The assigned reading for my BSF study today was Joshua Chapters 5 & 6. Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), is a worldwide non-denominational Bible study- an amazing place to learn about God’s word, they have studies for women, men, children, and teenagers. Several years ago I visited BSF with very little understanding of the program. I recall walking into the church expecting, superficiality, judgement, and a lack of authenticity. However, I found the exact opposite of what I expected. As I walked in women flocked to greet me, to lead me to my destination, and accepted me into the community with open arms. Most importantly, I found a level of scripture reading I haven’t received in any church or arena to date, the study was purely based off of Scripture. In fact, within the first month I grew to love being in God’s word, developed a passion and yearning to know and understand the truths found in the scriptures, and my heart was changed/renewed. After a long period of struggling, needing a reminder of the basics of the gospel and who I am in Christ; I was able to go back to the basics of the gospel (the BSF study at the time was John). Within the first month my faith was renewed, hope was restored, and I once again remembered exactly who I was “A Child of God”! My heart had been battered and broken down slowly for several years and the solid biblical teachings of the Bible, helped me to find my grounding and hope! God knew what I needed, when I needed it most! Sorry, I wasn’t anticipating this blog post turning into a mini commercial for BSF, but it is a program I would gladly advertise any day!
Today’s passage is found in Joshua chapter 5 & 6-
Funny story- After looking at Joshua 5 & 6 and reading the words, I initially found myself struggling to understand or draw any nuggets out of the text. Seemed like am boring Old Testament passage that would have bore me to shreds in the past. However, BSF has this way of asking tough questions that forces you to dig into God’s word to find answers. This socratic method of learning has helped me to discover meaning and applicable answers to my present day life each and every time I read God’s word!
God shows up to Joshua in the form of a “Commander from the Lord”… Which is God, because Joshua is told to take off his sandals for the place he was standing was Holy Ground! Joshua in the presence of God fell facedown in reverence to God (which is typical of the human response to God’s overwhelming power and sovereign grace). The Lord gave Joshua very specific directions regarding taking over the land of Jericho. In the picture above you will see the exact words from my NIV Bible and the commands given to Joshua.
As I read the commands God had very clearly given to Joshua in Chapter 6, I found myself confused! Thinking to myself, “What kind of battle plan is this?” Friends, I would have been terrified of going into battle with a place where no-one who went in, ever came out, with the commands given by the Lord to Joshua! As I continued reading and processing; looking for understanding: The meaning suddenly hit me, like a heavy encyclopedia to the head… God was giving commands as a sign of testing their obedience, the directions had very little to do with the siege of the city. The city was successfully taken by Joshua and the Israelite’s because of their obedience to God and trust in His perfect plan!
As I thought back on the events of my life and the times when God seemed to make little or no sense. Friends, there have been many times when I felt he was asking me to walk around cities, remain silent, and wait for His perfect timing! I wish I could say I was stronger in these moments – or that I was always courageous and obedient. However, that would be a lie! At my core I am a big baby; I struggle with questions, doubts, impatience, and have even gotten downright angry with God at times. I can promise you this; Never have I looked back in hindsight at God’s provisions and felt he had failed me! In the process, I have always come out stronger, closer to Him, and my faith has always grown through these difficult times. I have learned he is more than capable of handling me; He is patient and desires all to know him intimately. I wasn’t always able to see or understand how God was working during the seasons of difficulty in my life. After the season came to a close, in hindsight I could always see his hand working in mighty ways! God is looking for hearts of surrender and obedience! He is not looking for perfection, intelligence, or talent – He is looking for hearts who will trust him in the battles of life!
Friends, Are you struggling with the inability to fully understand what God is doing in your life or the lives of the people you love? Are you feeling overwhelmed with the demands of life? Are you fearful of health screening results or tests? Have you been waiting on a much needed job, answer to prayer, or a broken relationship to be mended? You are not alone!
If you’ve lost hope today, let me lend you my hope for awhile!
“God is there! He is more than capable! He is working things out according to his good and perfect will! He is in control, even when you feel life is out of control!”
Let’s determine to be a Joshua in a world full of anxiety… Focus on God in the midst of the trails and battles in your life! You too, will eventually see… “He was always by your side and in control of every facet of your life!”