Baal-god vs Jehovah-God

It would be great if you have read 1 Kings 18 but if not, I hope you will be able to follow. 

Elijah goes to King Ahab and tells him to call all the people and all 450 Baal priests.  He asks them to choose whom they’ll serve, whether God or Baal.  The people said nothing; they just stood looking silently.  So Elijah asks them for two bulls and tells them that they’ll both offer sacrifices to God and Baal.  The test was that they’d have to call on their God/Baal to send fire to burn up the sacrifice.  

So I’m picturing the idiots (Baal worshipers) in 1 Kings 18 jumping around the altar and calling on Baal to send fire to light the sacrifice.  Then I see Elijah on the ground, in a fit of laughter saying, “weh yuh god deh? Call likkle louder, maybe him gone a bathroom, or gone fi a walk, or him a sleep. Call likkle louder, man”. 😂😂😂😂

And the idiots did call out louder. 🤣🤣🤣🤣

By this time, I’m dying with laughter.  Proper laughing enuh.  

I be there wondering why these people serving a god who needs to use the bathroom and can’t even show up and save them from embarrassment.

So then, Elijah be like, “unnu stop the foolishness. Look here, soak mi sacrifice inna wata, 3 times.  Soak it good”.  Then he calls for God, Jehovah God, not Baal god, to show up and show off.  Instantly, fire came down and burnt up the soaked sacrifice and dried up every drop of wata.  And I picture Elijah’s face saying, “mi not even affi call two time! And, on the first call, my God answer wid fire. Unnu a joke man”.

Which God are you serving? The one who has to take a nap or the one who answers with fire instantaneously?

Thank you!

I now have 50+ followers and I want to take the time to say a big, heart-felt THANK YOU!

I do not take your likes, comments, or follows lightly. With every new comment, like, or follow, I tell Daddy thanks for allowing you to find my blog. Thank you!

I love you! Blessings.

Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People?

Have you ever wondered why God allows bad things to happen to good people? Read to find out more.

When you have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed down to them, then the anger of the Lord will burn against you, and you shall perish quickly from the good land which He has given you.”  Joshua 23:16 NKJV

God made a covenant made with Abraham.  He said that if Abraham followed him, he’d lead him to a land that will be an inheritance for his seed.  That was fulfilled.  However, over 400 years later, the Israelites (children of Abraham’s great-grandchildren) stopped following the laws and ordinances that they received from God through Moses. 

The bible said that they “…transgressed the covenant…”, meaning that walked/turned away from or alienated the promise/agreement they made to God (BDB & Strong’s Concordances).  That agreement was to serve him faithfully by not serving other gods.   

This is one reason bad things happen to good people.  We may see these good people faithfully serving God but can we see their hearts? Are we notified each time good people stray from the agreement they made with God?  Can we see when they are serving other gods or bowing down to idols in the privacy of their homes? 

When we start living contrary to how God wants, he no longer holds up his part of the agreement to bless us.  Consequently, bad things start to happen to us.  Sometimes, he even allows bad things to happen.  This is not to kill us, but to get us in a place where we call on him and repent.  Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?  Some times he’s trying to give us a wake-up call so that we realise that we have strayed and we need to honour the promise we made to serve him.

Yes, God is forgiving and merciful.  But if we stray, he will do whatever it takes to bring us back…even if it means allowing bad things to happen to us. 

Unequally Yoked: A Study in Context (2 Cor 6:14)

Many verses of Scripture are used as “proof texts,” quoted as the confirmation of some doctrine or opinion without much attention to what the verse might mean in its own context or what the background of the idea might be from a cultural or historical perspective. For example, many Christians quote 2 Corinthians 6:14 as the biblical command that Christians should not date or marry non-Christians. But is that really the intent of that verse? Is this verse, ripped from its context within a letter to a church that is most likely suffering a crisis far more severe than questions of who to date or marry, really intending to impose yet another law governing social behavior?

Here is the entire passage from which this verse is taken (2 Cor 6:14-18):

14 Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? 15 What agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

The background of this verse comes from an Old Testament instruction in Deuteronomy:

22:10 You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.

This occurs between two similar commands about mixing things.

22:9 You shall not sow your vineyard with a second kind of seed . . . 22:11 You shall not wear clothes made of wool and linen woven together.

