A friend of mine sent this to me this week--after we had done a quick overview of the book of Joshua. I agree with him--it fits perfectly with the message of that book!
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings.
~ Joshua 7:11
Notice in this verse the six verbs that God uses with regards to the sin of Achan.
- "Israel has sinned" - This is the general word for sin in the Old Testament. Incidentally, I noticed tonight that it is used in 27 of the 39 Old Testament books.
- "they have also transgressed - The line of acceptable conduct had been crossed. This word is used in all but 3 of the Old Testament books.
- "they have taken" - Property that was to be the Lord's had been moved to a different location.
- "they have stolen" - Literally, someone had stolen from God.
- "and lied" - As is so often the case, lies and deception accompany other acts of sin.
- "and put them among their own belongings" - The sin of taking what was God's had been compounded by the location where they had been placed. The stolen property was put with their other belongings for their personal use.
I found these comments particularly insightful:
The seriousness of the sin was brought before Joshua with the use of six verbs within one verse, as the Lord identified the exact nature of what had taken place. It is a lesson as to the character of the Lord that the actions of one man, in doing what some would see as a simple and insignificant thing, had far reaching consequences and required detailed exposure and comprehensive judgment.Any Christian who sins, and considers it an insignificant thing not worthy of confession before the Lord, ought to take note, as the Lord has not changed and neither has His attitude to sin amongst His people.Such was the seriousness of the sin in the eyes of the Lord, that it not only had caused the defeat at Ai and the death of about thirty-six men, but it would continue to have an effect upon the children of Israel unless the cause of the sin was dealt with, in accordance with the Lord's instructions (6:18).The children of Israel had to learn that sin cannot be overlooked and the passing of time does not diminish its seriousness.~ S. Grant - What the Bible Teaches - Joshua
I had the iPod on "shuffle" this morning and heard this song. It is from my favorite Steven Curtis Chapman album, Declaration. Many of the tracks on this particular album resonate with me, but particularly this one.
Lord, You know how much
I want to know so much
In the way of answers and explanations
I have cried and prayed
And still I seem to stay
In the middle of life’s complications
All this pursuing leaves me feeling
like I’m chasing down the wind
But now it’s brought me back to You
And I can see again
This is everything I want
This is everything I need
I want this to be my one consuming passion
Everything my heart desires
Lord, I want it all to be for You, Jesus
Be my magnificent obsession
So capture my heart again
Take me to depths I’ve never been
Into the riches of Your grace and Your mercy
Return me to the cross
And let me be completely lost
In the wonder of the love
That You’ve shown me
Cut through these chains that tie
me down to so many lesser things
Let all my dreams fall to the ground
Until this one remains
You are everything I want
And You are everything I need
Lord, You are all my heart desires
You are everything to me
You are everything I want
You are everything I need
I want You to be my one consuming passion
Everything my heart desires
Lord, I want it all to be for You
I want it all to be for You
~ Steven Curtis Chapman
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
If you merely repress a temptation or this first motion of sin within you, it will probably come up again more strongly. To that extent I agree with the modern psychologist, repression is always bad. `Well what do you do?' asks someone. I answer, `When you feel that first motion of sin, just pull yourself up and say, 'Of course, I am not having any dealings with this at all.' Expose the thing and say, 'This is evil, this is vileness, this is the thing that drove the first man out of paradise', pull it out, look at it, denounce it, hate it for what it is, then you've really dealt with it'.
You must not merely push it back in a spirit of fear or in a timorous manner. Bring it out, expose it, analyze it, then denounce it for what it is until you hate it.
~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
The LORD said to Joshua, "Get up!"
~ Joshua 7:10
"Get up! Consecrate the people...."
~ Joshua 7:13
To humble himself for his lack of power was not the only thing to be done: it was time to act.
Miserable flesh! What disorder does it not introduce into the things of God! Always outside the current of His thoughts, if not in open hostility to Him. May we join with the apostle in saying: "We, who have no confidence in the flesh." Joshua had to act; the accursed thing had to be put away from amongst them.
