Impact on Jesus Week #11 & #12
More Daily journaling in looking how Scripture Impacted a young boy/man named Jesus!
"For I do not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken." Jesus as quoted by John 12:49
"For I gave them the words you gave me. . ." John 17:8
Jesus was very clear that the words he spoke were not his own. He did not go around just spouting off whatever he wanted! When he spoke to his disciples, the crowds, or to the religious leaders, he was careful to speak only the words he had been given by his Father. Nothing more and nothing less. Why?
In Deuteronomy 18:18 we see another moment of impact on Jesus' life as Moses told the people what the Lord had given him to say:
"I will raise up for them a prophet like you (Moses) from among their brothers. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him."
In these words, Jesus was allowed to see another reason he had come. His purpose was to speak the words God gave him, to be the One leading Gods people by saying what He was commanded to say! In order to do this, it meant he had to be constantly listening, tuning in to what His Father was saying and doing! He did this by giving himself to know the Word of God in which God had revealed himself and by consistently finding a quiet place to hear from God. Jesus had the Word implanted on his heart by his parents and his hunger for it grew. He was thirsty for the Word and above all else, wanted to know his Daddy (as we see at the age of 12 in the temple).
Because Jesus gave himself to speak only what he was commanded, he could with boldness say "Listen to me!" Why? Again the answer is in v.19 "If anyone does not listen to My words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will hold him accountable!"
Jesus was careful to speak only as he was commanded to and he was bold in calling others to listen! If Jesus did not heed these words of Moses and spoke as he wanted to or as he felt, then he would stand condemned by v.20
"But a prophet who presumes to speak in My name anything I have not commanded him to say, . . . Must be put to death."
Jesus was greatly impacted by these stories and the evidence of that continues to show! Praise God Jesus chose to obey and only speak what he was commanded to speak in God's name, and therefore we can know today that all of his words are Truth by which we have been set free!
As Jesus entered into the Olive grove at the Garden of Gethsemane, he shares with his disciples his need for strength. He said "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. . ." (Matthew 26:38, Mark 14:34)
Jesus was facing the greatest battle of his life. He had faced the demon possessed, religious leaders, soldiers, crowds of angry people wanting to stone him, and at once a whole legion of demons. But here, in this hour, he was overcome with sorrow and anxiety. The pressure was so great, Jesus began to sweat drops of blood! (Luke 22:44)
Just before entering this time of prayer, Jesus asked his closest companions, Peter, James, and John, to "Keep watch with me!" In other words, "Fight with me! Pray with me! Lest you too fall into temptation!"
At this moment, Jesus was again being tempted with another way out. The Devil had left him in the wilderness "until an opportune time" and here he is tired, filled with sorrow, bearing the heavy burden of anguish, sweating drops of blood, and even Jesus is tempted to find another way around what he was facing!
Twice Jesus found the disciples sleeping while he prayed. The third time, after saying "Not my will, but Yours be done Father!" We see a different Jesus than the one who entered the garden. When Judah's arrives, we see a confident Jesus! A bold Jesus! A Jesus who told his disciples to get up "let us go, here comes my betrayer!"
Jesus walked into the battle that only moments before he had asked "is there any other way?" When Peter attempted to rescue him, Jesus said "Enough! Do you not think I could call on my Father and have this stopped? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that day it must happen this way?" (Matthew 26:56)
In other words, Jesus went to pray in order to face the battle with strength. He asked his Father for another way, but he accepted his Father's will! By doing so, he could go into the battle with boldness, his eyes set on winning by suffering what would appear to be a defeat!
Jesus' sorrow came from knowing the words of Deuteronomy 21:22-23 that any man "who is hung on a tree is under God's curse!" Jesus had experienced all things human except the reality of being under the curse of God! Yet, here in the Garden, the weight of all he was to bear came over him and his heart became sorrowful. Some would even say he grew faint!
