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Joshua 9…The early days of Joshua’s leadership. He had just led the Israelites to victory against Jericho. They had a set-back, someone (1 person) disobeyed God so they lost the next battle against Ai. They took care of that…killed that man. Won the next battle & their covenant with God is renewed. Insert- Gibeonites. They had heard God was on the Israelites side & were afraid for their lives. They took moldy bread & old wine skins & made the Israelites believe they had travelled from a distant country to make a peace treaty. They were in fact from the Promised Land which was in the process of being cleaned out so the Israelites could inhabit it. They knew they would be killed, hence their deception.
Joshua, not knowing any better looks at their moldy bread and tattered clothes and believes them. Easy enough. But here’s the kicker, Joshua 9:14 says,
The Israelites examined their food but they did NOT consult the Lord
Joshua made the peace treaty, then learned they were from nearby. They had to uphold the peace treaty because they swore an oath in the name of the Lord. Consequences….they had to fight battles to protect these people, they had to see these people the rest of their lives…had to share the Promised Land & be reminded daily that they made this decision without consulting the Lord.
What happened? Was Joshua on a high from winning battles, did he let his guard down, did he feel tight with God and therefore thought he could do something all by himself? I don’t think we can give Joshua too hard of a time…how many times do we make a seemingly easy decision without consulting the Lord? I would say every day. Whether we feel we know better than God or feel this decision is too small to bother God with? We do it all the time. And how many of us see the consequences to those decisions daily?
God cares about every aspect of our lives. He knows all the details, He knows His plan for our lives. Knowing all of that…why wouldn’t we consult Him with every decision in life. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing”. This is why…because our days are filled with decisions…many of them mindless, we don’t even think about them. How would my life look if I did consult God with everything? Think of the heartaches or disappointments that could have been avoided. Give it a try…the only way to go is up!
Luke 8 is the parable of the farmer scattering seed. Jesus first talks of where the different seed fell, then explains what it means.
- seed fell on a footpath where it was stepped on and the birds ate it = those who hear the message only to have the devil come and take it away from their hears and prevent them from believing and being saved
- seed fell among rocks, it began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture = those who hear the message and receive it with joy, but since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while then they fall away when they face temptation
- seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants = those who hear message but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and so they never grow into maturity.
- seed fell on fertile soil, this seed grew and produced a crop 100x = honest, good hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it and patiently produce a huge harvest
Luke 8: 15 says, “And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it and patiently produce a huge harvest”.
Each one of us fall into one of these categories…my thought was about the seed that fell on the rocks. This seed begins to grow, but because there are no deep roots, when temptations come it has nothing to hold it up. How do we get deep roots?
I believe the answer is found in 8:15….”good-hearted people who hear God’s Word, CLING TO IT and patiently produce a harvest.
cling1 [kling] Show IPA verb, clung, cling·ing, noun
verb (used without object)
I feel like I ask my kids this all the time. An example conversation: I say to the kids – Finish your chores and we will go get ice cream.
Riley: Mom, Emery says I’m not getting ice cream.
Me: What did I tell you?
R: If we finished our chores we will go get ice cream.
M: Did you finish your chores?
R: Yes, but Emery said….
M: Is Emery the parent?
M: Who is?
R: You are.
M: Why would you listen to Emery when I already told you we would go if you finished your chores?
R: I don’t know.
This conversation happens all the time. You would think my kids would understand by now that I am the parent. Whatever I say trumps whatever another kid says. Yet is happens over and over. I feel like this happens with God too. We are so much like the Israelites it’s not even funny. Take Numbers 13 for example. What did God say?
1 The LORD now said to Moses,2 “Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes.”
I believe this was a test of sorts. God already knew what the land looked like and who lived there. He already knew the battles to be fought and how He was going to win them. I believe He wanted the men to explore the land to see if they trusted Him or not. They went and checked out the land-
27 This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces.28BUT the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!
Caleb was the only one that believed what God said –
30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”
But the other men who had explored the land did this –
31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!”32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge.
God: Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites.
Men: The land is beautiful and bountiful but the people there are powerful and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there.
God: Who’s bigger, Me or giants?
Men: You are.
God: What did I tell you?
Men: That you would give us the land.
God: Do you trust Me?
Application: God gives us a promise. We take a step towards that promise and there are huge obstacles – finances, sickness, infertility, job loss, loss of loved one, whatever it may be. We take our eyes off God and forget that He’s the One in charge of the world….what He says trumps the bank, trumps the doctor, trumps what other people say. Then we start spreading our bad news….XYZ will never happen because…the doctor said, my employer said, so & so said.
Because of many decisions like this, this generation of Israelites didn’t get to see the land -Numbers 14 –
29 You will all drop dead in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years old or older and was included in the registration will die. 30 You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
The only ones from that generation who received God’s promise were the ones who believed Him in spite of the obstacles.
What did God tell you? What promise may you be forfeiting because you’re listening to the wrong person or not trusting Him through the obstacles?
It’s true of all of us. How I wish it wasn’t. Paul says it well in Romans 7:18-20
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.t I want to do what is right, but I can’t.19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
The cycle: follow Jesus, do things my own way, repent; follow Jesus, do things my own way, repent; REPEAT
Why does it have to be so hard to do the right thing…all the time? Romans 7:22-23 sums that up:
22 I love God’s law with all my heart.23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
Thanks Adam and Eve.
God’s people the Israelites had the same problem. Psalm 78 speaks of their journey.
- v. 4 – we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord
- v. 10 – They did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his instructions.
- v. 11 – They forgot what He had done
- v. 17 – They kept on sinning against Him
- v. 18 – They stubbornly tested God
- v. 19 – They even spoke against God
- v. 21 – When the Lord heard them, He was furious
- v. 22 – for they did not believe God or trust Him to care for them
- v. 23-29 – God rained down manna, bread from heaven, food of angels, He rained down meat
- v. 32 – But in spite of this, the people kept sinning
- v. 33 – So He ended their lives in failure, their years in terror
- v. 34 – When God began killing then THEY FINALLY SOUGHT HIM. THEY REPENTED AND TOOK GOD SERIOUSLY
- v. 36 – But all they gave Him was lip service; they lied to Him with their tongues
- v. 38 – YET HE WAS MERCIFUL AND FORGAVE THEIR SINS
- V. 41 – Again and again they tested God’s patience
- v. 42 – They did not remember
- v. 43-52 – God ravaged the Egyptians & led his people like sheep safely through the wilderness
- v. 56 – They kept testing and rebelling against God Most High
I am so thankful that we have a God Who forgives. Psalm 78: 38-39 says Many times He held back His anger and did not unleash His fury. For He remembered that they were merely mortal. God is quick to forgive and quick to restore…it’s us, like the Israelites that are blind to the cycle we are in. Looking at the cycle they were in, it’s easy to say how stupid they were…how could you forget all those awesome crazy miracles God did for you; rescue from Egypt, manna & meat from the sky, God fighting battles for them. How could they forget so quickly?
We do the same thing – how quickly we forget the miracle of God’s salvation, the provision He provides every day….all the many many blessings we have to be thankful for.
I don’t know about you, but if my life were a story that was written down in a book….1,000 years from now, I don’t want someone to read it and think “She was so stupid, why did she complain so much, look at how God blessed her, how could she forget so quickly”.
How about your story….what would people say? Break out of the cycle.
Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give Me glory.
But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me.
Psalm 50:14-15, 23a
Why does God call giving thanks a sacrifice? Maybe because our tendency is entitlement or selfishness? It’s so easy to believe this life is all about me. God knows that. Maybe that’s why it’s a sacrifice that honors Him.
The first two verses include an “if-then” statement. “If” you 1)Make thankfulness your sacrifice & 2) keep the vows you made to the Most High THEN call on Me when you are in trouble and I will rescue you AND you will give me glory.
This life is about giving God glory.
Thankfulness requires us to humble ourselves, realize/admit we aren’t God and give thanks…for what? Everything!
I thank God for abundant life, salvation, provision, protection and so much more. Focus on those things today and give thanks.
