Adversity is a fact of life. Trouble will come; never let anyone tell you differently. Sometime though, hard as it is to see it at the time, trouble is necessary to make us better.
Today is the 4th of July, a day which, for Americans, comes as a reminder that the price was once paid for us to enjoy liberty to pursue our God-given rights without fear of the rule tyranny. It is a day that, for many, invokes swells of patriotism. For the Christian, it should remind us too that our freedom to life has also been purchased, paid by a servant king on a cross in Judea two millennia ago.
Last week I asked the potentially volatile question, Should the Bible be proven? This week we continue with that question.
As human beings, we go through life with a desire, a yearning even, for something tangible, something solid upon which to anchor our positions. Worldviews are born from this search. In fact, the quest for tangibility fueled the Enlightenment of centuries past, whereby many endeavored to cast superstition out of the way in order to perfect our understanding of reality. That quest ultimately led whole populations to repudiate the Biblical truths they had, for generations, embraced. It continues even now. Our modern world, more so than any other period, has conditioned many of us to such an extent that the old mantra of “seeing is believing” has become a condition of acceptance.
Is there any reality to the epic tales of J. R. R. Tolkien? The Wizard of Oz? Star Wars? Of course not, for such are works of unadulterated fiction. Even so, it should go without saying that by and large this world equates the accounts of the Bible in the same way: blatant fiction. Is it though?
How many people are familiar with the story of Abraham and his call from God to sacrifice his only son? Oh, how this story has raised many an uncomfortable question for believers! Why did God promise Abraham a son and then command him to sacrifice him on an alter? Why would God do such a cruel thing, even if He ultimately spared him? Could there be a bit more below the surface?
Cynics will assure you that nothing is free; everything, they contend, has a cost. That sad fact, I’m afraid, is one that even the very Creator of our reality had to face Himself. What was the cost of ultimate creation?
Believers should have no doubt that angels are real, and that their presence in our world is one that can, and certainly does, have powerful ramifications. Even so, how often do we stop and consider their presence around us? Right now, no matter where you are, no matter what you find yourself doing, take a moment to ponder if you are truly alone. Is it possible that much activity is actually swirling around you in that quiet room? Could a battle of sorts even be underway? What are we missing right beneath our noses, just outside our range of perception?
Chapter 10 of Joshua gives us one of the most astonished account in Biblical history. At its onset, we read of how the king of Jerusalem, one Adonizedek (אֲדֹנִי־צֶ֫דֶק – the King of Righteousness, in Hebrew), assembled a coalition of forces against the Israelites, an alliance composed of the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, and himself; it was in essence an assembly of ten nations. Together, these kings and their respective forces set their sights upon the inhabitants of Gibeon, a people who had made peace with Israel (Chapter 9). Messengers from Gibeon sent word to Joshua at Gilgal, begging him to come and save them for war was at hand. With the authority of the Lord behind him, Joshua and his forces set out for Gibeon. In the coming battle, a great miracle was to make a debut…
Believers should understand the absolute criticality of obeying the Lord. They should heed His word and follow His instructions and commands. Sadly though, we all tend to lose sight of that reality from time to time. True, He is a loving God. He is a merciful Father, full of compassion and grace. Even so, forgiveness is not always without repercussions, and like a good earthly father, sometimes and act of disciple is needed to set our eyes back where they belong, a whipping, so to speak, to remind us later of our misdeeds, and perhaps to keep us on the straight and narrow. This is just what Joshua and his people faced in the time after Jericho…