Joshua

Tuesday Devotional: Joshua 20

Read Joshua 20 bible

There is a scathing irony in how man views God and how man views himself. Man’s belief in his own humanity and righteousness is foolishly skewed and misguided. Man possesses a view of himself in regards to righteousness and justice that has been proven to be false throughout all of human history. Within man does in fact exist the purity of love and justice that man so desperately defends and professes. However, alongside this purity exists an inability to wield the power of sin also present within man in abundance.

This presence of sin makes executing pure love and justice naturally impossible for man on his own. While man may attempt to be fair or righteous on a daily basis, there will ultimately come a time when he is wronged and seeks justice not for the sake of pure justice but out of a personal and often irrational reaction to the injustice done to him. When action is taken from a standpoint of being wronged, one can no longer claim justice. Justice is objective and unbiased. Justice must be upheld with a standard based not the emotions or opinions of any one man but a fair verdict applicable to all. The scathing irony is that while man often views God as being unjust in the unequal distribution of suffering and blessing portioned out to all of humanity throughout the world, the true source of injustice does not fall at the feet of a Holy God but at Sinful Man. The instinct of man is to be moved by injustice and yearn for justice but falls short in execution. Many people want to act but do not. Many people want to speak up but remain silent. Many people want to be unbiased but cannot.

Therefore, fully aware of his creation and the inadequacies of the human heart to be a judge, the creator God found it necessary to establish law in the world where man could not be expected to create justice. Just as children cannot rule over a household, nor would they ever be expected to, God acknowledged that humankind would not be capable of running the world on its own. While the rules of a household may appear confining to a child or the rules of God may appear confining to human desire, God’s rules and regulations are not purely an exhibition of God’s authority and power. The mere fact that God has given the law and regulations by which to follow it is a testament to the loving nature of God himself. Seeing that a creation left to its own devices would destroy itself, God knew that lacking the law meant death for his children and giving the law meant life. The law is not an oppressor. The law and the regulations that come with are liberators. Within the law is freedom to enjoy this life without living in fear of losing it at a moment’s notice. The law does not prevent us from experiencing our true potential for good. Rather, the law protects us from experiencing our true potential for destruction. With God one finds peace in knowing that in his presence is safety from ourselves. Without God we are left out in the open, unprotected and vulnerable, living in a constant state of anxiety, apprehension and fear.

ASK: Joshua 3

This update is from a recent meeting of ASK Daegu. Each member contributed something to the message that follows. We pray that our group encourages you in the same way that it encouraged all of us.

Read Joshua 3 here.

Faith in Jesus that requires physical miracles as a condition of belief is neither scriptural nor sustainable.  If we overlook the miracle of a life truly transformed by the word of God, and fix our eyes on whether or not a person’s physical obstacles are either cured or not, we overlook the Gospel of Jesus, and we limit faith in Jesus to the physical world where regardless of a miraculous healing, sin continues to reign and condemn.

However, faith in Jesus that does not take the miraculous promises of the Gospel seriously is just as unscriptural and unsustainable.  Faith in Jesus without experience of a miraculous transformation has not submitted to the authority of Jesus as Lord.  To believe in Jesus is to acknowledge the miraculous.  Belief in Jesus alongside unbelief in miracles is impossible.

While our faith should not be built entirely on miracles, miracles do build our faith.  Blind faith has never seen.  And to see in the Gospel of Jesus is to acknowledge something beyond belief and reasonable explanation yet undoubtedly real.  Faith that has witnessed these things inevitably develops, in a reality where the impossible has in fact become possible through Jesus Christ.

As Christians, how much to we believe that the miraculous is still present in our world?  Do we believe that the supernatural is locked within the pages of the Bible? Do we believe that the supernatural life of the disciples is not one for us to inherit, but exists merely to inspire us?  From such positions of uncertainty and doubt it is no surprise that the Christian Church is often viewed as worldly and weak.  If we doubt the miraculous, we prevent ourselves from asking for the miraculous, andprevent the miraculous from entering this world.

Miracles are not to entertain us but to achieve certain objectives: to increase our faith in Jesus, our awareness of God’s holiness, awareness of our own sin, and ultimately to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth.  While it can be tempting to hear a message about miracles in the present age and immediately pray for a physical miracle, the miraculous cannot exist without the recognition of sin.  The petition for miracles without the confession and consecration of a heart reveals a dangerous misunderstanding of miracles.  The most important miracle was Jesus, and Jesus came to address and pay the debt of our sin.  Therefore, to ask for a miracle without acknowledging the authority and sacrifice of Jesus is a dangerous misunderstanding of miracles.

Miracles do and will occur.  However, a heart that prays for miracles but does not desire the forgiveness of Jesus, does not praise Jesus for his sacrifice, is a heart that does not seek the will of a Holy God, but is still imprisoned by the temptations of a sinful world.

Christians should pray for the miraculous with confident belief in the impossible becoming possible.  However, we must guard our hearts against the temptation to separate Jesus’ death from His miracles, creating a chasm between his will and our own which could ultimately separate us from His presence entirely.

Tuesday Devotional: Joshua 1

bible 1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’” 12 But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said,13 “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you after he said, ‘The Lord your God will give you rest by giving you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help them 15 until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land the Lord your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.” 16 Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you.Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”

The world that we are confronted with on a daily basis must be met with courage, strength and caution.  If we attempt to confront this world without the presence of any of the three we will undoubtedly feel overwhelmed and defeated.  The question is, where do we find courage, strength and caution?  Repeatedly we try to find them in ourselves but over time we find what we possess of each of them is not nearly enough.

The reality of this world is limitation.  As much as the human spirit can achieve unbelievable feats, ultimately we all fall short.  Therefore, our faith in courage, strength and caution will only ever be as good as what we can muster, if that faith is limited to what is only present in this world.  However, finding courage, strength and caution in the presence of God is entirely different.

God is the source that not only understands the dangers that will test our courage but also possesses the strength to overcome them.  Our life in our own hands is far too heavy a burden for us alone to carry.  Our life in the hands of another person will likewise be too heavy for them.  Our life in the care of something else will similarly be too heavy for it.  Only in the hands of an entirely omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient God can we ever find the courage, strength and caution to overcome the limitations of this world and ourselves.  Only by allowing Jesus Christ to follow through with His desire to carry our burdens can we thoroughly experience the faithfulness and power of the living God.