Monday, October 10, 2016

Lessons Learned From the First 14 Chapters of Joshua




At the beginning of this year I made the decision that my "word of the year" was going to be consistency. I wanted to spend this year being consistent in my parenting, my exercising, my education, my writing, and in my daily Bible study and prayer.

While I haven't really managed to be all that consistent with the working out and my writing has been sporadic at best but the one thing that I have managed to stay fairly consistent with is my daily Bible reading and prayer time.

Over the past few months I have been following along with various studies provided by The Good Morning Girls a ministry from Women Living Well

Throughout the month of September and into this month the book that has been studied has been the book of Joshua. 

I just finished reading through chapter 14 and throughout the course of studying and mediating on this book there are 4 things that have really jumped out at me thus far.

We have a bad habit of trying to take matters into our own hands.

Throughout the first half of Joshua the Israelite people are finally being given the land that God promised them all those many years ago. The older generation has all passed away and now God is ready to let them have what He has set aside for them. Time and time again they follow God's instructions, but only part of the way. And then for one reason or another, the get shocked and upset when God doesn't make things easy for them to get what they were promised. 

Isn't that the way it is with us today? Far to often we will follow just the commandments or instructions that happen to fit with what we are doing at the time. We will agree with the things in Scripture that make us feel good or comfortable. The rest we write off as not directed at our current culture. Or that it was just specifically meant for THOSE people, not for us. This is a different time and a different situation. 

Just like the serpent convinced Eve, we convince ourselves that God couldn't possibly mean what He says in the Bible. He would want us to (insert whatever thing goes here), because he is a (loving, hateful, caring, vindictive, whatever goes with your argument at the time) God. When the truth of the matter is, What God says we ought to do. God knows what is going on. He sees the whole picture and He knows the outcome. The more we try to take matters into our own hands the harder things will continue to get down the road. It really is a viscous cycle we live in.

We spend a lot of time being afraid.

Every time a new enemy popped up against the Israelite people Joshua would fall flat on his face before the Lord and cry out for help. And every time God would tell him the same thing.
"Do not be afraid"
I know for a fact that I let fear get to me. I fall into the trap of fearing that there is no way under the sun that God could really handle the mess that I have gotten myself into. It seems like almost every time a new challenge arises my first reaction is to stress and worry about how the situation is going to be resolved.

It was the same way with Joshua and the people. Each time a new king (or group of kings) began the attack the fear set in. The were sure there was no way they could handle all those invading forces. And every time God reminded them they had no reason to fear.

With the fear comes the discouragement.

Fear leads to a lot of other emotions, but most of all it seems that fear leads to the discouragement that we just can't get though this storm. Then comes the defeated attitude and the desire to just quit trying all together.  The Israleites were ready to give up and just settle for the little bit that had already been handed over to them. This would be enough, lets not upset anyone else guys,

But God reminded them that along with letting go of the fear the needed to let go of the discouragement. Every time He said "Do not be afraid" he also said:
"or discouraged."
The definition of discouraged is this: 'having lost confidence or enthusiasm.' When we become discouraged we loose confidence in the Lord. The God who created everything, who makes the world go around and we loose our confidence in Him!  We loose our enthusiasm for the God of all creation. Isn't is great that He doesn't loose those things in us?

No matter what happens, God is always in control.

More often than not, that sentence in the first half of Joshua ends with:

"For today I will hand over to you (insert enemy name here)"
God always had it under control. And God always came through. Each time it looked like the invading forces were just too much for the small nation of Israel to take on God stepped in and the damage was done. There was never a fighting chance for anyone making the mistake of going up against God.

The problem is it is way too easy to forget that God is really in control. In the world we live in today it is easy to look around and think that God has just thrown in the towel and said "forget it, they aren't worth it anymore." When the sad reality is that we are the ones who have done that. We have decided that by taking matters into our own hands, and giving into the fear and discouragement we can handle any situation. The truth of the matter is we just need to hand it all back over to God and let Him do His job. Ultimately, He is going to prevail anyway and us just trying to do it on our own first is just going to prolong the plans He has.

Joshua 1:9 states:
Have I not commanded you: Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid? For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
We have been given a command to stand strong and to be courageous, not to be afraid and discouraged. The Lord will be with us wherever we go, whatever we do.  It is up to us to trust that..

The first half of Joshua has been the not so gentle reminder that I have needed to let go of my fear and put my faith back on the One who has it all under control.

Have you read through the book of Joshua? What take away have you had?

8 comments:

  1. Its so crazy how much we can get from the Bible!
    I love it the more we read the Bible the closer we get to Christ.

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  2. I have always found Joshua to be a very encouraging book. Keep up your consistency with your study!

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  3. These are all really great (and relatable points). I agree with Hyla, it is crazy how events that too place ages ago still play into our lives today! Thank you for sharing these. Definitely worth meditating on.

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  4. I have a problem with easily becoming discouraged. I think I need to read through Joshua. I remember my pastor teaching on it. I should have some notes of his great teachings somewhere.

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  5. I just love the book of Joshua. I plan on naming my son that when I have one. My favorite verse is Joshua 1:9.

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  6. I think its sometimes hard for us to see that even the bad things that happen to us, is God's intention. We are either meant to grow from these things or learn from the things that happen or something, but always need to pray and turn our hearts toward God to get through these times, and maybe that in and of itself is the lesson.

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  7. I love that God gave a "not so gentle reminder" to let go of our fear. Be bold!

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  8. Joshua is one of my very favorite books in the bible. It is filled with so much encouragement for me because of my struggle with fear. LOVE this. ;)

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