Saturday, January 16, 2016
Reflections on the Light
Doubt dims the light. Think about the scripture that reveals that whatsoever is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23) Does that put doubt in perspective for you? One thing is certain, especially in this season and that is doubt has to be handled like an unruly child. If we don’t put doubt in its place, it will take over. Since we already know that the Word is a lamp and a light, our goal here is to wield the Word like a skilled swordsman and get the victory. It is important here to understand how the enemy of our soul uses doubt to erode our faith.
First up is blackmail. The enemy of our soul will bring up our past and any transgression he can come up with to cause us to believe that God won’t do what He says He will do. As soon as this thought comes up we have to remind ourselves that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1John 1:9) We have to accept by faith that because we’ve done our repenting business with God, we can appropriate any of the blessings the righteous are promised. How about the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much i.e. get results. I can believe with boldness that if I am in right standing with God then my prayers will get results. Answered prayers will increase my faith and doubt will have to back up.
Second up is pride. Doubt will also come up when we rely upon and take pride in a victory achieved in our own steam. Over and over in the Word we see God teaching the children of Israel the same lesson He wants to teach us---Trust in Him, rely on Him, acknowledge Him…lean not to your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Joshua in chapters 6 and 7 comes to my mind here. After that miraculous ‘couldn’t be anybody but God’ victory at Jericho, Joshua went full blown after a city called Ai without the consent or blessing of the Lord. Our flesh will talk smack to us until we step out on our own and then taunt us when God allows us to fail. “Where’s your God now.” If we pay attention to that voice, doubt wins. Our best strategy to conquer the doubt that comes from pride is to remind ourselves that without God we can do nothing. (John 15:5) That error in judgment on Joshua’s part was a good lesson in obedience for all of us. Because God was not in that first assault on Ai in chapter 7, the men of Ai chased the Israelites out of town, humiliated them and killed a bunch of them.
I’m feeling Joshua here because he was probably pumped from the previous victory at Jericho and just assumed that God would bless Him in the next battle. That assumption was costly. After Ai whipped them, the people and Joshua were tore up. “The hearts of the people melted and became like water.” (Joshua 7: 5) Joshua fell on his face and cried out to the Lord only to discover that there was sin in the camp and God was not pleased.
The important thing to realize for our lesson here is that if Joshua had acknowledged God first, the ever so important camp cleanup could have happened earlier and those 36 lives lost in that battle might have been saved.
How many times in your life has God given you a victory at home or work on a Monday and you charged into a battle on Tuesday armed with adrenaline, emotion and your own self steam—no God nowhere-- no acknowledgement, no instruction, just riding on the high of yesterday.
As believers, we have to wrap our lips around David’s proclamation in 1 Samuel 17:47 and tell ourselves –“the battle is the Lord’s” and as such, I have to trust rely and depend on Him who is my commander in chief for my every direction. God speaks through His Word and His Holy Spirit and he wants us to be victorious.
While Joshua was on his face God gave him just the word he needed to get up and step out. The entrance of His words giveth light. (Psalm 119:123) The word from the Lord was specific and full of instruction. Joshua followed the light of that word to the letter and the rest is history---The Lord gave him the city of Ai just like he did with Jericho. (Joshua 8:1)
Why not spring forth today with an ear to hear and a heart to obey God’s Word? Why not refuse to settle for the trauma and the drama of leaning to your own understanding? Why not follow the Light exclusively and watch God give you the victory?