He [Joshua] was not, for the moment at least, in the current of God's thoughts, and God makes him feel it. His thoughts were out of tune. When the accursed thing enters into the testimony of God, what we have to do is to sanctify ourselves, and to put away the evil from our midst. It is not a question here of power, but of holiness and of obedience. God said to Joshua: "Up, sanctify the people."
To sanctify oneself is to separate oneself from all evil to God. It is impossible without holiness to have God with us.
~ H. L. Rossier, Meditations on the Book of Joshua
Monday, July 26, 2010
The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name.
~ Exodus 15:3
The Lord goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal;
he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes.
~ Isaiah 42:13
Today "Jehovah is a Man of War." At this hour He is the foe of sin in personal, social, civic, and national life. At this moment, in this individual life of mine and in the world at large, He is moving forward in unabated, undeviating, unceasing hostility to sin. Blessed be His name! Thank God that He will not make peace with sin in my heart. How I have tried to evade some issue with Him, to plead the excuse, to urge the difficulty of the circumstances in which I am, to plead my infirmity.
All the while God is a Man of War, smiting sin, refusing to make truce with it, accepting no white flag of surrender offered to Him, except that of the abandonment of sin, and all because He loves me.
The moment you can persuade me that God Almighty will excuse sin in my life, I case to believe in His love. He is the foe of sin in me. I bless His name for the thunder of His authority, and for the profound conviction that He is fierce and furious in His anger against sin, wherever it manifests itself.
~ G. Campbell Morgan Living Messages of the Books of the Bible
One man had coveted a Babylonish garment and a wedge of gold, had grasped something of the spoil for the enrichment of himself, and had hidden it in his tent; and the whole march of Israelites was halted by defeat; and until the evil thing was found and destroyed, and the sinning man had expiated his offense by the very death that the Hebrew people were inflicting upon the sinners of the land, there could be no going forward.
God is the terrible foe of sin, refusing to make truce with it, after probation and long patience visiting in judgment corrupt peoples, and punishing with severity the very instrument raised up for the carrying out of His work, whenever it becomes contaminated by sin. God's rule is ever the expression of His righteousness, impulsed by love.
~ G. Campbell Morgan - Living Messages of the Books of the Bible
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Here are eight points of application based on the same alliteration from my previous post on Joshua 6:
- problem - faith rests in the power of God
- promise - faith is secured in Christ's finished work
- procedure - faith places no confidence in the flesh
- procession - faith is demonstrated by obedience
- prohibition - faith rejects compromise with the world
- provision - faith obtains the promised victory
- protection - faith receives the promised deliverance
- prominence - faith exalts the Savior
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I'm preparing for Teen 1 at Camp Li-Lo-Li. The past couple of days I have been studying Joshua 6. We see in this portion of scripture that faith responds in obedience and God responds to that obedient faith with blessing.
Here is the alliteration I've come up with so far--mind you, it's not my specialty...but these words seem to work pretty well.
- Problem (vs. 1) - Jericho was shut up inside and outside.
- Promise (vs. 2) - God uses the past tense to describe the fact that He already sees the city as theirs.
- Procedure (vs. 3-5) - God describes to Joshua the means by which they are to conquer the city.
- Procession (vs. 13-15) - In obedience to God's procedure, the people march around the city thirteen times culminating on the 7th day with seven circuits of the city.
- Prohibition (vs. 18) - Nearly everything in the city was to be destroyed. Only the silver, gold, bronze, and iron was to be saved.
- Provision (vs. 20) - The walls really did fall--just like God had promised!
- Protection (vs. 22-23, 25) - As promised (Joshua 2:14), Rahab and her family were spared from the judgment.
- Prominence (vs. 27) - God was with Joshua, and news of the victory spread throughout the land.
If anyone has any additional insights, I'd be happy to hear them in the comments.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Over at the J.C. Ryle quotes blog, they are doing a week-long series on The Six Marks of Regeneration. I was going to wait until the end of the series to comment or re-post any of them, however the one from today is just too good!
