Reading the fourteen chapters I read today left me a little bit bewildered, because there is so much to think about when it comes to writing and what there is to post. As I sat down to write I was not sure of what to post here at Fire and Hammer; and then I believe I saw the way this was to go.
My reading consisted of Joshua 23 – 24 and Judges 1 – 12. In Joshua his life is coming to an end and he offers a challenge to the people he is leading;
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 (KJV)
I know, I know a very familiar verse to every Christian; at least it should be. However, I think I see it a bit differently now after reading it this time. I noticed that Joshua puts the responsibility of their obedience upon their shoulders. I guess I knew that previously, but it seemed more pronounced today. Hear the conversation between Joshua and the people,
“And Joshua said unto the people, ‘Ye cannot serve the LORD: for He is an holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good.’ And the people said unto Joshua, ‘Nay; but we will serve the LORD.’ And Joshua said unto the people, ‘Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve Him.’ And they said, ‘We are witnesses.’ ‘Now therefore put away, said he, ‘the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.'” vv. 19-23
God demands that His people be holy. Joshua gave them the truth of God and His Word, and they said we will be responsible. “We are willing to suffer the consequences of our disobedience when we do so”, “We are witnesses” of this.
We then enter the book of Judges, read of Joshua’s death, and how the people anger the LORD through their worship of foreign gods; which actually begins by departing from GOD. Disobedience is the first step of departure from GOD;
“And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” Judges 1:19
The chariots would have appeared to them to be like a military tank to a man on foot in today’s army. Yet, I must ask, What of God and faith in Him? Is that not how the walls of Jericho came tumbling down? Is that not how the waters of the Red Sea parted? What about the water from the Rock? The Manna from heaven? Then we read,
“And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, ‘I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.” 2:1-3
So now, because of their absence of trust in the LORD, their departure from Him to other gods; GOD leaves the enemy in their midst to act as “thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.” We as Christians can sit back and judge them and ask these questions concerning their faith; but what about our own. When it comes to holiness are there things in our hearts and lives that separate us from the blessing of God?
Our holiness is, of course, through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is His holiness, His righteousness, in which we must rest; however, we too have a responsibility to obedience in “… faith which worketh by love.” (Galations 5:6).
Grow in faith and love toward Jesus Christ.
-Tim A. Blankenship