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Scripture

2 Samuel 13:15 (NIV)

Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, “Get up and get out!”

Observation

The flesh wants what the flesh wants. It rages with lust. Lust for things, feelings, people, power, and everything that goes against the nature of the Spirit but walks hand in hand with the sinful nature.

Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV)

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Amnon’s feelings for his step-sister, Tamar, were not feelings of love, as he may have thought, but something born out of the desire of the flesh. We see that Amnon didn’t exhibit any of the qualities of the Spirit. He had no peace, for each day he woke up haggard (v 4) and he was obsessed with his desire for his step-sister (v 2). When confronted with the option to be show patience by taking the situation to his father, David, he chose to not follow this course of action. There is no single quality of the Spirit that can be associated with Amnon and his behavior.

True to the desires of the flesh, Amnon abandoned Tamar once he had received what he wanted. He was, of course, not satisfied with what he had so lustfully pursued. This is the way of the flesh. This is the way of sinful nature. In Amnon’s heart of hearts, his step-sister Tamar was nothing more than a new thing that he wanted to possess.

In the Western world, we live in pursuit of things. It has been said that “the one with the most toys wins.” We live in a society that constantly feeds the desire for more. If we are technologically connected then we are connected to the great beast of more! When I turn on my computer, I am greeting by an operating system that wants to make my shopping experience better. I can’t turn on a radio, television or use applications on my mobile device without being assaulted by ads trying to sell me something I don’t need. We are hit with advertising wherever we go. However, we go.

Why is advertising successful? Advertising is successful because we are never happy with the things that we have. There is always something better than what we have. A new iteration of a smartphone, car model, house color, style of shoe, etc. If you can think of it then someone else has too and likely has it for sale.

God put into us a desire for Him. A desire to love and be loved. A longing to be fulfilled. This is what drives us each day. A desire to be fulfilled. Yet, we walk in darkness, not knowing what it is that will fulfill us. Make us complete. We try and fill the holes in our hearts with the things that we see.

My friends, it doesn’t have to be this way. You and I will never be satisfied by the things of this world. This isn’t our home! This is one step on a journey of eternity. Everything that you gather, on this walk of life, will perish and turn to dust one day. When you are at the end of this life, in this world, not one thing that you have gathered will be carried with you to your next destination. All that will go with you is what has been deposited into your heart. Where your heart is, so is your treasure (Matthew 6:21). When your heart is filled with love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control then you have a true treasure that will go with you in this life and the next.

There is only one way to be truly fulfilled. That way is Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). It is in Him that we live, move and have our being (Acts 17:28). If you haven’t given your life to Jesus and would like to do so right now, then please pray this prayer.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.

Application

The best way that I can apply what I’ve read and learned today is to seek the Lord, always. When I am tempted by the things of this life and the desire to get more, then I need to examine myself, ask God to help me see where I am deficient, and then listen and trust Him.

Prayer

Father, I rejoice and I am glad that you are in my life. I thank you for who you are and what you are doing in and through me. I ask, Father, in the name of Jesus that you will lead me and guide me as I continue to walk with you. Please strengthen me today. Help me, to be honest with myself and with you. Help me to love you and to love people more. That’s the only “more” I need in this life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 And Joshua said, “Alas, Sovereign LORD, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan!” Joshua 7:7 NIV

We know that sin causes death. That, through one man, Adam, sin came into the world. We know that we have been delivered from the death that comes by sin through our Lord, Jesus Christ, who took upon the sins of all the world that we would be saved and become the righteousness of God in Jesus.

Joshua has spent over forty years with the Lord and knows what God has promised the people of Israel. He was there with the Israelites from their emergence from Egypt and witnessed all of their complaints to God. Indeed, he is one of only two adults who believed God whole heartedly when he first spied out the Promised Land (Numbers 13-14).

Joshua is now leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, and yet, when faced with a minor defeat, he repeats a sentiment often expressed by the Israelites in facing hardship, “Why did you bring us here to fail? We would have been better off where we were!”

Where then, is the man who has believed the promises of God? Joshua knows intimately the cost of sin. He’s had the last forty years to see every adult that he once knew drop down and die because of unbelief. Furthermore, he knows that God does what he says he’s going to do. Why does he seem to falter now?

Could it be that Joshua is only human? We know that God told Joshua three times, at least, to be, “strong and courageous,” before setting off on this military campaign (Joshua 1:6,7,9). Furthermore, God told him that he would be with him as he was with Moses (Joshua 1:5). However, Joshua looks to the worst possible outcome (the complete destruction of the Israelites from the Earth) when faced with a defeat.

How much Joshua’s plight reminds me of myself. How humbling it is to see a “hero” of the Bible be brought low by a failure in his life. Years of expectations and belief in the promises of God shattered, or so it appears, in an instant.

In what other ways did Joshua respond to this situation?

1. Joshua humbled himself before the Lord.

Joshua and the elders sprinkled dust on their heads and went to their knees. They didn’t rush off sending more men to fight. They could have said, “we didn’t send enough so let’s send more.”

2. After humbling himself before the Lord, Joshua brought his complaint, his fear, and the situation, to God.

And Joshua said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord , why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! Pardon your servant, Lord. What can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?” Joshua 7:7-9 NIV

What’s Joshua going to tell the people now that they failed? What are they going to do now when their enemies will hear of their failure and come destroy them?

3. Joshua listened to God’s response.

Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. Joshua 7:11 NIV

God tells Joshua how and why the Israelites are in this situation.

“Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them. Joshua 7:11-13 NIV

Furthermore, God tells him how to resolve the issue.

“ ‘In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe the Lord chooses shall come forward clan by clan; the clan the Lord chooses shall come forward family by family; and the family the Lord chooses shall come forward man by man.” Joshua 7:14 NIV

4. Joshua did exactly what God commanded him to do.

Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was chosen. Joshua 7:16 NIV

The Israelites subsequently defeat the people of Ai, plunder it, and move on from there. Moreover, Joshua never has another issue with his faith in following God.

As believers, we are going to face failures in our lives. Jesus told us that we will have trouble in this world. We are going to be persecuted. Hardships will come upon us. When these trials come, do as Joshua did:

1. Humble yourself before God.
2. Bring the situation to God.
3. Listen to what God tells you.
4. Do what God tells you to do.

When we cling to the promises of God, knowing that God will never leave us or forsake us, then everything will work out for the good of those who love Him.

So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. (Ezekiel 22:30 NIV)

What does a person who stands in the gap look like?
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I believe in the power of prayer. If you’ve read the poetry, articles or my about section on this blog then you’ve probably picked up on me being a Christian.
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