DayBreaks for 4/13/18 – A Look into God’s Heart

Image result for sun stands still

DayBreaks for 4/13/18: A Look into God’s Heart   

The stories in Joshua are fascinating. They’ve finished their punishment for doubting in the wilderness. The bones of the generation that left Egypt, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, lay bleaching in the wilderness sun.  They’ve come to the Jordan and crossed it. They defeated Jericho with the commander of the Lord’s army winning the victory. The people had to be excited about the great victory!

Then comes a rather tragic incident. Not long afterwards, the Israelites go up against the relatively insignificant (compared to Jericho!) town of Ai. At Ai, they are resoundingly defeated. Joshua and the rest of the Israelites had to be confounded. Hadn’t God promised them the land and victory? Yes, but it was always conditional on following God’s commands. And one man, Achan, out of the entire Hebrew people, had kept some spoils (which was forbidden by God) from the victory and hidden them. That is what led to the defeat – you see, God knew and saw what had happened. And so this was a very strong lesson to the Israelites that God was serious when he gave commands. He expected them to be obeyed.

After the sin of Achan is dealt with, Israel goes on to battle against 5 kings near Gibeon – and they are again decisive victors! But there was something special that happened: the sun stood still in the sky so Israel could finish defeating the attacking kings. This is what it says: There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD heeded the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel.Joshua 10:14

This shows us two things about God’s heart:

FIRST: He means what he says. Just ask Achan and the Israelites who fell in battle because of one man’s sinful rebellion. And since God never changes – what he said long ago is still true today – and he still means what he says.

SECOND: How quick the Lord is to forgive and restore! Yes, Israel had been punished, but it says that God heeded the voice of a man and fought for Israel. Why? Because they were his people – and he loved them!

Our God loved his people long ago, and since he never changes, he still loves his people today whether they are red, yellow, brown, black or white. He doesn’t care what language we speak, or what gender we are, or what country we live in. It is his desire, even after disciplining us, to return us to his favor and grant his blessing!

You may have failed him, but don’t lose heart. Return in repentance and you WILL be welcomed!

PRAYER: Thank you for being the God of second, third and one billionth chances! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 4/10/18 – God’s Strange “No”

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DayBreaks for 4/10/18: God’s Strange “No”

There is a fascinating story in Joshua that is easily missed. Moses has died. After waiting 40 years, Joshua is ready to take up the mantle of leadership from Moses. As they prepare to cross the Jordan and enter into the promised land, Joshua has a very strange encounter.

Joshua 5:13-15 says: When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Here’s what is fascinating (aside from the fact of the encounter itself). Joshua was going to be the military leader for the campaign (or so he thought). But he finds himself face to face with “a man”. I don’t know how impressive the man may have looked, but he certainly was mysterious. Who was this “commander of the army of the LORD”? Many believe it was Jesus in a pre-incarnate form. (Oddly enough, Jesus, or Yeshua, was Joshua’s name…so Joshua was speaking with Joshua/Yeshua, who would also be a conqueror, but of a different kind.)

The first word this “man” speaks is simply “No.” In other words, “I’m not for you and I’m not for your adversaries.” What are we to make of that? I’m sure Joshua was hoping for something like “Yes, of course I’m for you!”  But he didn’t get that response. 

This “man” was for the LORD God Almighty. He wasn’t for one tribe or another. He was for God’s plan and work. It is as if he’s saying a couple things to Joshua:

FIRST: You are not the commander of God’s army. I am. You will not be fighting, you will not gain the victories. God will. How quickly we forget that in our own battles!!!

SECOND: This “man” is essentially throwing a challenge to Joshua, something like this: “You will make a choice whether or not you will be part of my judgment…will you be an agent of justice/judgment or an object of judgment? If you take the role as an agent of justice but then shirk back, you are all the more likely to become an object of judgment.” It is as if God was saying, “If you act like the inhabitants of the land, you’ll be the first to go into judgment.”

I can’t help but wonder how much I’ve become like the inhabitants of the land, how much the church has become like the inhabitants of the land/world. It is frightening to contemplate.

The day will come when we stand before the leader of God’s army. I hope we will all have chosen to be part of his campaign to bring justice and righteousness to his creation.

