Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Destroy the Devoted Thing

Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, “Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it.” (Josh 7:13)

After the conquest and destruction of Jericho, the Israelites confidently sent a small force to capture Ai. But the men of Ai routed the army of Israel. Joshua, grief stricken, went before the Lord to discover why. God told him that Israel had been defeated because they had sinned by keeping some of the treasure of Jericho. This was a violation of God’s command to devote it all to him, i.e., destroy it all. In this verse God tells Joshua that Israel must destroy the devoted thing they clung to before they would be victorious again.

I wonder how often I suffer defeat for the same reason? When I cling to the idols and so-called treasures that God has called me to surrender I sabotage my own walk with God. This is a most basic and profound issue. As long as I am violating God’s very first commandment (thou shalt have no other gods before me) how can I live victoriously in the strength and power of God? While I care more for my own pride or pleasure than I do God’s kingdom I will never be able to do my part in his great plan for his people. Lord, forgive me for clinging to my own false gods and worthless idols when you have commanded me to destroy them. I have surrendered myself to you as my Sovereign King and I will have no other gods. You alone are Lord. I am yours, now and forever. Amen.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Love 'Em and Let 'Em Go

“The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” (1 Sam 17:37)

When David first offered to go and fight Goliath, Saul turned him down. But David pressed his case, explaining how he had fought wild animals as a shepherd. No doubt Saul was impressed that a such a young man had killed lions and bears, but more impressive was his faith in God. Saul could see he was spiritually ready.

As adults, and especially as parents, we are naturally protective of the young and inexperienced. But there comes a time when we have to let our young people go fight the good fight. Over the past few years hundreds of thousands of parents have had to literally face that moment. Millions more have watched their children head off to college or a job in a different city. The battle ahead may “only” be a spiritual one, but the danger is real enough. Yet it would be a mistake to forever keep them safe behind our walls. There comes a time when we must say to them, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”