Wednesday 6th March
Nobody likes to read about war. War saddens my heart. In fact sometimes when I read some of the Old Testament stories, as we have been discovering this last week, there is the harsh reality that God commanded people to be killed at the hands of mighty men of valour such as Joshua. The truth is that opposing God only has one end. It is hard to fathom yet when we understand God’s holy and divine character, we realise that no matter who you are, we all fall short of God’s glory. The only difference between saint and sinner is the recognition of that fact and being reconciled to the Father through accepting Christ’s atoning work on the cross. So we no longer are enemies of God but friends of God, no longer face the wrath of God but abide in His grace.
The simple truth is that this was the case with Israel’s enemies. They opposed God and His people. They built altars and worshipped false idols. They replaced the Almighty Creator God with created beings of no worth and value. Because of their rebellion there was only one end! Utter destruction at the hands of the Joshua’s army. In fact God commanded that they utterly destroy all living creatures and livestock. We read in verse 21 of the account of Jericho’s devastating defeat. The victory had been won and Joshua’s men and were triumphant. The only people who were saved from God’s judgement on Jericho, were Rahab and her family. God had brought His justice on the land and given His chosen people their first victory in the Promised Land and the beginning of the covenantal promise He had made to Abraham, Moses, Isaac and Jacob.
Why have we explored this subject today? Well, in essence the reality of war and death, especially at the command of God’s Words, are hard to swallow and understand. However, it is important to remind and encourage ourselves with the truth that God is sovereign and He is with us when we face adversary and hardships. The end result may not be the same as in Old Testament times as we now live under the banner of grace but God’s desire to see His creations living in purity, obedience and holiness is still as strong today and it was then.
Let this then be the encouragement for you today. That it is not too late to turn back to God and let Him have the victory in your life. It is not too late to make your peace with a Jealous and Holy God who desires your full love and adoration. He never gives up on you. He never gave up on Israel. It is we who give up on Him just as Israel did. But there is hope. God is for us and not against us. He wants us to draw near to Him. He wants us to step out in faith and receive the blessings He has for us. I leave you with these song lyrics from Matt Redman in his inspired song, Never Once. Remember God is faithful and He fights for us.
Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us
Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful