A train on the train tracks, a fish in a pond, a baby in a car seat. What do all these things have in common? They are all examples of constraints that mean something or someone can live a safe, happy, fulfilling life the way they were created to. A train cannot go anywhere if not for the tracks, a fish cannot survive out of the pond, and a baby is in great danger if they are not in a car seat when they are going on trips in the car.
When things are used as intended and people live as intended things go well. And it is not only the sensible thing to do but actually the thing that maximises joy!
How to live in the land
Today I am going to talk about how God instructed the Israelites with how to live in their new land. It provides an important lesson on how we should live as Christians and on how actually living that way is the way that will bring us the most joy!
In Joshua chapter five we see God renewing his covenant with his people and giving them a fresh start and entry in the Promised Land and all the blessings the land had to offer.
The Israelites had a new opportunity to obey God and enjoy the blessings he had in store for them. If they — unlike their parents — obeyed God, then they would be able to live in peace and prosperity in the Promised Land. They would be God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule just as they were meant to be. Their parents failed to depend on God and trust him so they were excluded from the Promised Land, but now the people were being given a new beginning.
God gave them his rules for how they should live, rules about looking after one another, about justice, and rules that illustrated the fact that God is holy and they were not. Not only did these rules help the people live rightly but they were also a massive living analogy that we can never measure up to God’s holiness. Therefore we must be provided with a solution outside ourselves — Jesus!
Remembering what God has done
It was also important that the Israelites remembered what God had done for them so they would not think all the blessings he was going to give were things they had gotten for themselves. Additionally, it was an encouragement, that when things look bleak, God would still look after them.
Although this passage describes a specific period in history, it is also packed with truth that transcends throughout time because it is the living and active word of God.
Like the Israelites we need to live in obedience to God’s word. When we live in tune with God, we live the way we are designed to. We are able to enjoy the blessings of it. Since we do not live in a theocracy (a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God), we will also encounter problems for living God’s way such as persecution. However, it is still the most beneficial way to live for us. It reaps huge rewards in the life to come and since God created us it is always best to be sync with his instructions for our lives — he knows what we need to live the best way we can!
Like the Israelites we need to use things to remind us of what God has done for us. One such thing is communion — where we share bread and juice to remember the body and blood of our saviour Jesus Christ who died for us. He freed us from bondage to slavery to sin just as the Israelites were freed from the bondage of slavery to Egypt.
Depend on God
Finally, like the Israelites, we need to remember that we must depend on God. He is the one who champions our cause and he is the one who grants us victory over the devil, sin, and death.
Just as it was not the Israelites strength that won the battles for them, it is not our good works or persistent efforts that overcome the battles in our lives.
As Christians we need to always remember to obey God, remember what he has done for us, and depend upon him because the only way to live the life we were meant to have, the life that will bring the most joy and satisfaction, is to trust and obey for there is no other way.
Jessica McPherson lives with her best friend and husband, Eoin, and their family of rescue animals in Christchurch. She loves reading, writing, photography and scrapbooking but most of all sharing God’s love and truth with a hurting world. Jessica is particularly passionate about encouraging children and building them up in gospel truth.
Jessica McPherson’s previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jessica-mcpherson.html
Jessica McPherson lives with her best friend and husband, Eoin and their family of rescue animals in Christchurch. She loves reading, writing, photography and scrap-booking but most of all sharing God’s love and truth with a hurting world. Jessica is particularly passionate about encouraging children and building them up in gospel truth.