.

About the World?
“You’re gonna have to serve somebody.”  Bob Dylan

Day 13 Joshua- Joshua 6:21-25

In someone’s post from late yesterday they mentioned what the scene might have been after the walls fell and the dust settled.  There would have still been this little section of the wall left – a safe haven for Rahab and all her family.  Joshua sends in the two young men who had made their promise, to go and get her out.

I can’t even think of being in there and waiting for the rescue that you hoped would come.

After they were safely out, the city was burned with fire.  There is something about this burning that tells me there is a time and place to burn old and dangerous things.  The rubble was afterall dangerous, and it had to go for the rescue to be complete…for the victory to be finished.

But Rahab…and that is the joy of this story.  The people who believed are remembered and “she lived in Israel to this day.”  When the Scripture says stuff like that it reminds me of lines like “happily ever after.”  Of course that is exactly what I think God is telling me here… Once rescued, always rescued.

About God?

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish…” John 10

About Me?

Any tearing down of strongholds has a clean up phase…be careful to stay with it until the work is complete.

About the World?
Walls are a fragile sanctury but there is eternal security in the Scarlet Thread.

Day 12 Joshua- Joshua 6:15-20

“And the walls came tumblin’ down” as the song goes.  It’s a pinnacle moment; God has delivered on His great and unbelievable promise and the soldiers just walk straight ahead,  through the rubble, and take the city. Glory and Hallelujah!

GOD: “But…”

ME:   “Hey wait, no buts!  I want to bask in Your victory, write letters home, maybe even be on the news…we did it!  We really did it!  Actually I’m amazed at my own obedience to keep my mouth shut 🙂 until the exactly right moment.  Wow!”

GOD: “But…”

ME: “Come on.  This was sweet.  Does there have to be a warning? Really?  I mean, we’re tight now God. And You are so BIG and I have on the jersey and we’re “in”!”

GOD: “But you…I want to tell you something.  There is danger in the rubble.”

ME: “Huh?, What?”

GOD: “There’s danger in the rubble. Sort it carefully…prayerfully. Be careful not to take any souveniers out of the things intended for destruction.  I know the pieces are tiny and look so innocent but they are contaminated…radio active.  Walk right past them and focus on gathering the gold for My glory.” 

ME: “Got it Lord!  Keep my eyes on the prize. This is a battle zone.  Be alert.  Thanks for watching out for me!”

About God?

He is ever watchful in protecting His own.

About Me?
“Eyes on the Commander, eyes on the Commander…this is a war zone.”

About the World?

Be strong- not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of his boundless resource. For our fight is not against any physical enemy… (Phillips, Eph 6:12)

Day 11 Joshua- Joshua 5:13 – 6:14

For most of this interaction, the scripture says, the Lord spoke to Joshua, but this passage opens with Joshua lifting up his eyes. 
It reminds me of Psalm 121:
         I lift up my eyes to the hills.
         From where does my help come?
         My help comes from the Lord,
         who made heaven and earth.

When he lifted his eyes, up toward heaven, that ‘s when he saw the commander of the Lord’s army.  That’s when he knew he was on holy ground.

Earlier I was wondering just how Joshua’s conversations with God took place.  Now I think I know.  If I want to experience God’s presence and power and guidance, my first act of obedience is to look up.

About God?
The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears toward their cry. Ps 34:15

About Me?
The first step of obedience is to look UP.

About the World?

The ways of God sometimes look like foolishness to the world.  Follow Him anyway.

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.

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.