Monday, June 1, 2015

The Good Land

Joshua 24:20-21,23-24‬ - "If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good." And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the LORD!" "Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD God of Israel.” And the people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!” 

I had written this particular blog awhile ago but never got around to posting. After yesterday's blog, I thought it appropriate to post now. Perhaps the timing is better!

The foreign gods we are to put away are the things of the world. As Christians we are considered foreigners in this world because when we have received Christ we have a heavenly kingdom to think about. Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful [worldly] desires, which wage war against your soul. (‭1Peter‬ ‭2‬:‭11) 

Like I said last time, Adam and Eve were ushered out of the good land. Jesus ushers us back in through His forgiveness of our sins, those sins the two in the garden did not at first have. None of us are good. None of us are free from sin...until we receive Jesus Christ.

Then when God has given us the good land, after receiving Christ, we should want to cling to it because of His goodness. We must be obedient to listen, obey and serve Him. Just as God gave Israel the Promised Land, God gives us our heavenly kingdom. Israel had to follow Him, though. Did they always do it willingly? No...those who struggled most were the older people who had known the life of captivity in Egypt. That complaining is what held them back, caused them to wander forty years in the desert. Plus, they did not make it to the Promised Land. They'd forgotten about all the signs and wonders of God that released them. It was a form of rejection of God. Only the next generation, who had not known captivity, but were steadfast in following God, who daily saw Him at work, entered this Promised Land.  

As God has shown, His judgment fell upon those elder Israelites. (Numbers 14) This will happen to those who do not think God is to be revered today, who choose not to follow Him. The kingdom of heaven is reserved for true followers.

Our lives, once given to God, are fueled by our obedience and His goodness. We must remember this. It is He who urged us into relationship with Him. It is He who gave His only Son to die for our sins. It is He we should be eternally grateful to. Joshua reminded Israel of the goodness He displayed:

“Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed." (Joshua‬ ‭23‬:‭14)  God is the same today as yesterday. 

Joshua also reminded Israel, like God has reminds us, if we are not willing and obedient:
"[If you transgress] the covenant of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed down to them, then the 
anger of the LORD will burn against you, and you shall perish quickly from the good land which He has given you.” (‭Joshua‬ ‭23‬:‭16‬)

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