For that reason, Jesus went to pray! Jesus also knew the words of Deuteronomy 20:8 given to men going to battle which says "Is any man afraid or faint hearted? Let him go home . . ."
Jesus knew he could not enter this fight with a faint heart. If he did, it would be too easy to find an exit strategy. He was offered so many along the way. Pilate desperately wanted to free him! All he had to do was talk his way out, stop claiming to be Gods Son! But to do so would forever separate him from the Daddy he loved! That is why Jesus entered the garden and asked his Father to strengthen him, and his Father answered as Jesus reflected on words that had impacted him so many years before:
"Hear O Israel,(my Son), today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do NOT be faint hearted or afraid: do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you the victory!" Deuteronomy 20:3-4
These are the words that had been implanted on his heart and refreshed in his spirit as he prayed in the garden. These words are why we see a bold Jesus walking directly into the fight. A Jesus who commands a sword be put away. A Jesus, who with just words caused men to fall backwards. A Jesus who demands his disciples be allowed to leave unharmed. A Jesus who did not back down in front of the high priest. A Jesus who did not beg for his life. A Jesus who did not seek Pilate or Herod's approval. A Jesus who never again asked for a different way. A Jesus who did not back down from the beatings, the mocking, the abuse, the Cross!
Rather we see a Jesus who goes into the battle with confidence, with boldness, without fear, because he knew the Lord his God, his Daddy, was fighting for him and would give him the victory!
Praise His Name!
I am so glad God wrote these words so that Jesus could be impacted as a boy/young man and then allow them to carry him through life, even to death on the cross!
In Deuteronomy 22-23 we run into another one of these interesting passages that made me scratch my head when considering how it might impact Jesus. I know it is there, but it did not leap off the page like other days.
In these two chapters we read of not ignoring a neighbors lost or fallen animal (22:1-4). Verse five addresses the sin of cross dressing. 22:6-12 are what seem to be just random items to follow like having four tassels on your cloak and not wearing clothes of wool and linen woven together.
22:13-30 deals with marriage, accusations of the girl not being a virgin, virgins betrothed for marriage being raped in town and in the country and how to deal with these situations. The issue of rape of a virgin not being betrothed for marriage is addressed in v.28-29 and finally a one sentence line about a man not marrying his father's wife.
23:1-8 deals with who is excluded from entering the assembly of the Lord and why.
23:9-14 deals with uncleanness in war camp such as nocturnal emission and where to bo to the bathroom.
23:15-25 is itself titled "Miscellaneous Laws" in the NIV version and deals with things like slaves living in the town, not becoming shrine prostitutes and no money from prostitution being given to God. Not charging a "brother" (fellow Israelite) interest on a loan. Not being slow to pay a bow made to God and how it was okay to walk through a neighbors vineyard and grain field and eat as long as you did not take a basket to fill or a sickle to cut down the grain.
Seemingly random stuff and seemingly not relatable to Jesus. However, upon closer reflection, there is purpose behind all of this.
23:14 says "For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to driver your enemies to you. Your camp must be HOLY so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you."
In other words, when Jesus walked on earth, he was surrounded by all these sins. I imagine he at points in his life witnessed the stoning of unfaithful men and women as the law demanded. The vileness of sin surrounded him as it does us today. And though these laws may seem random, they were a reminder to Jesus that his Father God was Holy and demanded nothing less than holiness.
And though it seems far fetched, we know Jesus was tempted in every way as we are and these "random" and miscellaneous laws were necessary for him to learn so that he could learn to obey them and thus be "holy as God is Holy!"
God did not waste his words and each one was left to impact Jesus as he walked on earth. Today I am thankful for these passages and that Jesus chose to be holy so that through his sacrifice on the cross I too would be declared holy and righteous in Him!
16 The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. 18 And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. 19 He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised. Deuteronomy 26:16-19
Again, chapters 25 and 26 are filled with obscure and random laws. The law of the "Family of the Unsandaled" when a man refused to marry his deceased brothers wife who was childless and raise up a family in his brothers name.
