Tag Archive | Joshua

Break The Wall

break-the-wall-karinas-thought

Hello my dear readers! I am happy could come back to the blog with my own post and I am grateful to God in the middle of my busyness this evening I could write something to share.

A few days ago one of my business friends invited me to visit her new house.  She built a new big and luxury house that surrounded by thick and high wall. I felt a bit weirdness when saw the house from the outside; the house looks more like a fortress. My husband jokingly said, “Maybe this wall could only be destroyed by missiles. Or we must march around for seven days like Jericho wall”

I smiled but suddenly remembered about the story of Jericho wall (Joshua 6:1-27). As we all know the Jericho wall destructed by the irrational and unique ways. After spending forty difficult years wandering in the desert of Sinai, they came to the eastern banks of the Jordan to take the Promise Land and they were facing first obstacle. The City of Jericho! Jericho city was surrounded by virtually impregnable thick massive stone. But Jericho wall was successfully destructed (seemingly) by a foolish strategy.  This  was a strategy that given by God to Joshua: All men of war and seven priests that bear seven trumpets of rams before the ark must around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day they shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. When the sound of trumpets sounded they must shout with a great shout and the wall will fall down flat. (Joshua 6:3-5) Like most war stories, normally a giant fortress could be destructed only by enormous military force with all its weapons. But in fact, Jericho wall destructed not by military strategy and force but by beyond the logic supernatural power.

My beloved readers, in this post please allow me to share two valuable things that I learned from Jericho story. I hope and pray it could be a great lesson for us and could be applied in our lives.

 God’s promises, Faith, and Obedience

In my thought, there is an integral relationship between God’s promises, our faith, and obedience. When God promise to us, He will definitely fulfill His promises. God said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. (Joshua 6:2) This isn’t just a statement but rather to guarantee of God’s promise. God didn’t say: “…I will” but He even said “I have given…” even though the victory over Jericho was guaranteed but it wasn’t automatically. Israelite had to follow instructions from God.  Though God’s instruction seems odd and silly Joshua remains followed God’s command without asking and protest at all! Then Joshua said to the priest and his people:

“Take up the Ark of the Covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.”  And he said to the people, “Proceed, and March around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the Lord.” (Joshua 6: 6-7)

Here, faith and obedience plays an important role so Joshua and his people got victory over Jericho. We can see the obedience manner of Joshua. I imagine if only Joshua didn’t obediently follow God’s instruction, I strongly believe the Jericho wall wasn’t necessarily collapsed and the Israelite will never enter to the Promise Land. Why Joshua and his people could be obey to do God’s command? The answer is because they have faith. It is written in Hebrews 11:30, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days” although in the past Israelite’ faith had frequently failed, at the time by faith they believed and trusted God and His promises and they did God’s command obediently. It means they saved by faith and their faith evidenced by obedience. Here we can learn something important. When there are so many hurdles and problems in our lives and God give instructions that seemed doesn’t make sense to do, let’s accept the instructions by faith and do it obediently. It is written in Deuteronomy 13: 4, “It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him”.

We must remember that God can use anything even the most unreasonable thing to declare His unlimited power. There was so much evidence in the Bible God showed His power through the irrational ways and beyond the range of human logic. God is never wrong. Any God’s instructions and commands has become a part of His plans and God’s entire plan is plan to prosper us and plans to give us hope and future, even not to harm us. (Jeremiah 29:11) We just need to trust by faith and obey it as our real deed. The scripture says that “Faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26) Joshua and his people showed their faith through deed by obey carried out God’s command and conquered Jericho and God fulfilled His promise by gave them victory over an enemy that was trying to keep them out of the Promised Land.

God’s way or our way

The second thing we could learn from this story is about God’s way. There is a vast difference between God’s way and the human way. It is written in Isaiah 55:8-9,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

I would like to take you to imagine the physical condition of Jericho wall. I am so sorry couldn’t take much time to explore deeper to find out the authentic information about the size of the wall. Below is the specification of the wall that I got from my father’s Bible archaeology books. Let’s take time a moment to imagine it. Jericho was surrounded by a great earthen rampart with stones retaining wall at its base, the size of retaining wall was around 12-15 feet high. On the top of that was 6 feet thick of mud brick wall and 20-26 feet high. There was similar mud brick wall on the crest of the wall with around 46 feet high above the ground level. Other archaeological discovery stated that Jericho wall consists of 2 layers. 6 feet thick on the outside wall, 12 feet thick on the inside wall, and the distance between outside and inside wall was around 12-15 feet. My dear friends, no matter about the size and construction, by human logic and reason this wall was very difficult to penetrate even impenetrable. If it can be, as I said before the wall must be destructed by very enormous military force but the fact Jericho wall was destructed didn’t by military weapons force but even by the very unique way.

