Crossways Concepts

Because it is all about the cross...

Insights from the scripture as lead by the Holy Spirit

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Make a mistake? Not me!

There are so many times when we don't know what choice might be the right answer.  It would be nice if life was like the old melodrama movies where the good guys wear the white hats and the bad guys wear the black hats. The decisions were simple – not just the hats, everything was black and white.

In our world not only is everything in shades of gray, but there are a lot of people that cover up with a bit of paint, so you can't really tell what is what.

Reading the stories of how Jesus dealt with people, you can't help but to be a little jealous – He always knew exactly what He was dealing with.  God can see directly into the hearts on men.  There is no way to deceive God.  Even where we have deceived ourselves or the people around us, God can still see the truth.

We are only human.  We can't see into people's hearts.  We are forced to use to tools at our disposal to figure out what is right and what is wrong.  Yet we still make lots of mistakes.  We make bad judgments.  We get confused.  We are deceived. We resort to wishful thinking.  We make the wrong decision.  We go in the wrong direction.

The heroes of the bible never got deceived, right?  Wrong.  Certainly those that had the ability to chat directly with God never got deceived, right?  Wrong.

In the book of Joshua, we see shortly after Moses had handed the leadership over to Joshua that he did get deceived.  In this story Moses had just recently died and Joshua was to take the Israelites into the promised land.  God had told them over and over again that they must destroy the people that were living in the land.  These people had evil practices that God knew would corrupt His people if they weren't wiped out.

God wasn't vague or unclear about this.  The inhabitants of the land absolutely had to go, there was not to be any sharing of the land.  God made Himself clear to Moses and He made himself clear to Joshua.

Yet through deception one people tricked Joshua into allowing them to stay, even in direct opposition to Joshua's instructions from the Lord.  These people constructed a totally believable hoax and Joshua completely fell for it.  Before Joshua knew what had happened, he had given his work, before the Lord, that he wouldn't harm these people.  Then when he realized that he had been duped, it was too late.  When he gave his word before the Lord, there was no going back on it, even if he had been deceived into that decision.

Joshua was a man that was favored by God.  He had the capacity to converse directly with God.  This man was tricked.  How could this happen?  How it happened was simple, Joshua didn't bother to ask God.  He followed his head and his heart without asking God and he failed.

So if Joshua failed, what chance do we have?  Our chances are approximately zero percent probability of us doing everything right every time.  We will fail.  We will make mistakes.  We will not be perfected on this side of heaven.  If your goal is set on perfection, then you will be disappointed.  However, this is not an excuse for not trying, either.

We saw what got Joshua in trouble, he didn't ask God about the decision before he made it.  This is a lesson for us.  We need to be sure that we stay in-touch and listening to God.  Joshua had some suspicions that this might have been a trick, those suspicions were very likely that “still, small voice” of God.  

Looking back at the event, I'm sure that Joshua wished that He had stopped to ask God.  He was wound up in the events of the moment.  He was too involved (busy?) to slow down to seek God.  Many of us could write a book about being busy, if we had time.  As Joshua found out, being busy can lead to big mistakes.  How many of our bad choices could have been averted if we took time to stop and listen to God.

Listening to God has become a lost art, but is critically important to being an obedient Christian.  How can we be obedient if we don't listen to the one we are supposed to be obedient to?

Here is an exercise that may help you learn to listen for God's voice.  In your daily quiet time, pick up your Bible and ask God, “what would You like me to read today?”  Then quiet your mind and wait until something comes to your mind.  Then, go to that part of the Bible.  Read it, looking for the specific message that God has for you within that section of scripture.  My experience is that I don't always get a truth revealed to me, but the more I exercise this God-listening-muscle, the more frequently He reveals something to me.  

We want to to the best job we can of making the choices that God would want us to make.  Certainly the world makes this difficult.  To combat the distractions and temptations of the world we have to stay connected to our Lord.  We have to listen for His perfect guidance.  This can't be a now-and-then type of thing, it must be concerted, deliberate and continuous.  He want to lead us along His perfect path, we just need to pay attention.

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