Transforming Power; the Work of God on Behalf of Man
Weekly Devotional 9-28-20 Choose You This Day
From the Book of Joshua we read that after the death of Moses Joshua was called by the Lord (Joshua 1:1-9) to lead Israel into the Promised Land. In the faithfulness and protection of the Lord, Joshua led the Israelites for approximately 26 years fulfilling that charge (that call). As he approached the end of his life Joshua gave the following challenge,
“14Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. 15And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14-15).
As He issued this charge, Joshua reminded the Israelites of all that God had had done on their behalf. He had called Abraham, their forefather, out of idolatry and had greatly blessed him by growing out of him the nation they had become. He had brought them out of the bondage of Egypt, protected them from their pursuing armies and gave them victory over the Amorites and the Moabites on the way to Canaan. In Canaan He gave them victory over seven nations that occupied the Land, seven nations that were well fortified and protected by great armies. It was this God that Joshua served. The Israelites had to make a choice God would not force Himself upon them. They needed to choose and follow Him if they were to be blessed as had their forefathers. To their credit, the Israelites did choose Jehovah God and for a time served (worshipped) Him. But their commitment to Him was short lived and not many years later, they were enslaved by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. Along the way they suffered a civil war and the nation was split into two camps, The Northern Kingdom, comprised of 10 tribes, and the Southern Kingdom, comprised of 2 tribes. The Northern Kingdom was absorbed into the culture and religions of the Assyrians, eventually losing their identity. When freedom came to the Southern Kingdom, many remained with the Babylonians and eventually also lost their identity. When freedom came many others returned to their homeland (Israel) but never again experienced the blessings that their forefathers had enjoyed. This was because of a half-hearted commitment to Jehovah God.
So, we come to our day and God has likewise asked all humanity to make a choice, a choice between Himself and the gods of this world. To reveal Himself in a more tangible way, in about B.C. 3, He took upon Himself flesh and dwelt among man, in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:1-2…1:14). We read from the Book of Hebrews that He was the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person (Hebrews 1:1-3). The writer of Hebrew adds that Jesus became our high priest (God’s representative to man and man’s representative to God) not only our high priest, but also the redeemer of our souls. There is much that should be said about this, but it would take a book to do such a subject proper justice. However, the need for redemption can be capsulized in a few verses from Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Paul writes that sin entered the world through the first man Adam and sin was passed through him to all humanity (Romans 5:12-14). Expounding on that he writes that “10 There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one”…. “23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”….6:23 for the wages of sin is death a.k.a. separation from God (Romans 3:10-12….3:23….6:23a).
A sad determination for sure but because God loves mankind, He made a way to overcome man’s sin and restore fellowship to Him. Again turning to Paul’s letter to the Romans we read that man is “24 justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26). Ah, there it is, to be justified man must have faith in Jesus Christ, God’s provision for man’s restoration and forgiveness of sin. Faith denotes trust.
To be saved from one’s sin one must trust in God’s provision and this is exemplified best by Jesus’s encouragement to the Pharisee, Nicodemus. We read: “14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (see Numbers 21:1-9), even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” He who comes to the light is he who believes in and chooses to follow the only true God.
Believing in and choosing God is man’s side of salvation. God’s side is His spiritual regeneration of the recipient.
Ascribed to by:
Oscar Leske WWW.UnderstandingtheSignsofOurTimes
And Lian Muan Kim
Koinonia Baptist Seminary- Yangon, Myanmar