Encouraging Devotions Blog

“God Will Initiate the Change He Desires.”

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During this coronavirus situation, a verse we all know has come alive to me in a radically new way. The verse is second Chronicles 7:14:

“And My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

This verse is known to most of us, but I wonder why I never looked at verse 13 more carefully until now since it is the start of this call to humble repentance for His healing. 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people…”

This shows how God often uses times of crisis to draw His people back to Himself and demonstrate to the world that He has power over all things. Droughts, plagues, and pestilences are often tools that accomplish His will.

There are many accounts in the Bible, showing how God intervenes in humanity to direct us to His will. Two that come to mind are:

Genesis 11:9 “Therefore its name was called Babel because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

Acts 8:1 “Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

Both of these seemingly devastating situations were greatly used by God to accomplish His purposes in the world. Perhaps God is allowing an opportunity for His church during this time of crisis to show us that we need to humbly repent so we can tell others about Him, and see healing in our land.
You may remember Psalm 51; it wasn’t until David repented that he was able to be fruitful in telling others about God. He had to be restored to the joy of his salvation through godly sorrow; then, God chose to use him powerfully.

Psalm 51:12–13
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You.

We are also reminded of the beautiful picture that Isaiah saw of the holiness of God in Isaiah chapter 6. Again, it wasn’t until Isaiah was willing to repent for not only the sins of the people but his own sins that God chose to use him powerfully. In Isaiah chapter 6, we see his sorrow and repentance.

Isaiah 6:5
Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

Healing will come to our land when God’s people humble themselves, seek God, and turn from our wicked ways. We need to remind ourselves of the fantastic news that we bring to this lost and dying world. Let us be reminded, as it says in Romans 10:15, “how beautiful the feet of those who bring good news of good things.”

What a beautiful Gospel it is. Be reminded of it!

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

1 Corinthians 15:3–4
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

Colossians 1:19–20
For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Romans 3:23–24
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.

God will initiate the change He desires in all those that He calls to Himself. What a privilege we have to be the voices of repentance and the gospel.

“Jesus, our Captain”

Listen to Audio Devotion

“Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” The Captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.” – Joshua 5:13-15 (Emphasis added.)

Joshua, a faithful man of God, was charged by God to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land. Prior to his death, Moses told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.” Joshua was a man of great strength and courage. However, Joshua, and his men, found themselves on the verge of battle with the city of Jericho. This city presents what may appear to some as an insurmountable challenge, a city fortified by large, thick, impenetrable walls. Joshua, in his own strength and courage, had several choices he could have made to overcome this challenge. He could have looked within, devised his own battle plan, and attempted to take on this challenge in his own strength. Or, he could have looked horizontally to rally his garrison of troops to emotionally charge them up to win the battle. Joshua could have just looked down in defeat; why even try, these circumstances are impossible to overcome.

However, the Word says he, “Lifted his eyes and looked,” and when he did so, Joshua had a remarkable encounter with the Captain of his soul, Jesus Christ. How do we know this was a Christophnany (an appearance or non-physical manifestation of Christ)?

First, He allowed Joshua to fall on his face and worship Him. In Revelation 22:8-9, John tried to worship the angel he had an encounter with, and the angel said, “Do not do that…Worship God.” Second, the Captain of the LORD’s host (or Jesus) said, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” This command resembles what the LORD said in Exodus 3:5 when God spoke to Moses through the burning bush and said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

Jesus, our Captain
Joshua, ready for a fight, asks a question many people pose to God when they encounter adversity in their personal lives, but especially when more significant circumstances arise, like this COVID-19 pandemic:

“Are you for us or for our adversaries?” or “God, where are You? Are You for us or against us?”

This flawed question implies that God has a lack of integrity, lack of character, or a lack of control. When a person asks that question, they are questioning God’s holiness (if He is a good God or a bad God) and His sovereignty (if He is truly in control over all things). Jesus redirects Joshua with His response. He does not answer his question, but instead identifies Himself by stating, “NO; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” In other words, whether I’m for you or against you is not the question. This prompts Joshua to fall on his face and worship and ask a second, more appropriate question, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” Jesus, by appearing to Joshua as the Captain of the host of the LORD, at the very time Joshua was preparing for battle was proof enough that God was for Joshua, that He was holy, and that He was sovereign.

Joshua’s response- he worshipped. The fact that Jesus will never leave nor forsake us has long been settled. The more appropriate question for us to ask is, “What does the Lord want to say to me, His servant?” If Jesus was Joshua’s Captain, and He is my Captain, then I take marching orders from Christ, not the other way around.

Do you think Joshua would have devised the battle plan of having his men and the priests march around Jericho once a day for six days blowing the ram’s horn, then on the seventh day march around seven times blowing the ram’s horn and with a great shout know confidently that the walls would fall?

Jesus came to Joshua as a Captain at the precise time when Joshua was about to embark on a military campaign. Jesus is our Good Shepherd who lovingly guides and protects us, our Great High Priest who ever lives to make intercession on our behalf, our Advocate who defends us against the accuser; Jesus is the GREAT I AM. Jesus first came in the form of the Lamb of God to be our provision for sin. When Jesus returns, He will come as a conquering King. Quite simply, Jesus is everything we need in any situation.

Therefore, let not the question arise in our hearts whether or not if God is for us, rather let us be assured and encouraged that He is and will be everything we need in every circumstance, for He is Holy. In addition, may our response be like Joshua’s: to fall on our face, bow down, and ask what the Lord has for us. When our Captain speaks, may we again follow Joshua’s example, “And Joshua did so.”

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