A Regenerate Man Is A Holy Man:
He endeavors to live according to God’s will, to do the things that please God, to avoid the things that God hates. His aim and desire is to love God with heart and soul, and mind and strength, and to love his neighbor as himself. His wish is to be continually looking to Christ as his example as well as his Savior, and to show himself Christ’s friend by doing whatever Christ commands. No doubt he is not perfect. None will tell you that sooner than himself. He groans under the burden of indwelling corruption cleaving to him. He finds an evil principle within him constantly warring against grace, and trying to draw him away from God. But he does not consent to it, though he cannot prevent its presence.
In spite of all short-comings, the average bent and bias of his ways is holy—his doings holy—his tastes holy—and his habits holy. In spite of all his swerving and turning aside, like a ship going against a contrary wind, the general course of his life is in one direction—toward God and for God. And though he may sometimes feel so low that he questions whether he is a Christian at all, in his calmer moments he will generally be able to say, with old John Newton, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world—but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”
~ J.C. Ryle Regeneration, [Ross-shire, UK: Christian Focus, 2003], 35, 36.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
You young man in the shop, and you young woman in the workroom, if you keep yourselves to yourselves in Christ's name, chaste and pure for Jesus, not laughing at jests which should make you blush, not mixing up with pastimes that are suspicious; but, on the other hand, tenderly jealous of your conscience as one who shrinks from a doubtful thing as a sinful thing, holding sound faith, and being scrupulous of the truth,—if you will so keep yourselves, your company in the midst of others shall be as though an angel shook his wings, and they will say to one another, "Refrain from this or that just now, for So-and-so is here." They will fear you, in a certain sense; they will admire you in secret; and who can tell but that, at last, they may come to imitate you?
~ Spurgeon via Pyromaniacs
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
"Moses my servant is dead."
~ Joshua 1:2
"Moses my servant" Do you not detect the accent of pride in the pronoun which indicates possession? God does not refer to this man as though he were the property of the race from which he sprang. He does not speak of him as your emancipator and benefactor, your leader and law-giver. He uses the term which relates him to himself in a bond which never can be broken. The ties of kinship and chieftainship are all subordinated to the deeper and more enduring claim.He was theirs only in a secondary sense--lent to them for a season to guard and guide; but the divine proprietorship was primary and perpetual, never to be surrendered or obscured."My servant," for my fingers fashioned him; "my servant," for my hands ordained him to the ministry of my will; "my servant," for I put my Spirit upon him, and filled him with wisdom and girt him with power; "my servant," admitted to my great household, and from my presence he shall go out no more.~ R. Moffat Gautrey (The Glory of Going On)
Friday, July 16, 2010
“The whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.” (Galatians 5:14)Some people understand Paul to say that the New Testament principle of love has replaced the Old Testament principle of law. Whereas the Jewish nation in the Old Testament lived under a number of specific moral laws, the church in the New Testament has “come of age” and now lives by the higher principle of love. Since love must be voluntary and cannot be compelled, so the thinking goes, love and law are mutually exclusive.But if we realize the moral law is a transcript–a written reproduction–of the moral character of God and that “God is love” (1 John 4:8), we see that we cannot distinguish between law and love. Both express the character of God. They’re two sides of the same coin.For example, Paul said in Romans 13:10, “Love does no wrong to its neighbor” (NIV). If we didn’t also have the commandments (which Paul quoted in verse 9) against such things as adultery, stealing, and murder, how would we know what it means to harm one’s neighbor?Love provides the motive for obeying the commands of the Law, but the Law provides specific direction for exercising love.~ via Pure Church
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Mortification abates sin's force, but doth not change its nature. Grace changeth the nature of man, but nothing can change the nature of sin. . . .Destroyed it may be, it shall be, but cured it cannot be. . . . If it be not overcome and destroyed, it will overcome and destroy the soul.And herein lies no small part of its power. . . . It is never quiet, [whether it is] conquering [or] conquered.Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.~ John Owen
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
"Moses my servant is dead."
