Where to Turn?

 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;

and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Prov. 3:5

Ai’s defeat was as complete as Jericho’s. Joshua built and altar unto the LORD. He read “all the words of the law…”

blog ten comthL1JRHTI7“There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.” Josh. 8:35.

Have you ever experienced a spiritual high?  Israel surely knew that feeling now. The Lord proved Himself faithful and the land He promised was there for the taking. The inhabitants of the land feared them and their God. The whole account is found in Joshua 9.

“And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, they did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors…We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us…because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt…”

I wonder, did they not also hear about Rahab? Did they not know the Israelites’ God desired mercy?  It seems they only believed death was imminent and they preferred slavery to death.

“And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?” When I read this I want to cry out, “Joshua, are you not hearing…

“…a word behind thee saying, This is the way, walk ye it it… It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” (Isa. 30:21a;Ps. 118:8,9).

“And the men took of their victuals(provisions) and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD. And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.” The words of Moses the Israelites witnessed earlier commanded, “And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them…” Deut. 7:2. They knew the word but…

“…asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD…And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you…Matt. 24:4; Let no man deceive you with vain words…Eph. 5:6a. Joshua and the princes were deceived. It happened to them and it can happen to us, but doesn’t have to.

“Trust the LORD with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding…Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil… Be not wise in your own conceits… When thou saidest, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.”(Prov. 3:5,7;Rom. 12:16b;Ps. 27:8).

“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths…Prov. 3:6; Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you…he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 16:13-14; 14:26b).DSCF4721

May David’s prayer be our own: “Teach me thy way, O, Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies…wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” Ps. 27:11,14.

When have you recognized the leading of the Lord in your life? Where did it come from?

Do You Remember When?

“And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness…” Deut. 8:2a. The first of Moses’ three farewell addresses calls for remembrance.

The cry across our country bewails our past and advocates destroying any offensive emblems of our history. According to the Lord’s words to the children of Israel, great danger lurks in forgetting. He calls them to remember all the way. We should learn from them.

blog wildernessphoto-1505925119181-3537e71dbc72
picture courtesy of unsplash.com, taken by Trevor Cole

“…remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee in the wilderness…But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies… Then believed they his words: they sang his praise. They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Ps. 78:52,53; Ps. 106:12-15).

Is your soul lean? What have you been feasting on? Remember where you were and where the Lord leads you. “…ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Eph. 2:12,13.

“…remember…the Lord thy God led thee…in the wilderness…to humble thee…And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.” Deut. 8:17-19.

We may forget many things in this life, but the Lord God will not let us forget Him for long. “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day… God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble… Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of God.”( Isa. 2:17; James 4:6; Matt. 5:3). Humility acknowledges your need and the Lord’s abundant, faithful provision.

“…to prove thee…to do thee good at thy latter end… the LORD you God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul… I am The LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust…” (Deut. 8:16b; Deut. 13:3b; Ps. 81:10-12a). Their works, their desires, proved their faith or lack thereof.

What of your works and desires? “Then said they unto him, what shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent… But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”( John 6:28,29; Acts 10:35).

“…to know what was in thine heart…whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no… The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Deut. 8:2; Jer. 17:9,10).

Just as a written exam tests the extent of our knowledge of facts to show us our weaknesses and our strengths, the Lord tests our hearts to show us the same. He knows what’s there but we don’t until we have gone through the testing. His word is the grading standard.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb. 4:12. What does God’s word show you concerning your heart?

Moses has called the new generation to remember and learn from the years of testing the first generation experienced. He urged them to remember the Lord God who is faithful, willing and able to deliver all He has promised.

What is it you remember in times of testing that gives you strength to endure?