Thursday, April 13, 2017

April 13

Joshua 7:16-9:2; Luke 16:1-18; Psalm 82:1-8; Proverbs 13:2-3

Sometimes being a follower of the One True God can be a little disorienting. We know that character of God, and yet there are times when he doesn’t seem to act within that character.

In our Joshua passage today, it appears like God is acting contrary to the characteristic mercy he usually shows. Instead of granting mercy and pardon to Achan when he confesses his wrongdoing and sin, the nation instead takes him out and stones him (see Josh. 7:20-25). This doesn’t sound like the God I know and trust.

And yet, God IS being true to his character, just maybe not the characteristic I would have liked. He is being true to his justice and holiness trait. God wants a people who turn away from sin. A people who know what it means to fear God and serve him only. I don’t understand why Achan had to die, but I do know God is always good and always true to his loving character.

Are there times in our lives when God appears to act contrary to what we know his character to be? If you’ve been alive for more than, oh say, 3 months, then you know the answer to be yes. And when he does we often become disoriented and discouraged. We see this in Joshua as he is trying to make sense of this whole incident with Achan.

“Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged…’” (Josh. 8:1). The Lord knows and remembers that we are dust and that we don’t see clearly. He knows when we need just that little bit of encouragement, reminding us that he is still good and still going to do what he said he was going to do. The Israelites were still going to go into the land and conquer it. They were still on mission.

I have recently had a time of some disorientation in my life. I have been praying and looking for the power of God. His word is so full of power, and Jesus seems to promise that same power of good works, healing, and spreading of the gospel to his followers. Yet, when I look around at the church and Christians around me, I just don’t see it. So I pray. I ask God to move. I ask him to show me how I can participate in bringing in his kingdom in the power of word and deed. Yet, he has seemed silent. I see Christians struggling with living the “abundant life” that is promised in his word.

What do I do with this time of disorientation? I press more and more into him. I do not grow discouraged or afraid. I believe his promises. I live into them even when I can’t see them at work. That is faith. One of my favorite quotes comes from Corrie ten Boom, who lived through more horrific persecution and loss than most of us could ever imagine. She re-orients me to truth in her words, “Faith is simply trusting the character of God even when life gives you reasons not to.”

We are still on mission and we are going to conquer.

- Mary Matthias

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