Joshua 1:7-9 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Rick and Mary led the worship at their church. They were a well respected married couple with two beautiful children. A friend called and asked if I could meet with them. They were having marital problems. We sat and talked, and after introductions, I asked them to explain their problem. As it turned out, Mary had taken a job at an exclusive country club as a waitress and for the first time in her marriage, she was out of the house, and enjoying her freedom. Rick wanted her to quit the job and for the most part manage their family while he worked in his executive position and provided for the family financially. They got into a heated argument about it while they explained the situation to me. When I pointed that out to them, I was told, “that’s all we do anymore is argue”
I explained to them that biblical counseling was very effective with Christian couples but that for it to work, there needed to be some ground rules. First they both needed to agree to be willing to put Christ in the center of their marriage. They needed to make a list of their areas of dispute and then search the scriptures for a clear understanding of what God was leading them to do and then make the needed changes. Then, memorize the biblical solutions and in the event of a dispute, they needed to recite the verses to each other continually until the problem was defeated.
Next I took them through the explanation of “Three Types of People” I explained here previously. I then asked each of them to tell me which of the three men best describes you?. Both without hesitation said I am the “Worldly Man”. They both admitted that they were not following Christ in their daily walk. They were basically the god of their daily lives. I then asked them “Which of the three would you like to be? The husband quickly said, “I want to be the Spiritual Man, as he began to sob. The wife looked at me with a straight face and said “I am not willing to change … I am having too much fun” At that point, she made it clear that she was involved with another man. I looked at them both and first told Rick that I would look forward to meeting with him to help guide him on his spiritual transformation. For Mary, I explained to her that Biblical counseling won’t work if your are not will to follow God’s word and do what Jesus leads you to do. She was free to sit silently and listen, but the counsel I offered would be of little use to her, in her current mindset. I then took her to a specific passage(future blog), and asked her to read it, meditate on it, pray about it and call me in a few days. The next morning Mary called me and said she couldn’t sleep through the night. God had convicted her in her heart and she wanted to rededicate her life and be the Spiritual Woman. To make a long story short, we met a number of times in the weeks that followed and their marriage and family were saved because they were both willing to put Christ first in their lives and follow him. I have been fortunate to watch this story repeat itself, over and over, through the years. Each case has different problems, but I am hard pressed to remember a meeting where the Biblical instruction was followed without success. On the other hand, I never had any success whatsoever where the people envolved were not willing to put God first and follow his guidance.
God's advice to Joshua is a great verse for you to memorize. Let’s do a quick review of what God said to Joshua:
Be strong and very courageous: God was telling Joshua that he was about to give them every place where the Israelites set their feet. But did he want Joshua to be strong in "fighting battles"? No, this instruction was all about following his words. There was no worldly battle plan here. It is harder to fight lust, pride, and evil than armies of men.
Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged: Think about it, how would you like to live a life where you never had need to be discouraged or afraid of anything? Who would not want to live a life like that?
Be careful to obey all of the law Moses gave you … so that you may be careful to do everything written in it: The victory was certain, as long as the Jews were willing to do what God was telling them to do … the Jewish people could not lose. Have you ever considered that God has continued to protect Israel against its enemies all of these years and against enormous odds. The survival and re-establishment of the nation of Israel is one of the greatest miracles in human history.
Do not turn from it to the right or to the left: God knew what was ahead and that on their long journey that they would have many opportunities to take wrong turns in the road and follow their pride, lust and false gods. A number of times they followed the wrong path and suffered the consequences.
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night: This is what God means when he says to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. To memorize the truth, speak it, meditate on it to better understand God’s will for your circumstances of the day. Then do it
That’s basically it ... God’s instruction to conquer the known world. A band of untrained nomads with basically no weapons, water, or food. All they had was the scrolls to follow and God leading them. The next thing you know, they are defeating trained armies by walking in circles.
The Promises: “That you may be successful wherever you go” … “then you will be successful wherever you go” … “for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” "The success plan that never fails" and since we have been adopted into his Royal Priesthood, these promises are for you and me as well. Can you imagine, God the Creator of the universe walking with you wherever you go?
This is not just a story. This is history. I’ve been there.
So the question is: why do 91% of Christians decide to do the opposite of what God says to do here?
We will answer that question tomorrow.
God Bless you! Bob
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