The law of cutting off a woman's hand if she grabbed the "private parts" of a man who was fighting with her husband.
The rules about the first fruits and things in the land God was bringing them too. Admittedly, it is hard to grasp how these laws may have had an impact on Jesus, but the simple truth is, they did. God does not waste breath or ink when it comes to what will be taught to His Son. Here we see seemingly random things, but Jesus took them to heart because of the promises made in 26:16-19
Obedience to ALL the laws meant meant the promise of verse 19 would be His reality:
19 He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised.
Deuteronomy 27 has a long list of curses for sins. After each curse was proclaimed, the people all said Amen! If they chose to ignore the commands of God and live in sin, the Israelites knew what it meant! Curses!
Ever have a day when the way things happen in this world just get you down? You wonder things like "What is the point of it all?" Or "Why does life have to be so tough/difficult?"
Ever considered how these same tough days might have impacted Jesus? Did we ever see Jesus frustrated by how the wickedness in the word caused so much pain? What about that day in the Temple with the whips? What about the sorrow he felt when Lazarus died?
The truth is Jesus wrestled with tough days too! We see his anger in the temple because the weight of the curse was evidenced by the greed of men. He wept in the way to Lazarus' grave because the results of the curse was evidenced by the death of his friend. He sweated great drops of blood as the reality he would become cursed by God washed over him.
These curses found in Deuteronomy were taught to Jesus, not just so he would know what not to do, but so that he would know exactly what he was going to bear the weight of even though he never disobeyed the commands. If anyone could be justified in saying "It's not fair!" Jesus is that man.
He learned all the decrees and laws and he followed them, perfectly. But he still felt the weight of the curse! He lived his entire life surrounded by others living under the curse and he witnessed the death the curse had caused. As he approached the cross, the crushing finger of the curse of God pressed heavy on his soul! And still it is said:
Who for the joy set before Him, he endured the cross!
As Jesus read these curses seen in Deuteronomy 27, he willingly took each one of them, and the ones not named there, and bore them in full because he saw YOU as the joy set before him!
Deuteronomy 28 is LONG. It is Moses pronouncing the blessings and the curses in detail to Israel. What is interesting is the first 14 verses are the blessings. The next 54 go into detail on the curses should they not obey the commands they had been given.
I imagine as Jesus read these words, the tendency would be to focus in on the curses. After all there is far more detail on the curses and what happens when you failed to follow God than there is about the blessings.
As he looked at these curses and lived in a cursed world, he could see first hand the result of what failure to obey would bring. But he lived the perfect life! He did not have to worry about the curses of those sins. He never sinned.
Until he came to the moment when he became cursed on our behalf. Suddenly the reality of the punishment of these curses were tangible to him as he felt his Father's wrath and anger for these sins. In this moment Jesus could have despaired because of the weight of being punished for what he did not do.
However, Jesus, even while under the punishment of the curse, he focused on the truth of the blessing that were pronounced and as he hung there for you and me, he lived in the promises of the blessings he would receive for his obedience:
"I will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom." 28:13
Though in the moment he felt like the tail at the bottom, Jesus breathed his last in confidence that his Father would keep His promises and bless him making him the head of the people, the body of believers whom he had been promised.
God's word is filled with such awe and wonder. I have been amazed this year as I have been reading it seeking so see it through the eyes of Jesus. I have been challenged, excited, confused, and over all thrilled to see the story unfold and seeing the impact it had on Jesus.
I want to thank you for allowing me the honor of sending these long messages to you as simply writing them out have made this even more real to me. So thanks for this privilege.
Yesterday I saw the weight of the curse Jesus was going to bear. It was detailed out by Moses in Deuteronomy 28. But knowing Jesus focused on the Blessing was so encouraging. Today in Deuteronomy 30 Moses spends more time on what the blessing would be like once things were set right.