But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me
I believe this is true that the older you get, the wiser you get. The longer you walk this earth, day by day making decisions, sometimes the same decisions, seeing results you begin to wise up to how your decisions affect your life. Hopefully you learn from your decisions, good or bad, and begin making changes.
One thing I’ve realized and put into practice is to recognize the things, words or actions of myself or others that set me off, that make me angry…when I look back, the things I wonder why I let them bother me as much as they did. When I begin to recognize areas that satan likes to attack me, I’m more aware and able to fight back and be victorious.
satan likes to trick you. he’s been studying humans for thousands of years. he has his little bag of tricks that he knows will work for you. The key is to identify what these tricks are, be able to recognize them and fight with the only offensive weapon you have- the Bible. But wait- satan knows how to use the Bible too, and he will try to use it to trick us. Don’t think he will? he tried to trick Jesus with Scripture, so certainly he will try to trick us.
First, satan challenges who Jesus is, verse 3,”if You are the Son of God”. satan will try to confuse you about who you are. You are worthless, you are a nobody, no one cares about you, you’re a screw up. Fight back with Scripture…I am fearfully and wonderfully made-Psalm 139, I am a child of God-John 1:12, I have a purpose-Jeremiah 29:11. Memorize verses to be able to fight back when your identity in Christ has been attacked.
Then satan will try to confuse/trick you with Scripture. It’s hard to believe, satan knows the Bible. he used it to try to trick Jesus. Read it for yourself in Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus had been fasting 40 days, he was hungry, in a weak vulnerable place (isn’t that where satan will try to attack?). satan used Scripture , he says in verse 6, “It is written”, then goes on to quote Scripture. he was trying to use Scripture to tempt Jesus to fulfill a physical need. Isn’t it true when we want something, there are all kinds of verses we can
use twist to get what we want. This is a good example “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” (Psalm 20:4 NIV84) God must want me to have everything I want & He’ll help me get it. Right? But no, this is using Scripture for selfish gain. Follow Jesus’ example, He fought right back with Scripture. Know your Bible, be able to fight back.
Lastly, satan tempted Jesus with greed & selfish gain. Verse 8-9- I will give you all these kingdoms and all their splendor….if…you will bow down to me. What is satan tempting you with…but to get it you have to disobey God. Are you worshipping your boss to climb the ladder at work, are you worshipping your friends to fit in?
Recognize the ways satan tries to trick you. Be self‑controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NIV84). Know your Bible, know the heart of God and use that to fight back.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11 NIV84)
Those were the words my husband used to describe supper the other night. I have had a love/hate relationship with roasts. I loved when my grandmother or my mom would make a roast, but I hated it when I would make a roast. In the 13 years I have been married I have made a roast probably 4 times – all of them in the crockpot which I have probably used only 9 times since receiving it as a wedding gift 13 years ago. And every time I have made a roast it has been awful! Dry, tasteless and awful!
Recently, I’ve purchased beef from a somewhat local farmer. When you buy meat from the grocery store, you have no idea where it comes from. Now, when I buy meat, I know where it comes from. The beef I buy comes from a farm in Mt. Gilead which is really close to where our first church which was in Albemarle, NC. This beef is grass-fed and grass-finished. No grain whatsoever, which makes it really really good for you. You can read here about all the benefits of grass-fed meat and all the bad stuff about what you buy in the grocery store.
Anyways, my first purchase of beef came with 2 roasts. You cook grass-fed meat differently and the instructions that came with it said don’t do it in a crock-pot because most crock-pots cook too hot, even on low. They said a dutch oven would work best, which I didn’t have, so I tried a recipe meant for a dutch oven & put it in a glass dish covered with foil. And….as the pessimist in me suspected, it was awful! So naturally on my next order of beef I asked for fewer roasts and more other cuts…just until I was able to grasp the art of roast cooking. I ended up getting this dutch oven and waited a sufficient amount of time before attempting it again.
That brings us to Thursday. Thursday will go down as a day in history in my cooking skills. I found this recipe and gave it a try and it was….AMAZING! That is when my husband made the statement, “You have redeemed the roast”. So…if you’ve never made a roast before…try this and be amazed!