Wednesday, 28 May 2014

"YET I WHOLLY FOLLOWED THE LORD" Thoughts from today's Bible Readings - 28th May

Joshua 14, we read of the wonderful faith of Caleb:

Here was a man who had had to endure years of wandering in the wilderness, because of the lack of faith of his brethren (his ecclesia). He could be full of murmuring and bitterness.

He had kept the promise made to him, clearly in his mind, as he wandered in the wilderness, waiting patiently for the day when his faith would be turned to sight.

He was not going to let any giants of the world get in the way of the promise made to him:
"Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said". He acknowledged that the LORD had been with him all the years wandering in the wilderness and had kept him alive (v10), he had no reason to doubt the LORD would be with him to take his inheritance.

As we journey in this wilderness towards the promise land, let us like Caleb, keep the vision of the promises made to us clear in our minds.  Let us also remember, why did Caleb receive this promise? It's repeated x3 in this chapter, because he wholly followed the LORD.

            In Joshua ch. 14 today we read of the blessings received by a man who “wholly followed the LORD.”  Caleb was the other man, who with Joshua, spied out the land and brought back an optimistic report; this was after the people had miraculously escaped from Egypt, been fed in the wilderness, built the tabernacle and received the law. Surely the whole nation had evidence on which to base their faith – and today, God’s book is available for all to read and provides much evidence to build up our faith.
            Caleb is now aged 85 and seeks his promised reward. We read his testimony to Joshua of the time “when Moses … sent me … to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart” [v.7] His was a good positive report, spoken in faith.  Sadly, he adds, “my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the LORD” [v.8]
            A prophecy about Egypt features in our Isaiah chapter 19 – and today the Coptic Christians in their midst are an unhappy and somewhat persecuted minority. Verse 17 came remarkably true after Israel was re-established in 1947/48.  We read, “In that day the Egyptians will be like women and tremble with fear before the hand that the LORD of hosts shakes over them.  The land of Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians …” [v.16,17]  This never happened in history – until then! 
            But then Isaiah is caused to look further into the future to the time when “the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day and worship …” [v.21]  In that day all the world will become dramatically aware there is a Creator – and a divine law to be obeyed (see Isaiah 2 v.2,3)
            Let us “wholly follow the LORD” now, for, said Jesus, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” [John 20 v.29].  Caleb saw – yet in seeing he was aware of all the difficulties, but he “wholly followed the LORD”.  We see the unfolding fulfilment of prophecy, especially with Israel, as an aid to strengthening our faith; may we be able to say in that day“yet I wholly followed the LORD”