Monday, January 16, 2012

Prone to Wander


I stand with them as their great warrior leader bids farewell. He is 110 years old and still his words and spirit inspire those who have just come through years of fighting. He knows them well, their strengths and weaknesses, and is encouraging this prone-to-sinning people to remain faithful.

Joshua has been their leader from the time of the crossing of the Jordan River to this day. It is time for him to leave them. They will have to finish the work he began. The past seven years have brought great victory to this chosen group of people. They have seen God work miracle after miracle on their behalf. There is, however, still work to be done - more enemies to conquer - and Joshua will not be there to lead them.

He reminds them that it is the Lord who has done these great things and urges them to renew their commitment to worship the one true God and obey all that He has told them. Reminding them of God's faithfulness and the certain fate that will be theirs if they abandon Him, He calls them to choose whom they will serve.

With one voice the people declare, "We will serve the Lord!"

In an unbelievably short time their resolve fails, and we find this wayward group
falling away from all they pledged to do. They failed to completely destroy the surrounding inhabitants, settling instead for half-measures. Before long they were drawn in, intermarrying and worshiping foreign gods. Promises were forgotten; the Lord was forsaken; the results were all too predictable.

It is, perhaps, easy to understand how it all happened. They had lost their great leader. Weariness from years of fighting had worn them down. Little by little they compromised not realizing where it would lead them. It must have seemed easier, noble even, to tolerate the beliefs of their enemies than to have to fight and utterly destroy them.

I stand with them and hear Joshua speak the words the Lord had given him, and my heart is touched with their relevance. How often have I begun the journey strong only to find I have, almost without realizing it, wandered from the path He has set before me. One day of being "too tired" or "too busy" multiplies into weeks and months. Compromising just a "little" and tolerating sin in the name of "getting along" begins to carve a deep chasm between the Lord and I.

Woven in and through the history of the Children of Israel is the shining thread of grace. Over and over they sinned; over and over God rescued and forgave them. They were monumentally slow learners, but we can find ourselves in them and learn from their failings.

We have a God who has said He will fight our battles for us. He has given us everything we need in Jesus. There will be times of great victory and times of equally great failure. There is grace for those times. Grace to grow in wisdom and understanding; grace to break the cycle; grace to get back on the path and finish well.

"I have discovered this principle of life - that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord..."
Romans 7:21-25a


Linking to Michelle's blog today:



and Laura's blog




Blessings,
Linda

12 comments:

lil red hen said...

Beautifully written, Linda. It's easy for us to critize them for not being faithful; but we need to look to our own weaknesses, for the Lord truly blesses us each day.

Dea said...

I am a monumental slow learner too. Good reminder of that God battles for us, is for us---always. Always there is grace.

Sandy said...

Your writing always inspires, Linda. What would we do if it weren't for God's grace? I love all the wonderful stories of the Bible and this one is a favorite.
Blessings~

Beth said...

I have found it too easy to be disobedient--not intentionally---gradually not finding time for certain responsibilities while other lesser things suddenly seem urgent.
I guess I've always seen how easy it could be for them to slip--obedience can be quite tough.
Thanks for this reminder as I struggle to be obedient today.

Joe Pote said...

Great reminder, Linda! It is all too easy to criticize the Israelites for their waywardness...it is much harder to see the tendency of our own hearts to wander.

Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

grace in the victory and grace in the failures. yea, God!

S. Etole said...

You have such a gift for bringing these truths to our everyday lives.

emily wierenga said...

i have been deriving such strength from the story of joshua lately. and do you know how God uses you in my life linda? i still have your christmas card sitting on my desk, for the message on it keeps bringing me hope. thank you friend.

Laura said...

How He fights for us. I never ceases to take my breath--the endless grace He gives. I love your storytelling, my friend. And I am so glad to find you here at the end of this link. Sometimes I get lost in the clicking. Love to you, Linda.

Patricia said...

grace, grace, God's grace. Your words speak his truths and wisdom. Bind my wandering heart to Thee. Thank you Linda. You make me smile. =)

Deidra said...

Mmmm...

I am just like them. Helpless without grace.

Sandra Heska King said...

One day of being too tired or too busy. I know this.

So grateful for that thread of grace. So grateful for you.