God knows the people of Israel are going to follow other Gods (Deuteronomy 31:15-18) but he also lays out what He will do once they have repented and returned to Him. Once the sin was paid for, He made a promise, one Jesus would hold on to as he took our sin on Himself.
"When you return to the Lord. . . Then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes" 30:3
The fortunes Jesus had left to come be our Savior, he would receive them back plus more, the more being his bride.
"(The Lord) will have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where you have been scattered" 30:3
Jesus said "I have other sheep who are not in this pen I must go get" John 10:16 paraphrased
"Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back." 30:4
Jesus was going to carry the curse of God and he was being banished in that moment to a place he had never been, separation from his Father! Yet, he because he obeyed, he knew there was nowhere he could go that his Father would not come and get him, not even death would keep him away!
"The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous"
What a promise to carry Jesus through each step in a world under the curse of sin and separation from God. He witnessed the agony of not living in the promises of blessings of being God's people. He daily lives where the realities of the curse existed. As he hung on the cross he bore the curse! But he went into this battle with confidence. Not based on his own power or ability, but on the impact the truth of these promises had on him. He knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that his Father would uphold his promises, therefore he cried out, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!"
And in that cry he was also committing the salvation of all those he came to save, which included me!
If Jesus could trust the promises of his Father, then so can I!
Deuteronomy 32 is a song written by Moses, a song that Jesus would have been taught. It is a song God commanded Moses to write in 31:19 as a witness against the people because God knew they would rebel and follow other gods.
The song begins with "Listen". In other words the singer was to pay attention to what he was singing. Jesus was to listen as he sang.
The balance of this song outlines the plight of a sinful people. Once they forgot God and served other gods, they lived in shame. The song speaks of Gods kindness and care in setting up boundaries for them, because Gods portion, the thing He longed for is his people. 32:9
When they disobeyed, the Lord rejected them and hid his face from them. 32:19-20
He heaped calamities on his own people, sending arrows against them and send famine against them. 32:23-24
He threatened to blot them out completely but God said "I dreaded the taunt of the enemy, lest the Adversary misunderstand and say, "Our hand has triumphed; the Lord has not done all this." In other words, God refused to blot them out completely because His glory was at stake, but He was not afraid to punish them severely for failing to obey his commands.
As Jesus learned the song, he would draw near to the end where he would be reminded of who God is in 32:39-42
39 “See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand. 40 I lift my hand to heaven and solemnly swear: As surely as I live forever, 41 when I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me. 42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood, while my sword devours flesh: the blood of the slain and the captives, the heads of the enemy leaders.”
And as Jesus sang the final verse, he would see he was included in the song so many years before:
"Rejoice, O nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people."
With agony I am sure Jesus would sing the first 42 verses of this song as he walked among a people who were living under the curse of disobedience seen in the prior chapters in Deuteronomy. I am sure many hated this song because of the truth it declared about them. Yet as Jesus finished it he was literally saying, "Rejoice my people, for I have come to make atonement for my land and my people! Rejoice, for the kingdom of heaven is here!"
What a mighty impact this song had on Jesus, and may we join him in singing and rejoicing, for He has made atonement for our sins and has redeemed his people and land to himself!
In Deuteronomy 31:23 the Lord commanded Joshua by saying "Be strong and courageous, for you WILL bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you!"
In Deuteronomy 34 Moses goes up on the mountain where God takes him home, buries him where no one else knows, and then in 34:9 it says Joshua "was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid hands on him."
Joshua steps out of a Huge shadow cast by Moses and is thrust into the leadership role, tasked with taking the Israelites in to conquer the promised land. He followed a man of whom 34:12 says "no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel."
And Joshua is suppose to take over after such a man and lead into battles and conquer none the less. That is why I believe the book of Joshua starts out with the Lord saying three times in a row (1:6,7,&9) to Joshua "Be strong and courageous!" And how is it he could be these things filling the shoes (sandals) of Moses? Because the "the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go!" 1:9
In between these "be strong and courageous" Joshua is also reminded to "be careful to obey all the law" Moses gave (1:7) He was not to turn to the left or the right! He was not to "let the Book of the Law depart from his lips" he was ordered to meditate on it day and night. And if he kept everything in it he would be successful and prosperous (1:8).