These religious laws are connected to the creation account in Genesis 1 in which God established an order in the world that is part of creation itself. The idea of separating and setting boundaries, even among plants and animals (“each after its kind”), expresses the idea that there is a certain way God’s world should work, that there are certain boundaries and limits within which creation can exist (see God and Boundaries). Theologically, this was understood to mean that some things should not be mixed in order to preserve the proper working of God’s world (even reflected in later Jewish restrictions concerning hybrid animals like mules).

The Israelites then applied this ethically, for example, in laws governing sexual relations that banned bestiality and homosexuality. Religiously, it was extended to things like using two different kinds of animals yoked together for plowing. It was not just a legalism, but an attempt to live out in all aspects of life what they understood to be God’s purposes for his world that he had created.

Paul, trained Pharisee that he was, no doubt well understood all this and applied this principle in addressing the church at Corinth (2 Cor 6:14). In many evangelical churches, this verse from Corinthians has been used very narrowly as a warning against marrying non-Christians. But in the situation at Corinth, it had much broader implications. Corinth was well known for its wild lifestyle. It was a major seaport (nearby at Lechaion) and a crossroads of the northern Mediterranean. The Middle Eastern practice of sacred prostitution in pagan temples was readily accepted in such a climate, as well as in some of the Greek temples that stood there in the first century.

One of the major problems Paul faced in Corinth was the difficulty new converts there had in living out Christianity ethically in everyday actions. This concept of boundaries and order in terms of everyday living was a good way to illustrate the ethical demands of relationship with God without resorting to legalism.

A second major problem that Paul is addressing in both Corinthian letters is the problem of spiritual pride that had led some in the community to pervert Paul’s teaching about spiritual freedom. Paul maintained that we have freedom in Christ, that relationship with God is not a matter of obeying law but of the motivation of love from the heart. Yet some Corinthians had taken that to the point of maintaining that nothing they did mattered since they were free from the law (cf. 1 Cor 6:12). This was easier to do in the environment of Corinthian Greek culture that, following Plato, assumed that the physical world was irrelevant and unimportant since the only true reality was spirit, the “inner” person (see Body and Soul: Greek and Hebraic Tensions in Scripture). So, they concluded, what their body did had nothing to do with their relationship with God since that was a “spiritual” matter. Paul had already addressed this issue quite strongly throughout the first letter, especially the implications of their libertine views in sexual matters that included sacred prostitution (1 Cor 6:9-20).

The passage in 2 Corinthians 6 seems to be against the background of this problem. Both the tendency toward spiritual pride resulting from how they conceptualized human beings and the lack of clearly conceived Christian ethics worked together to allow a lifestyle that Paul felt did not represent in practice what it meant to bear the name Christian. The reference to temples and idols suggests that Paul is still addressing the Corinthians’ tendency to try to blend the worship of God with the activities that went on the pagan temples. In other words, the people wanted to be Christian while still partaking of all the activities that marked the worship of the Greek gods. The attitude seemed to be that they could be spiritually Christian “inside” while the physical body could still enjoy the wild pagan lifestyle of Corinth.

To this, Paul simply answers that they cannot be mixed, that God’s people must be marked by a different kind of lifestyle than others, and that lifestyle cannot be mixed with a pagan lifestyle. Using the OT principle of preserving boundaries between things that should not be mixed, Paul simply says that being Christian means that the Corinthians can no longer practice the activities of pagan worship or pagan ethics, since those are things that should not be mixed with the worship of God. In other words, what they did ethically mattered a great deal if they were claiming to be Christians.

Practically, this could apply to a lot of areas of life, but not as a rigid law. It is a matter of ethics that must come from the freedom in Christ that Paul makes clear. But that freedom does not mean, Paul contends, that we are not compelled by love of both God and neighbor. So, it might, indeed, have some practical ethical application in the case of a Christian dating or marrying a non-Christian. Again, it is not a matter of law. But it is a matter of allowing God to be God, and recognizing that when we are his people, his sons and daughters (2 Cor 6:18), that means we are in a relationship of love that constrains our freedom for the sake of that love (1 Cor 13).

The result is a lifestyle that is “cleansed” from such contamination with pagan practices as visiting temple prostitutes (2 Cor 7:1), because someone who truly loves God as a son or daughter would not contaminate themselves with such practices. In others words, Paul is simply answering that it does, indeed, make a difference what the body does since that cannot be separated from who we are as sons and daughters of God.

