Friday, April 29, 2016

"Hind-Sight-Faith" -- A Lesson From Ancient Israel

“Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I afflicted the Egyptians by what I did there, and I brought you out. 6 When I brought your people out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and horsemen[a] as far as the Red Sea.[b] 7 But they cried to the LORD for help, and he put darkness between you and the Egyptians; he brought the sea over them and covered them. You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the wilderness for a long time." (Joshua 24:5-7)

I have to admit, I chuckled when I read this passage. I wasn’t laughing at anyone, well, yes; maybe I was a little bit. The Israelites crack me up. At the same time they frighten me—because I’M JUST LIKE THEM! Maybe you can relate?

In chapter 23 Joshua gives his farewell speech to Israel. In a nutshell he says, (paraphrased) “God is real, He is faithful. Look back at all of the countless ways He has been faithful to you. He always keeps His promises. Every time you follow Him you win, your life is good and blessed, peaceful and prosperous. And every time you fail to follow him you regret it and you reap the consequential fruit of your selfish choices. So when I’m dead and gone—remember these truths and trust the Lord.” 

Then, in chapter 24 Joshua throws this little gem in… “You saw with your own eyes what I (the Lord) did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the wilderness for a long time.” 

Translation, You guys have spiritual amnesia! You can experience overwhelming displays of my power, love, grace and goodness to you and be all fired up about living for me one day, and then the next day, live like we never met! Remember what happened to your ancestors? They witness my power poured out against Egypt, as I broke Pharaoh and set them free! They walked across the Red Sea on dry ground while I held the pursuing Egyptian army back in a pillar of fire that stretched to the heavens—it was an awesome display! They saw the waters of the sea literally crush their enemies before their very eyes! Then when it came time to follow me into the land I had promised to give them, they said, (paraphrased) “Oh no, we’re afraid, what if we can’t defeat them?”  Like God had somehow become weak or unfaithful. The result, that entire, unbelieving generation didn’t get to enter the Promised Land. They got to wander around in the desert until all of them died. 

Friend that is such a powerful metaphor for us today! As painful as it is for me to confess this, I have been like the Israelites way too often.  I have wasted a lot of time wandering in deserts of worry, fear and frustration as a result! This is the slippery path of spiritual suicide. Heed this warning today. DON’T GO DOWN THIS PATH.

Learn this lesson: FAITH in many ways is hind-sight in reverse. 

When we look BACK—it’s easy to say, “God was ALWAYS with me, why did I fear?” Faith—inverts that perspective and projects it forward. It cultivates within us a voice that says, “God’s track record of faithfulness in my life is so good, so solid, so impeccable, I can, and I will trust him today with _________ (You fill in the blank).”

Take some time to reflect today. Rehearse in your mind all of the times God has been faithful to you—when you trusted Him, and by grace, even when you didn’t!  Then allow that track record of faithfulness to embolden your faith in Him today!

Until next time...