Lord God, match my dedication with my deeds, and lead me to a new understanding of trust in You.
Read Joshua 8:18-29
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.
“One who faces his own failures is steadily advancing on the pilgrim’s way” (Archbishop William Temple, 1881-1944).
We live in a very different age from Joshua so, rather than looking for direct parallels, we should seek for some clues about the unchanging character of God and our relationship with him. The first thing that we notice is God’s patience and forbearance. Ever since Abraham’s day, the Amorites had been thwarting God’s purposes (Gen. 15:16). Rather than question whether God was really involved in judging, we should be amazed that he does not do it more often (2 Pet. 3:9)! Second, we need to realize that God’s judgment does not just fall on Israel’s enemies: God’s own people are actually the first to come under his judgment (Amos 3:2). When Joshua asked the angelic messenger, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” the answer was “Neither … but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come” (5:14). Before we assume that God is for us we need to ask whether we are for God.
Have we lost our experience of God’s searing holiness? God will not bring people into a church that is not worth joining. There is a direct link between Achan and Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11).
However, these events also have a message of real encouragement. Once disobedience has been confessed and dealt with, and a pattern of listening and obedience restored, we can go forward with the assurance of victory as we live out God’s purposes for our lives. But faith and assurance must never degenerate into complacency. All these events should make us more aware of the consequences of sin and therefore of the suffering of Jesus, who took upon himself the pain and the penalty that should rightfully have been ours. As God’s redeemed people we are called to be living demonstrations of his loving, saving grace.
God wants the cycle of sin, repentance, and forgiveness to strengthen us, not weaken us. In what ways have you learned from your failures?
Loving Lord, help me to live my new life for Your glory in some practical way that others can see.
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