Daily D – Judges 2:12-13
Judges 2:12, 13 They forsook the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the LORD’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.
Joshua died (verse 8). The whole generation who had entered the Promised Land died (verse 10). There was no one left who had participated in God’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt. There was no one left who had eaten bamanna bread. There was no one left who had seen the Red Sea parted or the Jordan River stop flowing when it was at flood stage. There was no one left who had heard the voice of God at Horeb and begged Moses to speak to them instead.
All of that generation of people with firsthand faith died. “(A)nother generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel,” (verse 10).
It’s hard to live off of the truth of someone else’s story. It is hard to commit your life to our Father in heaven without a firsthand experience of his mercy and grace.
Is it any wonder men, women, youth, and children drift away from God?
God gets confined to a day of the week when people have other things they prefer to do like sleep, rest, play, and watch sports. God gets confined to a man telling everyone else about his experiences with God and other people like him who have experienced God. The safety of pews and theater seats protects the gathered faithful from having to know and experience God for themselves. In essence, they exist on rumors of Aslan. “He’s on the move,” they hear. Still, people sit there wondering where the lion is.
It is interesting in the book of Acts how most of the experiences people had with God were outside of worship gatherings. This should lead us to wonder what would happen if we stopped expecting God to show up every now and then at a street address where a building with a cross or a steeple stands and we started expecting him to show up in the places where we live, work, and play.
Maybe God does not show up because we do not expect him or invite him. We sing the song, This Is Our Father’s World, when what we mean is, This Is Our Father’s Moment to Speak to Us before We Get On with the Fun.
Maybe nobody ever told us we can expect God to show up somewhere besides a church building. So let’s move past the snark, beyond the accusations, to a thought worth thinking: What would be different if God showed up in your nine-to-five today? How would things shift if he met us in the aisles of Walmart on the way home from work? What would be different at home if Jesus was in the room?
I would like 167 more hours of Jesus, please.
This is not about mysticism or magic. This is about inviting Jesus to direct thoughts and behavior, work and play, relationships and responsibilities. This is about acknowledging his presence, deliberately calling it to mind, throughout the day, day by day, every day. This leads to simple prayers at certain moments like, “Which way should I go?” “How should I respond to that?” “Thank you for _____.”
How about praying a simple prayer right now like, “Help me see what you see today. Empower me to do what you would do if you were me.”
It is time to begin collecting firsthand stories of God’s goodness and greatness. It is time to help others do the same.
I will practice the presence of God where I live, work, and play today.
Our Father, I want to know and experience you at home, in the car, at work, at the airport, on the airplane, and at the hotel tonight. May this day overflow with your goodness and greatness. Amen.
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Ezra 8:31, 32 On the twelfth day of the first month we set out from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way. So we arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested three days.
Esther 6:1, 2 That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.
Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”