Joshua 14:1a (NIV)- Now these are the areas the Israelites received as an inheritance in the land of Canaan…
Finally, as the Lord promised, the Israelites received their inheritance. This in itself shows me that even if I, at some time or another, am a rebellious, complaining, stubborn, and stiff-necked person, God will still honor the promises He has made to me. This is not condoning bad behavior by any means, it is showing the grace and mercy of an amazing God towards His people. If God said it is to be, then it will be, in spite of my behavior. I do not fit into the equation.
Joshua 14:8 (NIV)- but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.
Caleb reminds Joshua that he followed the Lord wholeheartedly and should have Hebron as his inheritance. Even after wandering 40 years in the desert, Caleb still believed God was with him, and Caleb still believed he could take the city. Caleb said “with the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” Those are steadfast convictions. Convictions, no matter how much time has past, remains the same, or grows stronger.
This story reminds me that what I say can affect other people and their outcomes in life. People can see the same events, and based on their upbringing, life experiences, etc. can see different happenings, or interpret them differently. There were 12 spies. Only 2 believed God was able. 10 spies convinced the rest of the people that fear was bigger than their faith. So therefore, all of those people, who were voting that day, except Joshua and Caleb, died in the wilderness. See how powerful words are, and how they can alter your experiences in life? I need to be careful whose words I am following. God said Caleb had a different spirit and followed him wholeheartedly. Can He say that of Me? It is like being on a jury, you follow the evidence, and then you follow your heart, even if you are the only one who believes the way you do. Even if it brings criticism. Convictions are what makes up who I am, my character, my beliefs: whether I am kind and giving or whether I am wayward. If my roots run deep in the Word of God, then I will strive to follow Jesus in all that I do. By doing so, I will stand out and be different, even if my flesh is crying out to blend in with the crowd. I must overcome my flesh to please God.
In this day and age, where the world is trying their best to fill me with fear and despair, I must hold firm to hope, I must hold firm to my faith. I must put faith over fear everyday, all day!
The rest of the passages deal with the actual allotments for each tribe. It seems that there were 3 cities that the Israelites could not conquer entirely. The Jebusites could not be dislodged by Judah in Jerusalem. Ephraim did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer, and Manassites were unable to occupy their towns because the Canaanites were determined to live there. It does say though, that they both subjected the Canaanites to forced labor. Could convictions be the cause of this as well? Lack of determination, laziness or complacency? One thing we know : nothing is impossible for God!!
Luke 17: 1-3a (NIV) – Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.
It seems that words are not the only thing can lead a person astray, my actions can as well. Jesus said that sin is inevitable, but woe to him who causes someone to sin. This causes me to ponder–what have I done, either intentionally or unintentionally, that has caused someone to sin? I can only say “I’m sorry” and the Lord will forgive me for each and every time, but then I must try to change my behavior, so that no one else is tempted to follow me down a wrong path.
There is so much more involved than praying, reading your bible and singing praise and worship songs to the Lord to being a Christian. I must be fully aware of what I say and what I do and who it is affecting. We do not know who is watching us, maybe they will say ” Well, Carol is doing it, so it must be okay with God if I do it!” God have mercy with me, and make me more aware of my surroundings and who I am affecting!
Luke 17: 15-19 (NIV)- One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him–and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked,” Were not all ten cleansed? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, ” Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
In this passage Jesus adds one more thing to our list of things we ought to do. Say “THANK YOU!” How may times have I prayed to God and asked for something and when it came to pass, I did not say thank you? This was a Samaritan, the others were from Galilee. Shouldn’t the Galilean be the first ones back, after all they have heard all about God in their temple meetings? The Samaritans were hated by the Jews. But yet, it was the foreigner whose heart was touched by what Jesus did for him. It was his heart that told him to come back and say thank you! Seemed as if the Samaritan had stronger convictions than the Jewish men! I pray my convictions tell me to return and say, “Thank You God!”
Luke 17:31-33 (NIV) – On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
I believe it is God’s desire to bless us with good things. However, when He returns, we are to lay aside those things we treasure, and never look back, lest we become a pillar of salt, like Lot’s wife. That is not a natural thing for us to do. Look at what happens when there is a fire–if I have notice, I will save the humans, the cat and dog, grab my pictures and some clothes and maybe any other valuables and documents that I may need. But that is if we have notice! But what if I wake up, and fire is around me, and someone is at the window saying come? In those moments I do not try to find these valuable things–I go out in my pajamas. So it should be when Jesus returns. I should just go, not looking back. The treasures I have built up in heaven are far greater than the ones I have here on earth. The one thing I should be doing, while I have the time, is to bring as many people to heaven with me. That is the real valuable treasure while here on earth. God gives me many instructions, all for my good, all to warn me of what may lie ahead, whether good or bad. But it is my job to know the instructions, so that I will be ready, when the time comes, to carry them out.
Father God, Your Word is for my good. Please open my heart to hear what I need to hear. Please lead my hands to do all you have for me to do and my feet to go where you would like me to go. Please help me O God to be willing serve you in any way you need. If I am willing, then my convictions are for You, if I am not, well, then help me O God to change my heart. You have proven over and over that Your way is the best way. Help me to walk in Your way! In Jesus’ Holy name I pray, Amen!