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April 2003 Archives

April 23, 2003

Developing Joshuas or Raising Judges

Judges 2:18-19
And when the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed them and harassed them. 19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way.

This is such an interesting time in the nation of Israel's history. Moses and Joshua are now dead, along with all from thier generation (Moses' prior to entry into the promised land, Joshua's since the entry and conquest of it). Vs. 10 says there was now a generation who didn't know the LORD or thework which He had done for them. (This reminds me that the church is always only one generation away from extinction, but that's another issue). What is interesting to me is that the LORD raises up leaders when we don't.

Moses had invested himself into Joshua early on. Joshua had peers that partnered with him (e.g. Caleb), and although I may be overlooking someone, I can't think of anyone that Joshua had prepared to hand the baton off to. Maybe Joshua was like many leaders - so busy with the tasks at hand that he thought leaders were being developped because they were involved in the process of taking the land. But being charged with a duty does not a leader make. I'm reminded how when Moses would go to talk with God, Joshua was around, sometimes even staying behind at the tabernacle.

This is a crucial issue because as I read about the conquest of Canaan, it was never completely finished according to the Lord's directions - drive out all the people in the land. I wonder if Joshua so focused on accomplishing the task that he never thought that this would take longer than his lifetime to accomplish? Most of what God calls us to do as leaders is beyond not only our ability to accomplish on our own, but I'm thinking it's fulfillment will take longer than our lifetime.

I'm grateful that God will always raise up leaders. But there is always a cost. In this case, it was a generation of people who didn't know the LORD or His works. What's the cost for me? It's my desire that New Horizons will have an impact on our community that lasts far beyond my lifetime, until He comes (which ever happens first). I better start developping some Joshuas.

April 25, 2003

Two Swords

Luke 22:36-38
36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37 For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.”
38 So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.”
And He said to them, “It is enough.”

Now this is an odd comment for Jesus to make at the end of the Last Supper. Matthew and Mark's accounts of the end of the Supper makes a little more sence to me, all of them heading off to Gethsemane after singing a hymn. So it seems that on the road through Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives Jesus predicts Peter's betrayal. Then Luke's account has this odd statement about "he who has no sword...buy one."

I'm trying to put this all together and make some sense out of it. My thoughts are this. Peter veheminately defends his commitment to the Lord at all cost. Jesus exposes Peter's (and my) limitations, not in an attempt to humiliate Peter, but to prepare him for the impending disappointment with his denial of Christ (for which Jesus restores Peter's honor in John 21). Jesus reminds the disciples that when He sent them out that although thier provisions were limited, they didn't lack anything to complete their assignment. But now the cost is higher and the assignments more serious. What was a joyous experience in God's power working through thier lives (Luke 9:6) now was going to require them to function at another level, because Jesus' assignment on earth was coming to an end. And just like me, the disciples responded to this insight by defaulting to what they thought Jesus was saying.

Jesus promise to the disciples at the beginning was to make them fishers of men - not soldiers. The battlefield was Calvary. The battle against the "power of darkness" (v. 53) was fought and won by Christ. My "two swords" (a metaphor for my own ability and strength) are nothing in a war of this magnitude. When I try to wield them I only end up wounding someone in a foolish attempt to prove my valor (v. 49-51). What I want to understand is the responsibility I have been charged with - not to defend an earthly kingdom, rather the radical commitment to God's reign in the lives of men.

About April 2003

This page contains all entries posted to JustJeff | Life Journal in April 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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