Searching for the Heart of God

Today’s Reading : 2 Samuel 2Psalm 34

During our journey through the books of Samuel, we have encounter many versions of Saul and David, and this is the time that we are able to see David become king of Judah and soon Israel.   The one amazing trait that I see constantly throughout the text is David’s passion and undying reverence and relationship with God and David’s heart.

2 Samuel 2: 1-7

 After this David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up.” David said, “To which shall I go up?” And he said, “To Hebron.” So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David brought up his men who were with him, everyone with his household, and they lived in the towns of Hebron. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.

When they told David, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul,” David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, “May you be blessed by the Lord, because you showed this loyalty to Saul your lord and buried him. Now may the Lord show steadfast love and faithfulness to you. And I will do good to you because you have done this thing. Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant, for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”

In these verses, David is inquiring and listening to the direction of God.  He active listens to God and then clarifies the orders to make sure that he is doing the exact mission and directions that are presented to him.  There have been many times that I have wondered what way to travel or which road to take.  Because I relied on my own understandings I have experienced some very interesting adventures and been saved from myself through grace.  How different would my adventures have been if I was aligned properly with God and had the discernment to ask these easy questions?  David has lived and understood the richness and fullness of what God has in store for him.

Also in this passage, we see that David is genuinely compassionate for Saul, God’s anointed one.  He has had several opportunities to take the throne and have his revenge on Saul, but he always refers to “What is God’s plan for His Anointed?”   David has been given Saul’s life so many times in 1 Samuel, it is hard to keep a tally.  But he always inquires God about how to deal with Saul.   He revenges the lies that were spoken about Saul’s death and blesses those that buried Saul: his king, mentor, and father-in-law.  This is a testament of his internal character, David loved God and loved his neighbor and his enemy.   This is the Ahava, an unconditional love that cannot be explained.  It is the love that God has for us.   Once we have tasted the goodness of God, it is impossible to not want to give it to others.  May we be blessed to seek God as David has and listen to his direction.

An Imperfect King


Good Morning, it’s another Monday! Thank you for starting your week with Bible Journal. Today’s readings are: 1 Samuel 27 and Psalms 28. After reading today’s chapter in 1 Samuel, I found myself getting a little confused about the whole Saul and David story. I know most of our readers are way beyond my level of experience and knowledge of the Bible, but just in case…here’s a recap:

While Saul is still king, Samuel appoints David as the next king of Israel. As a young man David slays Goliath the champion of Philistine. During this time he develops a friendship with Jonathan, Saul’s son. When Saul realizes that Samuel has appointed David as the future king he gets super jealous. After that Saul works really hard to chase David around and kill him. In today’s reading, David has fled to Ziklag (the land of the Philistines) in order to avoid Saul. Spoiler alert: Saul is eventually takes his own life in the face of eminent death (Chapter 31 if you want to check it out).

So this is the second time that David has sought refuge in Philistine territory under the protection of King Achish. Since David is out of the country, Saul stops the chase as the immediate threat to his throne is gone. Of course, it’s easy to view David as this righteous guy that is just doing his best to follow God’s command whilst simultaneously avoiding his jealous predecessor. Indeed, in Acts 13:22 God refers to David as a man after His own heart:

“After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him:’I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” Acts:13:22

I’m starting to feel a little jealous of David too now that we know how much God trusted in him! David has a lot of admirable qualities: shepherd, giant killer, poet and king. But alongside that list of wonderful qualities is another list of not so great qualities: betrayer, liar, adulterer, and even murderer. Yet what we remember about this great king is his humbleness before God. David’s failings may resonate with you far more than his greatness in the eyes of God. But I read something in my study Bible this week that changed this notion for me: David, more than anything else, had an unchangeable belief in the faithful and forgiving nature of God. David never took God’s forgiveness lightly or his blessing for granted. In return, God never held back from David either his forgiveness or the consequences of his actions. David experienced the joy of forgiveness even when he had to suffer the consequences of his sins.” (NIV Study Bible).

