If we have taken care of sin in the camp and we have been faithful to inquire of our Father but we still can't hear....what should we do?
There are certainly times that we know our hearts are clean but the way ahead looks foggy and unclear. We have no certain direction for the future. We may only be able to see enough for today. And maybe that's even a struggle. So we cry out... "show us the way". But God seems silent.
I wonder if the silence gives us the urgency to press in harder and be more vigilant about hearing him correctly. And sometimes God says wait I am not ready to move yet....so we stand at attention....Waiting.
Is waiting as hard for you as it is me?
O my goodness! When I'm waiting in line behind that person who forgot to bring the tag along with the item....or they have a question that requires the clerk to look through her flyer...and the light pops on for additional help and a phone call is made....and I wait....while others check out in the lanes beside me. It's all I can do to stay calm without even one eye roll.(that may or may not be visible)
It all seems so trivial as I type because really what's 30 extra minutes? But at the time it seems like 300 years....and it's always stretching. I do think I am getting a little bit better at waiting. Sometimes I try to think of other things or distract myself with magazines or browsing the web on my phone. And that usually works but it's when I'm trying to get out of that store to the next thing I have scheduled that makes me get a little crazy.
And so it is when I am waiting on God to open a door. When I have no agenda but simply to do what he has asked me to do and lay down what he asks me to lay down I am able to rest and smile in the middle of the wait. I can faithfully do the right thing.
Simply saying... "Okay God, I know you're in control and if this isn't moving as fast as I think it should....I know you have a different plan. If this is moving me in a completely different direction than I had dreamed....I see it as your hand and even though I don't understand it, I am moving with you. Bring me a new dream. And God, if this is the way you want to be glorified in me than no matter what you bring me I want you, more than my own agenda...even if it costs me my life."
One of the many things I'm struck with is how God gives specific directions for each battle the Israelites faced. He didn't tell them ahead of time what the next 30 years would look like. He gave them specifics for the day. The last chapters of Joshua God is silent. He allows the Israelites rest from battle. He brings them to a land, gives them their inheritance and lets them rest.
They had been reminded through a theophany (a physical manifestation of God) for years back in the desert. He had led them with a pillar of fire. He had spoken directly to their leader..Now God hasn't been as visible to the Israelites, But that doesn't mean he isn't very involved with them. He is still right there with them.
Joshua exhorts the people in the final chapters... "Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses(their only Bible) without turning aside to the right or to the left. Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast(or CLING) to the Lord your God, as you have until now."23:6-8
God speaks to us through his Word. And God speaks to us through those who teach us His Truth.
Sometimes we are looking for a voice like we were sitting across the table from him. But most times God speaks to us through his Written Word and Through those who teach us his Word.
Joshua was telling the people the Truth of the Word God had already spoken. God's truth doesn't change. Not from month to month, year to year or century to century. His truth remains the same. We can be sure we are following God if we are following his truth... "not turning aside to the right or to the left".
I love what Joshua reminds them of.... "The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of you routs a thousand because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. So be very careful to love the Lord your God." 23:9 -11
GOD FIGHTS FOR YOU! That is so powerful! God is fighting for his own. He may not be speaking in a loud physical voice but if you are walking in his paths and loving him with your heart and soul... he is Fighting for you! Doesn't that give you confidence?! He is with you!
Joshua finally says my very favorite part of the passage...this is So good!
He says "Now I am about to go the way of the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord you God gave has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. But....just as every good promise of the Lord your God has come true, so the Lord will bring on you all the evil he has threatened, until he has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. if you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord's anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you." Joshua 23:14-15
Joshua was reminding them of the faithfulness of God...He has fulfilled EVERY promise!! And then he's encouraging them "don't be unfaithful to God". God is Justice and he will bring about your sure destruction.
That's the healthy fear of God that we need to embrace. He will be faithful when we love and obey him but he will withdraw his blessing if we turn away from him.
God is still faithful to us today. He loves us and fights for us. He is Mighty to save his people!
My encouragement for you today is this... To hear God's voice go to his Word. Seek him. Ask him to speak his revealed word to you. What is he saying? Check it with people you trust who also seek God's face.
He may just say walk faithfully in my commands...just keep doing what you're doing. Don't turn away from me. Stay close, in fact, Cling to me. I will show you the way for today.
Sometimes he says, "Today is the day. I will do something new. Hang on to me...this ride is gonna be bumpy."
And Other times he simply says..."Take your inheritance. Rest in the land I have brought you to. Be faithful to me in the land...Don't forget me. I will not forget you."
Father, You are a good and gracious God. You have faithfully led us never forgetting your promises! May we love you more and more each day. Give us a Love for your law. Give us a love for obedience. May we have clear hearing and unveiled eyes to be willing to walk into a new thing if you call us to that. We are your humble servants. We love you and want you near. Thank you for teaching us your ways!
Open our eyes to be fully seeing. Open our ears to hear your voice! We will move when we hear you speak. We wait for you.