Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Word: Who are you for?

Sorry in advance that this is a longer post. I just couldn't seem to break it up.

I am reading through the book of Joshua right now in my women's small group. Joshua is just rich in lessons about how to step out in faith with God. This last week a scripture really struck a cord with me. I usually don't comment on Sunday Word because I want you to read it and let it speak to your heart in the way that God intends - not my words.

But this time, I wanted to share. After a couple days of exploring small groups and community, I realized that by sharing, I am opening up my heart to you. I am letting you get to know me. By being transparent it might relate to you somehow.

So, anyway...

The Fall of Jericho

Joshua 5:13-15 NIV

13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man
standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him
and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?"

14 "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I
have now come." Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord [
have for his servant?"

15 The commander of the LORD's army replied, "Take off your sandals,
for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.

In the first part of the verse Joshua asks the man who he is for? Us or our enemies?

I suspect that you are hearing this question a lot in your own circles right now.

Who are you for?

As in, Who will you be voting for come November?

Many of you, as I, have already decided and some have actually cast an early ballot.

So, this verse struck a cord with me right now because it seems everywhere I go, the question of "Who are you for?" is, if not on everyone's tongue, at least on everyone's mind.

My neighborhood is dotted with signs showing support of "who they are for". At the bus stop, in book clubs and block parties the line is drawn with each person taking a stand on either side. If your neighbor is voting for the other guy then while it may seem extreme he might be considered the enemy, so to speak.

We don't have a sign in our yard. Now, I did think about it, considering the signs of who I am not voting for surround me. We know who we are voting for and when the day comes, I will - with complete confidence - cast my vote for him.

I love that we live in this incredible country that allows us to put signs in our yards and stickers on our cars professing WHATEVER it is you support. We can wear buttons and t-shirts. We can make fun of our candidates and even attack their character. I detest that part, but I am thankful that I live in a country where someone does not get killed because of it. Freedom of speech is something I don't take for granted. All it takes is one conversation with my good friend from Zimbabwe to realize how lucky we are to not be forced into a vote for someone we do not support.

We ultimately decided not to put a sign in our yard. I've chosen not to have a sign in my yard to express that who I am ultimately for is not a presidential candidate. Who I am for does not want to cause division among my neighbors.

I don't want this to sound self-righteous in any way. So, please don't allow your mind go there. That is not what I am about, nor am I suggesting we do not take a stand politically. We all must cast our vote. It is a privilege to be able to cast our vote. And we need to talk about it when appropriate.

I also don't want to infer that by having a sign in your yard for your candidate that in any way suggests you are not "for God". Not my point or intention either.

What I am talking about is that some of my neighbors have antagonized us a bit (my husband especially) concerning these signs and their candidate. I have watched friends recently almost stop speaking because they can't agree politically. Division is what I am talking about here.

So back to the verse... I love how the guy responds to Joshua.

"I'm not on anyone's side - just God's."

It's almost like you can hear the confidence in his voice. Maybe with a raised eyebrow he gave Joshua a look that said - "as if taking a side really matters - is there any question who has control of this situation or any situation for that matter?"

He even goes on to say -

"take off your sandals - this ground is holy".

To me it's like he is saying, the only thing you need to do, Joshua - is to have faith.

And Joshua does. What does my LORD ask of me?

And what is really cool about that verse that Joshua takes off his sandals!

Now when you are getting ready to go into battle do you think you would take off your sandals?

Not me. My first inclination might be to pull on a pair of combat boots. Put on the boxing gloves

It certainly reminds me of many political campaigns.

Anyway, Joshua - he takes off his sandals. Submitting the situation to God FIRST before he heads into battle. Knowing that where God is sending him is holy.

Anyway, the verse really spoke to me in a way that gave me some peace in this political climate right now because politics can be upsetting and political beliefs can often cause division.

So, if I can just keep my eyes on God and remember that HE is on his people's side then I really shouldn't worry. I have to have faith in him, not politics.

We will go vote. A president will be chosen. Taxes will go on - either up or down. Judges will be chosen - they will overturn decisions or keep them the same. Congress will change. The war will subside or not. We will recover from this big economic mess or we will lose everything we have.

But whatever way it goes and whatever happens, if my eyes are on God, we will be fine. He will take care of us in the midst of it all - no matter what happens. Not that it would be easy. Not that we wouldn't have a battle. But that he will be with us.

His very big and capable hands are in control. As if there is any question of who is in control here and taking a side really matters.

I wrote the above in my journal yesterday morning. Today, our pastor talked about faith and someone sang this song. I loved the words because they confirmed what I was thinking and wanted to share it them with you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100% Janel if we keep our eyes to God and put our faith in Him we will be ok. Our pastor has been preaching on 2 Chornicles 7:14 "If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land. If only our land will humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways.

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