I have started Judges this morning, and a theme has come forward. More like a big exclamation point!!!!!!!!! with arrows screaming >>>>>>>>”LOOK AT THIS HOLLY, MEDITATE ON THIS, I HAVE SOMETHING TO SHOW YOU”. Do you ever get messages from God like that when you are reading His Word? This morning I knew was going to be a “writing” morning for me, God made that clear.
The Israelites have been delivered to the promised land. They have been given their inheritance, their land, and have begun to conquer the land by God’s hand. A little background in Exodus shows God told them “I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands and you will drive them out before you.” Exodus 23:31. This is a promise from God. Then in verses 32-33 He commands them “You shall make no covenant with them or their gods. They shall not live in your land because they will make you sin against me. For if you serve their gods it will be a snare to you.”
If God promises He will deliver, if He says you WILL drive them out of your land, it should happen, right? Fast forward to Judges 1:19 “but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had iron chariots.” This seems reasonable, the Canaanites had superior weapons, iron chariots, so in this instance they just couldn’t quite drive them out of the land. This is where it began. The lesson. This is where I saw that the Israelites started trusting in their flesh to accomplish the task, and didn’t have faith in God’s power, that is when it failed. The excuses began, “it’s just too hard”, “they are too strong”, “I’m doing the best I can”, which then leads to the slippery slope of “will it really hurt if they stay here”, “we can still control them into forced labor”, “I can still honor you God, but live amongst something that could make me sin”. See where this is going? What have I let stay inhabited in my life, my heart, my thoughts, because I thought the iron chains of its hold on me were too strong, or that it is just my personality, or it really isn’t hurting me, or any other excuses I come up with other than obedience. Where do I stop trusting in God and his might and power lived out in my life and instead try to work through my flesh only and try to conquer things my way or think I can ignore them?
Is God always right? He is. Judges 2:11-12 tells us the Israelites “did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals, and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them.” God knows what is GOOD for us and what is not. He wants to protect us from those snares and traps and slippery slopes.
God promises us we have the power to obey Him in all instances, because when we are saved, when we place our faith in Christ, we have the same power that raised Him from the dead. God gives us the grace through Christ to cover all of our sins, our covenant is secure, God will never leave us, but letting our minds wander away from the fixed truth of His power and might in us, produces disobedience and sin. I am weak but He is strong. The little kids song teaches us that, and His Word is full of that strength that is now part of us! Isaiah 40:29 says “He gives strength to the weary , and to him who lacks might He increases power.” That is why Paul can boast about his weaknesses, that is where the power is perfected. (2Corinthians 12:9). But it is HIM, it is not of us. He has me there. My heart is prostrate on the ground in awe of His goodness as I cry out to Him for humility and to take “ me” out of the equation, at the same time my soul is standing tall by the Holy Spirit giving me strength through the power of Christ in me to be ready and obedient. He is teaching me about His strength that is in me, EXACTLY, at the time I need it more than ever. I wasn’t searching for a lesson in God’s power this morning but that is what He gave me. He is cleaning out my heart and reminding me there is no excuse for sin, no matter what “hard” life circumstance I am in. I must be in tuned to His Word, to His whispers, of how to live my life so when it gets to the really tough parts my belief in His power will produce obedience. Examples of this in my life look like this….
Put your phone down, look at your family, be present.(Proverbs 31:27)
Don’t open your mouth and say that. (Philippians 2:14)
Don’t let your mind wander to that place. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Don’t look/read/watch/listen to that. (1 Corinthians 6:12)
Get up, you need Me more than sleep. (Psalm 1:2-3)
When I ignore those reminders from God, then I am giving up and saying the iron chariots are too strong to defeat.
As we wade further into this journey of adoption for our family I continue to see God’s faithfulness in preparing me. We will have two boys staying with us for two weeks starting December 25. A gift from the Lord for sure! I don’t know if God is preparing me to be the mom of these two boys or if He is preparing me to only have them for a few weeks to foster. I don’t know if He is preparing me to have strength for going from mom to one child suddenly to mom of three children in a matter of months or if He is growing my faith and strength through Him for the loss I will feel when they leave. But He is preparing me. Today, this lesson of His power in our lives to accomplish ANY task He gives us and the destruction that comes if we don’t, is a perfectly timed lesson. The comfort that gives me, the firm foundation of hope that gives me, is proof of God’s overwhelming love for me. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised!
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:18-23.