2 Kings 20–Isaiah Delivers Good News

As the one Israelite king that was following God and doing what He was called to do, Isaiah was given the unfortunate task of telling the Hezekiah, “Put your affairs in order, you was not going to get well.” The King did what most of us would do–he cried and told God that it is not fair.  He reminded God that as king, he had done everything the way and to the degree God had led him to.
 
Then a miracle happened. As Isaiah was leaving the palace, God stopped Isaiah and told him to return and tell the king he would be healed, and that God would give him 15 more years.  As a prophet, telling the king he would be fine had to be a fun message to deliver.  Most of Isaiah’s messages were bad news–so to tell the king life restoring news had to be a great deal of fun.
 
Interestingly, the king told Isaiah to prove it. He was of course relieved, but two messages in such a short time seemed odd.  So, Isaiah had God move the shadow on the stairs backward 10 steps–just as the sun was pushing shadows forward–that ought to do it.  It was a happy story in an otherwise difficult time in Israel’s History.
 
In our lives, there are not a lot of fun messages. The world is spinning out of control. People are miserable. governments are a mess, and families are falling apart. People can go to bars but not to church. It would be a great time for the Lord to bring some good news.  The things that made Isaiah’s message become good news were that Hezekiah followed the Lord closely, and he cried out to the Lord earnestly.  We should be doing the same thing as it relates to our nation, our families, and our own lives.  Help me, Lord to follow you closely and to seek you earnestly–as it relates to my life, my family, and our nation.
 
God Bless You

In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’”

Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.

Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?”

Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”

10 “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”

11 Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.

Joshua 24–As for Me and My House

How do you say good-bye when you feel the job is not done?  I am sure every leader feels the same way Joshua felt as he delivered his last speech to the people of Israel.  You can hear the pain and angst in his tone as he reaffirms God’s covenant to Israel and Israel’s Covenant to God. 

Joshua was old and wise.  He knew the personality of this people.  They had served flawlessly through the campaign to clear the promised Land.  Now, however, he knew they would grow comfortable in homes they did not build and gathering crops they did not sew.

So, Joshua delivers the iconic line that has reverberated throughout time and lives above the doorposts, on mantles, framed on walls all over the world–Joshua 24:15, “Choose this day whom you will serve…As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” In truth, since their capture of Israel, the people of Israel have struggled with that simple but penetrating concept.  They have always acknowledged the Lord, but they have opted to serve the cool and trendy gods of the land and of the times.  Joshua knew that would be a problem for Israel and frankly for us as well. 

As life gets more comfortable, it becomes less obvious that we depend upon the Lord for our very subsistence and lives. We begin to venture out on our own and try to do life separate from God, all the while acknowledging his presence and authority. While it is a preposterous undertaking, it is one people have taken on for millennia.

Joshua knew that and as he was turning over the leadership and joining Moses in death, he wanted to reiterate the cost of forsaking God. 

In our lives, we cannot lose sight of the cost of leaving our first love–Jesus, to pursue the gods of our age. We must follow Him closely and love Him deeply. Like the people of Israel, we must choose this day whom we will serve–As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

God Bless You


Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.

Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I assigned the hill country of Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his family went down to Egypt.

“‘Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I afflicted the Egyptians by what I did there, and I brought you out. When I brought your people out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and horsemen[a] as far as the Red Sea.[b] But they cried to the Lord for help, and he put darkness between you and the Egyptians; he brought the sea over them and covered them. You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the wilderness for a long time.

“‘I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land. When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.

11 “‘Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. 12 I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. 13 So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’

14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” 16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! 17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. 18 And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.”

19 Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”

21 But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”

22 Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”

“Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied.

23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”

24 And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.”

25 On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he reaffirmed for them decrees and laws. 26 And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord.

27 “See!” he said to all the people. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.”

28 Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to their own inheritance.

Joshua 7 part 2–The Hard Part of Leading

Joshua had no choice.  There was a member of his people that directly disobeyed God.  A nice cloak a bar of Gold and some silver seemed to be worth the lives of Achan’s fellow Israelites.  So, Joshua brought Achan out and asked for the truth. Achan confessed the goods retrieved and Achan, his family and all that he had were destroyed.  What a heartbreak.  God could not tolerate the sin and Joshua could not look the other way. 

This was truly the worst part of leading.God puts us in positions where we must decide between what is easy and what is right.  What is easy always feels great at first, but usually fails to address the problem and ultimately causes more harm than good.  As a person that loves and follows the Lord, one must seek Him and do the things that honor Him.  Sometimes that is heart-wrenching and painful. 

