Conquest & Nation Building (24-30 Mar)
Joshua 9-24; Judges 1-5
When is the last time you started something new, something you have never done? It might have been for work, something at home, or just a new hobby. There is often a lot to learn. Research, reading, watching videos … then trial and error until you get it right.
When I was learning about hunting, there was so much that I didn’t know. I started with some bow hunting, and then did some rifle hunting. Some of the things I needed to know I could adapt from other areas of my life. I knew how to stay warm in the cold, I knew how to sit still and be quiet. I wasn’t fond of some of the tree stands my brother had set up, but I made it through that fear. I had to understand and practice with weapons. I needed to know where to go, and learn some basic habits of deer, plus figure out how to communicate with the other hunters in our party. And that was only the beginning!
Not only did Joshua have the “academics” of taking charge of the Promised Land as God had commanded him, but he also had to get out and do it. He couldn’t just learn about it, there was action required. Nations to be conquered, procedures to follow, land to be distributed to different groups. On top of all of this the nation put too much faith in themselves and some had lost faith in God. They needed to choose to serve God again (Joshua 24).
After Joshua dies, this pattern continues. Israel disobeys God and sins. Failure in one area leads to other failures, and God hand them over to their enemies for judgement, usually oppression and slavery on a national level. Israel repents and cries out to God who hears their pleas and through his grace raises up a leader, often a military leader, to rescue them. What follows is a period of victory and obedience to God, but they fall in to sin and idolatry again only to start the cycle over again. Each time, they fall further and further into the hole and their lives get darker and darker. But God continues to rescue them through his grace.
Do we see this pattern in our lives? Are we trying to conquer something God has given us to conquer but we can’t seem to do it? Or maybe we have learned how to do it, and are doing it well, but we fall into old patterns and sin and/or idolatry rears its ugly head and takes us captive. We can repent and cry out to God, but each time our sin gets deeper and deeper. This is absolutely the same as the nation of Israel.
They took land, divided it up, but did not follow God’s direction for how the land was conquered. They did not destroy the Canaanites, but instead intermarried, worship their Gods, and adopt their traditions regarding worship especially. They needed a rescue mission!
Whenever I am learning something new, I am never perfect from the start. Most of the time I never become perfect at doing something as well. But I do know that after I learn the “academics” of how to do something I can practice. I need to follow whatever steps I’ve learned as well as pay attention to any changes that might happen. I can’t lose sight of my Savior, or everything else will fall apart as well. I need to stay away from rescue missions, but if I need one, I know how to call one right now.
Do you need a rescue mission? Do you need to repent and cry out to God? Will he give you a measure of his grace? Do you trust in God’s ways to point you toward grace? How much do you need God’s grace? How have you seen His grace in your life? How have you seen His grace this week, or even today?
See y’all Sunday!