Daily Devotional for Thursday April 26, 2007
The Faith to Believe God
I have always loved the Biblical account of how Joshua and the children of Israel destroyed the city of Jericho. I love reading this passage of Scripture because it is the personification of the walk of faith we have been called to make during our journey through this life. The city of Jericho was taken because the man God raised up to lead His people, Joshua, was in an intimate relationship with Him so he was able to HEAR God talking to him, he had the faith to BELIEVE what God said to him, and he had the courage to ACT on exactly what God told him to do.
If you will simply read and meditate on the first 20 verses in Joshua Chapter 6, you will know everything you need to know about being a mighty man or woman of faith. These 20 verses give us the blueprint to how we can do great things for God today. You might say, but I'm not Joshua, I'm nobody special. Listen, what made Joshua special was the fact he loved God. He honored God with his life. He had a close, intimate relationship with God. He believed God. He had the faith to act on his belief in God.
That is what made Joshua and many of the men and women you read about in the Bible special. They were born just like you and I, they died just like you and I will, they were flesh and blood with human weaknesses just like you and I. What made them special was their relationship with God. What makes you special is your relationship with Jesus!!!
Let's look at how the city of Jericho was taken by the children of Israel. Joshua was the leader of God's people. Never forget that he was a mighty man of war. His business was war. He was God's man to drive out the heathen from the Promised Land. The city of Jericho was going to be a big problem since the key feature to the city was its high, impenetrable walls. The children of Israel had a real dilemma since there was no way to take the city unless they could come up with a plan to take down those walls.
I have no doubt that Joshua gathered the best demolition experts from the children of Israel and sought their expertise on how to take down the massive walls of Jericho. As a military man, I am sure he gathered his top military advisors and discussed all the various plans on how they could get the walls down and take the city. I can envision in Joshua's war room, he had put together several plans for the destruction of Jericho.
It was about this time that God spoke to Joshua. I hear people all the time say, "How do you know it was God," or, "Why would God speak to you?" or, "God doesn't speak to men any longer." First, you know it is God because you learn how to recognize His voice. That doesn't happen overnight, but over time. We have a huge advantage over men like Joshua since we have His Word and God will never tell us something in contradiction to His Word. The more you listen to God, the better you become at hearing His voice.
Second, why would God speak to you? The fact is God speaks to ALL of His children. The issue isn't whether God speaks to us, the issue is do we pay attention when He does. When you come to know Christ as your Savior by faith, you enter into this close, intimate, personal relationship with Him. Like in any relationship, you talk to Him and He talks to you. People who are in a relationship talk to each other. So of course God speaks to you if you are in a relationship with Him.
Third, where in God's Word does it say He no longer speaks to men? That is sheer foolishness to believe such a lie. Again, God has been speaking to His children since Adam. There is NOTHING in God's Word to remotely suggest that the same God who spoke to Abraham, to Joshua, and to Paul, doesn't still speak to His children today. NOTHING! Again, if you aren't hearing God speaking to you, you simply aren't listening! Because Joshua was in this intimate, close, personal relationship with the God of Abraham, he was able to HEAR God speaking to him.
God is a God of specifics. When God began to speak to Joshua about the plan to take down the walls of Jericho, He gave Joshua very detailed and specific instructions exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. This reminds me of when God spoke to Noah about building the ark. He didn't just tell Noah to go and build a boat, he gave Noah the detailed plans to the inch of exactly how that ark was to be built. God is a God of details and specifics.
We are now at a very critical part of these events. No doubt Joshua had already been preparing his own plans after consulting with the best minds he could find on exactly how to take down he walls of Jericho and destroy that city. About this time, God, who Joshua has a wonderful relationship with, speaks to him and tells him in great specificity how to take down the walls of Jericho and destroy the city.
I am certain that after hearing God's plan of marching around the walls for 6 days, on the 7th day march around them 7 times while blowing trumpets, and than have everyone give a loud shout which will cause the walls to come down, this war general and military strategist was on the floor laughing. God's plan made no earthly sense at all.
My friend, you will find that God's plan often doesn't make sense to us. First of all, God knows things we don't. In case you haven't learned this yet, God is smarter than we are. God's plan will often be something that in the end, when it works, people will have to sit back and say, "Only God could have done this!" This way it is God, not man, who gets the glory and it becomes a testimony of His power and majesty to this lost world we live in. This critical point was whether Joshua would go with his plan or God's. Ultimately, he had to decide whether he had the faith to BELIEVE what God told him.
That takes us to the final step, which is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to our faith, acting on what God has told us to do. I have said to you often that if you believe it, you will do it! James, in talking to Believers tells us that faith without works is dead. True Biblical faith REQUIRES ACTION! Saying you have faith but never acting on that faith is not really faith. Joshua heard from God, he believed what God told him, which left him no choice but to ACT on exactly what God told him to do!!!
I love you and care about you so much. In case you can't feel it, I am fired up today! This is the meat of the word that motivates me, challenges me, and drives me each day to be all God has called me to be. I have spent literally tens of thousands of hours fellowshipping with God to be able to hear his voice clearly. Over these many years of following and serving the Lord, I am now at a place where I have seen His mighty hand in my life and millions of lives every day that when God says it I believe it. Because I have learned how to hear His voice and believe what He says, I have no problem stepping out and acting on what He tells me to do.
I never even owned a computer or sent or received an email until Liveprayer started in 1999. But I heard from God, I believed Him, and I acted on that belief. Even though I had done considerable work on Christian television, I had no idea what to expect when I went on major secular network TV stations and began telling a nonChristian audience each night what the Bible says and that Jesus is their only hope. But I heard from God that this is what He called me to do, I believed Him, and I acted on that belief. My friend, this is what walking by faith is all about!!!
I will be praying for you today. God is calling YOU to walk by faith just like Joshua did. The first key is to HEAR from God. Next, you must BELIEVE God. Lastly, you must ACT on what God is telling you to do. It is time for you to take your stand for the Lord just like Joshua and all the faithful men and women of God have over these past 6,000 years of human history. God loves you and wants to use your life. Your greatest blessings flow from obeying Him. I will be praying for you today to hear God speaking to you, praying for you to have the faith to believe God, and praying for you to act on what God is calling you to do!!!