Are you thirsty for God, desperate for His truth? Do you yearn to know Him better? And, if not, what is the remedy? What are the diseases that set in from prosperity and how do they affect our desire for God?
Joshua 3 & 4
Are you thirsty for God?
Desperate for God
Verse 1, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.”
Have you ever felt so dry and thirsty for God that you thought you would die without Him? Most of us, if we’re honest, would say “no.” Personally, I’m convicted every time I read that verse. In fact, a lack of spiritual enthusiasm for the things of God is almost epidemic in the American church. I read this on John Piper’s website, Desiring God. The post was written by Jon Bloom. You can read the whole post here.
American Christians live in the most prosperous nation in world history and the one in which it costs the least to be a Christian.
This environment can be deadly to faith. It allows false faith to masquerade as real very easily. And its power to dissipate zeal and energy and mission-focus and willingness to risk is extraordinary because it doesn’t come to us with a whip and a threat. It comes to us with a pillow and a promise of comfort for us and our children. The former makes us desperate for God. The latter robs our sense of desperation.
And it’s the lack of a sense of desperation for God that is so deadly. If we don’t feel desperate for God, we don’t tend to cry out to him. Love for this present world sets in subtly, like a spiritual leprosy, damaging spiritual nerve endings so that we don’t feel the erosion and decay happening until it’s too late.
So we must fast and pray for and support the suffering church in the diseases that can set in from harsh adversity. But we must also fast and pray for God to deliver us from the diseases that set in from prosperity. We need him. We can discipline ourselves in various ways. But we cannot manufacture our own desperation. Only God can make us desperate for him.
So God, whatever it takes, increase our awareness of our dependence on you in everything! Keep us desperate for you so that the deceitfulness of sin does not harden our hearts (Hebrews 3:13). In Jesus’ name, amen.
Are you willing to pray that kind of prayer? If so, let’s fast and pray for ourselves and each other and for our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ here in our nation and around the world! May we become desperate for God!
Today’s Other Readings:
Joshua 3 & 4:
Keep Your Eyes on Him
The Nation of Israel was about to enter the Promised Land by crossing over the Jordan River. As they went, they were to keep their eyes on the ark, which represented the presence of God. Once again God would supernaturally allow them to cross over on dry land.
We, too, are to keep our eyes on God, trusting Him to lead us and guide us through the difficulties and battles of life.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you (Is. 43.2).
When Your Children Ask
1 And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying: 2 “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’”
21 Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ 22 then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; 23 for the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”
We have a responsibility, too, to share God’s truths, His great works, and especially, the Gospel with the next generation. We cannot leave it to the church or hope they’ll figure it out for themselves.
What Does Your Life Say about God?
Verse 17, “A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful ambassador brings health.”
This is especially true of God’s messengers or ambassadors. When a man or woman pretends to represent God and does evil he or she can do great harm. On the other hand, a faithful ambassador of God brings spiritual health.
2 Corinthians 5.20 says, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
We have the capacity to do great harm or great good by our testimonies. What is the message of your life? Do others get the right opinion of God by looking at you, “that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that [they] may fear the LORD your God forever” (Josh. 4.24)?
Little in the Hands of God
Verses 16-17, “Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.”
Little in the hands of God is enough. No matter how “little” our talents, our gifts, our resources, God is well able to use them for our good and His glory!
What about you?
Are you a faithful ambassador? What is the message of your life? Do your speech and your actions give those around you the right opinion of God?
Are you prepared to share the truth with the next generation? What do you need to do to be better prepared? What “little” have you failed to give to God?
What is your testimony? What are the “twelve stones” you can point to so others may believe and seek Him? I hope you’ll take the time to share it with us in the comments section below so that others “may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that [they] may fear the LORD your God forever.”
And, finally, are you desperate for God? Or is church attendance, even prayer and Bible reading, just something you check off your to-do list? Do you allow other things to fill your hunger? Are you settling for things that only bring temporary satisfaction, at best? What are you doing to cultivate that hunger and thirst for Him? Will you pray the kind of prayer Jon Bloom talked about and for one another that we may become desperate for God before it’s too late?
Satisfaction…Happiness…Joy. According to John Piper, the pursuit of pleasure in God is not only permissible, it’s essential.
Desiring God is a paradigm-shattering work that dramatically alters common perspectives on relating to God. Piper reveals that there really is no need to choose between duty and delight in the Christian life. In fact, for the follower of Jesus, delight is the duty as Christ is most magnified in His people when they are most satisfied in Him.
Constantly drawing on Scripture to build his case, Piper shows why pursuing maximum joy is essential to glorifying God. He discusses the implications of this for conversion, worship, love, Scripture, prayer, money, marriage, missions, and suffering.
Piper beckons us to approach God with the hedonist’s abandon. Finally, we are freed to enjoy Jesus—not only as our Lord and Savior, but also as our all-surpassing, soul-satisfying Treasure.
Desiring God may turn your Christian world upside down. And that will be a good thing, for the glory of God, and for your deepest joy.
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