Leading The Way

Isaiah 3:12
“…O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths.”

Isaiah is warning of coming judgment. The people had left the ways of God; perhaps thinking the Word of God was antiquated. Instead of being a nation that shone as a light to the world around them, Judah had become like all the other nations. Morally, spiritually and ethically, the people who were called by God to be a light, looked all too similar to the world around them. Isaiah points out one of the main contributors to their downfall,

“Those who lead you cause you to err. . .”

Those who should have been leading the people to follow the paths of God, were in fact, leading the people away from God. Jesus warned about blind leaders who led blind followers right into a ditch (Matthew 15:14). A nation is in trouble when the leaders lose sight of the proper destination. But who are these leaders? Who are the people who have the greatest influence on the next generation?

It is not difficult to see the influence entertainers have upon a culture. Whether it is a sports hero, musician, or actor, they have a powerful platform, and a strong voice. Both, companies and causes, understand the way to increase their influence is to get a famous person behind their product. That being said, the most influential leader with the loudest voice to the next generation, is the voice that happens within the home. Parents continue to have the most powerful effect in the lives of their children.

If we want to see the next generation walking with the Lord and seeking to honor Him, we cannot leave that kind of leadership to others. Christian parents cannot expect the church to be the primary tutor of their children’s spiritual development. That is the role of the parent. Every mom and dad who wants to see their kids walk with the Lord, should determine to walk with Him themselves. If you want your children to read their Bible, start reading yours. If you want your kids to make good choices, exemplify that in your life. If you want your kids to think living for Christ means we follow a higher standard than the world around us, then be sure you are living by that standard yourself.

In our nation, we have developed a dangerous trend. Parents have bought into the lie that children are resilient and can withstand divorce. Time and time again, I hear people say, they split up for the sake of the kids. “All we ever did was fight and that was not a healthy environment for raising children, so we decided to split up.” If you have decided to divorce your spouse, you are not doing it for the children. If the children were your concern, you would do whatever it takes to work through the problems in your marriage, and create an environment where the love and grace of God are being seen daily.

Instead of blaming the world around us for all the problems, it is high time the people of God stood up and began to lead.

Pastor Jim

 

Victory

Joshua 5:14
“So He said, ‘No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’”

Jericho is one of the greatest military victories of all time. A group of relatively untempered wanderers, enters into a new land, defeats the most secure city in the area with loud shouts and ram’s horns. Never, in the history of warfare, have their tactics been repeated. No training camps have ever been set up, teaching soldiers how to play musical instruments, and expose themselves to their enemies day after day. That being said, there are spiritual principles that led to Israel’s success. These same principles will lead us to success in our walk with the Lord, and service for His Kingdom. Back in chapter five, three things guaranteed their victory.

First, upon entering the land, God required the men to be circumcised (Joshua 5:2). Circumcision is an operation on a very sensitive part of the body, with the purpose of removing the flesh. Circumcision was considered to be the sign of Israel’s covenant with the Lord. In the New Testament, the word ‘flesh’ is used to speak of our sinful desires. Before any real victory can be accomplished for the Lord, we must allow Him to cut away the flesh. Those things in our lives that are not pleasing to the Lord must go if we are going to live in victory.

Second, once they healed from their operation, they celebrated the Passover (Joshua 5:10). It was a reminder of God’s deliverance from Epypt, and points forward to the work of Christ on the cross. While celebrating, God stopped the manna that He had provided for the past forty years (5:12). Though I am sure the people had grown quite tired of manna, they had also grown accustomed to it. Every day they went outside their tents and their provision was there for the taking. Now, as they are about to embark on a military campaign, God stops their food source. Simply put, in order to be victorious they must learn to rely upon the Lord.

Finally, the wounds from the operation have healed, the manna ceased, Joshua begins to survey Jericho. As he stands back, observing the city, trying to determine the best approach, he encounters a Man with a sword drawn (Joshua 5:13). It is obvious from the text, this is more than a man; it is in fact, the Angel of the Lord, or Christ Himself. Joshua approaches, and asks the question all of us might have asked, “are you for us or against us.” The Lord’s answer is quite striking. He declares “No!” Jesus is making it clear, He is not there to help make Joshua a better Joshua, He is there to be Master and Commander. The secret to success in our walk with the Lord, comes down to allowing Jesus to have His rightful place as King of our lives. As long as we are fighting with Him for control or authority, we will find our Christian life frustrating and unsuccessful. It is high time we surrender all.

Pastor Jim