When we do follow the Lord, He will honor our choices and bless us.  Joshua did the right thing.  The people of Israel followed Joshua’s lead and the sin was dealt with and the people were able to move on.  That was part of being the shepherd of this people, and Joshua did that job very well.

God Bless You


So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel near tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 And he brought near the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was taken. And he brought near the clan of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 And he brought near his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise[b] to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” 20 And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels,[c] then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was hidden in his tent with the silver underneath. 23 And they took them out of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the people of Israel. And they laid them down before the Lord. 24 And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.[d]

Joshua 2–Spies, Harlots and Vindication

Joshua followed the script of Moses. Prior to entering Canaan, Joshua sent spies into the land.  The spies went to Jericho and were protected by a local prostitute named Rahab.  during their stay they learned that God had preceded the Israelites into the land and melted the enemies hearts with fear.  They had feared the coming of Israel since the Lord parted the Red Sea. The people heard of the massacre of the Amalekites and the kings that tried to attack Israel.  God had prepared the hearts of the people.  Had Israel entered the Land back when the original spies scouted; Israel would have cleared the land without incident. Sadly, the people’s own fears and lack of faith precluded them from enjoying God’s blessing and protection.
 
This time, the spies did not see the giants in the land. Instead they saw God’s preparation and the people’s fear.  In their hearts, they knew God had given the people of Israel the land.  When they returned and reported Joshua, there is little doubt that it brought him joy and a sense of vindication.  After trudging through the desert for 40 years, Joshua finally was to claim that for which God called him originally.  As the leader, Joshua was ready, focused, and resolute to enter and claim the inheritance.
 
In our lives, we have to cling to the faith we have gained to receive all that God has prepared for us.  We must never lead with fear or doubt, instead we simply trust and follow.  We also must not try to figure God out.  The Lord uses people in our lives we would never expect, circumstances we would never foresee and results we would never have predicted to complete His plan.  If we will simply trust in the Lord and follow Him closely, He will prepare, provide and protect us in our journey.  We simply must push forward and watch God complete His plan.
 
God Bless You

Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”

But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea[a] for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.[b] 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

12 “Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you…

23 Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said to Joshua, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”

Numbers 14 Part 2–Leading When the Wheels Come Off, Part 2

Imagine the disappointment, Joshua and Caleb had just returned from this beautiful land that was to be theirs.  They were to be a part of the transformation of a people that were once slaves but, now were to be a nation of priests.  Situated between Assyria and Egypt, Israel was set to become the center of action and help to transform these groups of heathen peoples into a god fearing culture–BUT, instead, the people are talking about stoning the leaders and running back to Egypt?!!?  
 
Joshua and Caleb were trying to reassure the people while Moses was trying to persuade God not to kill the lot of them.  This clearly was not the shining star of leadership that business guru’s pen management books about.  Still, Joshua had no idea that it was this defining moment that would propel him into the leader that would actually claim the very land he surveyed.  Joshua would learn patience, and he would watch this nation transform over time from slave to free.  He would see a generation grow to trust God for all aspects of their lives and that would be the people he would lead. Sadly, there would be years of travel and disappointment ahead before the transformation would occur.
 
In our journey, we have to stay focused upon God and his flawless faithfulness.  We have to understand that life is a series of experiences used to prepare us for what God so eagerly wants us to enjoy.  Trying to hand us the reward before we are ready to receive it, is like this encounter, a disaster just waiting to happen.  If we could grasp the reality that God truly wants to bless us, then we could live expectantly rather than fearfully. It is the difference between Joshua and Caleb and the other 10 spies.  Help us, Lord to live expectantly and not fearfully!
 
God Bless You

 But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. 11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? 12 I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.”

13 Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them. 14 And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, Lord, are with these people and that you, Lord, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. 15 If you put all these people to death, leaving none alive, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, 16 ‘The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath, so he slaughtered them in the wilderness.’

17 “Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared:18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’19 In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people,just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”

20 The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked.21 Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lordfills the whole earth, 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signsI performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. 24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. 25 Since the Amalekites and the Canaanites are living in the valleys, turn back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.

Numbers 11–Do not worry Joshua; God’s Got This

One great attribute of a loyal leader is that leader’s faithfulness in all circumstance.  The people of Israel were simply wanting a variety of food.  Manna was growing old.  Now, not having personally tasted manna, it is hard to explain its flavor, texture or nutrition.  Suffice it to say, it was sent by God–so, it had to be good.  What’s more, these folks ate it for 40 years–daily, so I am thinking it was pretty tasty.  In today’s adventure, however, the people were sick of Manna, sick of Moses, and sick of following.  So, Moses asked God for meat, and he asked God for help.  
 
