And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The LORD Is My Banner. –Exodus 17:15
If I could redesign this reading plan, I would have focused on just Chapter 11 (Days 29-31) for this week. Perhaps it was because this followed a challenging sermon at church on Israel’s defeat at Ai in Joshua, and I am getting deeper into the Armor of God study, that I was so aware of the battle we are in. I needed this word. I needed to be reminded of both defeat and victory.
To back up for a moment, before I get to Kay, our last week’s sermon walked us through Joshua 6 and 7. We were reminded that God owns everything and that our faith step is stewardship. When we attempt to hold things back from God (which is not bright because He knows everything) and enter into secret sins, we demonstrate that we don’t trust Him to take care of us. And we ignore that our sins have consequences. As our pastor said, “when we take legitimate things and use them in an illegitimate way, we are walking in unbelief.”
What a humbling message. And it went further. Although Joshua and the people had achieved great victory at Jericho, they were defeated by the little town of Ai because of Achan’s sin in the camp. As the message said, “without God’s presence, any little thing can defeat us.” Talk about a punch to the gut. How many times do I get discouraged and defeated by the little things? Too often. Why do I walk away from God thinking, this is not big God, I can handle it by myself?? WRONG.
The message didn’t end on a downer. We were encouraged to remember to get on our face before God and humbly seek Him. To confess and make restitution. To receive God’s forgiveness and grace. Thank the Lord for the blood of Christ and grace!
Coming into this week of study, I asked the Lord to examine my heart and get the gunk out. Boy, did He. Not a pleasant process. But it was needed. This week of the study highlighted that one of our first enemies as Christians is our flesh. This flesh is no good (Romans 7:18). As Kay writes, it is our first and constant enemy (p. 107). Therefore we have to be on constant alert. “The flesh must constantly be put to death. It can’t be tolerated, catered to, or spared in any way. If it is, it will devastate you” (p. 108). If we try to fight this battle alone, we will lose.
But GOD. We are thankfully not alone in this fight. The little things that wanted to knock me out this week didn’t. Not because I am special or particularly brave–in fact I can be quite slow to get in the fight. But because our God is mighty. Because after I see my weakness and rely on Him, I find rescue. I love when Kay writes, “It is the Lord’s battle; victory depends on His rod being lifted up….But you, O valiant warrior, are to put on the full armor of God and get on the battlefront. Under His banner, victory is always assured” (p. 112).
Praise be to God that He has the ultimate victory. I am clinging to my Jehovah-Nissi this week. I am trusting in Him.
Where have you been in the Word, in the study this week? Who is God showing Himself to be in your life? I hope you will trust Him. He is strong and mighty!
I can’t believe this is almost at the end. This week takes on three more chapters:
|Week 8 (July 25-31)||The Lord of Hosts
The Lord My Shepherd
The Lord Our Righteousness
I hope you have had a chance to peek in the study and have been encouraged by knowing more about our great God!