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What’s Your Hurry?

“Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the Lord and the priests came to the other side while the people watched.” -Joshua 4:10-11

I have to be honest. Technically, this isn’t this morning’s message. It’s a message from a few days ago. I’ve just been too busy to write out my thoughts. This is kind of funny considering what the message is. Read on to learn why.

As I read the account of Israel crossing the Jordan to enter the Promised Land at last, my thoughts were snagged on the phrase hurried over. I pictured myself taking my children by their hands and urging them to cross the street quickly so impatient drivers on either side of the crosswalk wouldn’t have to wait . . . you know, in case they decided not to.

Then I wondered why the Israelites felt a need to hurry. After all, God was the One holding the water back. I’m pretty sure He could have done so for eternity if He had wanted to, accomplishing everything else He wanted to all at the same time. And since holding the water back so His people could cross safely was His idea in the first place, there was no reason for the people to hurry across. I wondered if hurry meant something else like they immediately did what God told them to do. I decided to look it up.

According to the Key Word Bible, though, the Hebrew word translated here as hurried over means ran, as in raced. The Israelites were not immediately obeying; they were running to get across that river as fast as they could!

But why? Only Joshua, Caleb, and adults who were children at the time of the Exodus could possibly have remembered their first miraculous river crossing as God’s people, but perhaps recalling what happened to the Egyptians who tried to follow them gave them incentive to hurry everyone across.

Or maybe the sight of all that water piling up and towering over them made them nervous.

Or maybe they didn’t trust in God’s ability to hold the water back for however long it would take.

The Bible doesn’t give us their motivation, so we can only speculate. But my takeaway for today is that when God gives me a task to complete, I can trust Him to help me complete it. He offers all the resources I need, even time, so if I feel pressured to hurry, I’m not trusting Him to provide.

Yes. God wants me, and you, to obey immediately. But He also wants us to give Him our best work. Pulling our kids along by the hand as fast as we can is not necessary when God says, “Time to cross.” In fact, if a sea shell catches my eye, God will probably be delighted if I stop for a moment to stoop down and examine it, especially if I take the time to thank Him for pointing it out and then share my find with my kids. Better yet, we can stop right in the middle and look up at the awesome wall of water God is holding right over our heads, knowing we are safe because God is the One Who Is holding it back. Taking the time to praise Him at the busiest time of day is a powerful way to worship and practice trust.

Father, sometimes I get into such a hurry that I lose sight of what’s most important. Frantic in my own efforts, I carry an unnecessary burden while You do the real work. Help me to remember that You are all-powerful; You are in control. I can go about my business, the business You’ve given me, in the confidence that You will provide all I need. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

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This Morning’s Message: from Colossians 2:2-3

Good morning! I’m back again – and I thank you for your patience with me. To update those of you who have been following, I’m recovering from what turned out to be an internal injury of sorts. Once my husband and I figured out what was happening, my healing began. I’m noticing improvements weekly as symptoms disappear, and though I haven’t reached 100% quite yet, we are hopeful that day will come. It’s good to be able to sing again; I can usually make it through one or two songs during praise and worship time at church. I’m not running again just yet, but I can walk some each day. Thank you again for your prayers! I know they make a difference.

Today I’m introducing a new feature to this blog: This Morning’s Message. Like many of you, I start each day with my Bible, my journal, and a devotional or two. This Morning’s Message won’t be my message to you, but God’s message to me – as I understand it – shared with you. Interestingly enough, this morning’s message just happens to relate. (I love it that God works this way! He lives in the coincidence.)

Colossians 2:2-3 says, My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

My simple takeaway: When God’s people pull together, they gain more of God’s love and wisdom. He has designed us to need each other. The more unified we are in Him, the stronger and more effective we become in service to His Kingdom. We gain the full riches of complete understanding and knowledge of Christ (through whom we can find the treasures of wisdom and knowledge) by encouraging one another and striving for unity.

God didn’t stop there today, though. While reading through the most recent release of Jerry Bridges’s book, Transforming Grace, I found these verses:

“They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.”Jeremiah 32:38-41

Bridges and his wife had these verses read at their wedding; I love that! Ideally a married couple is its own, little, unified-by-God community, and when husband and wife strive for singleness of heart and action under God’s direction, their children and their children’s children, along with everyone else God brings them into contact with, are blessed.

When God’s children strive for unity, encouraging each other and sharing God’s gifts, everybody benefits.

Lord, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to show us the way. Please help us to encourage each other and live evermore united in His love. For the glory of Your Kingdom and the honor of Your name, Amen.