PRAYER: Lord, the very idea of becoming objects of judgment is terrifying. Give us the courage to choose wisely and consistently to be on your side! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 7/03/17 – Caleb and Courageous Conviction, #1

The hill country of Israel.

DayBreaks for 7/03/17: Caleb and Courageous Conviction, #1

I heard an interesting sermon on Sunday about conviction, and I thought that some of the points were worth sharing, so there’ll be several DayBreaks about it this week.

First, a bit of background. You recall the story of the spies who were sent into the Promised Land to spy out the land. Twelve were sent – and twelve returned, but there were radically different reports given by two of the spies named Joshua and Caleb. We normally think of Joshua as having been the older because he became the leader, however in Joshua 14, we learn that Caleb was 40 years old at the time he went into the land to spy on the Canaanites. Most believe Joshua was perhaps 17-25 at the time, though we don’t know for sure.

What prompted Joshua and Caleb to come back with a different report? That’s a good question. There is a rabbinic tradition that says that one night while they spies were in the land, Caleb arose in the darkness and traveled to Hebron (where the giant descendants of Anak lived) and went into the cave where Abraham and the patriarchs were buried (Numbers 13 does say they went to Hebron.) While there at the cave, he had an encounter with the God of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph that filled him with the conviction about God’s promise to the patriarchs that the land of Palestine was to be theirs.

I don’t know about the veracity of that rabbinical legend, but something stirred Caleb’s heart with conviction. In Joshua 14 starting with verse six, Caleb, at this time a man of 85 and most likely the oldest man in Israel (since only Joshua and Caleb who were alive when Israel left Egypt survived the wilderness wandering)  approached Joshua. Because he was the oldest man in Israel, people would listen to him. And he reminds Joshua about what the Lord told Moses about Joshua and Caleb 40-45 years earlier. Basically, Caleb reminds Joshua about how Moses had promised him the land on which Caleb had just walked.

Here’s the point for today: Caleb came back from the spying mission ready to go to war and take possession of the land. If you read his report he is full of courageous conviction about the ability of Israel to take the land. But ten of the spies reported that the band of spies were like grasshoppers to the giants in Palestine.

Therein, you see, is the problem. They were convicted that the people of the land saw them as tiny, puny and weak. But, at various points in the story, we are told that the people of Palestine were shut up in their cities because of fear of the Israelites. The ten spies were convicted and convinced by what they believe the inhabitants of the land thought of them. Joshua and Caleb (and Caleb seems to be the spokesman for the two of the spies who brought back a favorable report) was convicted and convinced by what God had said and promised.

Maybe you need to think about what you believe about yourself. You may think that you are weak, insignificant, powerless, puny and tiny because someone in your past has mocked and ridiculed you to no end. You may have yielded to the whispering of Satan in your ear that you’re too small and weak and sinful to ever be strong and courageous.

Who are you going to listen to? What others (including Satan) have said about you, or to what God says about you when He calls you His child, His beloved, that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus? Where will your conviction come from?

PRAYER: God, I thank You for courageous people like Caleb who remembered Your promises in the face of 6:1 odds and who stood on the courage of his convictions about Your faithfulness. For all those who are being convicted by the words others may say about them, I pray that they will hear Your words of love and worth when they are under attack and that they will be convicted by what You say, and not what anyone else says. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 10/15/14 – Faith Walking #3

DayBreaks for 10/15/14 – Faith Walking #3

In Joshua 5:12-13, we read: When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?”  “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the LORD’s army.” At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?” The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told.

Get the scene: Israel is about to go to war against the inhabitants of Canaan, starting with Jericho.  It seems that Joshua was perhaps spying on the city from verse 12.  It only makes sense that he would do so, don’t you think?  What military commander doesn’t want to know the terrain, the defenses of the enemy, their preparedness for battle?  I doubt that Joshua was any different.  So he was perhaps lying on his belly behind a rise of dirt to conceal his presence.

But, as he lay there on the ground, he looks up and there is someone standing before him – with a drawn sword in his hand.  It would be a startling visage and one that probably made Joshua at least a bit concerned – he had no idea who this was.  Was it a soldier from Jericho who had caught him spying?

