Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Head That Once Was Crowned"1 (Lyrics)
Joshua 1:7 – 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. (NIV)
Every day can be an adventure with the Lord, a "God day", even if we don't see it at the time. God always seems to give me a personal analogy when I give the Sunday School lesson for the kids at church.
My lesson was from the book of Joshua, chapters 1 through 6 — the story of Joshua leading the second generation of Israelites into the promised land, the land of milk and honey. The Israelites trusted in God, where their parents had not. They weren't sure how they were going to get to the promised land, but they knew that's where they were going. They headed towards the swollen Jordan River knowing that there would be no vessel to ferry them across. They camped around the scared-stiff city of Jericho, where people had heard what the God of Israel had done, and they weren't opening any gates in welcome.
Recently, we planned a two-day bicycle ride down the coast highway of California towards San Diego, with camping in the middle. It rained, so my friends backed out, leaving me to ride alone. I could have cancelled the ride, but I didn't. I told my husband to meet me at a certain location. So I set out, not really knowing my route, just going south. I don't have a smart phone, and my guide was just the bike lane that headed in the direction I was going.
But I wasn't alone; I soon met up with other riders, riders with numbers pinned to their bike jerseys. On an uphill climb, I had a chance to ask a rider what the event was and where they were headed. They were on a two-day ride also and going to the same destination that I had planned on reaching! Along their route, orange arrows pointed out the easiest way to the final point.
Like the Israelites, I didn't know how I was going to get to my destination, which was Mission Bay. But the Lord knew that this event was on the same weekend, with arrows to guide the way and Gatorade stations at which to refuel. I felt like Mary Poppins when her painted pony left the carousel and entered into a horse race!
It was a great weekend, but it wasn't until the Sunday morning when I was praying over my Sunday School lesson that I realized the significance of that two-day ride.
In our lives, we are given directions to follow His ways. Be kind. Love one another. Be honest. Have no other gods before us. Those are our directions in life. We are to follow them, and we are guaranteed an adventure. Israel followed the instructions God gave Joshua, and they marched across a dry Jordan River. They followed the obscure, weaponless directions to march around the fortified city of Jericho, and the victory was theirs!
We all have fortresses in our lives that we need to conquer. Let us follow the instructions, and we'll do just fine.
Deuteronomy 31:8 – The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (NIV)
Be strong. Be courageous. Follow God's directions, and He will be with us, never to leave us or forsake us.
Prayer: Father God, leader of Israel and guide to believers everywhere, where can we go that You are not? You are in every part of our lives; show us Your amazing ways. Give us "God days" that You may be blessed. In the Name above all names, we ask. Amen.