OYB April 15
Julie FerwerdaAre you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
- 2009 Apr 15
11:4 All these kings responded by mobilizing their warriors and uniting to fight against Israel. Their combined armies, along with a vast array of horses and chariots, covered the landscape like the sand on the seashore. The surrendered Christian life is like this (Yep!). If we are serving God's Kingdom, we should be constantly surrounded by fighting warriors. Remember, if Satan's not bothering you, you're not bothering him! So is there any good news in this? Move ahead.
11:6 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them. By this time tomorrow they will all be dead. Cripple their horses and burn their chariots." These comforting words can be applied to us today. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" NO ONE. We may not receive the deliverance by tomorrow, but we will surely see the deliverance IF we obey His command of crippling their horses and burning their chariots. How do we do this? Vs. 8 "The Israelites chased them..."Ephesians 6:10-19. Put on the full armor of God and take your stand against the devil. This is not a defensive position, this is the offensive position of a WARRIOR for Jesus!
11:16 So Joshua conquered the entire region... Choose belief in spite of the odds. Your battles are won on the battlefield of prayer, then by obedience and trust (belief).
17:16-19 He fell face down on the ground at Jesus' feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Didn't I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Does only this foreigner return to give glory to God?" And Jesus said to the man, "Stand up and go. Your faith has made you well." This is a powerful picture of the Jews who took Jesus for granted, and the Gentiles who were "healed" by God and gratefully became a tool of God's glory, (though not perfectly).
17:28 Lot and Noah could possibly represent Christians and Jews being divinely protected from the fearsome judgments by the Lord during the period of Tribulation prophesied here and in Revelation. Notice these judgments begin when it is business as usual and no one has a clue. Some people think the events of the Tribulation have already happened in history (they have to some degree), but since I have adopted the Jewish understanding that history repeats itself (circular reasoning), I believe there is one last Great Tribulation to come. Partly because of the verse: Mark 13:19, "For those will be days of greater horror than at any time since God created the world. And it will never happen again."
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven's Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O Lord of Heaven's Armies, my King and my God! What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises.
What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.
A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O Lord of Heaven's Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.
I had to indulge in this Psalm, because I personally see the Millennial Kingdom written all over it! David is prophesying about dwelling in His courts for those who "set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem." In other words, those who chose to despise the things of this world (Valley of Weeping) in order to save themselves for the refreshing springs of living in the presence of Jesus in Jerusalem! David even contrasts being a gatekeeper for Jesus' Temple in Jerusalem rather than to live in the homes of the wicked. Since there will still be wicked people on earth during the Millennial reign, David meant this literally. The good life of the wicked, is still death and emptiness compared to serving Jesus in the smallest of ways in His Kingdom! What awaits the person who chooses a life of sacrifice here? "The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right..."
Questions for reflection:
Do you ever feel like you are surrounded by a vast array of enemies who are clad for combat? Honestly, I don't remember a time in the recent past, anyhow, that I didn't feel this way. But lately, this battle is hitting home as I have been put in a position where I feel completely surrounded and completely helpless to "save myself" or improve my outlook. Strangely, this is exactly where God wants us! He wants His children to be "broken" to the point that we are fully reliant on Him for the outcome. He wants our lives to exemplify a picture that, without Jesus, all hope is gone. Remember, these are our Red Sea experiences in life. We do not know how powerful God is to save us, unless we are surrounded on every side with impossibilities, and only God can deliver us. If you are feeling surrounded as I am today, join me in steadfast faith that if we are patient, God will surely hand over our enemies to us, and we will take back what has been stolen from us!
Are you chasing down your (spiritual) enemies in the power of Jesus, or letting them corner you in paralyzing fear? Based on our lesson today, what steps do you need to take to get back on the offensive?