As we close the chapter on Joshua and his leading the Israelites into the land that God had promised them 600 years earlier, there are a few things we all want to carry with us into the next chapter.
In our pursuit of the life God intends for us, we must take seriously the issue of trust. As we have seen in the past chapters of The Story, God is radical when it comes to trust. In the Lower Story, it can seem like God is this ego-maniacal God who just wants people to bow to him and if they don’t he wipes them out. Because he is God and we are his creation, it is perfectly in his right to do that, but I don’t believe that is what he is doing.
As parents, we know what it’s like to want our kids to make the right choice – the choice that is BEST for them. I believe it is the same for God. He wants his children to make the BEST CHOICE. The best choice is to trust the best source. To trust a good source would be less and to trust a bad source could be fatal. He is the BEST SOURCE. There is no one who cares for them more…not a golden calf, not Pharaoh, not Baal, no one. To turn away from him, to not trust him, is at best foolish and at worst fatal. He takes this very seriously.
In his Upper Story, God does what he has to do to keep his people moving toward complete trust in him. They don’t trust him with their worship, so he corrects their path. They don’t trust him to enter the land, so he sends them back to the desert to build the trust. Those who don’t trust and lead others to do the same always face severe consequences. When the Israelites were trust-ready to enter the land, God gives them some instructions:
- Know My Words – He does not want them to forget the guidelines he has given them. Joshua knows it’s as important for all of them as it is for him.
- Hear My Voice – He also wants them to seek him first, before going into any battle. He is already ahead of them, so he wants them to learn the value of prayer – communicating with him. He will let them know when to move and when to stay put.
For you and me, the calling is no different. To trust him is the greatest challenge. To love him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength is the very core of what it means to follow Christ. Because we know how the story goes, we have even more reason to trust him with our lives. We can approach any situation with confidence, because if we are committed to knowing him and listening to his voice, he will direct our paths. I realize that it’s much easier to type these words than to live them. The degree of difficulty is measured by the significance of the prize. To trust anyone else with our lives, including ourselves, is at best foolish and at worst fatal.