Joshua 1:18 God is telling Joshua not to be afraid to be a leader. He is guaranteed obedience. The Israelites either obey or die. Leadership for Joshua is a sure thing. He has nothing to worry about. Yet apparently, he was still scared to death. God has to repeatedly remind him to be strong and courageous.
Joshua 5:5 Why hadn’t the Israelites been circumcised in the wilderness? Was it Moses? In Exodus 4, we learn he neglected to circumcise one of his sons. Did he have a problem with it? Were the Israelites waiting for the Promised Land? Did they keep thinking they’d be there any day and take care if it then? Did they feel unworthy? Were they slapping God in the face? Why didn’t God order circumcisions in the wilderness? Perhaps circumcision could only be done at “home” and so they were waiting for the Promised Land.
Joshua 10:25 You have enemies to fight? Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged about how many more of them there are, or over how much stronger they are, or about how many more advantages they appear to have. Be strong in the Lord. Be courageous. God will put His feet on the necks of your enemies. They will be totally under God’s submission. The victory is yours! Fight on! Joshua takes the words God repeatedly spoke to him and uses them to encourage the people.
Joshua 24:14-24 Joshua is addressing the people for the last time. He reminds them of everything God did for them. He reminds them how jealous He is. He warns them about serving foreign gods. The people affirm they will serve God five times, but not once do they agree to give up their foreign gods; not once do they promise not to serve any other god. How disappointed Joshua must have been. How hurt God must have been.
I was driving home from the train station around 6pm and I saw a mallard fly up from the field at my right. Beautiful bird – I admired him all the way to the upper right corner of my windshield where I heard a thud.
Tears sprang up. I couldn’t stop because of the cars behind me. I prayed fervently for the mallard – that he just had the wind knocked out of him, that nothing would be broken, that his mate wouldn’t be left forlorn.
As I was getting ready for bed that night, I wondered why I have such a tender heart. God would not have deliberately hurt the mallard, so there must be a lesson to learn.
Why did the mallard hit my car?
He didn’t have enough altitude.
He misjudged the clearance he needed.
He wasn’t flying hard enough.
He crossed the road too soon.
How does the mallard apply to me?
I’m losing altitude – spending too much time in the world and less time with God.
I’m about to misjudge the clearance I need – I need more time in the Word and in prayer.
I’m not flying hard enough – I’ve been slacking off.
Careful – Satan’s coming down the road; circumstances are coming too.
Am I ready to cross the road and fly safely above them?
Under my own power, I’ll get knocked for a loop; but on His wings I will safely cross the road.
Numbers 14:1-4 (The Israelites hear the spies’ report, fear loss, and being plundered and want to return to Egypt.) There comes a time when it is good to look to the past. When faced with new challenges or overwhelming circumstances, it is a good thing to look back and recount all the good things, all the miracles God has wrought. The Israelites forgot the parting of the Red Sea that afforded them escape. They forgot the drowning of the Egyptian army. Joshua and Caleb remembered – why didn’t they remind the Israelites?
Numbers 18:7 “Only you and your sons may do the work of priests – everything done at the altar and under the canopy. This is my gift to you: You may serve Me as priests.” God’s gift to us is whatever we are called to do to serve Him. But so often we see our calling as a burden and inconvenience. Anything but a gift. Please help me to see every circumstance of my life as Your gift of service to me.
Numbers 25:11 “Phineas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel, in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy.” I remember how jealous I was then my husband took up with another woman and I found pictures of her sitting at “my” kitchen table in “my” house. I was so jealous, I instantly tore them to shreds. Just so, even more so, is God jealous when I worship anyone or anything besides Him.
That’s right – Leviticus! Who says the Old Testament has no relevance for today?
26:10 “You will eat the old grain of the previous year and will clean out the old to make room for the new.” Any time there’s a change of fortune or circumstances in our lives, it’s a wonderful opportunity to Clean out the old and make room for the new. Moving? Don’t just pack up all the old and haul it along. Sort it out, hand it out, pack what’s left. There’s great satisfaction in cleaning out that junk drawer, or stuffed closet, sorting, getting rid of the junk and replacing everything in good order. There’s even greater satisfaction in cleaning out old attitudes and habits, and making room for new ones!
26:11 “I will place My residence among you and I will not reject you.” God’s house is inside my house. God’s Spirit is inside my spirit. All my life, people have rejected me. Classmates. My father when I married my childhood sweetheart. Friends when I didn’t live up to their expectations or standards. Bosses. Husband when he found someone else. But God never rejected me and He never will!
26:12 “I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people.” God walked among the Israelites. They thought He was only in the tabernacle or the temple, but He wasn’t. God literally walked among them when Jesus came. Now He walks among us through the Holy Spirit.
God is my God because I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I am God’s person. God pays special attention to me. Everything I always wanted from people, I won’t find in people or get from people – only in and from God.
26:13 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, so that you would no longer be slaves.” God is my Lord. God brought me out of the land of co-dependency so that I would no longer be a slave to a father or a husband. God brought me out of the land of people-pleasing, so that I would no longer be a slave to what other people think of me.