I will be with you as I was with Moses,” God says to Moses’ successor, Joshua. The Exodus from Egypt is ending. But now Israel faces the challenge of living in a strange new land. God promises to go with them into this new place to keep making a way when people think no way exists.
In other words, God tells Joshua, “If you thought miracles (dramatic interventions by God) are over, think again.” The God who made a way by pushing back the sea in Israel’s exodus now pushes aside the Jordan, making a way into the Promised Land. The miraculous, interventionist, active love of God goes with them. What God intends for God’s people, Israel cannot accomplish alone. The miracles continue.
I hope you went to church yesterday and experienced God’s presence. I pray that God did things to you and for you that you could not do for yourself. But as you go through your workaday Monday remember: God actively loves 24/7.
During a dormitory Bible study a student asked, “How come Jesus almost never says or does anything important to people in church?” As a clergyperson who spends lots of time at church, I found the student’s statements annoying!
As you go about doing all sorts of nonsacred, nonreligious things on this mundane Monday, keep looking over your shoulder. The life you live is not your own. Your actions may not be the only action in your world. God not only speaks to you but works in you. When confronted by some seemingly insurmountable obstacle, “There is no way for me to cross that deep, dangerous river,” be prepared to be proven wrong. You do not journey alone. Even though you are a modern, thinking person who remains unsure about the possibility of the miraculous, the miracles continue.
Think of a time when God made a way for you when you thought there was no way.
The texts remind us that human decisions, relationships, communities must be rooted in the reality of God. In his vision recorded in Revelation, John sees all communities, all nations, shouting before God’s throne that salvation comes only from God. The story of the crossing of the Jordan in Joshua 3 illustrates this principle: apart from Yahweh’s grace, Israel’s life could not be sustained. Paul does not deny an authority due him because of his previous relations with the Thessalonians. At the same time, he can reverse the image and speak of himself as an orphan when separated from these people (2:17). The possibility of mutuality emerges out of a clear acceptance of the authority of the gospel. The scribes and Pharisees are singled out in Matthew 23 for aunting their positions and for engaging in pious activity so as to be praised and courted by others. Their craving of honorific titles illustrates their failure to acknowledge the empowerment of Jesus as teacher and God as Father.
• Read Joshua 3:7-17. What miracles have you seen God perform lately in your life? in the life of a friend?
• Read Revelation 7:9-17. How do you reconcile a God of judgment with the writer’s statement that “God will settle for nothing less than a standing-room-only heaven”?
• Read 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13. How is the word of God at work in you?
• Read Matthew 23:1-12. When have you been humbled in being faithful to Jesus’ call on your life? Is being humbled a sign of true servanthood?
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