Of course, the next question will be, “But what does that mean today?” We want a single answer to this question, a list of rules to follow. And we too often either fall in love with the list of rules we make (legalism), or we revert back to the Corinthian view and think that there really are no rules (postmodern relativism). Yet what Paul calls us to in Corinthians is a lifestyle that is governed by love (cf. 1 Cor 13). That is really what separates us from the “unclean” things around us. And Paul notes in another writing that it is often up to us to decide how we should practice that love as Christians (cf. Phil 2:12-23: “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”).

That simply places a great deal of emphasis on Christian ethics, not as law, but as the outworking of the “royal law of love” as John Wesley was so fond of quoting (James 2:8; see James and the Law). And that principle is precisely what Paul is using in the letters to the church at Corinth (for example, 1 Cor 13).

Written by: Dennis Bratcher

Originally posted on: Christian Resource Institute

Undeserved Blessings

Something that is undeserved means that you did absolutely nothing to earn it.  Imagine a friend coming up to you and telling you that they have purchased a newly built house, placed new furniture inside, planted a garden and a few trees in the yard, and purchased a new car for YOU.  That is what God did to the Israelites and it’s what he wants to do for you!

I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.’  Joshua 24:13 NKJV

Background: 
In this verse, God speaks to the Israelites and he refers to the Promised Land; the land the Canaanites had been living in for many years.  Numbers 13: 23 and 27 records some of the things the children of Israel saw before being stuck in the wilderness for forty years: “When they came to the Eshcol Valley, they cut off a branch with only one bunch of grapes on it. They carried it on a pole between two of them.  They also brought some pomegranates and figs.  This is what they reported to Moses: “We went to the land where you sent us. It really is a land flowing with milk and honey.  Here’s some of its fruit.”  When God speaks to them in Joshua 24, they have received the promise and he now reminds them of how much he has done for them.

Application:
God will give us finished products as blessings.  The Israelites did not have to build any city or plant the farm lands before they were able to eat the fruits of the harvest.  They were given cities ready to be inhabited and fields ready to be harvested.  Likewise, God will give us houses that are fully furnished, jobs that are fully equipped, and ministries that are ripe for us to function effectively.  God will take us to places that are fully equipped with all that we need.

All we have to do is be obedient and follow his instructions and then we’ll be given all the things promised.  This is the undeserved blessing: getting things/positions/reaching places you did nothing to achieve.  

Is God wicked for hardening someone’s heart?

For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might utterly destroy them, and that they might receive no mercy, but that He might destroy them, as the Lord had commanded Moses (Joshua 11:20 NKJV).

I had often wondered why a “just” God would harden (figuratively) someone’s heart.  Why would he do something that seemed so cruel as to not allow the people to make a choice for themselves?  Well, I did some search using bible dictionaries, concordances, and commentaries.  

In the verse above, “their hearts” was referring to the people who lived in Canaan at that time.  Joshua 11 describes “…many people as the sand on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots” ready to fight against Joshua and the Israelites.  Imaging the sand on the seashore, and now picture those people. 

download.jpg

This was happening years after the death of Moses, who led the people out of Egypt.  At this point in Joshua 11, after spending forty years in the wilderness, the Israelites were finally obtaining the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis.  After seeing such a great army rise up against them, God tells Joshua not to be afraid as victory was sure.  After about five (5) years of fighting against these people (AMP version Joshua 11:18), Joshua defeated all the kings and the armies, and took control of all the cities of the kings.  However, the other remaining Canaanites, after seeing this, still did not make peace with the Israelites because the Lord hardened their hearts. 

Harden, a Hebrew word חזק, transliterated as châzaq (pronounced khaw-zak’) means to strengthen, be courageous, grow firm, be resolute, behave self valiantly, to withstand (BDB and Strong’s Concordances).  It is the same word the Bible uses to speak of God hardening Pharaoh’s heart in Exodus 4:21 “And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go“.  Basically, when God “hardens” someone’s heart, he makes them feel brave, courageous, and strong.  He makes them feel like they are able to win the fight against his people. 

There are times that God will make us feel like we are brave and that we can fight any battle and win. And he does tell us that we are more than overcomers (Romans 8:37). However, we must learn to discern what God is doing.  Even though we may feel mighty, it doesn’t mean that the battle is for us to fight.  The Gibeonites were some of the mightiest men in the land of Canaan (Joshua 10:2), yet they did not fool themselves that they could go against God’s will, to give Israel the land, so they lied in order to live. This goes to show that we must not be led by feelings but by the Spirit.

At times, it’s not even God who is boosting us, it’s the devil.  We need to stop following  our feelings.  Just because it feels right, doesn’t mean it’s right.  It might not feel like the wrong thing to do but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.  How many times have we said we thought something was the right thing to do but looking back we see that it was a mistake?  Enough times.

