Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Time for Godly Leaders in Our World is Now!

Scriptures: Joshua 12,13,14; 1 Corinthians 7

Verses of the Day:
Joshua 14:6 Now the people of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.

Since the beginning of God's covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12 and Genesis 15, God's purpose was to make Israel a blessing to all nations. Abraham was originally promised the Land that Joshua and Caleb are now leading the Israelites to conquer. When Moses and the people of God were delivered from the Egyptians, when God parted the Red Sea, it showed Moses' trust in God to do what He had promised. But Moses could only take them so far. A new generation of leaders needed to be raised up to take the Promised Land.

Remember the nations had become so depraved, despite God's attempts to save them. They were destitute and worshipped foreign gods and offered up their children in sacrifice to gods like Molech. Because God is righteous and just, He raised up His people to take the land and carry out His justice. Remember too, God's people were not immune to judgment, in either the Old Testament or the New Testament. And we know Jesus' death on the cross involved God's judgment upon the sin of all mankind. Without God's judgment we would not know God's mercy. This aspect of God is often widely and grossly misunderstood.

So 45 years later, after the land has been conquered, Caleb reminds Joshua of the promise Moses had made to them when the land was conquered. He and the tribe of Judah would take the very land he had walked upon and conquered in faith and obedience. We see why Caleb was such a strong leader in Numbers 13. After Moses had sent spies from every tribe, they were terrified of the men in the land calling them giants. But look what Caleb says, "30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

Later that night, all the Israelites mourned and wept bitterly. Moses and Aaron pleaded with them, and Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes saying, "The Lord is with us do not be afraid of them". But the people rebel, so The Lord says to Moses,

As surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. 24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.

So 45 years later Caleb reminds them of God's promises and his wholehearted trust in God which led them to inherit the Promised Land. And out of the tribe of Judah would come our savior Jesus. Caleb is a hero in our faith who is often not talked about, but a great example for us today!

Application:Out of all the people God could have picked to lead the people of Israel into the promised land, God chose Joshua and Caleb. Why? Because they were bold and courageous. They were more focused on what God could do, rather than what they couldn't. Instead of focusing on the giants, they focused on a giant God.

As I look out in the world, what seems to be missing? Leaders like Caleb. Leaders that focus less on themselves and more on God's purposes. The problems we face in our world, as we were reminded in Brussels today, are God-sized problems. And if we keep taking God out of the equation, God will give us what we want. And it will not be pretty.

This reminds us of Paul's teaching about the governing authorities and their purpose to keep peace. Please read this passage from Paul, because it is a very important distinction for the separation of church and state. In this case the state is the "governing authorities" Paul is referring to here.

From Romans 13,

Submission to Governing Authorities
13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

Notice it says "authorities that have been established by God". Maybe God intended for godly men like Caleb to be our worldly leaders? Maybe as we vote we should pray for a man like Caleb? But also I think this applies to each of us individually as we lead our families, and the people we have influence over. Caleb trusted "wholeheartedly in God". Caleb didn't focus on the problem, but on God's ability to provide the solution. May we trust in God as whole-heartedly as he did!

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