Tag Archives: Joshua

Assumptions

Today, I want to look at ‘assumptions’.

An assumption is defined as a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.

Doing the Math

An assumption is almost the same as faith – being certain of something that you can’t see.  But as humans, we tend to like assumptions because they generally mean less work for us.  If I can just take x for granted, then it means I can get on and focus on y.  Rather than having to go to the effort of walking something out or doing effort in real life,  we do the math in our heads and decide ahead of time if we’ll win or lose.

Sometimes assumptions are really good and helpful, especially in situations where you just need to make a quick decision.  But other times – wrong assumptions can bring all kinds of evil into our world.  Not only that – but acting on wrong assumptions can lead us to do things that are not worthy of us, and put us in positions that we would never have wanted to find ourselves in.

This is what happened to Abraham in Genesis 20:

Genesis 20
1  Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar,
2  and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelech king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.
3  But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”
4  Now Abimelech had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation?
5  Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.”
6  Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her.
7  Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all yours will die.”
8  Early the next morning Abimelech summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid.
9  Then Abimelech called Abraham in and said, “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should not be done.”
10  And Abimelech asked Abraham, “What was your reason for doing this?”
11  Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’

Is God Here?

Abraham made an assumption.  He looked at the situation and said:

‘God is not in this place… it’s clear to me’.

Interesting isn’t it – because his Abraham’s son, Isaac, was later to come to a certain place at night, when all was dark and he had a powerful encounter with the Lord – and then He said:

‘God is in this place – and I wasn’t even aware of it’

Both of them came to a place not expecting to find God, and yet in both situations they discovered that God was already at work.  How often do we make the ASSUMPTION that God is not there.  That there is NO FEAR OF GOD in this place?

For Abraham – that assumption had some dramatic consequences.

  • It caused him to act weird.
  • It caused him to end up lying.
  • He lost his credibility with Abimelech
  • He almost lost his wife

All because he walked into a situation and made an assumption that wasn’t true.

Assumptions Can Hold Us Captive

Sometimes the only thing that is holding us back from walking into all that God has promised us is the jailhouse of our mind.  God calls us to do something – and we say ‘I’ve done the math Lord… it won’t work’.  Sometimes your assumptions based on your experience is what’s holding you back.

This is what happened for the Israelites.  In the well known chapter of Numbers 13 – Moses sends spies out to look at the promised land.  They come back – and they say ‘yeah it’s all good.  all like God promised but the only problem is… walled cities, and giants!’.  Then they say ‘and we looked like grasshoppers in their eyes’.  How did they know that?  Did they have a conversation with the giants?  Did they ask them to fill out this quick 4 question survey?

They made an assumption.  They had no idea what was going on, on the other side of the fence.

But the Bible tells us.  The stories of what was happening to the nation of Israel in the desert:

  • what had happened in Egypt as they left
  • the parting of the red sea
  • water flowing out of rocks
  • divine provision in the desert
  • their clothes not wearing out
  • powerful encounters with a living God

All these accounts were all getting reported to the kings who were living in the land Israel was about to possess.  They were freaking out.  One of the kings Balak, hires a guy called Balaam to try to use witchcraft and cursing against the Israelites.  But everytime Balaam tries to curse Israel – only blessing came out!  You can be assured that story made it around the kings fraternal meeting.

We read in Joshua 5:
1  Now it came about when all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard how the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed, that their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the sons of Israel.

The Israelites had wandered around in the desert for 40 years and part of the reason for that is that they were held captive by a wrong assumption.  They thought the giants were waiting for them to cross so that they could beat them to a pulp.  They had no idea that the giants spent those 40 years packing themselves about the day that Israel would finally wake up to the power they had!

The story is told of the master escape artist Harry Houdini.  On one of his European tours, he had himself handcuffed and shut in a Scottish town jail.  Once alone, Houdini quickly got out of the shackles, and started to work on the lock on the cell door.  He tried everything he knew but he couldn’t get the lock to turn.  Finally, completely, exhausted… he leaned against the door… and it swung open so unexpectedly he nearly fell headlong into the corridor.  The jailer hadn’t locked it.  Houdini made an assumption!

Like A Little Child

Jesus said – if you want to get into the kingdom of heaven, you’ve got to become like a little child.  Little kids trust implicitly.  They don’t do the math, because they don’t have the experience.  They TRY THINGS.

There’s sick people in our world that God wants to heal, but they’re surrounded by Christians doing the maths, rather than taking the action.

