Thursday 16th August 2018

Welcome to Digital Church

Welcome to Digital Church, I hope you find the teaching useful. My prayer is that you will be encouraged in your walk with the Lord and that you will bring glory to his name.

No one inquired of the Lord!
12/06/2018

The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.
Joshua 9v14

Joshua chapter 9 tells us the account of the Gibeonite deception. These people that God had told the Israelites to destroy came of with a simple deception that led Israel to make an alliance with them. They arrived at the Israelite camp claiming to have come a long way because they had heard of the fame of the Lord (Joshua 9v9). For the Israelites, a people on their own facing an overwhelming enemy, this must have sounded so sweet to their ears; finally a people that was on their side!

Joshua and the men of Israel looked at the state of the weary travellers and listened to their seductive words and a treaty was quickly drawn up, only to find out a few days later that these people had deceived them. They had been deceived because they had failed to seek the Lord. No one was willing to even take 10 minutes out of their day to seek the Lord.

Now that didn't mean that no one believed in God. The tabernacle was right in the middle of the camp. The lamps would have been burning and the offerings would have been made, daily worship would have continued. The Israelites had the word of God all around them, God had said:

These commandments I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit down at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6v6-9

The problem was that they had become very good at creating the symbols, but had forgotten the point of the symbols. They were to be a reminder to them to be constantly seeking the Lord and His wisdom.

The saddest part about the Gibeonite deception was this was not the first time Joshua and the Israelites had been caught out in this way. They had previously been defeated while trying to defeat the small town of Ai (Joshua 7). After the victory over Jericho, Joshua sent some men to spy out the town and report back and they gave Joshua the news he wanted to hear:

When they returned to Joshua, they said, "Not all the people will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary all the people, for only a few men are there."
Joshua 7v3

Here we see that Joshua assumed he now knew how to fight battles. Again no one sought the Lord for instruction until they had been defeated. Only then did Joshua seek the Lord, but he did not seek the Lord for instruction, he sought the Lord to give God his complaints about the situation.

And Joshua said, "Ah, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring us across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan.
Joshua7v7

After Joshua has poured out his woes and complaints the Lord finally manages to get a word in edgeways.

The Lord said to Joshua, "Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant which I commanded them to keep.
Joshua 7v10-11

Why didn't Joshua know about Achan's sin, the answer is simple, he had not sought the Lord! He was still basking in the victory and the fame he had gained from the battle at Jericho (Joshua 6v26-27). Instead of pronouncing curses he would have been better off seeking the Lord.

The most concerning thing about the lack of seeking the Lord was that Joshua was not alone. None of the Israelites sought the Lord! There would have been well over a million Israelites, yet not one sought the Lord. There was plenty of prayer and praise telling God what they wanted. I'm sure before they set off to attack Ai there would have been a quick prayer for the Lords blessing on the attack, not realising they would be praying for God to bless their sin!

Not one in over a million inquired of the Lord, not one in a million sought his direction and guidance. Not one in a million knew the true spiritual state of the nation and because of this the Israelites faced defeat and deception. Instead of marching to victory and freedom they became bound by their ungodly decisions, decisions that would affect them for generations to come.

As pastor I have many people coming to me with their problems and woes, people want an instant answer, a spiritual word or prayer that will sort their problems out. Then of course they hear my standard reply, "What is the Lord saying?" This is usually followed by a red face that says "I don't know". "Why don't you know?" "I haven't sought Him!"

Christians will read endless books to try and find out how to live a victorious Christian life when the answer is simple. "Seek the Lord!"

In Jeremiah Chapter 29 Israel was in a real mess because they had not inquired of the Lord and when we don't inquire we do not obey, for how can we obey without instruction. Yet even in all their mess God said to them:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29v11-13

God has the plans, as a Heavenly Father he has a full set of instructions for us so that we can live in His blessing. The problem is that most of the time we have no idea what those plans are. Instead, like Joshua, we assume; we rush ahead without inquiring of the Lord and then go crying to the Lord and complaining about our defeats.

The apostle Paul says:

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11v1

Jesus fully obeyed the instruction of the Father. He was only able to follow that instruction because he had inquired of the Father. He made the time in his busy life to spend time alone with the Father seeking his will day after day. So often our prayer life is about us assuming we are the Lord and telling God how to serve us and run our lives and the world to our liking, rather than learning to be a servant and listening carefully to the instruction the Lord is giving us.

Jesus said:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will say to them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"
Matthew 7v21-23

For these people the first time they have truly shut up and listened to the Lord is when it is too late. Those dreaded words: "I never knew you!"

If we do not learn to seek the Lord then deception and defeat in this life may turn out to be the least of our problems!

In over a million Israelites not one sought the Lord. Has anything changed today? Are the plans we have our plans or the plans the Lord has for us?

The Spiritual Man

The Spiritual Man "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed."
Romans 8v19

So often we talk about walking according to the Spirit or being led by the Spirit when we really have little idea what these terms mean.

This short book looks at some of our attitudes and behaviours and challenges what is being led of the Holy Spirit and what is being led of the flesh and how can we change how we are led.



ISBN: 9780957698819

Author: Simon Coward

Number of Pages: 42



Click to Download or Order

A Walk in the Park

A Walk in the Park An easy to read book covering the basics of Christianity in short chapters. ideal for new believers or those wondering what Christianity is all about.

ISBN: 9780957698802

Author: Simon Coward

Number of Pages: 44



Click to Download or Order

No one inquired of the Lord!
12/06/2018

The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.
Joshua 9v14

Joshua chapter 9 tells us the account of the Gibeonite deception. These people that God had told the Israelites to destroy came of with a simple decept... (read more)

True Unity
23/05/2018

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes.
Psalm 133v1-2

Unity among Christian... (read more)

Education, the media and government
15/09/2017

As a pastor I am regularly hear complaints from Christians that the government or education is against them or that the television is full of immorality and that we should complain or write to our MP's. In fact as I write this, an article has been se... (read more)

Repentance
01/05/2017

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
Matthew 3v1-2

Repentance is a word that seems to be out of fashion in the church today or at least misused. Today... (read more)