Sunday, October 2, 2011

Promises, Promises

"from the desert to Lebanon,
from the great river to the Mediterranean Sea"
Joshua 1:4

Another lesson from Joshua today.   Can you tell I'm in this book a lot lately?  It's one of my favorite books though, and has been for years.  And as I study it again, for the first time in a long time, I'm remembering why:  there's just one nugget of wisdom after another.  One person after another, whose mistakes or successes have application for my life.

So the lesson that I'm applying today is from the instructions God gave Joshua as He commissioned Joshua to lead the Israelites.  God made promises that day, to Joshua and all the Israelites.  But I think the wording is very important.  "I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.  Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates ~ all the Hittite country ~ to the Mediterranean Sea in the West.... As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave nor forsake you.  Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them."

Now, what I think is so interesting about this how explicit God was.  He gave Joshua clear directions, and His promises applied to those instructions.  The promises didn't change when Moses died; what God had said remained true.  But God promised the land He had promised.  No more, no less.  If Joshua had tried to lead the Israelites to take more land ~ or different land ~ than what He had promised, it wasn't going to work.  They were not going to have success.   But as long as they were in His will, He would be with them.  He would never leave them, nor forsake them.

Sometimes I think we get caught in this trap.  We forge ahead without really knowing what His will is, or misunderstanding His Word, while trying to apply it to our lives.  We make plans, ask Him to bless them, and move ahead.

Or we expect promises that He never promised.  Like a life of material goods, perfect health or constant happiness.  Actually, what He promises is tribulation and suffering, but also joy, peace and salvation ~ all of them, the gift that faith brings.

Want what He wants you to want, and you'll have what you want.  I promise.

~ "Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey, 
so that it may go well with you 
and that you may increase greatly 
in a land flowing with milk and honey, 
just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, 
promised you." ~
Deuteronomy 6:3

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