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“The men of Israel tasted the bread, but they did not ask the LORD what to do.” Joshua 9:14 (NCV)
HOW OFTEN DO WE begin a “good work” for the Lord without first asking Him if this is His will.
We can learn from the the Book of Joshua what happens when we fail to consult the Lord’s will for our lives, even on matters where it seems obvious we are doing right. We also can learn from Joshua how He blesses us when we do obey Him, even when we do not immediately see the wisdom of His plan.
Yes, Joshua failed to consult the Lord regarding the Gibeonites who deceived him into thinking they had traveled a long distance to surrender, when they actually were a neighboring people marked for slaughter. As a result, a foreign influence was left in the land.
HOWEVER, LATER JOSHUA did consult the Lord regarding warfare against Israel’s northern neighbors. The Lord gave the armies over to Joshua and commanded him to destroy their lands, even crippling their horses and burning their chariots.
This time, Joshua obeyed, and he continued to be victorious in his battles, thus, clearing the land for the Jews, as the Lord had promised:
“Joshua did to them as the LORD had commanded him; he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.” —Joshua 11:9 (NET)
Over and over again, we see the OT accounts of Israel vacillating between obeying God and disobeying Him. Over and over again, we see God blessing them when they obey and disciplining them when they rebel or disobey.
We learn from Saul’s example in 1 Samuel 15, that God prefers our obedience to our sacrifices. That is, He wants us to obey His voice rather than assume on our own, that we’re doing the Lord’s will.
“Then Samuel said: Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.” — 1 Samuel 15:22 (CSB)
BEFORE HIS ASCENSION, Jesus gathered His disciples before Him and gave them their final instructions. He was about to go to the Father and, soon, would send the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide His followers.
He started by reminding them that “all authority in heaven and on earth” had been given to Him. In the entire universe, only the Father has more authority than Jesus, including Satan and any of his demons.
Jesus told His disciples to baptize the nations and teach them “everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20 NIV).
Again, the instructions to love others, pray for them, minister to their needs, show compassion and mercy, and forgive them were not just “nice things” to keep in mind or suggestions for their consideration.
They are “commandments.” They are to be obeyed.
We, as believers, claim God’s promises to give us peace beyond understanding and Paradise for eternity; in turn, God claims for us that we honor Him by obeying His will for our lives.
PRAYER: O Lord, our Heavenly Father, how often do we presume to know Your plans for us because of our conviction that such-and-such an action is the right course to take, that we forget to stop and ask. You have told us over and over again that You prefer obedience to sacrifices and good works. You want us to praise You and glorify You, and we do this by obeying You. Lord, forgive us for our prideful disobedience, and turn our hearts and steps back to You. In Jesus name we pray. Amen
- Have you ever experienced what Joshua did where you thought you were obeying the Lord’s will for your life but neglected to ask Him first? How did that go for you? Was your effort blessed?
- Why do you think it’s important to seek the Lord’s will in all matters without assuming He’ll support our efforts based solely on our own understanding?
- Do you think our failure to consult God about His will stems from our personal pride that we “know” what He wants or does it stem from our lack of belief that He will respond to our prayer?
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