Tuesday, March 16, 2010

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional - Hopelessly Devoted

The book of Joshua has a special place in my heart. The Lord has used this book to speak to me many times in my life. It was especially so when we began praying in 1998 about moving back to California from Tennessee. This book has encouraged me so much, that my daughter's name is Jordanne because in order for the Israelites to posses their promise, they had to cross the Jordan River.

It seems this season as I am reading through the Bible, the Lord has been highlighting words and phrases that seem to stick with me all week. In this past week's reading through Joshua, the two words "devoted things" have been simmering in my spirit.

It all begins with God giving Joshua the plan on how they were to take the city of Jericho. A pattern that I see with God is that He is very specific with His plan and it is to be followed exactly. In taking the city of Jericho, God wanted the Israelites to dispose of everything there. Joshua 6:18 God is very clear that they are not to take for themselves any of the devoted things. It says, "
But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it."

The Canaanites were completely rebellious against God. They worshiped pagan idols and were probably very materialistic. God told Joshua before entering Canaan that they were to destroy everyone and everything that belonged to the Canaanites in order for them to live peacefully there.

In chapter 7, Joshua and his army go out to fight the Amorites. Unlike the previous battles, the Israelites were losing. Joshua was so distraught that he fell face down before the Arc of the Covenant and asked God what was causing them to lose this battle? God's response was "Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.
12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. 13 "Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, 'Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it. "(Joshua 7:11-13)

Achan, who was from the tribe of Judah, had taken some of the devoted things. Achan finally confesses to his sin. He says,"It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, f]">two hundred shekels g]">of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath." (Joshua 7:20 & 21)

God told the Israelites that all the gold and silver, bronze and iron articles were sacred and were to be put into the Lord's treasurey. (Joshua 6:19) Achan had not only disobeyed God's command, but he lied and stole from God as well. Achen said he "coveted" those items and in doing so broke the Law that God had given.

I share this with you today by asking you what are your "devoted things" that you are keeping hidden. Although we live in a "nation under God", not everything in this land is "of God." These things we devote ourselves to will only leave us feeling hopeless. When we devote ourselves to things that are exalted above God then we are breaking the first commandment. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 & 38, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
38This is the first and greatest commandment." It's not only material things we can be devoted to. We can be devoted to television shows, book series, music, social activities, etc. These things, especially when it comes to secular television, books and music feed our minds and spirits. Often these things are completely contrary to the Word of God. Ask yourself if God would be pleased at some of the things you watch, read or listen to. It seems the more I understand the Bible, the more sensitive I have become to things in the media, whether it's books, magazines, television or music. In verse 11, God said "they put them with their own possessions" which is compromise.

Chapter 7 concludes with Achan losing more than what he had taken. His whole family and all of his belongings were brought before Israel to the Valley of Achor (Achor being Trouble). There Achan was stoned to death and buried there. My understanding is his family was left there as well. Therefore, his mistake became their consequence.

Do you ever feel at times that you can never win the battles you are fighting? Does it seem as though the enemy has the upper hand when it comes to your physical life, and even your spiritual life? Maybe it's time to take an inventory of your "devoted things." The definitian of devoted is "zealous or ardent in attachment, loyalty or affection."

Take an inventory by asking the Holy Spirit to show you what things you might be devoted to. How difficult is it for you to do away with something that God might disapprove of? If it's difficult to let go, then maybe it is one of those "devoted things" in your life. I'm not saying that we are to be legalistic, but the bottom line is, are the things you are devoted to leaving you feeling hopeless or hopeful? God wants us to be devoted to Him and not things. He wants us to enjoy the good things in life, but not the things that will lead us to our own destruction. Whether it is individually or as the Body of Christ. Think about this, God allowed one man's disobedience to effect the whole nation of Israel. Romans 12:5 says that we being many all form the Body of Christ. When one of us is disobedient, it effects the rest of us. So together let us get rid of the "devoted things" that God does not approve of. We can be victorious by staying hopefully devoted to Him.

(Photo above is looking from the road the city of Jericho)

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