January 29, 2013 by Chris French
I missed yesterday’s blog so I’m going to write two today to get back on track. You’ll be able to read the second post (The A Word) later on this evening.
You play a part in making everyone around you holy. The first thing you can do is to help them see God at work. Israel’s history is replete with examples of them trying to help people remember how faithful, powerful and good God has been to them. It didn’t always work, but you can’t control people. You can only control yourself. These are actions you can do that, if they’re open, will make the people around you faithful. One of the ways you can do this today is to keep a prayer journal and encourage others to do the same. So many times when we pray for something and God gives it to us we quickly brush it off and go on to the next request. He’s been faithful to us! Don’t overlook that so easily. You asked the God of the Universe for something and He not only heard you, but answered! If you keep count on how many times He does that it’ll make you holy.
The Israelites were big on physical reminders of God’s faithfulness to them. You remember when they finally started their conquest into the land God had promised them so long ago? They had to cross the Jordan river before they could attack the highly fortified city of Jericho. Now they’ve got a couple of problems. Jericho has walls that are around 40 feet tall and 6 feet thick. Once you get over that wall you have to run uphill while the soldiers in Jericho are shooting arrows and throwing rocks at you from atop an even larger wall (This wall was around 46 feet tall)! Assaulting Jericho is going to be tough! To read more about the ancient city of Jericho and the excavations there today read this article. Jericho is a problem for the future though. First Israel will have to cross the Jordan River. It’s fast enough that you can’t use a ferry, it’s deep enough that an army couldn’t ford it, and it’s very wide. Today the Jordan is 10 feet deep and 100 feet across, but it was much bigger when Israel was thinking of a way to get across it in 1400 B.C. because today it has been dammed up to prevent local flooding. How will 1 million people cross white water rapids that are 100 feet across and 10 feet deep? Easy! God stopped the Jordan River from flowing. There was a patch about 18 miles wide that Israel could walk across to the other side safely. God told Joshua to grab some big rocks from the riverbed and carry them to the other side so in a couple hundred years when people asked what those big rocks were doing beside the river Israel’s future generations could tell them the story of how God stopped the Jordan River…and the Red Sea (Joshua 4.19-24). Those rocks were a prayer journal, a physical reminder of God’s faithfulness. They were designed to help people remember what God had done for them so they would remain faithful to Him. We need those kinds of physical reminders!
The Jews had a feast called Passover, they still celebrate it today. Kelly and I were invited to a modern-day Passover feast with some of our Jewish friends a few years ago. You can read about it here. The purpose of Passover is to remember the night when God killed all the first-born children in Egypt to make Pharaoh release Israel. He didn’t kill the first borns among the Jews because they put the blood of a lamb on the outside of their doorposts so when the angel of God saw that blood he passed over that house. For thousands of years this feast has reminded Israel that God is faithful. A novel idea, having a physical reminder that God is faithful.
The Jews even named many of their cities after the events that happened in them. Let’s use an example with another story. You can read the story in Genesis 16.7-14. Sarah and Abraham can’t have kids and they’re both quickly approaching their golden years. Sarah gives her slave, Hagar, to her husband Abraham as his other wife so Hagar can have Abraham’s kids that God promised him years ago, but when Hagar gets pregnant she rubs it in Sarah’s face and Sarah starts treating her poorly so Hagar runs away. She comes to this spring in the woods and there’s an angel there. He tells her to go back and continue to be Sarah’s slave and that God will bless her with many descendants. God saw right to the heart of her concerns so she called Him “the God of seeing” and called the place where the spring was Beer-lahai-roi which means “the well of the Living One who sees me”. What do you think Hagar thought of every time she went by that spring? I think without a doubt this incident replayed in her mind, but if it didn’t the name would certainly help her remember how God had been faithful to her there.
To be holy you will need physical reminders of God’s faithful to you too. You can help the ones around you be holy by helping them remember God’s faithfulness to them. encourage them to keep a prayer journal. Have physical reminders of God’s faithfulness. When I was 20 I had a really bad wreck. I flipped my car and should have been hurt pretty badly, but I almost literally walked away without a scratch! The only thing that survived that wreck were me and the Bible I had in my backseat. I found it in the road a few feet from my car that night so I picked it up and took it home with me. It was pretty well soaked from the rain, but when I got home I dried it out and it’s not much worse for the wear. It’s in my office right now as a matter of fact. As I was drying it out I found a chip of glass from my windshield stuck in the Bible. That chip is a physical reminder of God’s faithfulness to me. I realized when I found it that God still had a plan for me and was watching over me. I think the paramedics actually said that verbatim.
Every time I’m tempted to sin I see God’s faithfulness because I know that He won’t allow a temptation to come at me that I can’t rebuff. In fact, when Satan comes at me strong I know I must be very close to making a big deal out of God’s kingdom because my adversary is throwing everything he’s got at me. Even then, especially then, I know that God is faithful. It’s not his intention, but Satan is helping to remind me. Find those physical reminders of God’s faithfulness in your own life and help others find theirs.