Joshua 9 – 10 Have you ever been duped? To be duped means another has taken advantage of you in some clever way. Take a lesson from Joshua who was deceived or duped by the Gibeonites.
One of the lessons Moses sought to impress upon his servant was to always check with God before stepping out. Joshua is learning this lesson fast and furiously. First, he failed to check with God about Ai, and now he fails to check with God about the Gibeonites. In both circumstances, Joshua failed, but God still used him in His service, and that is something we need to remember. Just because you failed once doesn’t mean God can’t and won’t use you. God uses imperfect people to complete His perfect plan.
God allows tests into our life to check our understanding of His Word. He also allows them to test our faith and obedience to Him. The city of Ai and the tribe of the Gibeonites was Joshua’s test. What is yours?
The Gibeonites were cunning and deceitful, and we will meet those people as we traverse the world. Joshua assumed they had a good motive from all appearances, but they were lying. We can only see through the lies and facades with God’s eyes. Joshua is an example of allowing his own eyes and the pity he felt for the Gibeonites to lead him rather than God’s eyes.
We must be discerning, and the only way we can be is through prayer and scripture and yes, sometimes seeking wise counsel. Joshua failed on all points; how about you?
You are in a situation where a decision must be made. What do you do? Some say one thing, some say another, whose voice is right?
2Chron 10 Voices can be misleading or they can lead to the truth. We are bombarded with voices from the tempter, the world, and the flesh. We must be “discerning regarding truth and error;…and “listen to the voice of the Spirit.” (Heb 5 & 3)
Rehoboam is presented to us as a foolish king who listened not to the Spirit but to two groups of men; the first his father’s former advisors and his boyhood friends. He chose the latter and as the tale unfolded disaster came about because he forsook wisdom for folly, righteousness for power. The kingdom experienced a divorce a magnitude never before was seen. God hates divorce and He hated that His beloved kingdom would suffer over a foolish decision.
Rehoboam might have avoided this had he sought the counsel of God as his grandfather David had done. The disasters in our life such as separation and divorce come about when we listen to the voices of the Tempter; it would be easier if…(you fill in the blank).
But, what if we seek the counsel of God instead? God is not a man that changes his mind. He is ever and always wise and discerning to counsel us aright and the Holy Spirit as part of the triune God would never contradict God’s Word.
The wisest and most blessed man/woman is the one who listens to the voice of the Spirit speaking the words of God. But also, you cannot hear the voice of the Spirit unless you are Spirit-filled.
Have you experienced the indwelling Spirit of God?
2 Sam 13 As we read this tragedy we are confronted with the sin of David being replicated in his firstborn son Amnon but more so is the innocence of his daughter Tamar. How many of our daughters have had to face similar circumstances and only hear the silence of those who should stand up and call sin sin. How many have heard their brothers say “be quiet; don’t take it so seriously.” We want to scream, cry and join our hearts with Tamar whose virginity was slain. We want to not let her voice go unnoticed as she cries out from the grave; learn from my naiveté and my trusting innocence when I should have seen and stopped the charade in its tracks. Girls take heed!
Tamar was raped plain and simple and she was silenced. Her voice cries out from the pages of scripture. Scripture says keep away from sexual immorality but our culture says it won’t happen to you. Scripture says possess your own body in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion but our culture says just be silent. Tamar was caught in a catch 22 situation and her father was too naïve to think his only son would take sexual advantage of his sister. Fathers, listen and put hedges of protection around your daughters.
What can we learn from Tamar? Satan is diabolical and crafty and uses men like Jonadab and Amnon so we must be wise and discerning. Tamar is saying don’t be foolish; sin is about to happen. Tamar is crying out from the grave; listen to me; learn from me. No means no.
Tamar cries out: Fathers; put hedges of protection around your daughters; rebuke the sin and the sinner. Daughters, when you sense danger leave because Satan is more powerful than you are!
Living in the war zone is tough and only the strong prevail for the enemy does not lay down his arms even after a defeat as we saw in the life of our Lord. “so when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him until a more opportune time.” [Luke 4] Perhaps this is why the author of Hebrews admonished the readers that “solid food is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil.” [Heb 5] The letter to the Ephesians reveals where their armor had a weak point.
Beloved the devil knows the right opportunity, the right method and more importantly which piece of armor is weak. There we must “stay alert” to his ways and be discerning. The Ephesians had started strong but the devil saw a weakness in their armor and it was this: They had lost their first love! They could quote the Bible; they attended the church but it was all dead orthodoxy because their love was waning. Jesus not only rebuked them but called them to repent. And then his scary pronouncement: if they do not return to their first love he will come and snuff out their light. Today the church is under attack and why it is vital that our love for Christ and the church is renewed daily. God has given us the Holy Spirit within us and the church around us. What part of the Ephesian letter applies to us? Are we checking our armor for weak points? Is our love being renewed daily?
In today’s cyberworld we are cautioned by veteran spies to be ever alert to the scams that come across in emails, texts etc. In the time of Jesus He warned his disciples to “be alert,” be observant, be on guard, be vigilant to their world around them because soon their quiet time where they could sit and ask questions of the Master would come to a screeching halt. All of life would then become a world in which they must be on guard against those who would claim to be He but in fact were false. Today we live in a world that moves at “warp speed” with our texts, twitter, facebook posts. Our phones rarely ring but they warble with the vibration of a new text message or a new twitter, or a new post on facebook. We have alerts to scams, alerts to a missing person, alert phone numbers, and alert signs abound! Thus Jesus’ warning to “be alert” comes at a precipitous moment. But, how does one remain at alert 100% of the time? Here are some helpful hints:
Be in the mode of prayer: Mar 14:38 Stay awake and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Be discerning: 1Pe 5:8 Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.
Begin your day rightly: Isa 50:4 He wakes me up every morning; he makes me alert so I can listen attentively as disciples do.
Why be alert? Rev 3:3 I will come like a thief, ITh 5:2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night.
Today, be ever watchful for the Lord’s return. He has given us the signs that we might be aware but only the Father knows the time. Thus to be alert is to be vigilant and prepared lest He come and we are not involved in the task He has left: the gospel must be preached to all nations.