Tag Archive: Love


Scripture

Proverbs 3:24 (NIV)

When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Observation

I should be able to tell when I’m relying on God and when I’m leaning on my own understanding. I can be busy all through the day until the moment when I lie down to rest my body. My mind, still teeming over the events of the day, keeps plodding on bringing up yesterday, hopes for tomorrow, and disappointments from today. I could have, I should have. I didn’t.

Regret lays heavy,
a wet cloth over my face.
Scattered thoughts whisper
the promises of God.
I reach out, grasping hands
holding the wind.
They are real, tangible-
they hold me up.
On butterfly wings
I float…
He is near, my broken heart
knitted together, wise words
filling the cracks, comprehension
dawns. I know Him,
rising from sullen earth.
Beatific beauty,
breathing life.
Stumbling steps, certain footing.
Lids lifting,
blink,
blink,
blink.
Sweet sleep,
mine-
forevermore.

Scripture

Matthew 21:28-32 (NIV)

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
29 “ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Observation

I don’t know if I’ve heard it before, but I’ve recently heard the expression that “delayed obedience is disobedience.” It really stuck in my head. In my life I can say that there have been many times when I have had a problem with authority which stems from pride. Too often have I seen some instructions, usually by some sort of authority, like my company or the government, and I “notice” something amiss in the instructions. Sometimes it might be something that doesn’t make sense to me. “Why do it like that?” As I think about it, I often have a hard time following instructions that don’t make sense to me. I’d say it’s a huge fault of mine. This pride that something has to make sense to me in order to do it. Even as I write this, I can feel a tug at me that what I’m writing just can’t be true. I feel such a need to defend myself. To point out that instructions should be clear and easy to follow. Perhaps I am digressing in that.

In these verses, I see two sons. One, with whom I can relate, who say’s he’s not going to do what his Dad asked him to do, but then changes his mind, and does it. I have done that. If I don’t see the merit in doing something, usually a specific way, that I have deemed, doesn’t make sense to me, I will decide not to do it. Then, I have been known, to “see reason” and then do it.
The other son tells his father that he’s going to do as he asks and then doesn’t do it. While I can’t think of any specific examples right now, I do have a sense, knowing myself, that I have, in my delayed obedience, pointed out that other people didn’t do “it” but I did.

I asked the Lord to have this notion that delayed obedience was still disobedience explained to me. Now, when I recently heard this in a message, I accepted it. Of course, I said. In agreement to the notion, “delayed obedience is disobedience.” Then, in today’s reading, I ran into this parable. I have read this before but not in this “new” context. The more I think on it, the more I can remember identifying with the first son. However, today, as I said, I was like, “how can that be disobedience?! He did what his father asked him to do! Go after the second son.”
In examining these verses, I even looked at these in different translations. A helpful way, I’ve found, to understand what is being said. All the verses I previously looked at seemed to be saying the same thing, which didn’t really help me to see more clearly (he changed his mind (NIV, NLT, ESV, BSB)). I want to take just a moment and point out that, in thanksgiving, that I believed I was wrong. Somehow. Delayed obedience is disobedience. It had to be. So, I thank God that He kept me pushing on until I understood why I was confused. When I looked at these verses the “light” came on:

King James
He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

New King James Version
He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went.

American Standard Version
And he answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented himself, and went.

All of these versions show that the first son didn’t just change his mind, but regretted what he had said to his father, “I will not go.” I can understand this a lot better. Both of the sons sinned. The first son was disrespectful to his father in his disobedience to him but realized that what he had said was wrong and so did as his father asked. The second son sinned against his father when he told him that he would do as he asked but then didn’t. Of the two sons, the first son, who repented of his sin, was the one who did the will of his father.

Application

I’m so thankful that the Lord brought this to my attention today. I always want to do what He asks me to do when He asks me to do it. As I walk with the Lord more, I realize that, even as I read the Bible, and think that I understand what is being said to me, that I don’t grasp everything and, more importantly, I don’t realize that I’m missing something. However, I know, as I seek Him more, daily, that the good work He’s doing in me, will one day be complete.

Prayer

Thank you, Father! Thank you for who you are. I praise and exalt you! Thank you for clarifying this to me today. Please help me to be humble and obedient to your word. Please renew in my a clean heart that always say’s yes to you and does what you want me to do when you tell me to do it. 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.