God told Moses that he would give the people meat and he would set up elders for Moses.  70 men were chosen as elders and anointed with the spirit of God to help Moses lead.  2 of the men that were appointed  went off on their own and started prophesying calling attention to themselves.. Joshua, Moses assistant heard of the two men and ran to Moses to warn him of these men’s attempt to call attention to themselves. Joshua was afraid they would take over the leadership of the people.
 
Moses calmed Joshua’s fear.  In effect Moses said, “Joshua, Do not be jealous of others for me–God appointed me and as such, I have nothing to fear–and neither do you.  When God puts a leader in place, it is God, and not men, that control the length and tenure of that leader.  What a great lesson for Joshua.  He would have to face many situations where his decisions would be unpopular.  He could do so knowing it was God and not the people that decided who and how Israel would be led.
 
As we lead in our lives, we too must understand that God and not man controls the world.  In dark days like these–we have to remain confident that God will bring us through. It is not the politicians that will carry the day; and, we need to grasp that.  Time will bear out that all the loss and sadness of these days will prepare us for the days ahead. If we will seek the Lord, He will give us what we need to make it past this period, and on to the next adventure.  We cannot fear for our leaders, we have to simply trust our Lord.  Moses understood that and taught the principle to Joshua. That is what made Joshua a confident and amazing leader.
 
God Bless You

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17 And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone. 18 And say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was better for us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. 19 You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20 but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the Lord who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why did we come out of Egypt?”’” 21 But Moses said, “The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot, and you have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!’ 22 Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, and be enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, and be enough for them?” 23 And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”

24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. And he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tent. 25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it.

26 Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested on them. They were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. 27 And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, “My lord Moses, stop them.” 29 But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” 30 And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

Exodus 33–Joshua Stayed Close

Moses had a big job.  He had to convince God to stick with His chosen people–even after they worshiped a golden calf. They turned from God as He was putting the law on tablets for them. While working to restore the relationship between God and the people; Moses set up a tent to meet with God and took Joshua with him. Over time, Moses and God became friends.  As Moses would meet with God, the pillar of cloud would cover the tent. The people would see the the pillar cover the tent and then they would worship the Lord. Then as Moses finished the meeting, He would leave the tent.  Then, after the meeting Joshua would stay at the tent.
 
Joshua was not the person that befriended God, but he was the one that remained at his side.  Moses left the tent, but Joshua stayed behind.  Joshua never grew tired, never lost faith, and never questioned God’s authority.  If their was a human that had reason to question, it was Moses’ assistant. That was the amazing thing; Joshua learned to love the Lord from God’s friend.  He stayed close to Moses and he stayed close to God. Then as years passed, Joshua remained close. He remained close to Moses, and then as Joshua took the lead, He remained close to God.
 
In our lives, we have opportunities to follow the Lord. Through the years, we build our relationship with God.  We see life at its best and at its worst. If we remain close to the Lord, whatever the circumstance, we learn–as Joshua did, to be a friend of God.  There are no short cuts, it is a function of time and proximity. Like Joshua, we have to simply remain close to God, to those that would mentor us and with others in fellowship with God.  Then at the end of the journey, we can say as Joshua did–“Choose this day whom you will serve…As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”
 
God Bless You

Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

Moses and the Glory of the Lord

12 Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Exodus 17–Joshua, the Right Man for the Job

The next Bible character that we will look at is Joshua.  Throughout the Bible, God highlights several kinds of superstars.  Some are insignificant, but, then God uses them in an amazing way to change the world. Others are born for a purpose and have to endure great trial and desperation to prepare for the mission that God has for them.  Joshua, the son of Nun was a man that only desired to serve God and his chosen leader, Moses.  In that service, however, God trained and prepared Him to be the man that claimed the long awaited promise of delivering God’s people to the promised land.  But that is a ways down the road.
 
Joshua started as a slave in Egypt, and  like many in his world, Joshua saw God deliver Israel from the Egyptians in a way that was unmistakably miraculous and final.  After the Israelites were freed, they began their journey toward the promised land. While on their journey, They encountered the Amalekites.  Moses saw in Joshua something he needed–a warrior. So Moses asked Joshua to gather an army and lead them into battle against the Amalekites. Joshua did as he was asked, and with God’s strength and Moses raised hand, Israel, the nation of slaves, won their first battle and became a nation of free people headed toward their inheritance.  
 
