Posts Tagged ‘Lord’

Examine

Posted: November 24, 2013 in Uncategorized
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The battle of Jericho is told in Joshua 6:1 — when Joshua and the people of Israel, led by priests blowing trumpets, marched around Jericho’s outer walls once a day for six straight days. Then, on the seventh day, the procession of priests and people marched around the city seven times. Upon completing the seventh lap, Joshua told the people: “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city.” Then the Lord God did what only he could: at the unified shout of his people, the walls of Jericho crumbled and fell to the ground. The Lord God commanded that the silver, gold and containers made of bronze and iron were to taken and placed in the treasury of the Lord — all other property was devoted (marked) for destruction. Everyone obeyed — except one man. His name was Achan, and the Israelites were about to learn just how devastating the sin of one man could be.

In preparation for their next battle, Joshua sent men to spy out the land of the Amorites. Seeing that they were few in number, the spies returned to Joshua and reported that the Amorites would be easily defeated. And they would have been, except the Lord had removed his hand of protection because of Achan’s sin. So when the Israelites attacked the Amorites, it was the Amorites, and not the Israelites, who were victorious. Instead of cries of victory, the Israelite camp was filled with cries of mourning and wailing. Defeated and dejected, Joshua tore his clothes, put dust on his head, and lay with his face toward the ark of the Lord. When he asked the Lord God why they had lost the battle, the Lord replied: “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.” (Joshua 7:10-12)

Joshua called all the people to stand before him, so he could Examine them. When it was discovered that Achan had kindled the Lord’s anger, Achan confessed saying, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” (Joshua 7:20-21)

Achan deliberately disobeyed God’s command — he knew he was not to take anything from Jericho. But when he saw beautiful, valuable things, he was so attracted to the thought of possessing them that he took them, in direct disobedience to God’s command. He allowed desire, rather than discipline, to rule his heart.

Sometimes we commit subtle sins. And other times we directly disobey God’s commands. Yet too often, like Achan, rather than confess our sin, we bury it, hoping to keep it a secret. What about you? Do you know what is hidden underneath the tent of your heart? Sit before the Lord God. Give him permission to Examine your heart, and allow him to show you any areas he wants to change. The Lord God is a gentleman — he does not come at us with condemnation. Instead, cloaked in gentleness and love, he reveals what we have hidden. God already knows what we have done, so confession isn’t for him — it’s for us. Confession is the vehicle which transfers our sin from us to Jesus. Jesus becomes the new owner because he paid the price for it. Sin, once it is confessed, no longer belongs to you. So if you find yourself carrying it around, put it down — it’s not yours to carry anymore.

In Matthew 25, starting in verse 31, Jesus tells his disciples that when the Son of Man (Jesus) comes back and all the angels are with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. And before him will be gathered all the nations. At that time, Jesus will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep (those that have surrendered their lives to Jesus) from the goats (those who have not). In verse 34, Jesus describes what will happen to the sheep who are on his right. To them he will say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” And then in verse 41, Jesus describes what will happen to the goats who are on his left. To them he will say,  “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

In the very beginning, God prepared a Kingdom for YOU. It was designed with YOU in mind. It is an inherited gift, given to YOU by YOUR Heavenly Father. To receive the gift of The Kingdom is to spend eternity with YOUR Heavenly Father.

Although we categorize Hell as a place people go to, a more accurate description is that Hell is a place that God does NOT go to. To be in Hell is to be eternally separated from God.

Hell was NOT prepared for you. God designed and prepared it for the devil and his angels. In the end, when Jesus returns, Satan, who was once one of God’s angels, will be forced to permanently leave Heaven because he will not surrender his own will. From the very beginning, Satan has refused to submit to the authority of God. Instead, Satan longs to be like God — to have his own kingdom — one that is devoid of God’s presence. And God, in his great mercy, will, in the end, give Satan exactly what he desires. Satan’s kingdom is called Hell. And in that place Satan will be free to rule and reign as he sees fit. But that isn’t enough to satisfy him. After all, what good is a kingdom without people? So in order to fill his kingdom with loyal subjects, Satan works day and night, stamping out any belief that God exists, with the ultimate goal of getting as many people as possible to reject God. And when the pews of Hell are full, Satan will require the payment of both their allegiance and their worship.

From the very foundation of the world, two kingdoms have been prepared. Hell, which God prepared for the devil and his angels, and Heaven, which God prepared for YOU.  Both kingdoms are eternal. One is a blessing, and one is a curse. But only one was prepared for YOU.  Why would you want to be stuck, for eternity, in a kingdom that was NOT prepared or designed with you in mind? The Kingdom of God is an inherited gift. And here’s the best part: you don’t have to die to receive it — Jesus already did that for you by taking your place on the cross.  The promise of eternal life is available today. Your gift awaits — accept it. Surrender your life to Jesus, the one true Lord and Savior, and receive The Kingdom that God prepared in the very beginning just for YOU.