April 20, 2015

God cares for His children

Joshua 4:1–6:27, Psalm 46:10, 2 Corinthians 9:6–15, Psalm 48

Just before Joshua would lead the advance into the Promised Land — first stop: Jericho — he saw a man standing before him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went to him and said, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”

The man replied, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.”

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”

And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13–15)

It seems that this man was more than an angel, perhaps even a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus (although that possibility is debated). Whoever he was, he wanted Joshua to know that this was a holy place and an undertaking commanded and sanctioned by God.

Most know the story. Joshua was given strange orders for capturing this first stronghold. What army takes a city by marching around it seven times in seven days while blowing trumpets? How can the walls fall down on the last day — a day of marching around it seven times? It makes no sense to a military mind, and no sense to anyone else. Marching feet would never cause an earthquake or vibrate city walls so as to make them fall to the ground.

I’m certain that this happened this way because God wanted them to know that the commander of the army of the Lord brings the victory. This was an important lesson for the Israelites, the people to whom the Lord said, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). They needed to know that their victories depended on Him, not their own might.

The NT reading contains another lesson for God’s people. This time it is about the marvel of God’s provision. Just tonight, a Christian friend said, “All of us know what it is like to need a certain amount of money, to have no hope or idea where it would come from, and then God supplied, almost as if it fell from the sky.” It is this God who says . . .

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others.” (2 Corinthians 9:10–13)

God supplies my needs. His supply can be just what I need, or overflowing. It isn’t about financial strategy or clever use of time or money. It is about God and about submission to Him and the gospel of Christ. We sometimes say it with both humility and a bit of smug confidence: “God takes care of His kids.”

Perhaps in contrast to remembering Jericho, the psalmist tells of another wonder about the Lord we love: “Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.” (Psalm 48:12–14)

We fumble and stumble, but sometimes we march and blow trumpets. In it all, He is taking care of His kids, even the bratty ones. Ask me how I know.

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