The history books (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther) tell of a seemingly never ending cycle. I don’t know about you, but it sounds very familiar to me: God’s people let the culture influence them, God extends grace (again), prophets or others sent by God speak the truth, and God’s people return to God (again). Sounds a bit like LIFE, doesn’t it?
As you continue on this earthly journey of seeking to find and follow Jesus, are you getting more and more sensitive to God’s movement and calling in your life? Are you willing to be repentant? The history books tell of people who were, and others who were not. Does your heart break with the things that break God’s heart, or has the culture deadened that sensitivity in you?
INVITATION; Join us this week as we take a 30,000 foot overview of key passages from the history books in the Old Testament:
MONDAY: Joshua 1:2-9: The basic summary of the book of Joshua is one of Joshua leading the Israelites into the promised land and taking possession of it. Perhaps a key verse is 1:5. Evelyn Underhill writes: “If you and I are to be made by God into people for God’s purposes, it will depend largely on the courage with which we respond to God. It won’t be worked by God’s action alone…it works through our brave and willing cooperation, our active acceptance and use of all the material we are offered, even everything that damages our vanity and opposes our self will.” What is requiring courage in your life right now? Perhaps you can ask for God’s help and guidance?
TUESDAY: Judges 17:6: Does this verse remind you of our culture today? The Canaanites in these history books applied a little of God and a little of the culture around them. Pastor Adam mentioned how we often hear about “being the best ‘me’ I can be.” In the life of a believer, it's NOT all about “me.” What might it look like to be the best ‘you’ that GOD has in mind? How do you feel about it possibly looking differently than you might think it looks? Could you be practicing a watered down version of Christianity in your life?
WEDNESDAY: 2 Samuel 12:1-25: David’s pleading and fasting constitute a prayer of intercession, which in his day was a priestly act of loving identification with a suffering person. For whom are you called to intercede today? Consider bringing one or more persons into your heart and mind. In love, try to identify with their need or distress. Then, holding them in your heart, open yourself to God’s love for them as you understand that love. Let God’s love flow through you toward those in need.
THURSDAY: I Kings 3:1-15: Solomon is given a “wise and discerning heart.” In the Bible, wisdom is the exercise of sound and reverent judgment. The test of true wisdom is how well it is applied in a day-to-day practice. The wise are those who, through faithfulness to the commandments of God, live well. Through spiritual knowledge combined with practical experience, they are able to give astute counsel about navigating life’s pitfalls. Spend some time today reflecting with gratitude on your own life. Who are some of the wise mentors you have known? When have you called upon them for their wisdom? In what areas of your own life are you blessed with wisdom? When do others call upon you for that wisdom?
FRIDAY: 2 Chronicles 34:3-7: As you read this vivid account of Josiah pulling down idols and destroying their altars, consider the idols that may be in your life. What are the possessions, organizations, places that seem to have power over you - that seem to be able to command you? You might imagine yourself pulling them from their places of honor and making dust of them. How can you bring your imagining into reality? What things need to be eliminated form your life? What can be redeemed? How can things that use you and that require your time and attention become things that you can use to serve God? You are invited to start by offering or consecrating these things to God’s service.
SATURDAY: Esther 4: Compassion means, literally, to “suffer with.” The ancient world had active means of portraying this shared anguish and showing solidarity with sufferers. Esther makes an effort to discover the cause of Mordecai’s grief. How do you seek to discover the cause of suffering even if it does not affect you directly? Do you try to guard against hearing such unpleasant information? What means do we have at our disposal for suffering with other parts of the body of Christ? How is grief expressed publicly in your church?