Spiritual Health Warning
Loving Father, I am here today before Your Word. I seek Your assurance, forgiveness, comfort, and teaching.
Read Joshua 23:12-16
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Great is thy faithfulness! / Great is thy faithfulness! / Morning by morning new mercies I see; / All I have needed thy hand hath provided–Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me” (T.O. Chisholm, 1866-1960)!
One of the best definitions of Christian leadership I’ve found is by J. Robert Clinton in his helpful book The Making of a Leader. He writes, “Leadership is a dynamic process in which a man or woman with God-given capacity influences a specific group of God’s people toward his purposes for the group.” That’s exactly what we see Joshua doing today, and it turns his “retirement speech” in a new direction: “But if you turn away…” (12). Effective spiritual leadership blends both inspiration and warning; one without the other leaves a group weak and vulnerable (1 Pet. 5:8).
So Joshua has two specific warnings. First, he says don’t ally yourself with other nations (12). He knew that adopting the customs and lifestyle of the surrounding people would inevitably cause the Israelites to turn away from God. Don’t we need that same warning? The more we Christians become like everyone else, as many recent studies say is happening, the more out of alignment with God we find ourselves. The way to protect against this is to live out the words of King David every day, “My eyes are ever on the Lord” (Psa. 25:15). Joshua’s second warning is don’t serve other gods (16). Idolatry was the Achilles heel of the chosen people, the weakness that brought them down time and again. Isn’t that the same weakness we have in our struggle with sin? We just can’t seem to resist it (Rom. 7:7-25).
Fortunately, in spite of the human tendency to turn away from God, he remains faithful. Joshua learned through the experiences of his life that God always keeps his word (14). Faithfulness is at the core of who God is, as the apostle Paul also learned: “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Tim. 2:13).
Spend a few minutes now remembering and thanking God for the many ways he’s been faithful to you.
Lord, I need Your wisdom to navigate through temptations awaiting me. May Your strength be made perfect in my weakness.
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