Sunday, November 18, 2012
God is NOT on Our Side!
Joshua 5: 13-15-- "Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, "Are you for us or for our adversaries?" He said, "No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?" The captain of the Lord's host said to Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so."
A pastor friend of ours posts daily Bible studies to his Facebook page. One day I was reading his notes on these verses and was struck by this: "God is not on our side. We are on his." Or rather, we should be on his. Often times, when reflecting on a crisis situation for example, people will say, "Thank God we had the Lord on our side." However, that's not exactly the case. It's not like God looks at a situation and chooses which side to be on. God is good and true and right and just in all sides and situations.
When we come over to God's side, we often reap the benefits and blessings of his protection so it would seem that he's pleased with us for "doing right" and is rewarding us by being on our team. The problem with that logic comes when we try to see the flip side. If he's rewarding us by being "on our side" and allowing us to live a happy, easy, blessed life, then what does it mean when life turns scary, ugly, difficult and unfair? It must mean that God's not on our side anymore, right? These bad things must indicate that God is mad at us and punishing us by removing his blessing.
That is SO not the case! While it's true that we will reap these bad "side effects" of disobedience, often times bad things just happen to good people (completely different topic---not goona go there tonight!) The Lord promised never to leave us or forsake us (Josh. 1:5). David encourages us with this thought: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me" (Ps. 23:4).
However, God is not going to sanction sin--no matter how slight or unconscious. That's why he can't be on our side--we are sinful beings. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). We fluctuate between good days and bad days. We have our own wills and they're usually self-centered. How wise we'd be to come over to the side of the one who is steady and unchanging!
This article was published in Issue #89 of The Christian Home Magazine.