I think of Jesus as he read those words growing up and as he begins to understand who he is, the One who would fulfill all prophecy. Jesus bore the weight of not only following Moses, a man the religious leaders almost worshipped as a god, but also many great names who came before him. Jesus was not only stepping into a Huge role, he was also entering into the greatest war ever waged in order to secure the Promise God had given his people. A land flowing with milk and honey. One that would never end or fade away. As he begins to grasp the reality of all of this, I can imagine these words from Joshua 1:1-9 ringing loudly in his ears as he meditates on them!
1. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life! 1:5
2. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you! 1:5 Moses, a man known as a friend of God. The only man to see the glory of Gods back and live. Moses, a man whose face glowed because he had been so close with God. Moses, a man whom God loved so much he buried him by Himself in a place only God knew. This God was going to be with Jesus just as He was with Moses!
3. I will never leave you or forsake you! What power Jesus could gain from this knowledge. He could live boldly and confidently knowing God his Father was always with him!
4. Jesus was to be careful to obey every law! He was impressed to have the Book of the Law on his lips at all times. To meditate on it day and night. Why? So that he could be careful to do everything written in it. The law was a gift from his Father so he would be able to have a guide to lead him to conquer sin and death so his people, the sheep of his pasture, his bride enter into the promised land and he could dwell with them forever!
5. Having all this given to him gave him the courage and strength to rise every day, face every temptation, and win because the Lord his God was with him wherever he went!
Praise God for these stories that impacted Jesus. Praise God he understood them and followed them. Praise God that he lived a life of courage in the face of battle. Praise God he found his strength in the truth that God was always with him. And Praise God he has told us we can enjoy these same truths and realities in him!
This morning I was reading Joshua 2, the story of Rahab and the spies. I imagine when Jesus read this story his ears may have perked up a little. Why? Because this was his great great great (keep going with greats) grandmother.
As he slows down and really ponders this story he hears she is 1. A prostitute and 2. A liar! 2:4-7
This is his family tree and well, it is not pretty. Here these spies come in and they go to a prostitutes house who for some reason decides to hide them on her roof, then she tells a bold faced lie, risking her life, in order to save them, and ultimately because she wanted to earn their favor and save her own life.
We are not given details of why Rahab chose this lifestyle. We don't know if it she willingly lived as a prostitute or if she felt forced to in order to feed her family. We are never told why the spies picked her house, other than two men going into a prostitutes would just seem normal to the neighbors. There are a lot of facts and details we just don't have.
However, from what we do have, and what Jesus had, we do know this. God intended to give this land to Israel as their own. This city was marked for destruction, but God saw a woman who he intended to be a part of his Sons family tree. Was she holy, righteous, or deserving? NO! But she was picked by God and just as He said he would, he used even her tendency to tell lies and reputation as a prostitute to spare the spies who in turn agreed to spare her life. Rahab was part of Gods plan even before she could possibly understand it!
Jesus saw much more than just a story! Jesus saw the willingness of his Father to go to extreme lengths to rescue Jesus' family member who would marry a man, have a son, whose line would eventually lead to David and then to Jesus himself.
What excitement this brought to Jesus, seeing how his Father used the natural tendencies of men, even sinful ones, to accomplish His ultimate purposes. Therefore, when Jesus faced his trial, his accusers (liars), and Herod and Pilate! He was fully aware that His Father was using all of their natural flaws to bring about His ultimate purpose, to redeem all of the ones who would be Jesus family through his sacrifice!
As I was reading this morning, I started by refreshing myself in what it is I have been seeking to learn as I read through the Scriptures this year. How did this story impact Jesus as he was "growing in wisdom and favor with God and man?"
Today was Joshua 4-5. Joshua 4 is the recounting of Joshua choosing 12 men, one from each tribe, to pick up a stone from the center of the Jordan River as they passed through into the promised land. The river was at flood heights, yet as the Levites stood there in the middle the waters stopped flowing so the entire nation of Israel could pass through it.
The stones were picked up in obedience to the Lord (4:1) and then set up as a memorial for the people of Israel so they could always remember what God had done for them that day! The stones were to "serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' (4:6) they were to tell them of how God had brought them through the Jordan by drying up the water.
Once again, a story is being told and Commandments given not just for the people there, but for the entire future of the Israelite people. Mary and Joseph received instruction from this, so that when the boy Jesus asked "What do these stones mean?" They knew exactly what to tell him. And why?
"The Lord your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that YOU might always fear (hold in solemn reverence) the Lord your God." 4:23-24
In other words, God could have commanded them to. Hold boats and cross over or maybe construct a bridge, but God had a purpose in doing it this way. He wanted to remind the Israelites of his mighty power which in doing so would also give them confidence to go forward and inherit the land they were being given. The result of this act of His power is seen in 5:1 as the Amorite and Canaanite kings hearts melted in fear. It says they no longer had the courage to fight against the Israelites. Why? Because they had seen the mighty hand of God working on there behalf.
Imagine how Jesus as a boy would have stood by the Jordan and asked to be told this story again! Like any young boy, a story of "superhero" acts taking place are exciting to hear. But there was a reason for Jesus to ask and then be told this story. It was to remind him "that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that he would always fear the Lord his God!"
As Jesus grew into a man, this same power flowed through him as he lived in submission and obedience to the commands of God. With each act of power done through him, wether turning water to wine, healing the sick, casting out demons, the Enemy of God was being put on notice that God was going to redeem His land and people and As we see with the demons, their hearts melted and they no longer had the courage to fight!
Jesus lived his life in the same boldness the Israelites received on this day as the twelve stones were set up to remind them that "The Lord your God is with you and will go before you and give you the victory!"
And it is this same confidence we have been called to live in, as through Christ we have been made "More than Conquerors!"
I can imagine a young boy named Jesus staring intently into the eyes of his parents as they told him the story of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho! I can see the excitement build inside him as he hears them recount how the people of Israel quietly circled the city once a day for six days. His heart beat slightly increases as Joseph describes that final day, the people following the Ark of the Covenant around the wall seven times and then as the trumpet sounded all the people obeyed as Joshua lead them in a loud shout as the walls came crumbling down! The people entered straight into the city and the Lord handed them the victory!
I also imagine this story impacted Jesus as he hung there on the cross as well. A great and mighty wall had been built up between God and his people over the years. Sin separating God from his people and the people from the One who loved them! From all appearances this wall and the Enemy was too much for anyone to overcome. Like the people of Jericho, the Enemy took comfort inside this mighty fortress he had built. And like the people of Jericho who must have mocked the people of Israel as they silently walked around the city, the Enemy mocked as the Lamb of God stood silent before his accusers. Like a Lamb led to slaughter, He never opened his mouth in an attempt to save himself. As he hung on the tree, he looked like nothing more than a pathetic Israelite walking on the outside of a fortified city, until. . .
Until the moment that the order was issued and like the people who shouted with a great voice, Jesus shouted out "It is Finished! Father, into your hands I commit my spirit"
With one great shout, the walls of the Enemies city crumbled. The curtain that separates a loving God from his people was ripped to shreds, and from that day forth, his people have been able to follow Jesus and enter straight into a place none thought accessible, the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God!
In that moment, Jesus not only crumbled the mighty wall separating God and his people from what He had promised them, Jesus also completed the work in Joshua 7:26 which says "Then the Lord turned away from his fierce anger!"
Praise God that Jesus listened to this story, that as he grew older he saw his very mission in it, and he, through willing obedience, accomplished what everyone else saw as impossible!
