Category: Devotional

You Are Your Own Witness

At the end of Joshua’s life, he recounts the story so far, spanning from God’s Covenant with Abraham to the arrival in Canaan. He outlines how God has been faithful and provided and delivered on His promises. And then he ends with an exhortation that I found deeply moving. In chapter 24 and verse 22 he says, “You are a witness to your own decision, you have chosen to serve the Lord”.

You are a witness to your own decision. Just think about that. Let it settle in your spirit.

God knows you inside and out, your coming and your going, He knows the deepest desires of your heart of hearts. But Joshua doesn’t point that out, instead he underscores that they know what they’ve said. And in the same way WE know what WE have said. This means that they are accountable for their choices. They understood what was at stake and we will be called to answer for how they have lived in light of that evidence.

The same is true for us. We know what we are committing to, and so if we choose to abandon that commitment we will have to reckon with the consequences for the oath we revoked. In a word that is trying everything it can — both subtly AND overtly — to cause distraction, doubt, disillusionment, and deconstruction… we MUST be on guard. We must stand witness to our decision. Joshua 24:31 paints an ominous picture:

Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elderswho outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.

We aren’t told that Israel continued to serve the Lord, but rather that those “who had experienced” continued to serve. Friends, there is no reason we cannot experience the work of the Lord every day of our lives. If we draw near to Him we are told explicitly that He will draw near to us. Let’s near ever nearer so that our hearts do not grow cold, so that we do not fall away, so that we do not receive due judgement for abandoning our oath, but rather that we receive our reward in Christ Jesus for a life lived for His glory. Amen.

Joshua 22-24 | 089/365

Whose Will Be Done?

“I admit the deed! — tear up the planks! — here, here! — it is the beating of his hideous heart!” The satisfying release can almost be felt as we reading the thrilling conclusion of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’. It is the story of a man whose guilt consumes him, until he can do nothing other than admit the deed. His conscience haunted him. It is a similar condition in which we find Joseph’s brothers during today’s reading.

They are struck by the famine Joseph predicted, and so make the trek to Egypt where food has been stored for exactly this occasion. Joseph’s Brothers bring money to Egypt to purchase food as their own supplies have nearly run out. They do not recognize Joseph when they come before him to request to purchase food. Joseph questions the brothers extensively before telling them that unless they bring their youngest brother, they’ll not be allowed to purchase any additional food. So they pay for their portion and head back to Canaan.

Along the way, they find that they have not only the food they purchased, but also the money paid in their bags. A secret blessing from Joseph. But they cannot even receive the blessing, they were still, after all these years, consumed with guilt about what they had done to their brother. It is a curse! they thought, God was surely punishing them. They could never go back.

But eventually they were forced to return. Now we pull God’s careful positioning of Joseph back out of the pocket from yesterday. Because it was during this trip that Jacob revealed himself saying, “God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors” (Gen 45:7, NLT). Does this mean that God orchestrates evil events to bring about good? Some faithful Christians would say that He does. But I would say that God, in His omniscience, knows what each of us would do in any given circumstance and that He factored in the evil free-will choices of mankind when he providentially arranged the world.

Is it good that you did a bad thing because it achieved God’s Will? No. But God’s Will cannot be defeated by the works of mankind either. His Will be done. Amen.

Genesis 42:1-45:15 | 016/365

Who’s Leading Who?

We are all the hero of our own stories. But sin is eager to counsel us — and we are eager to listen, because the counsel of sin so often aligns with our existing desires. But God knew how hard-headed our free will would make us and so he made a way out; a way not obvious to everyone; a way that strikes most — nearly all in the case of Noah — as foolishness. Let me encourage you today in the strongest possible terms to listen to (in every sense of the word) the Lord’s leading.

Genesis 4-6 | 002/365