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Pastor Ken Maxey: Morning Devotion 07/26/22

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Count Your Blessings – Joshua 12:1-24

Joshua 12:1 – “These are the kings of the land whom the children of Israel defeated…”

As I was driving into work the other day I heard the sports radio guys talking about things they used to say or do that kids now-a-days never experience or would have no clue as to what they meant.  For example, do you remember using rotary phones, waiting for your pictures to be developed, riding bikes around town with your friends, or using a #2 pencil to fix a cassette tape? I bet most of you can fill in the blank – “Be Kind, _____” (hint: VHS).  Of course, the weekend dash to the video rental place to try and snag the last copy of the latest and greatest movie that was released.

We also had a different vocabulary back then.  Bad was good. Phat meant exceptional. And butter wasn’t just what you spread on toast, but it was when something was smoooooth. Like “those stone-washed, tight rolled jeans you’re wearing are butter!” 

Another thing that I noticed that has changed is how our music in church used to be hymns and are now worship songs. But there was a day when everyone sang hymns.  Even on the TV show “Little House on the Prairie” they would sing from the hymnal.  There were two songs I recall them always singing – “Bringing in the Sheaves” and “Count Your Blessings.” 

I always liked Count Your Blessings. Let me share with you some of the lyrics:

Verse 1: When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done 

(Chorus) Count your blessings, name them one by one;

Count your blessings, see what God hath done;

Count your blessings, name them one by one;

Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

Verse 3: When you look at others with their lands and gold,

Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;

Count your many blessings, money cannot buy

Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high. 

It was a catchy tune (you even probably hummed it your head as you read it). But it also caused us to stop and think about all the things God has gotten us through over the years along with what we had to look forward to. In a similar sense I see today’s passage, Joshua 12, as a reminder of the blessings God provided the Israelites in conquering the Promise Land.

When reading Joshua 12 it’s easy to check out and overlook many of the names and places mentioned, but this list is significant. The Bible is about real people and events that teach us about who God is and His faithfulness. God’s promises to Abraham hundreds of years earlier had been fulfilled. Everything down to the smallest of details – from the borders for each tribe to every mountain and valley – confirmed God was true to His Word. Israel was finally receiving their inheritance: the promised land. 

All of this was accomplished not by military force or human strategy but simply by God’s presence and Israel’s obedience to God, even in the midst of fear. They did not know what the outcome would be, but they obeyed anyway. Each battle required following God’s exact instructions, from Jericho’s walls falling, to the ambush at Ai, to hailstorms, and even the moon and sun standing still. The victories came from God alone but required the faithfulness of His people. 

This was a moment to celebrate what God had done, but there was still land left to conquer and work to do. 

God wasn’t just giving Israel the promised land. The promised land pointed to the Promised One, Jesus. The ultimate proof of God’s faithfulness to Israel, and to us, is found in Jesus, His one and only Son, whom He sent to give the inheritance of eternal life to those who believe in Him. 

When we follow God, we let go of controlling how things turn out. Our job is to be obedient and trust God with the outcome. He is concerned with our hearts. He longs for us to trust in Him. Our obedience to God is a way to actively show our affection for Him. 

Israel did not know how God would make good on His promises to defeat their enemies. They also did not know how the promised Messiah would defeat sin and death. We don’t know when Jesus will come again to defeat evil for good, but we can walk forward in obedience because God has proven He is in control of the outcome. 

The God who brought Israel to the promised land is the same God for us today. The list of victories shows us we can trust Him with whatever we are facing. Like Israel, let’s celebrate the blessings of God and look ahead to what He will do. The Promised One is coming again soon and life will be butter. ☺ 

I pray you have a terrific and rad Tuesday!

Pastor Ken 

Pastor Ken

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