These past few weeks, we have seen a spate of mass shootings by people who seek revenge for unknown reasons followed by their suicide. Our hearts ache for these because they have no truth that God alone is responsible for life and death. David’s nephew had the mindset of those who take matters into their own hands. Abishai saw the opportunity to kill King Saul and sought David’s permission to kill him. “Now let me drive the spear right through him into the ground with one swift jab.” [1Sam 26:8] Yes, the opportunity was available, but David was a man of God and understood three things:
No one can kill the Lord’s anointed one and remain guiltless.
The Lord Himself will strike him down, meaning God knows the day he will die.
Or the Lord will allow him to die in battle or for some other circumstance.
That is a lesson we need to remember, and Job knew that as well. “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.” [Job 1:21] To take a life is nothing more than murder, and whoever murders shall be accountable before God for that life.
The Hebrews author wrote: “it is appointed unto men once to die..” [Heb 9:27], but only God knows that date. “The Lord both kills and gives life; he brings down to the grave and raises up.” [1Sam 2:6]
How dare we play God is the lesson the world needs now and we have the answer in Jesus Christ.
Joshua 9-10 Have you ever made a snap judgment only to find it blow up in your face? The Israelites did just that when the Gibeonites entered the Israelites camp and deceived them by wearing rags and carrying moldy bread, along with a tale of their journey. Their deception included meekly approaching the camp of the Israelites who accepted them at face value.
But as quickly as they deceived the Israelites, they now found out that their cleverness just might be their undoing and the Israelites will learn a hard lesson in accepting others without checking in with God. This unlikely friendship has turned the Gibeonites into enemies in the land and others seeing them as betrayers. Without Israel’s help, they would have been defeated. Even though the Israelites were not happy with the leaders for their rash decision to accept the Gibeonites, they fulfilled their promise of protection and God will use this experience to bring Him glory and teach the Israelites never again to accept others on what they see rather than checking in with God.
Remember the truth of Romans 8:28 “all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” God used Joshua’s error in not seeking God’s wise counsel regarding the Gibeonites to bring honor to Himself. God can and will use our mistakes to honor Himself. We often only see the cloud’s underside, but the silver lining, although hidden, will be revealed, so God gets the credit, not us.
When was the last time you didn’t check with God? Did you stop and give Him praise for how He used your mistake to bring about His good?
Deut 1 There will always be those who seek to discourage us in the battle that God has set before us. God permitted the Israelites to “spy” out the land. They brought back evidence to God’s gracious words of a land of milk and honey. They saw the evidence, but it was not enough. The giants loomed in their minds, and so they brought back a bad report. Satan uses the giants in our lives to discourage us and cause us not to trust God. But, God is greater than any giant, and Caleb and Joshua were a testimony to how they saw them. Do we see the giants in our life as impediments to stepping forward to victory? Do we let him cause us to waver and forget the faithfulness of God in the past? James reminds us of that principle: he who wavers is unstable and God will not bless. [James 1 paraphrased]
The Israelites had an opportunity to trust God, but they chose not to. Thus, God removed His protection from them when they decided they had sinned but would go forward. If we choose disobedience when He specifically says obey, we will not be blessed. God gives us tests to see if we will obey. How presumptuous to think God will provide us with a second chance to obey? [Psalm 19:13] Do not tempt God!
Tough words to live by, but they are a reminder of God’s will for our lives and what He expects us to do.