Day 89

Standard

Joshua 22:1-24:33 (NLV)

Phebe Mott, MOPS Coordinator

Specifically 24:1-15

As Joshua approached the end of his life, he issued a message from God to the tribes of Israel. Joshua listed some of the many miraculous things God had done for them so that they would remember his faithfulness and absolute trustworthiness, and in turn, pass those stories of deliverance to the generations to come.

A number of years ago when I was a new Christian, I was working at a summer camp, and needed a safety pin to fix a pair of shorts that I loved. I searched all over the campus but for the life of me I couldn’t fine a single one. Finally, as ridiculous as it seemed at the time, I prayed that God would help me find a safety pin just so I could do something as silly as wear a certain pair of shorts. No sooner had I closed that prayer that I opened a drawer in the office and found a huge Ziploc bag of every shape and size of safety pin that you could imagine. God’s message to me that day: He cares about what I care about, no matter how insignificant it may seem to me. And, as a special bonus, not only did he provide me with a safety pin, he provided me with my choice of shape and size among hundreds!

On another occasion, during a summer when I was home from college, my younger sister and I went to a concert in New York. When we started the 2-hour drive home, it was late and I was exhausted. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and even began to nod off a few times. My sister was too young to drive, so it was completely up to me to get us home. I felt utterly helpless. So about fifteen minutes into the long ride home, I just said it, flat out: “God, I can’t drive. I just can’t. I need you to drive us home.” And I will never, ever forget what happened next. Ten minutes later, we were pulling into my parents’ driveway. He had literally driven us home. God’s message to me that night: When I put my trust in him, he will accomplish the impossible.

These are two stories that I have told often, because not only are they supernatural examples of what only God can do, but also of how he loves me and wants to communicate that to me personally.

As we will see in the next couple of weeks (*spoiler alert*), after all the miracles God had performed for his people, they became comfortable, took them for granted, and ultimately forgot. They didn’t pass down the stories to later generations, and it had dire consequences.

Let’s not forget. Write your stories down. Tell them often. Never let the people around you forget what God has done and what only God can do. Future generations may just depend on it.

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4 responses »

  1. I was interested to see Joshua’s approach in chapter 24. He, like Moses, told the people “Serve God and prosper or serve idols and perish, the choice is yours.” The people all said, “We’re sticking with God.” Then Joshua argues with them. “You’re not going to stick with God.”

    This is not an approved technique in most evangelism seminars. Most of the time we treat every witnessing occasion like a salesman and “push to close the deal”, but Joshua actually seems to dissuade the people from following God. Perhaps this was a test to make the people realize how serious God was about this situation. Certainly it was a warning just like the warning that Moses gave the people.

    To me this emphasizes God’s respect for us. God doesn’t force anybody to follow Him, or even to believe in Him. God provides plenty of data but always allows room for doubt. True, there are serious consequences, but He gives each of us real choices. We are not puppets, we are not characters in a pre-scripted play.

    Father, I am humbled by Your respect for my volition. I’m also frightened that You allow me to choose to rebel and sin. Please grow me and grow in me to conform me to the image of Christ, as You promised.

  2. Thanks, Phebe, for this reminder to “tell our God stories” to the next generation. Jesus taught in parables – wisely knowing that people will retain a story longer than any lecture. And who doesn’t love a good story? Just ask any child…

  3. In your last paragraph you reminded me of one of my favorite verses and of a favorite hymn:

    Habakkuk 2:2-3

    “Write the vision
    And make it plain on tablets,
    That he may run who reads it.

    For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
    But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
    Though it tarries, wait for it;
    Because it will surely come,
    It will not tarry.”

    In 1897, Johnson Oatman, Jr. wrote “Count Your Blessings” to help us remember just some of the truths about life in this world. Things we should write down and pass on. Here are the lyrics,

    1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
    When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
    Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
    And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

    Refrain:
    Count your blessings, name them one by one,
    Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
    Count your blessings, name them one by one,
    Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

    2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
    Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
    Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
    And you will keep singing as the days go by.

    3. When you look at others with their lands and gold,
    Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold,
    Count your many blessings — wealth can never buy
    Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

    4. So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
    Do not be discouraged, God is over all,
    Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
    Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

    Joshua ended well. He completed the job that God called upon him to do. He wrote his story along with the help of Eleazar the high priest and Phinehas, his son, (and other contemporaries of Joshua).

  4. Lord, Jesus, I choose You. Not just an eeny-meeny- miney-mo choice but a deliberate, see-the-evidence kind of choice. Let my words and my life reflect the wisdom of that choice to my children, my children’s children and their children.

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