Monday, January 22, 2018

The Deal Breaker

Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today… Deuteronomy 8:11

It’s another New Year and everyone wants a new start.  I know it is January 22nd, but it is still early enough to start over from those already failed resolutions, right?  This time of year, a lot of us are thinking about what we would like to change in our lives to make our lives and ourselves better.  We want big changes, spectacular results, and showers of blessings, but not all are sold out to completely doing what they need to do to make this happen.  We expect the blessings to rain down but most of the time we are the obstacle to making our own lives better.

The story of the battle of Ai, that takes place in the book of Joshua in the Bible, can teach us a lot about how we can make some self-defeating choices in life.  Israel was seeing military victories, one after the other, just as the Lord had promised them.  However, after the battle of Jericho, one man, Achan, broke their agreement with God - And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent.  Joshua 6:17.  Achan kept some of the loot from Jericho for himself, going against God’s agreement with them.  God was the only one who knew that Achan had taken the things and buried them under his tent floor.  Therefore, God judged them by not giving them the next victory, Ai.  Joshua did not understand and he cried out to God. God explained why they had not been given that victory.  Achan thought that he could ignore God’s conditions and still be blessed along with everyone else, but it didn’t turn out too good for him. Instead, no one got blessed because of him. 

Sometimes we do this same thing to ourselves.  We pray and we wait, wondering what is taking God so long.  We want His blessings but we don’t want to follow His rules, or at least not ALL His rules.  Our disobedience will stop the work of God in our lives.  Disobedience to God causes an obstacle between us and God and receiving His blessings. It brings judgement into our lives and trips us up so that we are thrown off track.  Obedience will not necessarily earn us God’s favor.  He doesn’t play favorites or pick teacher’s pets.  But, it will certainly place us in a position to receive the blessings God has planned for us.  Achieving victory in our lives is easier than maintaining victory.  Disobedience and sin are deal breakers in our own personal covenant with God, and will keep victory at bay.  Why would we want to do that to ourselves?

Just like Israel, we often lose battles to our Ai.  Have you looked under your tent and seen what you have buried that you know God has said you should not have?  The things that we cling to that we know we should not have bring no lasting joy, only lasting guilt.  Maybe our new New Year’s resolution should be to not be our own worst enemy, to not, by our own hand, keep the blessings of God away with our disobedience. 

Scripture to Claim:

No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.  Joshua 1:5

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