Did you ever struggle with the story in Joshua ch7 about Aachan’s disobedience and how he and his whole family was punished? In our 21st century world of tolerance – or so people tell us – it all seems rather harsh.
Reading the story in SU WordLive this morning, the following comment by John Fieldsend grabbed my attention:
Joshua thought that God’s good name depended on their success rather than vice-versa.
Being a bit slow I had to read it a couple of times and then I got it. Joshua thought that military defeat for the Israelites would reflect badly on God with the neighbouring people groups. What he missed was the reality that it was Israelite disobedience that rejected God; Israel was diminishing God’s good name through disobedience. Ultimately God was God and he would not suffer – but Israel would unless they dealt with this situation.
It’s sort of what I was thinking about in Translation: ‘best kept secret of missions’ 2 a few days ago. I ended the blog with these thoughts about my work with Wycliffe Bible Translators (based on reading the Parable of the Sower)…
So… as requests come into the office to speak at a whole variety of church groups…
- I will not think “well, that’s just going to be stony ground!”
- I want to be a faithful fool.
- I want to be a faithfulness freak!
- And I want to relax and leave God to reap an incomparably splendid harvest!
If I am successful in my work (whatever that might look like) does it impact on God’s good name, his reputation? Isn’t it much more about of who God is that I am doing something worthwhile for him? And I need to remember that in every aspect of my life, not just in my role as Wycliffe NI Coordinator.