In our daily lives, when the problems and obstacles hit us, which way we chose to overcome? Whether we remain chose God’s way even though His way looks so strange? Or we even chose our own understanding and way? The story of Jericho reminds and teaches us that God’s way is higher than our way. The world gives so many alternatives to solve our problems but once again we have to remember that God’s way isn’t our way. Personally, I’ve often felt God provide remarkable way and beyond of my mind to solve my problems. You know, when God gives an instruction or command, we must be fully aware that it’s God’s way and we must believe that God’s way is always the best for us. So there is no reason at all we still stand on our own understanding and disobey His command because God said:  so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. (Proverb 3:5)

Dear, friends. What about us now? If this time you and I are surrounded by “thick wall” of problems of life?  Is there a “giant wall” that hinder God’s promises and blessings get into our lives?  Whether we want to break it down but we don’t have enough power?  This evening allow me to encourage all of us to learn from the Jericho story. Thousand years ago God showed His amazing way to tear down the Jericho wall. So it’s with us today. God will provide the amazing way to break our “Wall”. God will give us victory over the “enemies” that we face throughout life. Let’s ask to the Lord to show His miracle ways. Let’s hear His instruction heartily, accept it, believe it by unwavering faith and do it obediently. By faith, let us bear in our hearts and minds that there are no walls as thick as anything that cannot be break if God pleased. Don’t ever under estimate God’s way because actually He is the way (John 14:6) and our ways aren’t His way. Don’t ever rely on our own thoughts because His thoughts aren’t our thoughts. There is nothing impossible before God (Luke 1:37) and God does His best work in impossible situation.

Let’s keep our faith remain working together with action and make our faith complete by what we do (James 2:22) let’s prove our faith by obedience. Let’s show our faith to other as evidence that we truly believe God will always fulfills His wonderful promises. By faith and obedience to God we can conquer all “wall” of problems in our lives and we could be a winner. Amen

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: Google images

 

 

 

 

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Living in Humility

Living in Humility -Karina's thought-Paul Militaru

 

Some time ago when I was walking around in the shopping mall accidentally I met an old friend when was in college. I am so excited met her because been many years I have not hear news about her. Afterwards we were deep in exciting conversation. We were talk about many things. But after a while, I felt there was something different from her. I heard sound of arrogance in every of her words.  There was her sayings that really show her arrogance when we talked about business, “If you have a problem in business, you can come to me for help. Now with the position and authority that I have, I can do anything. I can change everything from impossible become possible!”

Honestly I  really sad to saw her changed drastically. I knew her very well before.  A meek young college girl even there was an impression of inferiority. But now she totally changed become an arrogant and snobby woman. Even worse, it seems she was not aware of the changes that happened to him. He felt all she did was reasonable. My husband said to me, “That’s one of the human weaknesses. Many people when they have a great success they could change drastically. When they have high position and powers, they turned out to be an arrogant person. They are forget that it all just a blessing from God”

Of what happened with my friend, I am increasingly aware why in the Christian life God many times advised us to always being humble and always live in humility. As God through Paul advised the Ephesians,

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)

 To the Philippians God advised,

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, (Philippians 2:3)

And to the Colossians God said,

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. ( Colossians 3:12)

There are many more advice to always be humble, and this is very important because  “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6)

I am reminded of the story of Joshua when he wanted to lead the Israelites to cross the Jordan. (Joshua 3:1-17) God spoke to Joshua before entering the Jordan,

“Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.” (Joshua 3:7)

After Joshua receive God’s message, he was immediately conveyed it to the Israelites. Let us pay attention to what Joshua said to the Israelites, he said,

This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites (Verse 10)

Please note, Joshua did not say, look, today you all will see how the Lord rearing my name, exalt me among you  …” Joshua did not say, “Here I am! I am the chosen, higher than all of you, and if you survived it all that because of me.”  Not at all! What Joshua said is,” This is how you will know that the living God is among you…” When I pondering this story I found and see Joshua’s humility. Joshua remains being humble because he was fully aware that it is not because his great or strong power Israelites would have crossed the Jordan, but because of God’s care. Joshua focused not on himself but to God. The focus is only to the God that glorified in all things have ever, is and will happen. Joshua did not take over of what is become God’s right. Furthermore, Joshua also explained in detail how they should to cross (Verse 11-13), and that he did to show that what will happen is not a simply coincidence, or not because of the greatness of Israel or himself, but because there is the power of God that works to protect and save them.

Now let we look at a story which opposite with the story of Joshua. Let’s see to the story of Korah. Initially, Korah was a quite influential leader at the time when the Israelites came out from Egypt. As with other Levites, Korah trusted to do the work in the tabernacle of the Lord and has a duty to serve the people. With such a status Korah automatically got a higher trust compared the other Israelites. It was such an honor and a big responsibility. Yet the fact was, Korah fell into the rebellion sin. He became oblivious to the essence of trust which God has given to him after success. He appreciates himself excessively and then fails to recognize the limits that God has set for him. He forgot to what became the line of his duty and he became arrogant.  He was plotting a rebellion.

And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: (Number 16:2)

Why did he rebel? Because he felt himself great above others and thirst for positions.  Then Moses rebuked Korah,

Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too (Numbers 16:9-10)

Arrogance made them forget that they are actually not opposed Moses and Aaron alone but God who has outlined immediately like what they have to walk. And what happens next was very fatal. The wrath of God came upon them and the destruction was befalling them.

And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. (Numbers 16:32-33)

Korah and his people eventually perish, down alive into the realm of the dead. It is God’s punishment for the people who are arrogant and dared against to God. And this is a warning to us not to be destroyed caused by our pride.

The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them along with Korah, whose followers died when the fire devoured the 250 men. And they served as a warning sign. (Numbers 26:10)

In everyday life we could found those who extremely changed just because they reached great success, have a high position and authority, feel the most powerful and can do anything. As a Christian, when God blesses us with success and was entrusted with full authority whether we would to be like them change drastically become arrogant and forget the essence of the trust that has been given by God? Today we could learn from these two stories. Whether we want to be like Joshua who was always focused on God and not take over what is become God’s right? Remain humble because he was fully aware that it was not as great or strong his power the Israelites would have crossed the Jordan, but due to the God’s power. Or we want to be like Korah who appreciates himself excessively and become an arrogant person, thirst for the position and honor, wanted to go beyond the limits that God has set for him, and eventually just got God’s wrath?

My dearest friends, this time please allow me to encourage all of you to always remember that everything that we have is only from God alone. Success, position, honor, affluence, authority, it all is just because blessings from God. Always remember to not steal the God’s glory and do not snatch the right of God to boast ourselves as written in Jeremiah,

Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Please always remember that we saved to save, we are blessed to be a blessing not to be a stumbling block. All of blessing that we have received is not use to boast ourselves but merely for the channel of blessings for others and just for God’s Glory. Without God we are nothing!

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John15:5)

 Do not be oblivious and feel that we are the greater than other then forget and steal the glory which becomes God’s right. When we become successful  let’s keep it well, continue to being humble, bless others over and over again and continue to glorify God.  Do not feel we can do anything just because Intelligence, talent or expertise or even a chance to succeed are only comes from the God’s grace. Amen.

For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! (Romans 11:36)

Karina – Living by faith

Photo by Paul Militaru http://photopaulm.com

 

 

 

 

Woman of Faith (Rahab)

woman_of_faith_by_arvhee

“The Lord your God, He is God in Heaven above, and in earth beneath. (Joshua 2:11).

This is the fourth post of “Woman of Faith” The last posts is based on the book of Esther, Sarah and The Canaanite Woman. This evening I chose Rahab. Many of my friends through email asked me to write about Rahab and also my lovely blog friend Julie encourage me to do this. I hope the readers will enjoy reading this post.

Rahab was known by her profession. She was not an ostracized moral leper, someone to be tolerated, but not honored. Even the men who might darken her doorstep at night would turn away from her during the day.

Rahab started as a prostitute, but learned about God. This changed her. She risked her known way of life to help the spies and start a new life with the Israelites. This is an example of how God can bless a changed heart. Rahab was in the lineage of Jesus.

Interestingly, Rahab was an Old Testament harlot who was mentioned in the New Testament for her faith. That’s right! She was mentioned right up there with Abraham, Noah, Joseph, even Moses. In Hebrews 11, often referred to as the Faith’s Hall of Fame, references are made to all of these famous Biblical figures and many more, including Rahab the harlot. “By faith,” Hebrews 11:31 reads, “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient

One day Joshua sent two spies to observe the city of Jericho. Then they sought refuge in the Rahab’s home largely because strange men entering the home of a prostitute would not generate very much attention and suspiciously.

The king of Jericho, however, received reports that the two spies had arrived in Jericho under cover of darkness. “Behold,” he was told, “men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.” (Joshua 2:3) He immediately dispatched his soldiers to search the Rahab’s home. But Rahab hid the two spies on her roof and told the king’s men that the two men had left the city before its gates were shut for the night.

What is the reason for Rahab saved the two spies? This is all about Rahab’s faith. Rahab dare to do it because he had heard how the magnitude of God’s power. Rahab believed even though he did not see the power of God when splitting the Red Sea and how God’s presence enabled the Israelites to keep on gaining victory after victory in war as written in the Joshua 2:8-11.

Rahab and her family were spared death because of her act of courage. More importantly, the reason she is so esteemed by in the New Testament comes from what she said to the two spies. “The Lord your God,” she told the two spies, “He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” (Joshua 2:11) In spite of the gods that Rahab and her fellow citizens worshipped, Rahab knew and professed that the Israelites’ God was the real and true. She proved her faith by her works. Rahab’s faith is not empty, much less dead. James says that faith without deeds is like a body without a spirit, which means dead (James 2:26).

 What can we learn from Rahab? Rahab did not know what happened next, but he believes, have faith in God because he had heard how the magnitude of God’s power even though she did not see directly but indirectly with her bravely she already shows her faith and accompanied with deeds.

The message here is that although faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, and real faith must have works. In other words, our faith is not and cannot be viewed as some private treasure that only we can enjoy. It must be shown for others to realize that it, too, is the real and true.

My dear lovely readers allow our faith to show up in the lives of others through service to our church and community. The Gospel can only be advanced by the expressions of love we show in the ways we serve others. There is simply no better way to win the lost for Christ. Amen.

Karina

Photo art work by Ar Vhee http://metarvheenoia.wordpress.com