Revival

Joshua 9-11

inquire of the Lord

The Israelites have had success after success in conquering the Promised Land.  But they did have the setback due to Achan’s sin, and in chapter 9 they have another setback.  The Gibeonites trick Joshua into granting them a treaty, on the premise that they are not locals, and so will not be in the way of the Israelites’ expansion plans.  You have to hand it to the Gibeonites.  This was a very shrewd move for them, and did grant them their survival.

 

But this should never have happened, and doesn’t seem to be part of God’s plan, when in other inhabited areas, the entire existing populations were destroyed.  So why did it happen?

 

As part of the ruse, the Gibeonites provided evidence of their long journey to reach the area in the form of old wineskins, bread and sandals.  Then, in chapter 9, vs 14-15, “The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.”

 

And there you have it.  They did not inquire of the Lord.  How foolish they must have been.  How could these people, that had been clearly led by the Lord, abandon His counsel at this critical time?  The answer is because they are like you and I.  Human.  Unfortunately, great success gives rise to self importance and self reliance, instead of giving God the credit He deserves and then continuing to rely on Him.  We have probably all done it.

 

When times are easy, it is easy to let our relationship and reliance on God slip away.  That is a bad thing.  We are going through difficult times right now.  That is also a bad thing.  But in times like these we need to draw closer to God, seek His counsel, and draw strength from that relationship.  And that is a good thing.

 

There was a small revival in this nation after 9/11, with a large increase in church attendance.  But, as things improved, it wore off.  Things will assuredly get better from our present reality, but if there is a revival in our own relationship with the Lord, that is a fantastic outcome.  But don’t let that revival slip away when things get better.  Be aware that it is human nature for that to happen, and take steps to avoid allowing your human nature to lead you away from God.

 

Here is another word of encouragement from scripture.

Psalm 91: 1-6

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely he will save you

from the fowler’s snare

and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers,

and under his wings you will find refuge;

his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night,

nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,

nor the plague that destroys at midday.

 

Greg Landry

 

 

You can read or listen to today’s Bible passage at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua+9-11&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Joshua 12-15 as we continue seeking God through the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

Four Enemies of Unity

Philippians 2:12-30

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Yesterday we learned about Paul’s advice for moving towards unity—having an attitude of humility. Today, I’d like to discuss some attitudes and actions that can hinder unity. These four enemies of unity that I will mention are just some of the obstacles that get in the way of the Church achieving unity. 

Enemy 1: Pride

Pride is the opposite of humility. In humility, we put ourselves in the service of others; in pride, we use others to serve our own purpose. It is an easy trap to fall into; pride catches those who do well and convinces them that this gives them cause to boast in themselves. It inflates their ego—giving them a reason to look down on others and view their own ideals as the be-all-end-all. When even just one person in a church body is infected by pride, it can have terrible consequences for church unity. This why Paul cautioned against boasting in one’s self and works:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10, NIV)

Enemy 2: Gossip

There is no redeemable quality in gossip—it is a destroyer of friendships and communities. Gossip is broadcasting the shortcoming of others with no attempt to help them get better. It is a mechanism used to make the one gossiping feel better about themselves. Where gossip is present, unity cannot exist. The one being gossiped about is treated like an outsider and is pushed away from the community. Gossip is a unity killer.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

Enemy 3: Complaining/Grumbling 

When we complain or grumble about something we don’t like, this is typically a sign we are struggling with pride and not embracing humility. If something is actually wrong, grumbling under your breath about it is not the way to go. Never will a good solution be found when it is brought to the attention of leaders through complaining. If we feel something is not being done the way it should be, we should humbly voice our concern to those in leadership after much prayer and meditation. Complainers don’t promote unity—those who genuinely want what is best for the church need to find the right way to address changes. 

Enemy 4: Arguing 

By arguing, I don’t mean mere disagreement, but an incessant need to be proved right (which also comes from pride). When a person goes around trying to convince everyone that their own views on various issues are right and then get angry when they’re not agreed with, it is not beneficial. We must always be striving to find the truth, but we must never do so in a matter that is unloving. Our discussions should be edifying and result in a more unified body; not filled with bitterness and anger which causes strife.  

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.” (Philippians 2:14-28, NIV)

Each one of these enemies come about naturally from our human nature. We must fight against them just as we do with other sins. We must instead embrace humility, love, peace, and encouragement in order to promote unity and avoid these divisive enemies. 

If you struggle with any of these, start pushing them out of your life today. 

– Joel Fletcher