 If that didn’t just change your life, read it again. God never held back his forgiveness or the consequences of David’s actions. So David experienced the joy of forgiveness as a result of suffering the consequences of his sins. God brought this lesson home for me in a real way this morning before I sat down to write.

Our seven year old decided to test some boundaries related to obedience this weekend. I found myself getting so angry with him when he smirked while refusing to go upstairs and get dressed for bed. When I took away his iPad and the TV he said, “Sure, I can live with that, no problem!” I had to take a deep breath and pray for guidance. When more sassy words came my way this morning I decided to give our little guy just what he was asking for, I made him a grown up for the day. After an hour of folding laundry it was on to dishes. Then bathroom scrubbing, bed making and finally meal planning. When we arrived at the grocery store I pulled up in front of Meijer, handed him his shaky misspelled list and said, “pick you up in an hour!” That’s when he cracked, he sobbed all the way home in his car seat. Only then could we have a clear conversation about authority, obedience, humility and respect. It was so hard to wield that consequence all day. I just wanted to relent and give him back his screen or let him go outside to play. But God gave me the strength and the wisdom to understand that there cannot be joy and redemption in forgiveness if my little one didn’t first understand and experience the consequence. David learned from his sins because he accepted the suffering they brought. Too often we don’t learn from our mistakes and thus get stuck in the same sin again and again. As we start another fresh week, I challenge you to ask yourself, what changes do you need to make for God to find obedience in you?




Love vs. Law


Today’s Reading:  I Samuel 21; Psalms 22

In today’s reading, we find David, our anointed king running for his life. King Saul has been attempting to trap and kill David, but Jonathan has been a savior for David. This friendship has proven more valuable than the relationship that Jonathan and his father, Saul, had together. In I Samuel 21, David is fleeing and terrified for his life and safety. David enters the temple of God and request food and weapons.

I Samuel 21: 1-6

 Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

It was against the Levitical Law for anyone to eat of the holy bread except the priest and this was a very important law, which had fatal consequences if broken. The priest was faithful, even with the potential of death to show love for David. David had been anointed the next king of Israel, but it was not revealed to many.   But the Spirit of God revealed something in David to the priest, and this caused the priest to show compassion toward him. By listening to the Spirit, the priest empowered David to face his adversaries with the needed nourishment and protection. This account with David is so impactful that Christ in the New Testament about the Love vs. Law scenario references it.

Matthew 6: 1-8

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

Over the last several weeks, I have been reading and spending meaningful and intentional quite time and have had several enlightenment times that circle back to the necessity of learning the word of God, but allowing the Spirit of God to lead and direct me. Sometimes I get wrapped up in the “obligatory” and traditional ways and manners of worship and lose sight of the true purpose of the “why”.   In this passage the priest listens to the Spirit of God and loves the person and presence of God in David.   I have attempted to be more like David and search for God’s heart. As Christ and David understood and lived, “God desires mercy, not sacrifice”. It’s not the “act” that God wants from us, it is the “want and need” to be close to him. Can we desire God more today, this week, and so on going forth?

Lord, allow us to desire you the same way that you desire us. Allow us to love you as you have loved us. I pray that my prayers and actions are not just to perform them, but to actually seek you and your presence. Amen

Surrender and Obey

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 15 and Psalm 16

Good Morning, it’s Monday! As I write to you this morning, I’m aware that some of you may be heavy hearted as you face another week. Those that live in Bloomington/Normal are feeling the rippled effect of structural changes at State Farm. Having to put all of our faith in God and trusting Him to reveal His plan in His time is so very difficult. As I read through 1 Samuel 15 today I noticed two reappearing themes; surrender and obey. Oh I know, don’t you just want to open a new browser and do some online shopping about now? One thing that I just love is control. The very idea of surrendering and submitting my life and all its nitty gritty details to God just makes me sweat. I like the idea of doing good works and becoming a better Christian by reading the Bible and participating in small group. But, the idea of totally surrendering my life and obeying His commands all the time is something I really have to grapple with.

