We're nearly halfway there! The Road to Pentecost has already been rewarding for me and I hope it has for you all as well. Today we close out our last look at challenges on our journey to the outpouring of God by looking at the problems inherent with standing still. It might surprise you that a lot of times the challenge of staying still in God is the successes we have in pursuit of His Kingdom promises.
I want to take us back to my testimony from session 6 of this series. As I mentioned, I had zero caffeine withdrawals, but I couldn't overcome the desire to have a chocolate shake (P.S. the moment has passed-Thank God!). At the time, I knew I was succeeding in God. I was getting calls back from ministers who had not been able to call me, God had provided a great report for my youngest child, and my wife got a huge raise at her job. Plus, I felt closer to God and it had only been a couple of days! Isn't that what it's all about, drawing nearer to The Almighty? However, the feeling of temptation for something I was sacrificing overwhelmed God's blessings in my mind, and I couldn't find enjoyment with the growth I attained. All of the successes that came with starting my fast seemed cloudy with uncertainty going forward because I felt so weak and it was just the first part of my Road To Pentecost.
As I went through this, though, I found a scripture. I actually found it while I was writing Monday's session and almost included it then, but I felt I needed to chew on it a bit longer before I did and it fit perfectly into this session. I had to practice being still even with these devotions, you see. The scripture is from Joshua 7 and it details a moment that stole some thunder from one of God's most devoted followers.
Israel had come off of their biggest victory to date at Jericho and were ready to continue taking the Promised Land. However, Joshua only sent a couple thousand men instead of the entire army to take the city of Ai. The people of Israel were confident they could do anything with God behind them and Joshua agreed. The result of their hurried offensive was failure. Of course the reason for the failure was that Achan had sinned and so God had withdrawn himself from Israel. However, there was also a cloudiness of self-confidence in Israel at the time. They had not taken time after Jericho to examine themselves. There is not even a record of Israel giving thanks to God for the victory at Jericho. They had not taken time to acknowledge God and examine themselves, the tenants of stillness in God.
Thought for the day:
The enemy of forward movement is moving forward without prayerful examination and acknowledgment to God, our spiritual guide.
Israel was too busy moving forward they didn't see something they needed to correct first. Had Israel been still and prayed after their victory in Jericho, God would have revealed the sin. We know this because that's what Joshua did when Israel failed at Ai and God revealed the sin to him and what to do about it (v.7-15). He got mad at God and then God righteously admonished him. Luckily, Joshua did what we should do also when we forget to be still on this journey: he repented and returned to the practice of being still.
Israel was already in their Promise Land and were nearly wiped out because they didn't practice stillness. We risk the same thing unless take time to examine ourselves along the Road to Pentecost. We might be in the middle of receiving great blessings from God, but if we neglect the One who is providing them, we might find ourselves defeated amid our Promise. Let's take time this weekend to be still in God and examine where we have come the past two weeks. Is there still something we need to correct and align according to God's will? Is there something God wants to tell us so we can find our pathway forward? Israel, once they realigned with God, went on to defeat Ai one chapter later. We can reclaim our footing, too, if we will only turn to God and wait on Him to guide us forward. When we do, our victory will be assured and The Road To Pentecost will be clear again.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.