Whose law do we follow?

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Joshua 1:1-9

 

 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant,

 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel.

 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.

 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory.

 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.

 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.

 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.

 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Three times the statement “Be strong and courageous” is made.

 

“…Be strong and courageous, …”

 

Twice the command to follow God’s Words, God’s will and way is given.

 

“… being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you…”

 

The promised result of holding to these directives is success in what you set out to do,

 

“… For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. …”

 

specifically, success in accomplishing what God has given us to do. Are we finding less than stellar results when we follow what we believe He has given us to do?   The question to follow would be are we following His way or have we manipulated His words to suit our way? Care must be taken to know His way so well we do not err in how we follow. Care must be taken to be strong, have courage, and know His way. He says to make His law, his commands a part of our very being so that we know him and his ways.

 

“…This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it….”

 

Have we immersed ourselves in His word? Do we know his commands? Are we following them? The promise of success in what we do, the promise that whatever we undertake under His direction will prosper hinges on this. And then God follows with assurance we can all hold on to. He will not leave us when He asks us to do something for Him. He is with us, often as Joshua found out, He goes ahead, preparing the way, fighting the battle for us. There is no peace like that of knowing we have followed His will and are kept by His promises.

 

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Take courage…the battle is the Lord’s

Acts 23:2-11

 And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?”

 And those who stood by said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?”

 Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’ ”

But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”

And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection—and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both. Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, “We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.”

Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks.

 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”

 Take courage!  It looked bad.  Violence can cause fear to arise but we serve a God greater than any opposition.  Take courage!  The voice of God alone brings comfort.  The battle is His.  Let us not fight against God…wise advice.  There are times we disagree with one in a position of power or authority.  It is good to remember that God is in control and placed individuals where they are for his purpose.  It is our responsibility to look to ourselves, and as Daniel did in Babylon, refuse to participate in that which is contrary to God’s will.  We have the opportunity to voice our concerns with silent ballot whether it be politics or religion.  We do not have to participate in the violent language of the society in which we live.  We have weapons that are not of this world.  There is the power of prayer, strong united fellowship and a deep relationship with the God of the universe.  Paul was faithful to voice the message of Christ.  For that he found himself the target of violence.  In that he was comforted with the words; Take Courage!  straight from the mouth of God.  We can find comfort in the voice of God.  We can stand firm in our convictions with the spirit of  calm.  Jesus said be wise as serpents, harmless as doves.  He said we were going into face opposition and violence.  He also said, frequently, Fear not.  Our world may be rapidly changing and not in the direction we would wish.  Lets put our energy into gaining strength from the Word of God, unity with fellow believers and teaching the young by word and by action to stand firm in the truth we find in the Word of God.  Take courage!   The battle is the Lord’s.

And they were scattered…

Acts 8:1-3

Now Saul was consenting to his death.

At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.

 The fury unleashed by unbelievers against the fellowship accomplished what they had not yet begun to do.  Prior to leaving, Jesus said to the disciples gathered “…you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth...”   It is hard to leave our comfort zone, even if it is uncomfortable!  The persecution accomplished what Christ foretold.  Are we prepared for what appears to be a negative attack coming once more against the church, the bride of Christ?  Will we stand in the Word, rooted in our relationship with God?  Have we learned to meditate upon the Word day and night, to pray earnestly seeking His face?  Are we willingly sharing what He gives us? 

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He [is] the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Take courage, I am here….

Mark 6:45-56

Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home.  After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.

 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land.  He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them, but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. They were all terrified when they saw him.

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here! ”  Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.

 After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. They brought the boat to shore  and climbed out. The people recognized Jesus at once,  and they ran throughout the whole area, carrying sick people on mats to wherever they heard he was.  Wherever he went—in villages, cities, or the countryside—they brought the sick out to the marketplaces. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.

 Wonder why Mark didn’t tell about Peter walking to Jesus in his account?   Just curious… 

This account mentions fear again and its connection to faith.  They were afraid when they saw Jesus  walking toward them on the water and that was followed by amazement when the winds calmed.  What does it take for us to realize who He is and what He does?  They just witnessed the feeding of the many, they even participated in the healing of many.  Jesus speaks, gets into the boat, and the sea calms.  They are amazed.  When we ask, he responds, do we react in amazement?  What does it take for us to realize who He is and what He does?