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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Restraint: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Joshua 7

“Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I imposed on them. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen. They have acted deceitfully, and they have put them among their own belongings.” Joshua 7:10

This is such a difficult passage to process as we come from a perspective of God’s eternal grace because of our Savior’s love and sacrifice. To stand back and see such death, with innocents included—perhaps as much as we see today in news headlines around the world, is sobering.

The confusion is intensified by the miracles Israel had recently witnessed. They could not have doubted God’s power. Did they think one man’s actions would not be noticed? That he could get away with it? Do we? Do I? Just a little bit of insurance that come a rainy day he and his family would have means.

It reminds me of one college essay assignment my students and I researched and debated several years ago as to the acceptance or not re telling white lies. We began with, “Wasn’t it okay to give a compliment if it would bring happiness?” As we dug deeper into the white lies more and more real lie damage and repercussions became apparent. The topic became even more muddled than I had anticipated and according to my students’ essays, their responses reflected that. Whichever position they took, they based their stance on social mores, family values, personal experience, and sometimes religion—but no personal walk with God.

In our society sin too has often become glossed over and hidden. How would we react to our own cravings small and large if we too visually saw the abhorrence in God’s eyes and the consequences immediately?

We have received the amazing gift of grace and know we can bring our failures to the cross. But sometimes it takes us awhile to recognize that our choices and actions have caused damage to those around us—hurt feelings, broken relationships, lost trust, and sometimes shattered lives.

When I insist I can manage wholly on my own, making my own choices and decisions, and just check in with the Lord when I’m stuck, then I’m walking on shifting sand. And I sink.

Lord, whenever we begin to chafe against Your restraints, please remind us that Your boundaries are shaped by sacrificial love and seek Your will instead.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 127:1-2

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved.”

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