Monday, January 6, 2014

"The LORD fought for Israel"

Day #10:  Daily Bible Reading - January 7th

Scripture Reading:  Joshua 6-10 ...

Joshua 6-10 may be difficult for some to read and even more difficult for some to understand.  How could God order Joshua and Israel to march into a land that was not theirs and kill men, women and children?  Some today point to things like this to explain why they don't believe in the God of the Bible, Israel's God.  Such savage behavior cannot be the work of the same God who sent Jesus into the world to save all who believe in Him!

As we began our reading of God's Word more than a week ago, I pointed out that the only way to approach the Bible is to ask yourself what each passage tells you about the God whom we worship, the Creator of all things.  Because the entire Bible is the Word of God, only by looking at what each part reveals about God's character do we get a complete picture of God Himself.  And only when you understand God's character will you understand why He had to send His own Son to save people like you and me.

Many people today want to believe that people are basically "good" and therefore unworthy of judgment.  Most people refuse to believe in a God who would judge mankind so harshly.  Yet, we have already witnessed the total destruction of the entire human race, except for Noah and his family.  And now we see Israel's army entering the promised land, the land God had promised to Abraham and his descendants centuries before, and destroying entire cities ... because God told them to do so.

If some nation did this today, there would be a huge outcry, and rightly so!  How can we explain this?  It is really quite simple:  All mankind deserves judgment and we read in the NEW Testament that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).  The same people who judge God for telling Israel to destroy the people living in the land in the days of Joshua, tell us that God has no right to judge people today.  They say there is no hell, that God loves everyone and that there is no judgment.

Yet, if that is true, then Christianity is a false religion.  If man does not deserve judgment and if God is not going to judge anyone, then there was really no reason for Jesus to come.  Or, as some say, if Jesus died to save everyone, whether or not they believe in Him, none of it matters anyway.  Then it is true that you can believe whatever you want.  Nobody can tell you what to believe - even God.  It's up to you to figure it out yourself.

BUT, if you understand that the ONLY way to know God is through His Word, as His Spirit teaches you, then you realize that you must accept ALL of God's Word.  Doing so opens your eyes to see the full character of God and moves you to thanksgiving for His grace.  You and I deserve the same fate as those destroyed by the armies of Israel.  We are no different.  God's holiness demands judgment and death.  God cannot look upon evil.  As He did with the flood, God will do again with fire at the return of Jesus.

We live in the "day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2) and God is being patient (II Peter 3:9).  He has sent His gospel into the world and is calling His chosen ones to Himself, one at a time, day by day.  Later, God would send a nation even more wicked than His own people, to destroy Israel and to scatter the survivors throughout the earth.  Yet, always God kept a remnant for Himself, who believed in Him and worshiped Him.  Are you part of that remnant today?  Are you safe from God's judgment through faith in Jesus?  Have you tasted His grace and kindness and mercy?  If so, give thanks to the LORD who alone is worthy of worship and praise.  Trust in Him and warn others of His coming judgment.  The end will come and only those who believe in Him will be saved!

"Father, I acknowledge that You are right when You judge and that it is only by Your grace that anyone can stand before You and not perish.  Continue Your work in me that I may testify to Your greatness and be an instrument in Your hands to offer life to those who remain in the darkness of sin and death.  Thank you for saving me, through Your Son Jesus Christ, to whom be praise now and forever.  Amen"

1 comment:

  1. The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. (Joshua 9:14 NIV) A reminder to myself to not rely on my own understanding but to bring everything before God.