It is very unlikely that Joshua was thinking that this day would be the start of a 40 year training regimen. He did not expect he would spend a generation in preparation for Israel to take the land God promised. But, Joshua’s faith and obedience as Moses’ assistant would later shape Joshua into the Man God needed to deliver Canaan into Israel’s hand.  
 
God does amazing things through those that will trust and follow Him.  He is in the constant process of preparing those He uses.  It may take weeks, or it may take a lifetime–but, God will honor the faith of those that will journey with Him. Joshua walked a long way to prepare for God’s plan.  What distance are we willing to walk?  What mountains are we willing to scale? What abuse and stupidity are we willing to endure to carry out God’s plan? As we look at the life of Joshua, I think we will see we have room to take some more preparation.
 
God Bless You

 Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner, 16 saying, “A hand upon the throne[c] of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

Daniel 6 Part 1–But If Not, Reprise

Daniel was now serving his third king. He was brought out of retirement and made an administrator of Babylon.  As was his way, Daniel excelled and made the other administrators and bureaucrats angry and jealous.  They watched as the new king wanted to make Daniel the 2nd in command.  So, they set about looking for ways to expose Daniel’s flaws.  After much review, they found nothing.  
 
That of course did not stop them.  They proceeded to create a solution that would ultimately find a problem.  They convinced the king to pull a page from the Nebuchadnezzar playbook, and make everyone pray only to the king or be thrown into the lions’ den. It was a foolproof plan, really.  Daniel and his friends had this issue before, and they always chose God over king.  The bureaucrats  were right.  Daniel simply shook his head, went home and continued to pray and worship the Lord as he had always done–Checkmate! Or at least, that is what the bureaucrats thought.
 
When we settle the issue of which God will be our God, the matter of safety becomes secondary. The friends told Nebuchadnezzar–“Our God will deliver us from the fiery furnace–BUT IF NOT, we still will not bow down and worship your gods or statue!” Now as Daniel faced Jerusalem and prayed, that statement echoed from the past.  That statement needs to be the sentiment of all of us that follow the Lord.  Caving to the pressure of the enemy or world culture, will not bring us safety or relief. Instead, it will only destroy our faith and upend our journey with the Lord.  God has got this. We must continue to trust and follow Him; no matter the attacks and threats.
 
If we will remain faithful in that God will continue to protect, prepare and provide for us.  BUT IF NOT, we must settle in our hearts that that is fine, and that we will not serve the idols of our world!
 
God Bless You

It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” So King Darius put the decree in writing.

10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

Daniel 5 Part 2–Weighed in the Balance

Daniel had retired, so it seems.  The names Shadrack, Mishak and Abednego not mentioned. Time had passed and the king that brought Daniel to Babylon was certainly gone. Now a new king reigned that had no idea that the Babylonian empire had been blessed by God and the late King had honored God aboove all.  So, Belshazzar defiled the temple treasures by using the cups as extra wine glasses for a feast he was throwing.  That is when God said, “Enough”.  God sent a message from heaven in the form of a hand and wrote on the wall in front of the king! Once again, Daniel was brought in to interpret the writing.  Daniel did so, “Mene–God has numberewd the days of your kingdom and brought them to an end. Mene–God has numberewd the days of your kingdom and brought them to an end. Tekel–You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.  Parsin–Your kingdom will be divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.
 
One certainly will not escape the hand of God. This king learned nothing from the reign of Nebchaduneezer.  He went against the very God that humbled Nebchaduneezer and restored him.  His end was swift and his kingdom gone.  The entire exile of Israel humiliated them as a people, for they had failed to honor their covenant with God. Make no mistake, however, even in the midst of exile, God continued to show his majesty. God was never brought low, and whenever it was tried–the opposite occurred. 
 
We can never underestimate God’s power.  We cannot equate it with the failures of those that serve Him.  As God’s children, we have to live lives that honor God no matter the circumstances with which we are faced. Whenever we are called; we must continue to honor God and listen to His leadership.  He will continue to be supreme, and the Lord will honor those that honor His name.  But, rest assured, God will also remove His hand of protection and allow those that refuse to follow to meet their fate.  Help me, Lord to follow You with joy and a humble heart.
 
God Bless You

Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. 19 And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. 20 But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him…

22 And you his son,[f] Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, 23 but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.

“Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. 25 And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. 26 This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered[g] the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27 Tekel, you have been weighed[h] in the balances and found wanting; 28 Parsin, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”[i]

29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

30 That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. 31 [j] And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old