There’s doors of breakthrough that God has placed in your life today – but we too often don’t walk through them because you’re we’re the maths rather than taking the action.

There’s people who are waiting to get saved, but the Christians are doing the maths, instead of taking the action.

Abraham says ‘God is NOT in this place… it’s clear to me’.  But yet God was.  Isaac says ‘God was in this place – and I wasn’t even aware of it’.

Which one is it for you?

Is God not in this place because of what you’ve seen and experienced?  Or is God in this place – and you weren’t even aware of it?

Is God not in your workplace because of what you’ve seen and experienced thus far?  They don’t fear God, they don’t care about Him.  Or is God already at work in your workplace… and you haven’t even been aware of it?

Is God not in your family… because they rail against your faith and mock you for what you believe?  Or is God already at work in your family – and you weren’t even aware of it?

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A Generation Set Apart

Joshua 5:2 (NIV)
2 At that time the LORD said to Joshua, "Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again."

Right before the Israelites moved into their Promised Land, the Lord commanded the whole nation of them to be circumcised.  This ‘cutting away’ of the flesh is symbolic for us of embracing the cross, and dying to our agenda, and our way of doing things – to embrace His agenda, and His way. 

The Israelites had already been circumcised before, but the entire generation that had been circumcised had died in the desert.  This was a new day, and a new generation.  But they couldn’t rest on what the previous generation had done – they had to go through the same process themselves.

In our day, God is raising up a new generation that will advance the Kingdom of God far beyond what previous generations have done.  To a large extent, we get to ‘stand on the shoulders’ of battles won by the previous generation.  But this generation must come to the cross themselves, and embrace the death that leads to life.  Only then will we be prepared and ready to enter into the fullness of what God has for us!

Leaving Our Position

Joshua 3:3 (NIV)
3 giving orders to the people: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it.

When the Lord starts to move, the people were to leave their positions and follow Him. 

It can be easy to start to find our identity in our position rather than as a follower of Christ.  But when God starts to move, we have to leave behind the familiarity of the position we have known and grown accustomed to so that we can keep pace with him.  It’s not ultimately about our position, it’s about being a follower. 

Get Intentional!

Joshua 1:6 – “Be strong and of good courage”

Upon the death of Moses, the Lord comes to Joshua and commands him to “be strong and of good courage”.  He now has his part to play in bringing the nation of Israel into the promised land. 

He is firstly commanded to be strong. The word means ‘to fasten upon’ or ‘to seize’. He must seize the promise of God – and hold on to it unswervingly.  Strength of heart is required – the same word is used in describing how Pharaoh’s heart was hardened to the Lord.  The servant of God’s heart must be “hardened” – intent and uncompromising in it’s obedience to God.

He is also to be of good courage. The word means to be ‘mentally alert’.  One of the primary battlegrounds for the Christian is the mind – we must set our minds on things above, and take captive every thought to His obedience.

This command is repeated in v7 and also in v9, where it contains a promise – “that you may prosper”.  Being intentional in our faith is the road to prosperity – as we continue to hold unswervingly in our hearts and minds to the faith we profess, we will find success in all that we put our hands to. 

Be strong and courageous today!  Keep walking forward in faith and confidence, and God will open up doors and opportunities you never thought possible!

Get Off Your Donkey!

Joshua 15:19 – “She said, Give me a blessing; for that you have set me in the land of the South, give me also springs of water. He gave her the upper springs and the lower springs”

Achsah, the daughter of Caleb was leaving to begin a new life with her husband.  At the time that they were departing, Achsah stops and gets off her donkey and asks her father for a blessing.  The land she has been given is in the South, which is prone to being dry and arid, and will need water.  So she asks her father for springs of water – with which to water the land.  Her father responds generously and gives her both the upper and lower springs. 

There’s a very simple message in this little-known story.  Firstly, Achsah got off her donkey – she halted the proceedings so that she could ask her father a request.  The Bible makes it clear that “we have not, because we ask not” – perhaps we need to get off our “ass” and ask God for that which we need?!

Secondly, see the richness with which her father blesses her.  He doesn’t just give her a spring – he gives her the upper and lower springs.  In a symbolic way, we can take them as the ‘upper springs’ – that which pertains to the spirit, and the ‘lower springs’ that which pertains to earth.

If we ask, God is pleased to give us all things – both that which is spiritual and that which is natural (2 Peter 1:3)  

Achsah had the sense to ask her father for what she needed, and her father responded very generously – how much more will our heavenly Father give us what we need when we ask Him?