Hi how was your week last week? Mine was good but it is definitely the Christmas season and with that comes busy. Busy going here and there and buying gifts and food for all sorts of celebrations of Christmas. My favourite celebration is Carols by candlelight where we sing about the goodness of God in the birth of Jesus. Christmas is a time of giving and also receiving but not taking. There is a difference and we are going to look at that.
First let’s look at the words given and taken. Given sounds like a voluntary word – one where someone hands you something lovingly. But taken sounds just the opposite – it feels like there is some force involved and a lot of selfishness.
There’s a story in the Bible in Joshua that illustrates giving and taking and it’s in the context of Joshua and the Israelites. Jericho was the first city in the promised land taken by Israel. But God gave them strict instructions but only after seven days of marching and only after the last time going around the wall. Joshua told the Israelites in Joshua 6:18:
Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed, and you will bring trouble on the camp of Israel. Everything made from silver, gold, bronze or iron, is sacred to the Lord and must be brought into His treasury.
Wow that is very clear instructions. God was clearly testing them not to keep something from them but to test their obedience. God does not want to withhold things from us, He wants to make sure we trust Him enough to give first.
But a man had different ideas. He didn’t trust God at all. In Joshua 7:1a it states:
But Israel violated the instructions about the things set apart for the Lord. A man named Achan had stolen some of the dedicated things, so the Lord was very angry with the Israelites.
Achan had taken the things from God. The lust of the eyes will do this to us. But what is interesting to note is the consequences not only touched Achan but the whole nation. Our disobedience in taking not only affects us but those around us. Achan eventually owned up to taking the things and he and his whole family were stoned. Big consequences for taking from God.
If only Achan had waited. In Joshua 8:2, in the next place Israel defeated God said these words:
You will destroy them as you destroyed Jericho and it’s king. But this time you may keep the plunder and the livestock for yourselves.
Achan could have had amazing riches and livestock if only He had obeyed God. This was not a taken moment but a gift from God.
God is not trying to take from us but give but first He must have our obedience.
This week seek God and ensure that we are all obeying Him in the areas we need to. Then wait for the blessing of God. It will come when we don’t take but wait for the gift.
Bless you all, have a great week and keep living the life God intended for you.