Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday's Devo: Fight or Turn Back?

Nope. Not very Mennonite title for a pacifist. I get that. But even pacifists can be mighty, fierce, meek, and tenacious...

For what would you fight? 
Would you fight for promised land? A metaphorical land of milk and honey?

God promised the Israelites after He delivered them out of bondage in Egypt, that He would bring them to freedom in the promised land. Yet we all know for forty years in the dessert most of them believed it would never happen. "You can't get there from here," might have been their mantra as they grumbled about manna and made a golden calf.

Most of them might have believed their heaven didn't really exist.
All their tests and trials pointed to one main question: did they truly believe the great I AM?

In Numbers 13, when they'd walked across the Red Sea on dry land, God told Moses to send out twelve spies. They were spying out the land to see if it was good, and if they were up to taking it by force.

Though we don't live like people of conquest today, we still ask ourselves the same questions. 
Do I believe I'll get there from here? 
Will God provide what it will take in the face of my strong giants?

So the twelve spies came back and gave good report about the land, but a bad report about the people there. Basically--they are too tall and strong for us. Though Caleb and Joshua were also on the spy team and contradicted the other spies. They told the people that the Lord's favor was upon them and He would bring them into possession of the promised land. The Israelites wanted to stone them. They wanted to appoint a new leader and return to bondage rather than hope for promised freedom if defeat was obvious.

They were like, are you nuts? You two dreamers are going to get us all killed. Just smite us now before we become splatter on a battle field, why don't you?


Freedom required fighting, facing their fears, all for a risk to face a new unknown. It required faith in God for an unforeseen outcome that looked impossible.

But here's the thing. Joshua was an unproven leader under Moses at that time. Yet, fast forward to when he was leading the people across the Jordan, still asking if they could get there from here.

Just as Moses had sent out spies, Joshua also sent spies to scout out the land as they were ready to  cross over the Jordan.

I picture the whole camp sitting there at the edge of the Jordan, wondering if its too late to turn back. Wondering how foolish they might be to move forward, and imagining how strong their opponents might be when they get there. It reminds me of a scene in the movie, Troy, where Achilles is ready to ride into battle and a young boy comments to him:
     Boy: "...they say he can't be killed..."    "that Tessalonina you're fighting, he's the biggest man I've ever seen..."
     Achilles:  "...that's why I have a shield..."
     Boy:  "...I wouldn't want to fight him..."
     Achilles:  "...that's why you won't be remembered...."
 

We remember the believers. We remember who Joshua is. We remember Jericho fell. We remember because they made a memorial and told their children how God had been with them and gone before them.

You see, Joshua not only believed and was remembered. The reason he fought, was because he knew from the days of Moses when the people almost turned back, that "the Lord is with us." Unlike Achilles, Joshua believed in God's strength, not the strength of his own shield. He believed in the great I AM.

We remember Jericho because God was in the camp.
~~~
So, let your faith be greater than your fear.
The Armor of God, Ephesians 6
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
-------------
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Represented by Sarah Freese, WordServe Literary

5 comments:

  1. I've often wondered how could they doubt God after all the miracles they saw and were a part of? And God even provided them with food daily but they gripped about that. They wanted to go back to Egypt and slavery where they had a variety of food! I've often wondered what the manna from Heaven tasted like. I probably would have gotten tired of eating the same thing day after day for fourth years no matter how good it tasted. There are times when even I wonder if God has abandoned me only to realize

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  2. Corrections: 40 years (I hate auto correct).
    Continued: only to realize He hasn't abandoned me at all. Maybe testing my faith or just waiting for the right time in my life to do what He planned all along. How can you not love a God like that? He always has our best interests at heart!

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  3. Yes, so true Gail. I've always been amazed that the stories of the Old Testament tell the stories of our ordinary lives, and reflect our broken human condition so well. But even more, reflect the amazing nature of God, who fights for us, calls to us, waits on us, bleeds for us...and on and on....

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  4. It is the tests that strengthen and mature our spiritual relationship, deepening our faith and trust in Him - to always work things out to our good in every situation. Which, in turn, brings peace and more awareness of His love for us. I've learned so much through each of my trials.

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    1. I think the seeking heart seeks to learn from trials Bonnie, instead of allowing bitterness or other negatives to persist....

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