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Monday, February 4, 2008

Joshua's Obedience

Our church is collectively going through a book in Sunday school called Divine Encounters in the Old Testament. I love it because people all over our church are studying the same thing and it is really great to have so many people on the same page, so to speak.

This week we looked at Joshua and as we studied the Lord's commands for him and the Israelites to walk around Jerico there is one common theme. Obedience.

Here are God's people. They have wandered for 40 years. 40 YEARS, people! Not 40 days. 40 years!! It's is longer than I have been alive. (well, not by much. but still.) So Josh (as I like to affectionately call him) is at the place where he REALLY needs to listen to God's voice and obey. The other guys didn't trust God and so God decided to let them wander around until the unbeliveing generation died off.

Let me just stop and say that we are in the unbeliving generation. It is not a pretty sight and we are definitely being judged by God in our time for the unbelief. Our families are dying, there is disease, drought, famine and people falling away from God all around us. Unbelief can destroy. It does destroy. I just wonder if you are choosing to be a Joshua in this time of unbelief?

So Josh is getting ready to enter the Promised Land and God gives Josh some pretty odd ways of defeating the enemy and then taking the land that He has promised. They are simply to walk. Walk around the walls for seven days in silence. Then on the seventh day they are to walk seven times. After they walk they are to blow trumpets and then yell, and the walls will fall down flat.

"When the trumpets sounded, and the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it..." Joshua 6:20-21

The things that I noticed about Joshua is that as soon as God told him what to do... he did it. He had immeditate obedience. Then when it came time to actually perform the task he did it completely. Joshua did not add his own spin to it or leave out a step. He had complete obedience. Then to be sure that the people did not go against what Joshua KNEW the Lord had spoken to him he commanded the people to do exactly what God had commanded. He had careful obedience.

Joshua was leading the people by obeying God. He was tired of the wandering due to lack of obedience. He was tired of the people complaining when God had promised that He would provide. He didn't question God's commands. He didn't listen to the voices of others telling him that walking around a city was a silly plan. He did what God said. He just did it.

My Caroline had been in trouble with me for weeks. She was not listening at home or at school and I really had to be very consistent each time she broke a rule to discipline her with the consequences that I had promised. It was SO hard. She was in her room for a few days straight just because she chose not to obey. I hated having to discipline her, but I knew that if I didn't things would only get worse and we had to get these behaviors under control.

One day last week (after finally having a few GOOD days in a row) she was getting ready for her bath. I always remind her to get a towel, wash cloth, undies and PJ's before going in to get in the tub. She was headed upstairs and I started with my, " Don't forget... " and she said, "I know mom. I need to get... " and she named off every item. I told her that I was so proud of her and that she was growing so much. She replied, "I know mom. I really want to do everything that you and God tell me to do so that I am not in trouble any more."

I think that is where Joshua was. He was tired of wandering in that hot desert, eating manna and complaining. None of those were what God wanted for His children, but until they listened they would suffer the consequences.

I just wonder who is suffering consequences just because we are choosing not to listen? Many times people will say that they know God told them to do something, but they just didn't see how it would work or they didn't have time and so they didn't pursue it. I wonder what consequences they are suffering for not listening? Wandering around with no direction? Spiritual needs not being met? I don't know. But one thing I do know is that until we listen the consequences will not change. God's way is best. It is His plan and we have such a finite view of our lives that we don't really know how to fight the battles before us. Only God has the eternal view, and until we listen and do as He says.. well, we will just be wandering around.

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