I Samuel 6:6 says, “Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He did mighty things among them, did they not let the people go, that they might depart?”  God gave them the feeling but they accepted it, they took it. So, it is them, and not God, who hardened their own hearts (became obstinate / stubborn).  When we’re stubborn, it means that we know the truth, but, we prefer to have our own way instead of being obedient. 

Instead of being led by feelings, seek God for the truth and follow his truth no matter how brave/courageous we may feel.  In answer to the question, no God is not wicked for making someone feel brave/courageous because they know God’s will and acting on the feelings is their choice. 

Written by: Klasik Krys ~ Creator of the blog site, lover of God, and an inspirational speaker.  Developer of the YouTube Channel “Purposeful Inspiration”.

The Price of Disobedience 

When I was a teen, I walked away from God as I had been baptised at a young age.  I started having sex, I tried smoking weed but I didn’t like it.  I never liked ‘drinking’, and I just could not understand the logic behind getting drunk, so I ensured I never drank too much.  I worst didn’t like parties even though I attended a few to see if I would like the setting.  I was searching for something to fill a void I felt inside.  That search was costly. 

No one, except for the Church, told me that there was a price for my disobedience.  And the sad thing was that I refused to listen to what the Church had to say.

Sin is a deceptive lifestyle.  It makes you feel like nothing is wrong with how you live and that the Church is just here to oppress you.  The truth about sin is the best kept secret to those who live it.  The truth is, sin (disobedience to God) has a price that must be paid.

Joshua 7:11 records God telling Joshua that “Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them.  For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff.  Therefore, the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction.  Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.”
Committing a sin, disobeying God, can cause us to suffer loses.  In the verse above, “sinned” in Hebrew (חטא, transliterated châṭâ’) means to miss [the goal/standard]; to sin; and by inference it means to forfeit (Strong’s Concordance).  When you forfeit something, it means that you have lost or given up something as punishment or because of a rule/law (Merriam-Webster).

What did I give up to live in sin?  I gave up purity, peace of mind, joy, love, and contentment.  The price I paid was suffering from depression, having thoughts of and attempting suicide, having low self-esteem, and feeling as if i was invaluable and unimportant.

Sin has a price.   In Joshua 7 (please read the entire chapter for yourself) one man named Achan disobedied God.  Many people had to die because of it.  God told the people that when they fight against Jericho, they should take all the gold, silver, brass, and iron to be placed in the temple/tabernacle.  Then he told them that everything else should be destroyed as he considered the things cursed.  Achan took some garments (the cursed item) and he stole some of the gold and silver that belonged to God.

What was the price of Achan’s sin?

  • About 30 men died in the next battle as God presence did not go with them.
  • Achan’s entire family was stoned to death along with him.

Disobedience has a price.  Persons who get involved in gangs or criminal activities, at times pay a steep price as it has resulted in an innocent family member being killed or imprisoned.  

If Achan had been obedient, his life and the life of many innocent people would have been spared.  If I had been obedient, I would not have had to battle with overcoming my addiction to sex and changing how I saw myself.

If you had been obedient, what payment would you not need to pay?

If you remain obedient, what are some of the things you can avoid?

I want to encourage you,  be obedient to God’s instructions or you may lose the job, husband/wife, child, or home you were supposed to get.  We should not think our disobedience will be rewarded.  And as long as we are still practising or keeping the sin, we will be stuck where we are, unable to obtain our promises.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 ESV

 

Written by: Klasik Krys ~ Creator of the blog site, lover of God, and an inspirational speaker.  Developer of the YouTube Channel “Purposeful Inspiration”.

Destruction of the Temple (Interpretation of Matthew 24:1–10)

Jesus left the temple area and was going on His way when His disciples came up to Him to call His attention to the [magnificent and massive] [a]buildings of the temple. And He said to them, “Do you see all these things? I assure you and most solemnly say to you, not one stone here will be left on another, which will not be torn down.” While Jesus was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, and said, “Tell us, when will this [destruction of the temple] take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end (completion, consummation) of the age?” Jesus answered, “Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]. For many will come in My name [misusing it, and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to Me], saying, ‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. You will continually hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end [of the age]. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble]. “Then they will hand you over to [endure] tribulation, and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will be offended and repelled [by their association with Me] and will fall away [from the One whom they should trust] and will betray one another [handing over believers to their persecutors] and will hate one another. (AMP)

Matthew 24: 1 – 2 speaks about the destruction of the Temple.

