Joshua 1: 8 This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Just curious, Father. Obviously, "this book" refers to the books of the Law as given to Moses. However, I think when we were kids and this was one of the verses we were all urged to memorize, we were taught to assume that it referred to Your whole written word, all the Old and New Testament scriptures.
And we generally related "of the Law" to, I think, the 2 "great commandments" and to the "principles of scripture" (and, I suppose, to whatever theological "interpretations" and/or "distinctives" our particular "tradition" emphasized, which we also pretty much counted as Holy Writ.)
But what I am wondering, is how much these "commands" from You that we memorize and quote so cheerfully and confidently, we actually follow as they were given. Or do we just follow them as we choose to "interpret" them to our own "beliefs" or "personally accept" them to our own comfort level?
Also, I wonder, how much right do we have to take commands and promises given the certain discrete individuals or groups, and apply them to ourselves and our situations?
For example, in Joshua 1:5, God speaks to Joshua himself and says, "No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you: I will not fail you or forsake you."
Now certainly, there are scriptural principles within the verse that apply broadly to all God's people (God does not fail or forsake His people). But do we have the right to take the particulars as God's promises to ourselves, as well ("no man...stand before you" and in verse 6, the leadership position given to Joshua, for example). And what about the IF part in verse 7 - which specifically refers to following all the details of the Law of Moses? How often do we pay attention to those IF's?
We argue that because of Jesus we are "freed from the Law." But then we add that we are still under the "law of love" (the two great commandments "on which hang all the law and the prophets"). And in so saying, do we actually follow those laws? Do we even see them as living in Jesus' love, or do we see them as Laws we must follow?
And how often do we also say that we must follow the Ten Commandments (and others of our personal/group choosing) in order to be Christians? Are we then really living in freedom to follow the law of love (in other words, to follow Jesus)? Because, if we are placing ourselves under even some of the Mosaic laws, then we aren't freed, are we? And if we aren't freed, then we are under the Law. Is that right?
If the law was fulfilled (completely!) in Jesus, then we really are in a totally new way. Jesus Himself - THE WAY, the Truth, the Life.
(Hmmm... When Moses said, "Choose life," he wasn't referring to splashing those words on t-shirts, and marching in anti-abortion parades, was he? No, he was referring to obeying all the commands of the Law, through which the people of Israel would find true Life). (Although, no doubt, being anti-abortion - in positive ways - is not doubt a life-preserving choice, and thus pleasing to Jesus who is the Life).
Father, when I was growing up "in the Church," it seemed like "meditating on Your Law day and night" (as in lots and lots and lots of Bible study, and some prayer too) was THE sign of a "real Christian." Over and over, verses like this were quoted. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." It seemed like the lamp/light was more important than the feet or the path. And that knowing the scriptures was more important, very often, than actually KNOWING Jesus, the Word. Knowing about Him seemed to so often be equated with knowing Him.
Were we wrong? Did we totally (or at least pretty much) miss the Truth? Was all that studying (without much doing/walking ... but we thought that studying WAS doing/walking) a waste? I don't think it was a total waste, but I wonder how much we missed out on? Father? (And are some of us going too far to the opposite extreme now? I DO worry about that...) (And I also miss some of the deep study...) Father?
Oh Father, here I am "wondering" again. Please. I want to walk "in the Truth." Help me, please.
"Mack, you don't need to have it all figured out. Just be with me." (The Shack, p 178)
Thank You, Jesus. You are the Truth. And Your words are Truth. Your Spirit is Truth. Father is Truth.
It's not one or the other. It's One. You.
That's what I want. To just be with You. All that You are, in all ways that You reveal Yourself. Thank You.