Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 14 July 2022:
Joshua 6:2-5 – “And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus, shall you do for six days…. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.”
God tears down the walls, but we must be obediently persistent, refusing to give up, in order to share in the victory. Imagine the perspective of the Israelites at Jericho: They march around the city on day one with no apparent results; they march around the city on day two; again, no apparent results, and this continues for days. Imagine if, after the sixth time marching around the city on the seventh day, they just quit in hopelessness. They wouldn’t have experienced God’s miraculous victory in their lives. It takes faith to keep marching in obedience when results aren’t evident, but without faith, it is impossible to please God. Maybe you have been praying for years for a lost friend or family member – keep praying. You don’t know what God might do on the sixth march on the seventh day.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) Finally, we must not lose perspective that we are fighting a spiritual battle, and spiritual victories often look like physical or temporal losses. We must die to live, be weak to be strong, and ready to lose to win –
- 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 — But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.
- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 — But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
- 1 Corinthians 15:57 — but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- 2 Corinthians 2:14 — But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.
- Romans 8:18 — For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:4-6, 13 — …just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others…. And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
Trust God enough to be willing to share the Gospel with others, and trust God to convict hearts through His sovereign power, not through your eloquence. God has charged us and entrusted us to share the Gospel and to “walk in a manner worthy of God” as evidence of our testimony (v. 12). However, the spiritual battle is not ours but rather God’s. Speak the truth of the Gospel to all in love, and watch God work. Some will treat you shamefully (v. 2), and some will receive the word of God (v. 13). Trust God with and through the outcomes. Faithfully share the Gospel, and this will be your glory and joy upon Christ’s return. “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.” (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20)
- Colossians 1:24-29 — Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
- 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 — And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
- Romans 1:16 — For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
- 2 Timothy 1:8-14 — Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
- 1 Peter 4:16 — Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 14 July 22: Share the Gospel with as many as you can today.