So Joshua approaches (hand on the hilt of his own sword, perhaps?) and inquires as to the nature of the man’s visit: have you come to join us or to kill me?  And then Joshua gets an answer he didn’t expect.

Who was this “commander of the Lord’s army”?  One could argue about who this visitor was that Joshua encountered, but it appears that it was a theophany – a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ.  Why do I say that?  Well, in every other instance in which people have fallen on their face at the sight of angels, the angel always tells them to get up because they don’t deserve worship.  Not so with this commander – he seems more than content to receive the reverence of Joshua.  Another reason to believe it was the Lord is that the ground became holy in his presence – something that doesn’t happen with mere angels.

So, what’s the point of this strange visit?  Joshua was seen by the people of Israel as the commander of the Lord’s army.  Perhaps Joshua himself needed to be reminded that he wasn’t really the commander – the Lord was/is.  Unless Joshua was the “commander of the Lord’s host” he may not have had the strength or courage for the coming battle…or, he might has trusted in his own wisdom and plan of attack which, as we know, turned out to be quite different than what God had in mind!  Joshua needed this encounter with the Lord to go on his faith walk into the Promised Land.

Joshua, before undertaking this huge venture of waging war up and down and throughout the Promised Land, needed this encounter with the Lord.  And therein is another secret of faith walking: we must spend time with the Lord – lots of it.  Jesus spent the night before Good Friday on his knees in prayer in the Garden – even he needed the Presence to face what the future held.

Why is it that we who want to think we have faith (and a fair degree of it!) enough to go on a faith walk with God just can’t seem to find much time to spend with him?  Why is it that we let everything else crowd HIM out of our day instead of letting HIM crowd everything else out?  Is our time really so precious that we are willing to sacrifice being in His presence and spending significant amounts of time with him listening and learning his will?

Perhaps it was during this encounter that the commander of the Lord’s army explained the battle plan to Joshua: “Go and get a bunch of trumpets and walk around the city blaring away…”  At some point, God had to reveal this plan to Joshua – and it likely took place right here in this setting.  One thing is for sure: Joshua never dreamed up that battle plan on his own!

And one thing is sure for us, too: we will never dream up God’s plan for our life.  We have to let him tell us.  Are you willing to be with him enough to wait for that message that is so vital for your faith walk?

PRAYER: I confess, Lord, that I let too many things crowd you out of my schedule and my life.  I know that I need you and that I need to spend time with you…but I struggle to do so consistently.  Re-order our priorities to permit us to commune deeply with you!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 9/16/14 – Joshua: Reading Between the Lines

DayBreaks for 9/16/14 – Joshua: Reading Between the Lines

Joshua 24:14-15 (ESV) Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15  And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

We have heard this verse many, many times, especially the part about “choose this day whom you will serve.”  It is emblazoned on plaques, place settings and paintings.  I have absolutely no problem with that at all.

But look more closely at the context.  It is the end of Joshua’s long and distinguished career.  He had huge shoes to fill…and he filled them admirably.  I look forward to meeting him some day.  He must have been quite a man.

But what does he say?  He says, “Put away…”, not “You have put away…”  Do you get it?  The children of Israel that he’d led into Canaan were still carrying with them some of the gods that their fathers had worshipped in Egypt. This was a good number of years after they’d left Egypt and none of their ancestors (with the exceptions of Joshua and Caleb) who had tasted the whip and slavery in Egypt were alive any longer.  So the current generation had not worshiped those gods, but neither had they gotten rid of them.  They’d clung to them.  And, it would appear, they were still worshiping them.

This puts Joshua’s challenge to them in a new light.  These weren’t just polite, encouraging words.  Joshua was scolding them.  In effect, if you will, Joshua was telling them “Stop playing around with your faith! Get serious!  Make a decision!  If you want to keep worshiping those old gods, go ahead.  If you want to worship God, do so!  But whatever you do, make a decision and be done with your waffling!”

What would you have done if you’d been one of the Israelites?  Does Joshua’s challenge apply to you and me today?  You bet it does, perhaps more so in our country than ever before.  We must decide…and we must decide this day for we may not have another one!

PRAYER: We are prone to play with our faith and dabble with false idols.  May we take these words to heart, Lord, and with your help, resolve to be done playing games with our faith!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!