Gleanings In Joshua: Obedience Looks Strange

I facilitate a college group Bible study on tuesday’s and in our discussion one of the students said something astounding. The student talked about not being romantically involved with anyone and how she isn’t attracted to our cultures dating craze, purposeless dating. Unfortunately in our society she looks strange. One comment from a college professor was “what’s wrong with you? You should be having fun.” It’s funny that a college student is expected to have multiple dating relationships and/or sexual partners by their age in our society.

I find interesting what looks strange to our culture.

Now before you go on to think this is another anti-dating blog post, it’s not. I just find it funny that an attractive young person is expected to conform to the mores of the culture around them and if they don’t they look strange.

Regardless of what you think about dating and it’s pros and cons, one thing i know for sure is that obedience looks strange. When you find a college student who is committed to refrain from sex until he/she is married, in our society, that looks strange. To find couples who have been married 20, 30, 40, 50 years and beyond in our culture is becoming rare. It is a strange thing for a child to grow up and not be touched first hand by divorce. Obedience looks strange.

Joshua and Jericho 

Whenever I come to Joshua 6 I always contemplate on the strangeness of the Lord’s ways. The Lord reveals to Joshua that they are about to take Jericho, but the Lord provides very direct and specific instructions.

Joshua 6:3-5 (ESV)
3  You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days.
4  Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.
5  And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.”

When a general sits and thinks about military strategy, I am not sure this is what he would come up with. Yet these were the Lord’s instructions. Sit back and imagine what this may have looked like, men of war with the ark and priests with rams horns walking around Jericho. How strange do you think they felt? What in the world were the people of Jericho thinking? We know they were terrified of them because they heard how the Lord has been delivering them, but what is the town of Jericho thinking on day four when Israel marches around and then they leave?

Faith Without Works Is Dead

The Lord gave Joshua a message and now the ball was in his court, what would Joshua do? Joshua is no longer leading from the second chair, Joshua is the first chair leader and he has a message from the Lord, will he believe the strangeness of the Lord’s ways or succumb to doubt?

We all face these decisions, whenever our knowledge of what God commands is put to the test of obedience.  The day of decision comes, will you click on the porn site or run away from it, will you compromise your values of purity and sleep around, will you stay faithful to your spouse when times get rough. Will you believe in the strangeness of the Lord’s ways?

Disciples of Christ are saved by grace through faith alone in the finished work of Christ (Eph. 2:8-9) and yet the faith we are given is living, active and compels us to believe God and walk in obedience no matter how strange it looks. Which is why Paul continues on to say we are God’s workmanship created to do good works (Eph. 2:10). When it comes to the biblical faith there is no such thing as faith without obedience, no matter how strange it looks.

Joshua took God at his word and it was credited to him as righteousness. Listen to what the writer of Hebrews says,

Hebrews 11:30 (ESV)
30  By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

One thing I notice throughout Hebrews 11 is you have commendation of faith given but you also have the action that resulted because of their faith in the Lord. It was faith in the strangeness of the Lord’s ways and the obedience to get up and encircle Jericho for 7 days that Joshua is commended for. We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone but when faith moves in he brings along his good friend, obedience.

Until Next Time

Be Strange, Be Obedient

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