Saturday, August 6, 2011

There But For the Grace of God Go I...

As I continue to read through the Bible two times per year as one of my spiritual disciplines, today I am finishing up time in Joshua and moving into Judges. As I reflect back on Exodus, Deuteronomy and Joshua, one of the things that jumps out at me is the continual encouragement from God that He is on the side of the Israelites.

As they were coming out of Egypt and being pursued by Pharaoh and his army, God told them, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord's salvation. He will fight for you today."

In Deuteronomy, over and over, the Israelites are reminded and continually being taught that it is the Lord who is their helper and He is with them, goes before them and will deal with their enemies. (Deuteronomy 1:29; 7:18; 20:1; 31:26). And in Joshua, when the Israelites were setting about conquering the tribes in the promised land, the Lord says to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them, for I will cause all of them to be killed before Israel..."

When I look at these wonderful promises from God, I often think, "How could the Israelites see such provisions from God and in one or two generations be totally rebellious to Him who has provided so much for them?" He took them out of captivity. He provided for them throughout the wilderness experience. He took them to a land promised to their forefathers. He went with them and even prepared the way before them by taking care of their enemies. How could they in a few short years forget about God's goodness and provisions for them?

And then I think, "There, but for the grace of God, go I."

How often to I let the problems of my life cloud my ability to see God's goodness and grace? How many times do I take my eyes off God and focus on my problems or either rely on my abilities and wisdom to address the issues in my life? How frequently do I forget to acknowledge that our God is awesome, powerful and has His best intentions for my life? In short, like the Israelites, He is constantly fighting for me.

It is easy to judge others' actions and reactions. It is hard to acknowledge that we are not much different than the things we judge in others.

My prayer for today is that I will not be afraid. I will stand firm and see the Lord's salvation. And I will rest in the comfort, knowledge, and assurance that God will fight for me today.


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