Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jesse Tree Reflections: December 11 and 12

Dec. 11
Optional Reading: Joshua 1:1-9, 5:13-6:20 (The Walls of Jericho)
Symbol: Gold Trumpet

“On the seventh day they rose early at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times: it was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times.  And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, ‘Shout; for the Lord has given you the city.’ ...  So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown.  As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people raised a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.”  Joshua 6: 15-16; 20

With the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho we see that God’s promise to give His people the promised land has begun to be fulfilled.  The people of God will triumph over the people who worship false gods and, in doing so, violate many of the Ten Commandments. 

But the true promised land, our true home, is Heaven.  To enter the Eternal Kingdom we do not need to battle against enemies outside of us, but against our own temptations to sin and evil.  These temptations rise against us at times and seem as insurmountable as any army, but with the grace of God, we can prevail over them and come to the joy of eternal life and happiness with God forever.

Dec. 12
Optional Reading: Judges 2:6-16, 6:1-16, 7:1-23 (The story of Gideon and the defeat of Midian)
Symbol: A Water Jar

“So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch; and they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands.  And the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars, holding in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow; and they cried, ‘A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” Judges 7: 19-20

The people of Israel had forgotten God, and His mighty deeds, and had given themselves over to the worship of false gods.  Because of this, God allowed the Midianites to prevail over the Israelites, to destroy their crops and take their land.  But in due time God raised up the hero Gideon and showed His might by causing Gideon to drive away the army of Midian with only a few hundred men.

The power of God over the deeds of men is strong.  But His power over our sinful hearts is stronger still.  If we are faithless and turn away from God, we may not have to fear a human enemy, but we will still be in enemy hands until we return to God and seek forgiveness and mercy from Him.

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