The army of the Lord

OIP-14

So I published yesterday’s Catch on the local Neighborhood Watch which was starting to get rather nasty between the-government-is-keeping-us-safe people and the-government-needs-to-get-its-nose-out-of-my-business people. It was nice to see 13 positive reactions to my article, and a few thankful comments. This is just indicative of the war that is going to go on at many different levels in our society today, and how you and I as believers can represent the kingdom of God without taking sides.

The divide in this country is so great that I have heard pundits say that if the Democrats win in November, the right wing will take up arms, and if the Republicans win, the left will secede from the union and form their own country. Sounds like civil war either way. Granted, this is a pretty far-fetched prediction, but the mere fact that someone would come up with this scenario, and it would sound vaguely plausible, indicates how far apart we are.

I am reminded of an incident early on in Joshua’s leadership of the children of Israel when he encountered a man “standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’

“‘Neither,’ he replied, ‘but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, ‘What message does my Lord have for his servant?’” (Joshua 5:13-14)

Are you for us or against us? Neither. I love that response, don’t you? And I believe this is where we find the Lord today: on neither side, representing Himself and His will in the world, and I believe that’s right where He wants us to be — standing with Him in His army of love and compassion and acceptance for all. We represent the Gospel of Welcome, remember? And Grace Turned Outward to everyone, everywhere. Please understand, I’m not saying don’t vote. We have our responsibilities as citizens of this great country to vote and to do due diligence in deciding our vote, but I am saying that the solution to what ails this country and the people around us will not be political. It’s a spiritual problem. It’s a problem of the heart.

I urge you to consider, when facing the leader of the army of the Lord, that the only right thing to do is fall on your face before Him and ask the same question Joshua asked: “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” I would love to hear from you as to His answer.

BLOGTALKRADIO RETURNS!

To listen in on a lively discussion on this and other culturally engaging topics, tune into our BlogTalkRadio interview with Doug Stevens this afternoon/evening at 3:30 p.m. PDT. Doug is a mentor for ministry leaders, a catalyst for mission, a partner in a number of intercultural engagements, and an author who is constantly intrigued by how God works in mysterious ways in the most impossible places (Christ Incognito is his most recent book). Tune in Live at 3:30 p.m. PDT if you want to call in and join us, or any time after that to listen to the podcast.

GIVING TUESDAY

This is Giving Tuesday when folks all over the country are encouraged to give to their favorite work. We realize there are many worthy endeavors that will benefit from an increase in giving today. We would be honored if you would consider The Catch Ministry one of those, especially at this time when many people can’t give due to lost income. This is also a week when some of you will receive stimulus checks from the government, and we ask you to consider The Catch if you are not in need of all of those funds. Help us further The Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward — to everyone, everywhere.

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14 Responses to The army of the Lord

  1. Steve says:

    Great devotional John! One point regarding the man Joshua encountered is that he likely was more than just a “man.” My bible refers to this guy as “a Man” and “He.” This encounter is noteworthy because, a) God met Joshua in this passage right after the Israelites had celebrated Passover and their manna had run out. No longer did they need a relatively inferior gift from Him; they now had the Commander and His presence. God meets us where we are with what we need and, 2) This Man didn’t provide Joshua a detailed plan. He simply indicated who He was. God does not necessarily tell us what He is going to do. He reveals what He is. Those who REALLY know Him realize what that means. I hope and pray I can be like that WAY more often than I am.

    • Mark D Seguin says:

      Plz don’t feel alone, brother Steve in this: “I hope and pray I can be like that WAY more often than I am.” Amen – me too!

  2. Andrew P. says:

    I recently heard Tim Keller speaking, though I believe on this matter he was quoting someone else (sorry, I forgot who that would be). He said the early church’s “social project” had five points.

    1. Multi-ethnicity (which touches on what we call racial justice)
    2. Feeding the poor (which touches on what we call economic justice)
    3. Conciliation (as opposed to retaliation) when attacked
    4. Saving discarded babies (being pro-life)
    5. Faithful marriages (sexual purity)

    He points out that those first two sound like Democrats, the last two sound like Republicans, and the one in the middle? That seems to be where everyone is falling down. If we can embrace all five of those things, we won’t be embracing either the Democrats or the Republicans, but will rather be calling both sides (and everyone in between) to account. THAT might be what the commander of the Lord’s armies might have as a message for us, today.

  3. Bob Pusey says:

    1. Stay connected-to God and to each other.
    We’re going to continue to need God’s grace, strength, and wisdom to get through this. And we’re going to need to continue to help each other to get through this.
    Pray for each other, encourage each, do something to show your love.
    2. Open your eyes.
    See the opportunities that are right in front of you to love your neighbor.
    3. Take action.
    Do something. Pick up the phone and call that person who has need. Go and help them in creative ways.

  4. Mark D Seguin says:

    I love this from Today’s Catch: “… I am saying that the solution to what ails this country and the people around us will not be political. It’s a spiritual problem. It’s a problem of the heart.” Big Amen!

  5. peter leenheer says:

    When Mr. Trump was elected the popular vote was split about 50/50. Many were then and still are offended by President Trump. In response, Oprah Winfrey got 20 people from all walks of life to a round table discussion. She found that once the animosity was out in the open and everyone had been given all the time to speak while everyone else listened that something emerged. All twenty were concerned about their country. All twenty wanted peace, and unity. In fact after the discussion was over and all went home they kept in touch with each other. It was because they were listened to and not interrupted and their opinion no matter how much others disagreed with it, was respected.
    The twenty had also found that at first they were totally polarized and after wards they actually realized that they were more like only twenty five per cent in disagreement. They themselves found it shocking.
    Oprah then asked them all this question, ” What is your biggest fear?’ They were unanimous in agreement that they feared, Civil War.
    So what would God say? I suspect it would go something like this, ” Love one another as I wrote to you in I Corinthians 13″. If you don’t like the Bible listen to Joe South’s song, “Walk a mile in my shoes, before you criticize and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes”.

    This I have been praying for, and will get my local prayer group to pray for as well.

  6. Sandy Campbell says:

    You are so right about what faces our nation. It’s been a spiritual battle all along and we do need to fall to our knees and ask the Lord what we can do for Him to help people see we need to be united, one in Him. My pastor said this weekend in his sermon that we aren’t denominations or anything like that but the church. I’ve gone to churches who thought they were the only ones going to Heaven and my prayer is that they would have their eyes opened to the truth. Thanks for sharing this and please continue to be open with what you share!!!

  7. jwfisch says:

    Great discussion, everybody. Thanks for contributing!

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