The temple spoken of in the text was located on the Mount of Olives in Bethphage, Jerusalem (Matt 21).  According to TruthNet.org, Jesus was speaking prophetically about the physical destruction of the Temple and that “this was fulfilled when the Romans [sic] armies burned the 2nd Temple in AD 70, then they threw down all the stones from the Temple Mount in their hunt for melted gold between the walls”.

In examining some keywords, the destruction of the temple can be figurative as well as literal.  The keywords that will be examined are: building, stone, and thrown down.

Martin posits that “… Bethphage was the site where the Sanhedrin determined legal measurements for the nation.  It was where they set the limits on sacred and secular things (the size of the city, the Temple, the day to start the sacred calendar, when to observe the festival days, starting the census, etc.)”.  Bethphage was the second seat of the Sanhedrin, which would explain why Jesus gave the Scribes and Pharisees such grave warnings in Matthew 23.  Therefore, the temple in Bethphage would have held great religious significance to the people.

When Jesus left the temple, the disciples wanted Him to see the buildings of the temple. This could be the design of structures already built or new construction that was being erected, as the Greek word for building, ‘oikodome’, implies (Strong’s Concordance).  This demonstrates that the Jews received great pride from the physical structure itself.  However, Jesus’ response was that the temple would be destroyed, “…there shall not be left here one stone upon another” (vs 2).  Stone, according to Thayer Concordance, can signify the literal stones used to build places or metaphorically represent Christ.  The English word, thrown down, is derived from the Greek word kataluo, which means “to dissolve, to destroy, to render vain, or overthrow” (Thayer Concordance).

Therefore, Jesus’ prophecy of the temple could mean that the religious importance placed on the temple would be rendered vain, become insignificant, due to His crucifixion.  The pride of the people of God would no longer come from a physical structure.  In other words, decisions made by the Sanhedrin concerning secular and sacred matters would be overthrown and dissolved as these were established under the old covenant but Jesus came to establish a new covenant.  Moreover, the spiritual meaning of the temple would be dissolved as the “stones” used were not derived from the “rock” that would establish the Church (Matt 16:18).

 

Works Cited

Martin, Ernest L. “The Significance of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives.” Hope of Israel Ministries. N.p. Web. 15 Jun. 2017.

Strong’s Concordance. “Buildings.” My Sword Bible App.

Thayer Concordance. “Thrown down.” My Sword Bible App.

TruthNet.org. “Why there needs to be a Third Temple?.. Matthew 24” TruthNet. N.p, 2012

 

Bad Advice

Bad Advice: Whose instructions do you follow?

Have you ever wanted to do something but was unsure of which step to take or what decision to make? At these times, we begin to think of which friend(s) would be able to help us, so we go to them and ask for advice.

Nothing is wrong with getting advice from our family and friends. Proverbs 15: 22 (NKJV) says, “without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established”. Evidently, there are benefits from seeking advice (counsel) from persons. However, we need to know that, even though we take advice from our counsellors, we still need to ask God to guide us.

In the book of Joshua, chapter 7, we will see how taking the counsel of men alone was to the detriment of the Israelites. In order for us to fully understand this story, allow me to give you the background.

The book of Joshua gives us the historical facts pertaining to the fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis; that his descendants would be given the land of Canaan as an inheritance. Joshua, the second leader of the people of Israel, was from the tribe of Ephraim. He was told by God to be strong and courageous when he assumed leadership after the death of Moses (Joshua 1). Joshua’s first battle, in his position as leader, was against the city of Jericho and he was victorious as God had given him instructions in what approach to take against the city.

Jehovah told Joshua that they should march around the wall once for six days, but on the seventh day they should march around the wall seven times and on the seventh time they should blow the trumpets and shout. They followed that instruction to the “T”. However…someone was disobedient. Achan. In addition to telling the Israelites how to approach the battle, Jehovah also told them that after they had destroyed the city and killed the people, they should take nothing but the gold, silver, iron, and bronze which were to be placed in the treasury in the tabernacle of the Lord. Everything else was considered “accursed” (cursed). Achan, being led by his desires, took a garment(s), and stole some of the gold and silver that were supposed to be used in the house (tent) of the Lord.

The story took a turn for the worst when Joshua and Israel began to make preparations to fight their next battle. Joshua 7:2-3 says, “Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out (view) the country.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.

