Well, I didn't set out with the intention of waiting an entire week to post again but guess I just didn't get around to it last week. Anyway, here we go with some of what God is teaching me.
I just finished reading Joshua and have begun reading Judges. I think the richness of Judges is amazing and is even more amazing after reading what preceded it in Joshua. I unfortunately can much too easily relate to the book of Judges. I don't want to and hate to admit it but it is true. I have found three things that I can relate to in the book of Judges.
1. The Israelites didn't finish the work God called them to do. I can relate to this because many times I have quit before I attained a specific goal. It is obvious when looking at our society I am not the only one who quits at things. Whether it is a diet, exercise program, job, relationship or anything, we often don't finish what we start. I fall into one of two camps in regards to this. Sometimes I manufacture an idea that is really not from God meaning it looks good, sounds good and feels good therefore I need to do this. Without praying about whether God really wants me to do it I am not even on the right path let alone finishing the job God has for me. The other camp I fall into is allowing fear, pride, selfishness and so many other things to keep me from pursuing that which God desires for me to do.
2. The Israelites forgot all the wonderful things God had done for them. Why is it that when things are going well we forget that is a blessing from God and that we still need Him in our lives? And why is it that when things are going bad we see it as a curse and do not see how God is working in that situation and how He has worked in the past? Too often my momentary troubles tie me down rather than seeing the grand scheme of what God is doing in and through my life. God gave the Israelites a rich promise and they didn't remind themselves of it and therefore forgot about it. If I don't spend time in God's Word soaking in His love, grace, forgiveness and purpose then I too will forget just how far God has brought me and how much further He wants to take me on this journey.
3. The Israelites lived life totally for themselves. One of the key phrases in Judges is "all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes." I fight the urge to be selfish everyday. Not a day goes by where I don't have to recognize my own selfish desires and choose to put the needs of others above my own. How I wish I could tell you that I always make the right choice in those situations but I can't. Selfihness sometimes wins and I have to confess that sin and allow God to teach me to live my life as a sacrifice to Him in everything I do.
God is teaching me that to live a life that is glorifying God in every thing I do I need to finish strong that which God has called me to do. I must remember what God has done in the past and have hope for what He is doing now and in the future. I must live life for Him and put others ahead of myself. Philippians 3:14 says "I press on to reach the end of the race and recieve the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." (NLT) I like the wording of the second half in the NASB which says "press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." I like the imagery of the "upward call". Living in West Virginia I have had the opportunity to run in some beautiful landscapes but let me tell you running uphill is not easy and the upward call is not easy. Righteous and holy living is not easy, it is simple but not easy. Simple because there is no question about where to go for help but what we learn does not always translate as easy. I am so grateful that just as God continually resuced the Israelite from the mess they got themselves into He also rescues me when I call out to Him. I serve a God who rescues people and He deserves unending worship as a result. I praise You Lord, that you have rescued me!