Friday, March 19, 2010

Who is on the Lord's side?

Scripture: Joshua 5:13-14a

13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up ans saw 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?"

14 "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come."

1 Cor. 4:7-10

7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings - and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you!

9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men.

10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise! We are weak, but you are so strong! You are honored, but we are dishonored!


Wow. Lots of things to observe in these chapters of Joshua and 1 Cor. 4.

These verses in Joshua particularly struck me today. God was leading Joshua and Israel into the Promised Land. You would have assumed that God was on Joshua and Israel's side - that He was *for* them and against Jericho. Perhaps the implied question to Joshua was, "Whose side are you on, Joshua?"

Something different to observe is sometimes the manner in which a message is being communicated. In 1 Cor. 4:10-14, I was struck more by the tone of the message. It's pretty sarcastic! Paul follows it in vs. 15, saying that he does not say those things to shame them (well maybe a little :)), but to warn them. Reminds me of some of Jesus' sharp statements to the Pharisees.


Whose side am I on? Am I more concerned about getting my way (no matter how righteous I may think it is) - getting God on my side, or am I more concerned about me being on God's side - submitting to His purposes and plans?

Am I able to hear God's messages? Am I able to hear God through others? Am I on Paul's or Apollo's side? Or am I on God's side, whomever that is manifested through?

I need to hear God's voice through all of His messengers and choose to follow Him. Can I lay down my own agenda?


Lord, help me to hear Your words - even in the strong corrections of others and to remember it's all about You.

John 3:30 He must become greater, I must become lesser.


  1. Thanks, Paul...I always enjoy your insight into Scripture. The verse you mentioned in your prayer, John 3:30, has recently spoken to me. It is human tendency to want to be great--to want people to admire and respect us, to awe people with our own success or righteousness, to show the world just how great we are. But in this verse, John the Baptist is stepping aside to let Jesus have the spotlight. John could have been great in the world's eyes, baptizing so many people and gaining so many followers. But he had finished the work God intended for him to do (preparing the way for Jesus), and now he had to step back in humility to allow Jesus to do the work he was sent to do.

    In a similar way, I too have had to step back and let Christ become greater as I become less. Isn't that the very meaning of motherhood? I was great at triathlons before I became pregnant, and I could have tried to become even greater. But God had a different plan in mind--for me to be a mother. So I have had to step back and give up triathlons--to "become less"--so that Christ might "become greater." Soon, as a mother, it will be my role to prepare the way for Christ into my child's heart. And one day--perhaps when she leaves for college or work or the mission field, etc.--I will once again have to step aside and let Christ do his work. It is my role to prepare the way, and then humbly step aside. May the Lord enable me to do so.

  2. Thanks Tracy! We know the feeling. When we had to leave our work in Papua New Guinea, it felt a lot like "becoming lesser" for Sammy's sake - and choosing to believe that ultimately that would be for God's greater glory in all things. It can take quite a while to both allow for that and to embrace it.

  3. Thank you for the awesome question you posted in the beginning of your application. I will need to ask myself this moment by moment in my current work situation. The scriptures and posts have been a lifeline for myself and other co-workers during a very trying time. Thanks Tracy.