Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Peace of God

If we are not vigilant, the Christian life can become little different
than a pragmatic experience.  God gives all of us powers of logic and reason, but we can easily slip into overconfidence of those proven tools.  Joshua and the men who led Israel are examples of such overconfidence.

Fresh on the heals of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat at Ai,
Joshua encountered a strange group of people.  They appeared to have
traveled a great distance.  Their clothing, worn-out packs, near
empty water-skins and dry and dusty food provisions proved their
claim.    Joshua and his men investigated them to the full extent of
human logic.  They even tasted their bread.   However, these men weren’t from a distant land, but were, in fact, from a very close location. God had forbidden Joshua from making a pack with any nearby residents.

Logic cleared all the warning lights from their minds.  These men
claimed to be from far away and wanted to make peace with Israel.
The subtle nature of this claim seemed to puff up the pride of the
leaders of Israel.  A distant people had heard of their greatness and
longed to make a peace accord.  (It is interesting how Satan spices his
deception with just enough ego-pleasing information that we are ready
to bite.)  Joshua 9:14 says: "The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD."

What distinguishes the child of God from others?  It is inquiring
of the LORD.  We have an intimate kinship with the LORD that allows and demands that we check with Him in the crucible of decision making.  Are you sampling the provisions of some claimant, testing them to the full extent of your logical powers, but stopping before you inquire of the LORD?  I do not know how God would have responded to Joshua's request had he prayed, but I am confident that He would have made Himself clear.  Sometimes God uses the simple lack of peace in a
situation to be a warning.  We cannot abandon the God-given tools of logic and reason, believing that God's will is more often reasonable than not.  However, we must not fail to inquire of the LORD.

Colossians 3:15 says:   "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be
thankful."  We get our English word “umpire” from this word for
"rule." 

Picture this:  there you are, standing on third base of a decision. You’re
reading the pitcher and the catcher.  The batter hits the ball to short
stop, and you bolt for the home plate.  As you run with all your might,
the ball is zinging through the air heading for the same place you’re heading.  You dive and your fingers slide across home plate the very moment the ball slaps the leather catcher’s mitt.  Who calls it?  The umpire! 

When you face a tough decision and you've sampled the provisions and read all the signs, remember you’re still not finished.  Pray and seek the LORD for His wisdom and will in the matter.  He can speak in any number of ways, but His voice is always accompanied by His peace.  Dissonance is a indication that either you are not ready or it is not God's will for you.  At that moment, you have to decide to trust His peace.

Phil. 4:7   And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Ed Litton

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Duane Carley said...

Very pertinent to what we are going through right now. Very good word. Thank you for your instruction. We all need to remember and practice "God-listening" daily. Think of how different things wouild be for us if we did. "Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men....."

Donna said...

Thank you for your words. I check your blog out a few times a month for some Pastor Ed moments. I miss them, but would not trade where I am for NOTHING!!! Where would we be without His peace?...I would have packed up 3 months ago without it. Thanks for everything and know I am lifting my family at NoMo up!
Donna