Have you ever experienced the frustration of knowing the truth but no one believed you? Joshua did’and he had to live with the consequences of this for almost forty years.
Joshua was one of the twelve Israelites chosen to spy out the land of Canaan. Their report on what they saw would help and entire nation of people make a decision about entering the Promised Land. When the twelve spies gave their report, ten said it’d be impossible to conquer the land. Joshua and Caleb agreed that the task would be difficult, but they urged the people to trust God to help them. They saw God as loving, powerful, and able to lead them safely into the Promised Land.
The people, however, rebelled and sided with the majority report. They ran from the responsibility of surrendering their lives to God. The result of their irresponsibility was tragic. A whole generation’with the exception of Joshua and Caleb’died in the desert.
Many of us think we can escape pain by avoiding responsibility and its demands. What we fail to realize is that we often experience a much deeper pain when we run away from responsibility than we do when we accept it. Joshua experienced significant pain in his life despite putting God first in his life. But that pain was used by God to develop him into one of the most effective leaders in all of history.
King Asa lived at a time when the Israelites had given themselves over to idolatry. They basically thumbed their nose at God and believed their way of living, contrary to His instructions, was right.
But when the king heard the message of the prophets, he destroyed the idols the people were worshipping. Asa restored the altar of the Lord. He even removed his own mother from her position of power because she’d been influencing Israel in their idolatry.
When you think of idolatry, you might consider it a phenomenon of times past. But that’s a big mistake. Our culture is rife with idolatry, and our own hearts are very susceptible to it.
As God continues His work in you, it’s crucial that you recognize the idols our culture bows before and that you don’t get caught up in treating them as idols yourself. Things like money, power, possessions, titles, comfort, superficial beauty, or any number of things that usurp what belongs only to God.
In the end, you’re called to do something very much like king Asa did: crush and burn the idols in your own thinking and in your heart. Guys, God has called you to redirect your life in order to follow Him. That means moving against the stream of this world, and the things it worships in place of God.
But take heart: God always supplies the ability to accomplish what He asks of you. He’ll be there for you, empowering and encouraging you all the way home.