I found myself sort of sympathizing with Saul today. Through Samuel, God gave his command for Saul to attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they had. The order was clear. Do not spare any living thing that has breath. So, Saul summons his army, sets up an ambush and strikes down the Amalekites. When it’s all said and done he also kind of holds back a few of the best sheep, cattle and a few valuable objects from the plunder. He later claims that these items are to be used as an offering to God. Do you ever “kind of” follow God’s commands? I know I certainly do. It’s hard to be all in…all the time. When faced with vulnerability it’s in our human nature to take control and try to preserve ourselves. I really can’t blame Saul for holding back a few sheep. I know I hold back a few dollars for the ol’ rainy day fund whenever I get the chance. I have to discipline myself to remember that hoarding God’s gifts will not lead to security. We know this simple truth and yet we disobey our Heavenly Father over and over. Each time, he refines us and sometimes makes the next lesson in obedience a little more difficult so that we remember. I love the HCSB translation of today’s text. Listen to what Samuel says to Saul about his transgression:

“Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as King.” 1 Samuel 15:22-24 HCSB

 By then end of the Chapter, Saul loses his Kingship because he wanted to do things his way. If only he had been obedient and followed God’s command, he would have been given the kingdom and so much more. The last verse in chapter 15 says this:

“Samuel never again visited Saul. Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted He had made Saul king over Isreal.” 1 Samuel 15: 35 HCSB

 The Lord regretted his choice. It’s not very often that we see the word “regret” associated with God in the Bible. Certainly, Saul felt deep regret. Of course he confessed his sin to Samuel and to God but it was too late for total restoration. This is a heavy message for a Monday morning but when you read between the lines, the underlying truth is that God keeps his promises to those that are obedient to Him. When we are willing to release control, to be all in, then and only then can His plan be revealed to us. Today’s psalm says this:

“…Therefore, my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my body also rests securely. For You will not abandon me. You will not allow Your Faithful One to see decay. You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.” Psalm 16:9-11

 Saul may have fallen, he may have lost his opportunity to be king but he was not abandoned. If you’ve fallen off your throne, and you’re facing this week with fear and anxiety, listen for His calling. Come to his alter. He will reveal the path and you will obey. At the end of that path, no matter how many twists and turns, how many set backs or storms, your Heavenly Father will greet you at the end.



Are you there?


Todays Reading

I Samuel 9, Psalms 10

Have you ever been in a position in your life that you are asking God “Are you there?” It could be during a difficult examination; receiving some bad news; being at the bedside of a loved one; or the passing of a close relative. We all have at one time or another asked the question “God, are you there? God do you care?” The answer is hard to contemplate during these times because were are human and want to have the results instantaneously.

This week we will be starting the Lenten season of reflection and insight, and as we enter this season we seek a new and profound relationship with God. Some may sacrifice items or time to allow them to pursue Christ more. Some may commit to a particular practice as prayer, devotion, or mediation to connect. But during this time some of us will have immediate connection with God and others it may take some time. Through these time of intentional reflection or devotions God is present and He is continually mindful of us, his children. God is a father that is in tuned with His people and knows our desires, pains, and afflictions before we are aware of them. We may feel that He is distant, but He is actually right beside us in these most vulnerable times.

In my own experiences , I have asked the questions of “Are you there?” many times. The ones that I remember very vividly are: Exactly seven years ago this week, my son, Ollie was admitted to the hospital and my wife and I had no idea the pain and suffering he was experiencing. At six weeks old, Oliver had a 21-day stay at OSF in Peoria and we did not know what each day would entail. We as first time parents did not know if our son would survive each following day. “God, Are you there?”   Four years ago, on the day that my daughter, Ruby, was born and she was immediately placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) due to her having several conditions that were potentially life threating. My wife was not able to see my daughter until 12 hours after her birth. I went to the NICU with Ruby and held her hand the entire time. I prayed constantly “ God, Are you there?” Last year, my daughter Nadya, had an accident at a store and had several issues with consciousness and alertness.    I rushed her to the hospital and waited with her as she underwent test and exams to ensure that she did not have a concussion or seizures. As I wait, I ask “ Are you there?” Now as I reflect on these powerful and impactful times in my life, I can assure you that the last portion of the Psalm is true:

Psalms: 10-16-18

The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.


In I Samuel, the 9th Chapter, we see that God knows the direction and the timing of all the things that are for His good. In this chapter each detail that is explained has been already set into motion by the Most High and we all have the ability to acknowledge and accept Him. He directs Saul to a certain region in response to one mission, but God has a different plan and purpose for him. Samuel has been given insight at the exact time and location that he will meet Saul. Then the meeting of the two allows each one to fulfill God’s purpose. God gives us the options and we have to ask for discernment to make the best decision.

So the question is “Are you there?”, the answer is “Yes, are you listening and are you aware of my presence?” Throughout the bible, the Spirit of God is present at all places and is now present of the believers. We now have to ask ourselves “ Are we ready to acknowledge Him?”

Have  a blessed week.




Your Servant is Listening

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 3 and Psalm 4

Good Morning, it’s Monday again! Did your team win last night? I must admit that I didn’t watch a single minute of the “big game” as my husband and I were traveling all weekend. In fact, to be quite honest, what I want most right now is my bed and my Netflix! It’s not always easy to discipline yourself to put Him before your perceived needs. As I’m sitting down now to write, the house is quiet and I’m actively for each of you. Asking God to speak and give me some words that will reach each of you in a personal way. Today, we read about young Samuel. He’s lying down  and resting when he hears his name, “Samuel.” It doesn’t occur to him that God could be speaking directly to him. We might expect that an audible call from God would be given to the high priest Eli. Instead, God calls him again and then once more before Samuel responds:

 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 1 Samuel 3:10

Despite the fact that Eli was older and more experienced, God chose to speak to Samuel. God’s hierarchy is based on faith, not on age or position. God uses His faithful followers as channels to spread His word. Samuel felt inadequate. He didn’t expect that God could or would use him to advance His word. And there it is. Just as I began this journal entry tonight, lost on how to bring light and life to His word, He showed me the way.

“Speak, for your servant hears.” 1 Samuel 3:10

 We are all inadequate in God’s eyes. Whether we are in a position as a pastor or new Christian just learning the way to fellowship with Him. Those of you that have been reading my posts for the past few years know that I am that new Christian. I often feel that I have no business sharing my faith much less writing about it. But today, God sets an important example. He will speak to those who are listening. All we need is to quiet our mind and heart and He will speak. As you begin your week, maybe a little bit tired from your football festivities, take a moment to stop and listen. Wait for Him and He will speak. It’s easy to take to our beds and turn on the Netflix but what He wants is for us to take time to truly be with Him.


What A Storm

Today’s Reading : Jonah 1;  Proverbs 27

The Story of Jonah is one that is familiar with many of the Judeo-Christian faith. It is the story of how a man survived in the belly of a big fish for three days and nights. It is the foreshadowing of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.   Jonah is written over 700 years before the birth of Christ, illustrates how God’s grace is not only for one people, but for all people. This story also illustrates that it is not our decision of who, where, and when the salvation and grace will be given. God decides.

As we enter into Jonah, we are presented with him running away from his assignment. He is given the assignment to go to his enemies’ city, Nineveh, and give them a message from God about their behavior and how to correct and repent their mistakes. God chose Jonah to be a vessel of Salvation, but Jonah is choosing to run away. As Jonah is attempting to run away he is presented with several opportunities to witness. While on the ship he encounters a severe storm that threats the ship and the people on the ship. We find that he is the reason for the tempest and the only cure the storm is to throw him off the ship and then the sea will be calm.

As I dissected this chapter there are three points that came into clarity for me:

  • The peace in the storm
  • The storm that you are in may not be for you but for others
  • Worship the storm

Jonah 1: 5-6:Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.”

When we are in the midst of a storm, God has given us peace that cannot be comprehended by others. It took someone to physically disturb Jonah, to make him aware of the pandemonium that was happening around him. Sometimes God guards us through the midst of storms that we are not aware are happening. God gives us a unsurpassable peace in the midst of storms that we are experiencing to show others an indescribable calm.

Jonah 1:14-16:14 Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.

In my youth, there were many preachers and pastors that would say “ There are three type of people: People who are about to go into a storm, people who are in a storm, and people that have just come through storm. Which one are you?” This resonates with me in this passage, where we think that the storm is for the “punishment” of Jonah, but it is for the salvation of the people on the ship. God used this “escape” as a training ground for Jonah to show “ the Lord, the God of Heaven, who made the sea ad the dry land”(1:9) is in complete control. The storm allowed the crew of the ship who worshipped other gods, an experience that transformed their life and belief. The storm may have at first been seen as a “turn around” gesture for Jonah, but it actually was a point where others were turned to God. The storms that we experience may be for God’s Glory to be shown through us.

In verse 16, as with the end of all things we must remember to give God praise for the storm. No matter how many storms that we experience, we know that God is in control. His plans are more than we can imagine. The storms are scary, hard, difficult, and painful. But if we have the faith and fortitude to acknowledge Him, we will be able to come through the other side of the storm. When we reach the other side, we must give Him the praise.

God, the Lord of the heavens, sea, dry land, and all things. We thank you for taking care of us in all things and even when we choose to runaway. Allow your grace to be upon us and allow your Glory to shine through us in any and all storms. Allow the storms strengthen us in your amazing salvation. Amen

Settle Your Tribe

Today’s Reading: Joshua 19 and Proverbs 19

Today’s reading in Joshua is the final settlement of the 12 tribes of Israel. I must admit, when I first read through the scripture, I wondered how I could bring more meaning to His word for us today. What happens in Joshua 19 is primarily a description of the allotment of lands for the remaining tribes of Israel. It’s sort of like the book of Numbers, lots of lineage and description of boundaries but not much dialogue. At the very end though, there’s a lesson for us:

 When they had finished distributing the several territories of the land as inheritance. The people of Israel gave an inheritance among them to Joshua the son of Nun. By command of the Lord they gave him the city that he asked, Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he rebuilt the city and settled in it. Joshua 19:49-50

 Joshua waited until all his tribes were settled before asking for any type of provision for himself. He was content to serve his people before he was served. Imagine that. Imagine walking in Joshua’s shoes, leading the Israelites through the desert, across the Jordan, literally years of striving for a promised land without knowing how long it would take to get there. Then, finally when they do arrive, when they finally conquer and settle in to their territory, Joshua waits. He waits because he knows obedience to his Father requires him to first secure the eternal inheritance for his people. Like Jesus who came to dwell on earth not in splendor but in poverty. Joshua must put the welfare of his people above his own comfort and rest.

Today’s Proverb says this:

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

What is desired in a man is steadfast love,
and a poor man is better than a liar.

The fear of the Lord leads to life,
and whoever has it rests satisfied;
he will not be visited by harm.

Proverbs 19:21-23

 Just as Joshua had plans for his personal inheritance so do we. We scheme and sometimes even manipulate in order to reach our goals. But what we know from these scriptures is that it is only God’s purpose that will prevail in our lives. What he wants from us is our service to others, our steadfast love and devotion to Him. Together, these scriptures have called me to reflect on what God truly has planned for me. What has God promised me? Am I in relationship with Him often enough that He can communicate His promises? Can I still my racing mind and quiet my heart in order to see the invitation to serve my tribe? Lord, help us serve our tribes this week. Help us to minister to our spouse or children, our small group, our colleagues and friends. May we settle in with you in the coming days. Amen.





Todays Reading Joshua 13; Proverbs 13


Over the last couple of weeks and months, I have been matured in my understanding of life and death on a major scale. I have recently changed areas of pharmacy practice from community pharmacy to hospital pharmacy. In this transition I have witness the transition from life to death on several occasions. This has made me mature emotionally and spiritually and reflect more on future planning. What is the inheritance plans for my family? What are the plans that my mother and father have for their end of life? What is the portion that will be given to my wife and children? These thoughts have lead to some interesting and challenging conversations with my family, but this communication it is needed to understand the wishes of the individual.

As we read Joshua 13, we are presented with the inheritance of Israel’s sons; Reuben, Gad, and Joseph’s son, Manasseh (half of the tribe).   The detail of the land East of the Jordan is difficult to imagine without having traveled in it for forty years. I have to imagine that the people were very aware and knew exactly what they were receiving. This is the land that the people had inhabited for the past forty years. They knew the ins and outs of the fields, streams, and mountains. They knew the food sources and the dangers of the land. The people were satisfied with the portion that they had claimed. They knew their inheritance and had tasted the fruits of the land.

We have to go back to see the inheritance of these two and a half tribes to get a better understanding of the promise and the inheritance from both Jacob and Moses:   Genesis 49: 3-4, 19, 22-26 and Deuteronomy 33:6,13-17,20-21. The tribes had amazing blessing bestowed upon them by Jacob on his deathbed. They knew that they would possess great portions of the Promised Land and they chose to declare their portions before they knew the fullness of their reward.  These verse have echoes of the the Prodigal Son.

How many times have we been promised something and not allow the fullness to be manifested? How many times have we pushed for something and the timing was not aligned with God? How much have we lost ourselves in the immediate satisfaction, instead of deferring the gratification? I have been the in each of these scenarios at different times in my life, but now I choose to allow God to reveal the greater reward than the one that is easily perceived.

Holy Father, Thank you for being the portion of my eternal inheritance. Thank you for your peace of spirit and clarity of understanding that allows us to not settle for the easy or quick reward. Thank you for empowering us to continue on to see the fulfillment of your Promise. Amen

Achan and Me

Today’s Readings: Joshua 7 and Proverbs 7 

Good Morning, it’s Monday again and I’m looking forward to sharing the word with you today! For many of us, this Monday marks a sort of new beginning. Although the first day of January has past, there are still lots of “fresh starts” on the horizon. At our house, it’s back to school for our kids, the start of new activities like swim team and back to regularly scheduled work for me. As I read through our scripture today, I couldn’t help but really identify with our Israelite friend Achan. This new generation of Israelites are really committed to following God’s will. After conquering Jericho, they move on to the tiny town of Ai. Joshua relies on the strength of his army to defeat the small city and instead in driven out. Only after this defeat does he turn to God in despair and ask for guidance. Enter…Achan. The poor guy has to come forward and confess in front of the whole nation of Israelites that he gave in to temptation.

Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” Joshua 7:19-21

 First of all, way to go Achan! How difficult it must have been for him to stand before his people that are so very disappointed in him and tell the whole truth. Achan’s sin was not merely keeping some of the treasure, but disobeying God’s explicit command to destroy everything related to Jericho. He underestimated God. He didn’t think that taking these seemingly small things would have far reaching consequences. It’s easy to judge him from our point of view. Looking back on the last few chapters of Joshua you sort of just want to call out to him and say, “Achan…it’s not worth it!” But aren’t we just the same? Don’t we often justify our sins by telling ourselves they are too small or too personal to truly hurt anyone but ourselves? Although Achan’s sin represents only one man’s failure to follow God’s word, it brought judgement on the entire nation. God wants us to turn away from the desire for personal gain and turn toward a life of spiritual obedience to Him. When we do that, we are blessed with His encouragement, His guidance and His promise of victory.

Of course, because God wants to reinforce his message and show us that he is near, His words for us in Proverbs 7 echo those of Joshua 7:

My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you;
keep my commandments and live;
keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 7:1-3

 Lord, help us to treasure your commandments and live them with joy this week!