The word “view”, used in the KJV version, is from the Hebrew word רגל (transliterated as râgal, and pronounced raw-gal’). It also signifies to walk about for the purposes of exploration, and to spy (Strong’s Concordance). In essence, the men were supposed to bring a report on what was happening in the city. If we take a look at the prior exploration of Jericho, that was what the spies did; they gave Joshua a report of everything that happened to them (Joshua 2).

However, the men who spied out Ai returned with not only a report, but a strategy. They told Joshua what approach he should take in fighting the people of Ai. That approach is different from the one in Joshua 2:23 when some men spied out Jericho. Those men only told Joshua what happened to them but never told him how to fight. It is possible that the spies in Joshua 7 were more confident of victory than the spies in Joshua 2, because Jericho had a massive wall around the city, while Ai’s defence was significantly weaker. So, they told Joshua what to do and because of that, he never stopped to ask God what to do.

We should never be so confident about our plans/intentions that we fail to ask God for directions. As a result of Joshua failing to seek God, he was not aware that they would have lost because sin was in the camp. He did not give God the opportunity to say, “No, Joshua. Do not go up to fight because I will not be with you. Someone has disobeyed me.” Or something to that effect. Yes, God could have said something to him but as His servant, it was Joshua’s duty to ask His master what to do.

If we are God’s children, why do we listen to everyone else’s opinion/instruction except God’s? As with our earthly parents, whom we must get approval from before we can go somewhere, it should be similar with our heavenly father. We should find out what he desires of us.

After asking/hearing from our friends if we should study a particular programme or course; date a particular individual; attend a specific event; pursue a certain career path; or even take a trip, we should get a second opinion from Jehovah. Why? Simply because he knows everything, he sees the end from the beginning, he knows what will happen whether it is good or bad. However, the greatest answer is that he is our father and he only wants whats best for us.

So, we look back at Joshua and we see that he listened to the spies. Although it was not their intention, as we can assume they meant well, their advice was a bad one. However, Joshua followed their counsel and went to fight the people of Ai. As a result of not seeking God, and because sin was in the camp, approximately forty (40) men died. Wives lost their husbands, children lost their fathers, parents lost their sons, and siblings lost their brothers. All because counsel/advice was followed without anyone seeking God’s input.

Every decision has a consequence. Every action has a reaction.

Whose instructions do you follow?

Watch “Seeking God before Starting Friendships” on YouTube

Some times we feel capable of making simple (or what seems simple to us) decisions. We start friendships so easily and think nothing is wrong because God wants us to love everyone. But still, God wants us to seek him about every decision. Especially decisions about friendships. If you’re about to start a friendship, watch this video. Read Joshua 9.

Lovest thou me?

image

So then when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love thee…. (John 21:15)

On the evening when Jesus kept the Passover feast with his disciples  Peter had ardently professed his love for the Lord (Matthew 26). Following that great declaration, Peter’s love for the Lord weakened considerably when he denied him three times (Matthew 26). Now the Lord is giving Peter the opportunity to once again profess his love. With all my being, I am convinced that this question, “Lovest thou me” is tremendously important and most applicable to you and I today.

The faithful child of God is not one who has just merely been  baptized although that is essential (1 Peter 3:21) or just a person who attends worship services on the Lord’s day and then lives the rest of the week as if there were no Christ (Romans 12:2). God’s child is one whose religion is in his heart and life every day because he/she loves Jesus deeply with all their being. This love is not a shallow emotional thing with some kind of hollow profession (Prov. 3:5, Mark 12:30-31). This love is one that is active (1 Cor. 15:58). It is a love evidenced by a complete obedience to the will of the Lord (John 14:15, 1 John 5:3). If we dare answer as Peter, “Lord you know I love you” then we are going to give to him the best we have to give. So often it seems that God gets the crumbs, the leftovers. Many spend their days, using their time and talents in pursuit of fame, fortune, success in life and popularity. Wealth is used to acquire things or to satisfy craving for amusements and recreation. Then once a week, maybe twice even, attend a worship service and say, “Lord this is what is left of my life, it is yours.”

Serving God with a deep, abiding love will bring to us comfort, peace and joy untold even when our feeble frame is sore troubled (Psalms 100:2, Phil. 4:6-7, Isa. 12:2-3, Col. 1:9-11).  Today, if we are not willing to give our Lord the best of our lives, then we are not ready to one day meet him on that far away strand.

Lovest thou me? What a profound, thought provoking question for our consideration. Tell me, how will you answer this soul searching question?

Charles Hicks