~ Joshua 1:2
What a dire calamity! What will the Lord do now? Who is there to stand in the gap? The vacancy is so vast that it will surely be difficult to discover a man of adequate breadth and stature worthily to fill the empty place and sustain the tremendous loud. Can one be found at such short notice?Ah! that is the feeble question of the poor prisoners of time. We are shut up with the horizon of the immediate now; and because we have no vision of the future we are frequently the victims of surprise, almost amounting to dismay.Nothing can take the Eternal unawares. The crisis that fills us with panic is simply the turning of a page in the book of His remembrance. We speak sometimes as though God were bankrupt. Good men are scarce, we say, and grudge their going, as though the divine resources were quite unequal to the heavy demands of the future.The great Craftsman, who is fashioning the world in righteousness and conforming the race to the image of His Son, can always find another tool, sharpened and ready to His hand.And thus through the lapse of years the work goes on in unbroken continuity. The heroes of the faith are not yet extinct. The age of chivalry is never ended.Our Warrior-God is even now forging a battle-ax of still more finely tempered steel with which to cleave the ranks of the adversary. In his quiver there is many a polished shaft that has not yet been fitted to the bow.Do not distress yourselves unduly. There is no dearth of warriors for the great crusade.Only see to it that ye yourselves are ready to respond to the bugle call.~ R. Moffat Gautrey (The Glory of Going On)
Monday, July 12, 2010
Then the Lord said to Moses,“Write this as a memorial in a book
and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out
the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”
~ Exodus 17:14
This verse marks the first time the word "write" is used in scripture. God wanted the people to remember that He was going to perpetually (Exodus 17:16) be at war with the Amalekites.
Amalek is a type of the flesh. The flesh is that left over corruption that remains after we are justified and until we are glorified. It is that remnant of the old sinful nature. It is that which we as believers struggle against from the moment we are saved until the moment Christ returns or we depart from this world via death.
God is at war with my flesh.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you...
~ Colossians 3:5
Thursday, July 8, 2010
People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, and obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord.We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance;we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom;we drift toward superstition and call it faith.We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation;we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism;we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.~ D.A. Carson via Justin Taylor
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
If you don’t have a mane; if you don’t have sharp teeth; if you don’t have a long tail—you’re not a lion no matter what you say.If you don’t have tires; if you don’t have a motor; and if you don’t have a steering wheel—you’re not a car no matter what you say.If you can’t carry a tune; and if you can’t hit a note; and if your singing doesn’t bless people—stick to the shower, because you’re not a soloist no matter what you say.In the same sense, Christians have fruit; they have characteristics; they have evidence; they have identifying marks.John said in 1 John 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” You can have the assurance that you’re saved. You don’t have to wonder—just ask yourself, “Do I have the identifying marks?”The book of 1 John repeatedly explains the distinguishing characteristics of followers of Christ. No one has them perfectly, but look at your life and ask yourself if you’re increasing in these marks:- Am I loving more deeply? Not perfectly, but increasingly . . .- Am I obeying more faithfully? Not perfectly, but increasingly . . .- Am I living authentically?The Christian life is not a charade. I’m not wearing a mask. I’m not acting like I’m something I’m not. My heart is very tender to the Lord and He’s growing me. That’s part of being a real Christian.When you see these marks in your life, and you know that you long to know Him more and be passionate about doing what pleases Him increasingly more in your life, then your heart swells with assurance. You belong to Him.~ James MacDonald
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
We have no right to expect anything but the pure Gospel of Christ, unmixed and unadulterated, the same Gospel that was taught by the Apostles, to do good to the souls of men. I believe that to maintain this pure truth in the Church—men should be ready to make any sacrifice, to hazard peace, to risk dissension, and run the chance of division. They should no more tolerate false doctrine—than they would tolerate sin. They should withstand any adding to or taking away from the simple message of the Gospel of Christ.~ J. C. Ryle via The Preacher's Plain Truth