Friday, July 27, 2012

I'm afraid I need God too much.

The day had been long and hard. Did it have its good moments? Yes, surly. But by the end of the day I had felt completely attacked from all sides.

There were ants in the pantry… while company was here. The boys were at each other’s throats… in front of company. I felt icky and ugly. Some of the desserts didn’t set correctly. I didn’t have patience with my hubby. I didn’t have patience with my children. My toe hurt. My hip hurt. I was tired, no exhausted. And I didn’t finish one project that needed my attention. I truly wanted to run away.

I felt as if I were going to cave. The pressure in each category were small but all together it felt insurmountable. And then I remembered Joshua.

Oh, I had been so put out because Joshua needed God’s attention again. I remember vividly thinking, “We’re not out of Joshua YET? Good grief.” Yet, now I needed God’s attention for the millionth time, not just the third. There was no army like sand in front of me. There were only little inconveniences and annoyances: pride, comparison, selfishness, and stinginess. But I was in desperate need of God to reach down, touch my heart, and allow me to fall into His rest.

That’s when the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. “Do not fear. This day will pass as have all those before. Every day will not be your best, but you can still be your best every day.” And I rested.

Afterwards there were a few conversations to root out issues, a few apologies to smooth out relationships, and I hid the scale again. When I woke up the next day it was fresh, I was fresh, and I only wanted to run at the gym.

Why I grow impatient with myself when I need God every day in big and small things boggles my mind. Why I would scoff at Joshua for needing God’s comfort and support again is beyond me. I’m only grateful the Holy Spirit pointed out my mistake and led me back to peace. He didn’t shame me or make me feel guilty. He only shined the light on the truth and then walked forward with me. He gave me His comfort and support for the millionth time, and I was grateful.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The fear of needing God.

Joshua 11:6
Do not be afraid of them,
because by this time tomorrow
I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain.
You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.

Are you like me? As I looked to see where the next “Do not be afraid” was found my heart dropped; we were still with Joshua. I was a little disappointed that we weren’t moving on, but thankfully I went further than my first impression. I hope you will go with me.

Joshua needed comfort and guidance yet again. But this time was his largest battle yet. The army had never been described as “sand on the seashore.” Stop and think about that. Whose heart wouldn’t tremble after seeing such an army before you? Mine did. I was so quick to judge Joshua regarding needing to hear from God again. The truth of the matter is every time we face an opponent, no matter how big or small, God wants to be there for us. He wants to comfort us and support us through His word. There is no shame in going to God for this purpose. There is intelligence and wisdom.

When I saw that God told Joshua to hamstring the horses and burn the chariots my heart dropped again. In this period of political correctness and animal protection how could I explain this? I then realized I didn’t have to, which was a huge relief and weight off my shoulders. No, we won’t be harming any animals, but what lesson could we learn here? God wanted Joshua and the Israelites to remember their victories did not come through human weapons but through God alone.

Question 1: Some days we need to go to God for support and encouragement every hour. Why is it we feel this makes us weak or less than? Truth be told, if we always find our strength in God then we will always be strong. Some days bring us to that point sooner than others. Have you tried to fight the good fight on your own? Maybe it’s time to enter into communion with God and allow Him to support you.

Question 2: God wants to be our protection. Psalm 20:7 states “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Here in Joshua we see God asking the Israelites to live that verse out. Has God ever asked you to rely solely on Him? If you did, how did things turn out? If you didn’t what kept you from doing so? Can you start now?

Oh Father
I bring my exasperation to you
My exasperation with others and myself
I have the false idea that I have do to this on my own
Thank you for the reminder that You are the one
who brings encouragement, support, and victory

Monday, July 23, 2012

Joshua's Fear

Joshua has defeated the southern kingdom and now the northern kingdoms have come together to fight him. The bible describes what he sees as “a huge army – as numerous as the sand on the seashore.” Chapter 10 is the background on Joshua defeating the southern kingdoms, and Chapter 11 is where we find today’s verse.

Joshua dropped his head. His men had barely been able to catch their breath after defeating the armies in the South. The Northern kingdoms have now come together to challenge Israel. This was no slight confrontation they were facing. Joshua worked hard to remember how God had already brought them to this point. As he glanced at the staged battle in front of him he wondered how the Israelites would be able to win this one.

The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them”

“Lord, thank you. Thank you for fresh comfort from your word. You see what we face this time. You had to extend the day when we fought the Southern kingdoms. How long will this fight take?” Joshua felt small and inconsequential as he waited for the answer.

“[because] by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain.”

Joshua looked up to the heavens, slightly surprised. “By tomorrow?” He wondered if the sun would stand still again. How would God help them defeat this army. They had war horses and chariots and the kings were not looking for treaties or laying out welcome mats.

“You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.”

Joshua knew. He knew deep in his heart the reason for this. Joshua’s first thought when he saw the army was questioning how they would overtake such a group. Then he wondered if they would be able to keep the chariots and war horses. It would make things easier in any future battles. But no. As Israelites their victory would come from God, not any human weapon of war. He rose and came against the Northern kingdoms quickly.

Joshua 11:6

The Lord said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots." (NIV)  
The Lord said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow at this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel; you shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire." (NAS)  
But the Lord said to Joshua, Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow by this time I will give them up all slain to Israel; you shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire. (Amplified)  
God said to Joshua: "Don't worry about them. This time tomorrow I'll hand them over to Israel, all dead. You'll hamstring their horses. You'll set firet to their chariots." (The Message)
 Joshua 11:4 They came out with all their troops and a large number of horses and chariots -- a huge army, as  numerous as the sand on the seashore.

Reformation study Bible:: re: hamstring horses and burn chariots: a promise that God will prevail over the most advanced weapons of the time.

Matthew Henry Commentary:: Fresh dangers and difficutlies make it necessary to fetch in fresh supports and comforts from the word of God.

Asbury Bible Commentary:: Israel was not to trust in human weapons of war, but in God, who alone would give victory against the enemies.

Deuteronomy 17:16 The king, morever, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself ....