Sunday Scriptures — We Don’t Have to Understand to Obey

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

We don’t have to understand to obey.

That pretty much sums up what the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho says to me. Throughout these past three weeks I’ve looked at the story of the Israelites entry into the Promised Land from the beginning act of following the Ark of God, their obedience demonstrating their trust in God, and setting up a memorial to remember God’s provision.

In my study of this chapter in Israel’s history one commentary I read said, “Obedience to God does not require a total understanding of his commands; it requires trust in God even when his entire purpose cannot be seen.” Like I said … we don’t have to understand to obey.

It’s one more reminder he is God and we are not. God owes us no explanation. He doesn’t need our approval before he sets his plan in motion. He tells us to jump. We ask how high.

We may be at a time where our life makes no sense whatsoever. We don’t understand the twists and turns that led us to this place. We don’t know what God’s plans are, or why they seem so slow in coming.

We don’t have to understand to obey.

Here are some of the lessons we can learn through the example we have of the Israelites entering the Promised Land and conquering Jericho.

  • Follow the Lord’s leading because this is new territory, and we could get lost if we take our eyes off him.
  • Our obedience to follow God’s instructions for how he wants things done demonstrates our trust in him and his plan for our lives.
  • Remember what the Lord has done, and tell others.

What other lessons have you learned in your journey to the Promised Land?

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On the seventh day the Israelites got up at dawn and marched around the town as they had done before. But this time they went around the town seven times. The seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the town! Joshua 6:15-16 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Remember What the Lord Has Done

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The last two Sundays I’ve written about the Israelites entry into the Promised Land that began with their crossing the Jordan River on dry land.

Once all the people crossed the river, God instructed Joshua to set up a memorial to remember what the Lord had done — hold back the waters of the Jordan River to allow the people to cross on dry land.

One person from each of the twelve tribes was chosen to be a part of constructing the memorial. Each man went to the middle of the river where the priest still stood with the Ark of God, chose a large stone from the riverbed, took it back to shore and piled the stones up where the Israelites would camp for the night.

The purpose of the memorial was so when their children asked what the stones were for, the people would remember what the Lord had done, and tell future generations of the day the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant went across. The stones were to be a memorial to the people forever.

September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike pummeled our area of Texas. When we returned home after evacuating, we found our house still standing. Yes. We had a lot of outdoor debris to clean up and were out of power for days, but our house still stood. Praise God.

Just like the Israelites, I created a memorial to show what the Lord had done for us. I chose a piece of oak bark about eighteen inches long, the hurricane ripped from one of our trees, and placed it beside our front door.

That bark is still there today. It is a reminder every time I step through my front door of God’s grace and provision, protection and care.

When God brings us through something, it is good to never forget it, so we are able to tell others what the Lord has done.

How do you remember what the Lord has done for you?

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He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’  Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.”  Joshua 4:5-7 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Obedience Demonstrates Trust

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Continuing with the familiar story of Joshua and the defeat of Jericho found in Joshua 6 that I wrote about last Sunday, I’d like to look at the fact obedience demonstrates trust.

Last year I wrote that obedience was a huge part of the Jericho victory. God gave the Israelites victory over their enemies when they trusted and obeyed him. Simple as that.

The same goes for us today. Saying we believe God is one thing, stepping out in faith, trusting, and obeying God’s will, is something else.

In this story, the priests carried the Ark of the Covenant with them into battle. When Joshua and the Israelites got to the flooded Jordan River, Joshua 3:14-17 tells us as soon as the priests’ feet touched the water’s edge, the water upstream stopped flowing.

They had to step into liquid before they could cross on dry ground.

Remember, most of these men had lived their whole life in the desert. I’m pretty sure they didn’t know how to swim. Yet in obedience, they did as the LORD commanded. They stood in the middle of the Jordan River.

Joshua 3:15-16 tells us it was harvest season and the Jordan River was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the priests’ feet touched the water at the river’s edge, the water began backing up and the river bed became dry.

Did you get that? The Jordan was at flood stage, overflowing its banks. This was not a small trickling flow of water, to be sure.

In our lives God may call us to situations that are as daunting as the flooded banks of a raging river. When we reach that river, will we step out in faith, in obedience, and demonstrate our trust, or not?

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It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho. Joshua 3:15-16 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — You’ve Never Been This Way Before

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

During a recent study of the days before Joshua led the Israelites in their first battle in the Promised Land at Jericho, I read something I know I’ve read many many many times, but because of the events of that week, the story took on new meaning.

Has that ever happened to you? You’re very familiar with a particular passage of Scripture, yet because of where you are in life the message you receive from the passage is altogether new.

The Israelites are camped at the banks of the Jordan River waiting to enter the Promised Land, and end their forty years of wandering in the desert. Moses is dead. Aaron is dead. Miriam is dead. Joshua is now in charge.

In the span of three verses God instructs Joshua to be strong and courageous three separate times. One of those times God tells Joshua to be very strong and courageous.

This was new territory. The Israelites have never been this way before. They have no idea what to expect. All they know is God leads them, and God’s Shekinah Glory; God’s Holy Presence, dwells among them in the Ark; the sacred chest.

Before the Israelites cross the Jordan, their leaders tell them since they’ve never been this way before, and won’t know the way to go, they are to follow the Ark.

And that is the part of this story that had new significance to me. Maybe to you, too.

Since you’ve never been this way before, and won’t know the way to go, follow the Ark.

Like me, are you about to cross your own Jordan and head into new territory? Are you embarking on an endeavor you’ve never come up against before? Follow the Ark. Follow God.

Because we’ve never been this way before and don’t know the way, what say ye we allow God to lead us so we don’t get lost?

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Two days later their leaders went through the camp, shouting, “When you see some of the priests carrying the sacred chest, you’ll know it is time to cross to the other side. You’ve never been there before, and you won’t know the way, unless you follow the chest. But don’t get too close! Stay about half a mile back.” Joshua 3:2-4 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures Moses God’s Leader

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Moses. Leader of God’s people. How would you describe the man God chose to lead God’s people out of Egypt?

Even though Moses resisted God’s call on his life the day God spoke from the bush that burned but never consumed, the record of the Israelites’ Exodus from slavery in Egypt shows Moses was a true leader. Do you think God would have called Moses if he wasn’t?

The more I read about Moses’ life, the more I admire the man. What patience he exhibited when time after time the ungrateful Israelites complained against God and Moses during their forty year trek through the desert. Moses showed compassion and a willingness to sacrifice himself for the people he led. Moses also showed strength in the face of rebellion.

Numbers 12:3 tells us Moses was the humblest man on earth and Deuteronomy 34:10-12 says there has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses.

Even so, Moses told God he was not the man for the job. Moses said his speech was slow and halting, and that right there should disqualify him. God disagreed. Because we know the end of the story, we know Moses did go, he did what God told him to do, and he did lead the Israelites to the Promised Land God prepared for them.

During the martyr Stephen’s words just prior to being stoned to death, Stephen said of Moses, “Pharaoh’s daughter found him and adopted him as her own son, and taught him all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he became a mighty prince and orator.” (Acts 7:21-22)

Moses became a mighty prince and orator. Doesn’t sound like a man whose speech was slow and halting to me.

I believe sometimes we judge ourselves the way Moses did. We discount our abilities and shrink back from using them. God put those abilities in us to accomplish great things for him. One thing I heard years ago, which I firmly believe, is God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.

So if God has tapped us on the shoulder to step out of our comfort zone to do a mighty work for him, we shouldn’t start writing a list of our shortcomings. Each of us has shortcomings a plenty after all. Instead, let’s put God at the top of our list of strengths, leave it at that, and perform the work God’s called us to through the Holy Spirit’s mighty power living in us.

Where in your life have you seen God’s power at work?

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There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. The Lord sent him to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, and all his servants, and his entire land. With mighty power, Moses performed terrifying acts in the sight of all Israel. Deuteronomy 34:10-12 (NLV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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A Time of Change and Transition

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

As summer draws to a close, it’s a time of change and transition. Students go back to school and vacations come to an end. It won’t be long before leaves change color and fall to the ground. But one of the greatest times of change and transition recorded in the Bible is found in Exodus chapters 13-14.

In the story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, God did not take them the shortest route to the promised land. Because he knew they were not strong enough, yet, to face the Philistines and conquer the land he would eventually give them, God took his people a roundabout way instead. You might say he took them the long way home.

Amidst our times of change and transition God sometimes does the same with us, don’t you think?

We see a direct line between where we are and where we want to be, but from God’s perspective, he sees things differently.

God doesn’t always take us the shortest route because he knows our strengths, and he knows our weaknesses.

The Israelites questioned, grumbled, complained, and resisted God the whole way. They didn’t realize the road God chose for them led away from disaster, not toward it. They didn’t understand receiving God’s deliverance meant obeying him. They didn’t want to accept the fact that in order to be delivered from bondage, they had to follow the route God laid out in front of them.

We do that too, don’t we? We want a change. We want God’s deliverance, but when God tells us to obey and follow him the long way home, we balk. When God tells us we have to be obedient to his law, his rules, his way, we cry out like the Israelites, and decide we’d rather die where we are than go one step further on the path God laid out.

When we read the story of the mass of humanity caught between the waters of the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army, we read a story of fear; and rightly so. I doubt many of them were expert swimmers.

The odds didn’t look good from where they stood. When Moses told the people not to be afraid, to stand firm, and see God’s deliverance, I’m sure more than one of those Israelites thought Moses was loco.

Moses told the Israelites the reason they didn’t need to be afraid; the LORD would fight for them.

The same God who delivered the Israelites from Pharaoh’s army and safely led them across a dry river bed, is the same God who delivers us from the armies and seas that trap us. Following God does not mean all will be smooth sailing. No sirree. Anything but.

When we follow God, we will face frightening experiences. Guaranteed. The challenge, however, is to put our potentially frightening circumstances and situations up against the all-powerful Lord God Almighty. The One who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Change and transition can be frightening. The unknown can be frightening. Moving from one phase of life to another can be frightening. The main thing we should remember during our times of transition is the fact anything we might fear is nothing compared to the God who goes before us and leads the way.

Are there any changes or transitions you are facing in your life?

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So the people of Israel followed all of Jehovah’s instructions to Moses and Aaron. That very day the Lord brought out the people of Israel from the land of Egypt, wave after wave of them crossing the border. Exodus 12:50-51 (TLB)

I wish you well,

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Jehovah-nissi

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Jehovah-nissi. The LORD is my Banner. Moses first declared this truth during the Israelite battle against Amalek in Exodus 17.

In this battle Moses stood at the top of a hill with the staff God used in Moses’ hand to perform miracles before Pharaoh. As long as Moses held the staff high in the air, Israel won, but whenever his arms grew weary and dropped to his side, the Israelites lost ground. (I wrote more detail about this battle and the importance of helping each other when we become weary here, if you are interested.)

Many times during the Israelites’ battles to possess the land of Canaan they were told to be strong and courageous. They were told not to become discouraged when the odds didn’t look to be in their favor. Because the LORD their God would go before them and fight the battle, they were told to stand firm.

Jehovah-nissi went before them. His banner protected them. Those under God’s banner found victory through him.

God is our Jehovah-nissi just as much today as he was when Moses stood on that hill with the staff of God in his hands. Our Banner goes before us and fights our battles. We can find protection and victory under God’s banner of love.

To claim that protection, however, we must rally beneath his Sovereignty and not go off on our own to fight the battles we face every day.

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 Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means “the Lord is my banner”). Exodus 17:15 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Stand in the Gap

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

In the 6th Century B.C. Ezekiel, the priest taken into Babylonian captivity, spoke to the generation born in exile about the sins of the Israelites that brought them so low and also to sustain the faith of the exiles by predicting national restoration, the execution of justice upon their oppressors, and of national glory under David’s monarchy.

In the middle of the Old Testament book of Ezekiel God tells the priest God has been patient with the Israelites, but they continued to rebel and disobey his laws. He tells Ezekiel Jerusalem’s doom is inevitable.

Near the end of Chapter 22 the Lord said he looked for someone to stand in the gap before him on behalf of the land, but found no one.

In considering what it means to stand in the gap, I thought of several things.courtesy bing

  • the story of the little Dutch boy who saved the village by placing his finger in the hole of the dike
  • the workers who kept their weapons with them as they rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem after they returned from exile
  • the prayer warriors who intercede before God on behalf of others

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 “I looked in vain for anyone who would build again the wall of righteousness that guards the land, who could stand in the gap and defend you from my just attacks, but I found not one.” Ezekiel 22:30 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — Turn Back to God

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The book of Isaiah is a book of Israel’s turning from and returning to God. Over and over and over.

We might read the book and think, What was wrong with those Israelite’s? Why didn’t they stay true to God and do what he told them to do? He provided for them before, why didn’t they trust him to provide again?

But you know that saying, be careful when you point your finger at someone because when you do, the rest of your fingers are pointing right back atcha’.

Have any of us turned away from God and returned again? Have we ever sinned and not done what his Holy Bible tells us to do? Have we ever doubted God was with us, would care for us, and see us through our time of difficulty? Have we ever resorted to our own devices instead of waiting on the Lord?

God longed for his people to turn back to him. He didn’t want to see the destruction that would come upon them if they didn’t. He wants the same for us today.

God does not want us to be destroyed by Satan’s lies and the pain of following the great deceiver. God longs for each of us to turn back from going our own way and get on the path God established for us. He wants us to never forget the price Jesus paid to sweep our sins away from us when we confess him as our LORD and Savior.

It’s easy to look at others and wonder what their problem is. It’s harder to look at our own lives and figure out what our problem is. The solution, I believe, is to turn back to God and follow his way.

I for one am extremely grateful God allows us to keep coming back whenever we stray away from him. How about you?

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Turn back to me! I have rescued you and swept away your sins as though they were clouds. Isaiah 44:22 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — The Chicken Little Effect

Isaiah 40by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Something I try to remind myself whenever a situation appears daunting, is to remember everything God has already brought me through and realize he didn’t being me this far to drop me now.

When I stop and consider each and every time God has shown up and showed out, the fear of the future event shrinks and releases the grip it held on my throat. But that takes a deliberate act on my part. It doesn’t come easy.

I have to choose to remember God’s goodness in the face of the awful.

Sometimes we get caught up in the crowd mentality around us. I call it the Chicken Little sky is falling effect. You know, the mistaken belief disaster is imminent. Fear can run through a group of people like a fast spreading fire, destroying everything in its path.

It seems the Israelites fell into this Chicken Little trap more than once when they made decisions and forgot to remember what God had already done for them, causing them to freeze in their tracks fearing the what-ifs.

When they reached the Promised Land they listened to the report of the ten spies who said the land couldn’t be taken. They didn’t listen to the two spies who said with God on their side, it most assuredly could be conquered.

The people forgot who God was. The Almighty Powerful Sovereign LORD. They lost perspective of who they were in God’s eyes. Beloved people. Set apart.

They stood at the edge of the land God promised them afraid to open the door and step inside. They refused to take the land and missed out on God’s blessings for them.

They accepted God’s provision of food, water, clothing, shade from the cloud by day and warmth from the pillar of fire by night. Maybe when it came to conquering the land of Canaan, with its men who made the ten spies feel like grasshoppers in their eyes, they didn’t believe God could provide and deliver them.

I wonder…do we do the same thing? Are we okay with believing God can handle the things we consider small, but allow fear to make us falsely believe he can’t handle the bigger, tougher, scarier issues in life?

We can get caught up in the sky is falling mentality and forget who holds the sky in place.

Fear can lead us to do some pretty strange things. Forgetting who God is and what he is able to do being one of those things.

Back to the beginning of this post…remember what God has already brought us through and realize he didn’t bring us this far to drop us now.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this please share it through the social media buttons.

 We are afraid, because the men who explored the land told us that the cities are large, with walls that reach to the sky. The people who live there are taller and stronger than we are, and some of them are Anakim. We have nowhere to go.”

Then I said, “Don’t worry! The Lord our God will lead the way. He will fight on our side, just as he did when we saw him do all those things to the Egyptians. And you know that the Lord has taken care of us the whole time we’ve been in the desert, just as you might carry one of your children.”

But you still would not trust the Lordeven though he had always been with us in the desert. During the daytime, the Lord was in the cloud, leading us in the right direction and showing us where to camp. And at night, he was there in the fire. Deuteronomy 1:28-33 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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