What a Savior is He!
I am sitting today at a ladies conference in my hometown which I was asked to come share at for 5 minutes this afternoon. As I am sitting here, I am reflecting on the words of Joshua 9:14
"They sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord."
The Israelites have just come from winning the victories at Ai and Jericho! After a minor setback at Ai, Joshua bowed before the Lord, the son of Achan was revealed, it was removed, and then God gave them a detailed plan in which Israel routed the city and it people.
Having been instructed by the Lord through Moses to remove ALL the people of the promised land, things were off to a good start. Then the Gibeonites put together a plan to act as if they were from a far off land and wanted to make an alliance/agreement with Israel. The leaders had a hunch something was off as they said in verse 9:7 "what if you are from around here?"
Even Joshua had his doubts because he asked in 9:8 "Who are you and where you are from?"
Unfortunately, Joshua and the people listened to a story that was a lie, then they took the samples of dry moldy bread and worn out clothes as proof and made a treaty with the Hivites from Gibeon! But they failed to do the one thing that would have given them the Truth. They failed to inquire of the Lord!
This decision not to inquire of the Lord and make a decision based off manly wisdom ends up having some huge negative impacts in the future of the nation of Israel.
I am so thankful this small passage was written as Jesus grew up hearing not only the story, but also the warning it provided. These eight words "but they did not inquire of the Lord," stood as a guiding light to Jesus. The impact of this warning is evident as Jesus gave himself to only do what he saw his Father doing. To say only what he heard the Father saying. To judge only as he heard the Father leading. To go only where the Father sent him. How did he know what to do, say, how to judge, and where to go? He was continually inquiring of the Lord!
Jesus could have been tricked, but he lived in a state of inquiring of the Lord. He could have faltered in his steps, but he continually inquired of the Lord. He could have given up on the cross, but before the battle, he went to the garden and inquired of the Lord!
Jesus, help these words impact me as they impacted you! May I stop making decisions based on physical proof or man's wisdom, Father lead me to inquire of the Lord and give me the strength to Wait on your Spirit to move me!
In Joshua 10, we read the story of when Joshua commanded the sun to stand still so that the battle they were fighting could be completed. It says Joshua said to the Lord, "O sun stand still over Gibeon,". And it did. Joshua in essence made a request to the Lord in the form of commanding the sun and moon to stop. In verse 13 we see the result,
"The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day."
Then verse 14 says "There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a man. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel."
Can you imagine the opposing army, weary from the fighting, and they know the night will come soon so they can rest and prepare for the next day. Of even try and slip away and escape back to their fortified city. But, night never comes. The sun literally just stood still and the longest day in history takes place so that Joshua and the Israelites could finish destroying them.
"Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel."
Jesus surely soaked in this story as a young boy. Listening intently to the words his parents and teachers spoke. How amazed he must have been as he imagined the scene that day, Joshua shouting so all could here him, "Sun, stand still!"
What confidence Joshua must of had in the relationship with God he had at this point. What boldness to ask for a seemingly impossible thing. What trust to then turn and just keep fighting as he simply expected God was going to do as he asked.
Jesus grew up meditating on these words and how the rest of Joshua 10-11 tell how the promised land was won one battle after the other. Each battle was won because "the Lord God fought for them!"
When Jesus was faced with an impossible weather situation, a storm on the seas which threatened to capsize the boat. Like Joshua, confident in his relationship and trust of his Father, stood and shouted to the elements of nature with a command, "Peace, Be Still!" He was bold in his declaration knowing his Father in control of the wind and seas like he was that day with Joshua and the sun.
And this reaffirmed in Jesus' heart even more that as he marched forth, in each and every battle, including the cross, and including the ones he waged even now on our behalf, that He will win every one, because the Lord God is fighting for Him, fighting for us!
What impact this story had on Jesus. What boldness, confidence, and trust it implanted in his heart. And what boldness, confidence and trust it should build in us as we know today God is fighting for us!