Joshua 22-24, Psalm 69
In the 1700's in London, it was a Sunday morning, and the streets were busy with people hurrying to church. In the midst of the crowd was Robert Robinson who once was strong in his faith, now found himself wandering the streets after years of disillusionment and gradual defection from God. The once fiery passion he had for God, had slowly burned out leaving him dark and cold inside. Wanting to escape the crowd he jumped in a horse-drawn carriage occupied by a young woman. After exchanging introductions, she recognized his name, as the author of the poem that she was reading called, "Come thou fount of every blessing". He acknowledged he was indeed the author of this poem. She gave him the book and through tear-filled eyes, he went to the bottom of the page and read: "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it-Prone to leave the God I love; Here's my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above." He said to her that he was living those words, "Prone to wander...Prone to leave the God I love." She reminded him of the very next verse, "Here's my heart, O take and seal it." With that Robert Robinson turned his heart back to God and walked with Him the rest of his days. We read in Hebrews 3:15, "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."
Throughout these final chapters in Joshua, he is reminding them not to turn from their faith, to remember their history, to obey His commandments and to follow God and God only. We read in 22:4-5, when he sends the tribes returning to the east side of the Jordan back home, "And now the Lord your God has given rest to your brethren, as He promised them; now therefore, return and go to your tents and to the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul." He concludes with a history lesson illuminating the faithfulness of God as He watched over and protected the Israelites throughout their existence from Egypt to the wilderness and into the Promised Land. We read in Joshua 24:31, "Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the Lord which He had done for Israel." But as the song says, "Prone to wander...Prone to leave the God I love", we only have to turn our pages to the next book, Judges, in the chronological history of Israel, to see they soon forget their God and suffer the consequences.
We live in interesting times now. As a whole, our society is Biblically illiterate. Those that choose to raise their children in a particular religion, do so until a certain age, then release them stating they do not want to force their religion on them. Those in mixed marriages of faith, generally teach their children the traditions and holidays of both, and state they will let their children choose for themselves when they get older. Whether we choose to ignore or do so naively, we send our children out to the secular world of atheism taught in every segment of our society including our schools and universities, then wonder why they have no desire for the things of God. There are no grandchildren in heaven, only children. Our faith does not get imputed onto them no matter how earnest we might be. It is much harder for all of us to remain abiding in Him while in the world, in the workplace, etc. Our role, whether parents, friends, uncles, coworkers is to continually glorify God and freely bring His reality into our conversations. We cannot fall for the lie that it is not polite to discuss faith in polite conversation. People talk of blind faith, and by definition, there is an element of truth behind this, as we see faith defined in Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." However, many choose to remain blind. We have the weight of history, prophecy, archaeology, manuscript evidence, etc. to back our faith. For those who don't know this, it is time to invest time in God's Word and learn it. For those who find themselves "prone to wander", it is time to remind ourselves of the truths we once held onto. No one believes in nothing, everyone believes in something, therefore everyone must make a choice as to what they are going to believe in.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: