Waiting On The God Who Waits On Me

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

The Christian life is a balance between what God does and what we do. Of course, our work is in response to his work—we don’t work to get God to do anything; he has already done everything, and our effort is always what is right and fitting because of his gracious acting on our behalf. We have a covenantal partnership with God, and each plays a role in order to live out the covenant. God has worked in what we must work out.

Going Deep // Focus: Joshua 16:5-6,10

Now that the land was under Israelite control, the entire community of Israel gathered at Shiloh and set up the Tabernacle. But there remained seven tribes who had not yet been allotted their grants of land. Then Joshua asked them, “How long are you going to wait before taking possession of the remaining land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given to you?

Perhaps what you are waiting on from God is waiting for you to do what God is waiting for from you. Wait! What? Wait? I know, it sounds a bit convoluted, but simply put, sometimes we are waiting when we should be working. God has done his part, but we haven’t done ours, and so the answers to our prayers are delayed.

The Christian life is a balance between what God does and what we do. Of course, our work is in response to his work—we don’t work to get God to do anything; he has already done everything, and our effort is always what is right and fitting because of his gracious acting on our behalf. We have a covenantal partnership with God, and each plays a role in order to live out the covenant. Or as Paul puts it in Philippians 2:12-13,

Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

We must work out what God has worked. But so often we wait for God to do what he has already done. We misunderstand our responsibility in the partnership, or we avoid it because of spiritual laziness, or we are irresponsible, or frankly, maybe we are in rebellion against God, and we are simply not carrying our weight in the deal. Whatever the case may be, God will not do what we are to do. God will do what we can’t, but he will never do what we won’t.

Now in Israel’s case, God had promised them the land of Canaan as their home. He had brought them through 400 years of slavery in Egypt and through forty years of wandering in the desert to the edge of their new homeland. He had gone before them and had driven out their enemies. He had guaranteed their victory. But he had also called them to cross the Jordan into the land. He expected them to fight their enemies, drive them out and take possession of the cities and farmland the Canaanites left behind. He had been clear that they were to stay at it until the task was complete. Yet after more years than they needed, the work was incomplete. They had not done what they were supposed to do in response to what God had already done. So Joshua called them out on it.

I suppose all of this makes sense to you, and that you agree with it in principle—that God plays a part and we play a part. But I also suspect this is a bit vague as it relates to your life specifically. So the challenge I have for you in response to this chapter is to do some hard thinking about where you may be waiting on the God who is waiting on you to do your part. What does that look like for you? Where do you need to step up and get after it? What promises are unclaimed in your life, and the constraint is not God, it is you?

Tough questions, but let me encourage you to get after it. The effort will be well worth it, and besides, God has already done his part. The victory is already yours. So why wait any longer? Let me give you a verse from another section of scripture that applies to what I am asking you to do:

Be strong and courageous and get to work. Don’t be frightened by the size of the task, for the Lord is with you; he will not forsake you. He will see to it that everything is finished correctly.” (1 Chronicles 28:20, LB)

Be bold and get after it—God is waiting on you!

Going Deeper With God: Where are you waiting on the God who is waiting on you to act? That is the most important question you will be ask today. I hope you can answer it, then do something about it.

Holy Shivers Over The Holy Land

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Only a real estate agent or a cartographer would appreciate the Bible passages that give exacting detail of the settlement of land for the tribes of Israel. But what we might find boring, those who were on the receiving end cared very much about those details, because every square inch represented centuries-long waiting for God’s promises now miraculously fulfilled. So whenever you come to a passage on land allotment, write yourself into the story. Even though you don’t have a literal Promised Land for which you are waiting, you are waiting for God to fulfill his promises to you—and believe me, you care about the details of what that will look like. Read it and rejoice in the details as an act of faith, because one day, sooner or later, God will answer your prayers and fulfill his promises to you with specificity and generosity.

Going Deep // Focus: Joshua 17:10-11

Manasseh’s boundary ran along the northern side of the ravine and ended at the Mediterranean Sea. North of Manasseh was the territory of Asher, and to the east was the territory of Issachar. The following towns within the territory of Issachar and Asher, however, were given to Manasseh: Beth-shan, Ibleam, Dor (that is, Naphoth-dor), Endor, Taanach, and Megiddo, each with their surrounding settlements.

Ever get the holy shivers? Yeah, me neither. But I’ve seen people respond to God’s blessing in ways—physically and emotionally—that far exceeded their capacity to manage it. Especially in foreign, rural contexts I have watched worshipers get so beside themselves with joy in the Lord that their expressions of love, praise, and gratitude broke human containment. They got down and boogied in response to the blessings of God.

Now when you read Joshua 17, holy shivers are the last response you are likely to have. Frankly, only a real estate agent would be inspired by the details as land is parceled out to the tribes of Joseph. A cartographer might enjoy the chapter a little bit as well because of the prospects of mapping out the Holy Land. But other than those two, I doubt if too many readers are going to be excited with the details of the land distribution that make up chapter 17.

So what is in this for us? Let me answer that by having you put yourself in the sandals of the people in this chapter. Imagine yourself as one of the members of a clan in the tribe of Ephraim. Pretend that you are one of the five daughters of Zelophehad (one of the young ladies was named Noah, by the way; she must have been an amazing woman), who stood to gain real estate as an inheritance because their dad had no sons as heirs. Imagine that you, your parents, grandparents and ancestors going back 400 years had been hearing about a Promised Land that would one day be yours, and all you have known for centuries was slavery and wilderness wandering. You had nothing to your name, no place to call home, no sense of permanence and no real geographical identity. And now, you have been given land—and the land had been described for you with geographical specificity. Do you think you might be a bit excited about the description of your real estate in that context? I think so!

What is described in this chapter (and several surrounding it) represented the promises of God finally fulfilled after what seemed like interminable waiting. This represented answers to prayer. This was a bit of heaven on earth. And the Israelites were rightly excited about real estate details that today we find boring and worthy of skipping past. But don’t—refuse to get either bored or skip happy. Write yourself into this and others stories like it.

Even though you don’t have a literal Promised Land for which you are waiting, you are waiting for God to fulfill his promises to you—and believe me, you care about the details of what that will look like! So whenever you come to a section of scripture like this, rejoice in the details as an act of faith, because one day, sooner or later, God will answer your prayers and fulfill his promises with specificity and generosity.

Going Deeper With God: Turn to the back of your Bible today and look at the map of Israel that offers a scheme of the allotment of land for the twelve tribes. Now take a moment to rejoice in advance of the Promised Land into which God is bringing you.

Allowing Canaan To Camp Out In Our Hearts

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

The Puritan preacher John Owen said, “be always at it while you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.” Whether it is flat-out disobedience or benign neglect, our disobedience always allows sin to grow. And where sin grows, sin festers, and spiritual anemia, sickness and death will ultimately result. This is a matter of kill or be killed! Go with kill!

Going Deep // Focus: Joshua 16:5-6,10

The boundary of their homeland began at Ataroth-addar in the east. From there it ran to Upper Beth-horon. then on to the Mediterranean Sea…. [But] they did not drive the Canaanites out of Gezer, however, so the people of Gezer live as slaves among the people of Ephraim to this day.

The modern reader of Scripture cannot help but read the Old Testament through the eyes of twenty-first century western culture. For that reason, much of what we read seems harsh and unfair, if not brutal and primitive, and definitely at odds with our current values of acceptance and inclusiveness. Even in warfare, how we treat our enemy is much different than it was in Old Testament days—and for that, I am sure our enemies are grateful (although I don’t think they would take the same approach with us).

Case in point: God told the Israelites to totally annihilate the Canaanites and purge them from the land as they went in to possess it. As the people of God moved in, by Divine command, the current residents had to go—every single last one of them.

Now while most Bible-believing Christians today accept that, we are certainly uncomfortable with both God’s command to displace the nations and his method for displacing them. When non-believing people question the harshness of the God of the Old Testament in light of these kinds of stories, we have no adequate answer, although there are reasonable explanations. We simply surrender territory on this issue of the sovereign God’s loving but just nature. My point here is not to defend God. For one thing, he can defend himself. And for another, if we truly understood the wickedness and brutality of the people who occupied Canaan in the days of the conquest—people who would make ISIS look like a Girl Scout pack—we would feel a little better about God’s commands.

Let’s set that aside for now. The point I want to make here is that when we fail to do what God commands, for whatever reason, we will suffer the logical consequences of that failure. Whether if is flat-out disobedience or benign neglect, our disobedience always allows sin to grow. And where sin grows, sin festers, and spiritual anemia, sickness and death will ultimately result. God told the Israelites to drive out the Canaanites; they didn’t. They had their reasons: the Canaanites were harder to get rid of than we might imagine; most of them had been decimated anyway, so what would leaving just a few really hurt; the few that were left actually made good slaves for menial labor that no one else really wanted to do, so leaving them actually made better sense than driving them out. The Israelites had their reasons, and I suspect many of the reasons sounded good.

But sin always has consequences, and the outcome of sin is never good! What was true for Israel is true for you and me today. We are not called to drive out a people from our neighborhood; that kind of literal biblical conquest is over. Yet there is another conquest God has assigned his people: to get rid of sin from their lives. The Apostle Peter spoke of being done with sin:

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. (1 Peter 4:1)

Theologically, we know that; we understand that sin must go. And like the Canaanites, that is not always as easy as it sounds. For that, God gives the Holy Spirit to help us do away with sin in our lives; and he gives the grace of forgiveness when we fail. Moreover, he walks with us as we give continuous effort to mortify our sinful nature. That is not the real problem here: it is when we accept what God calls sin; it is when we enslave what will ultimately enslave us and we allow sin to hang around in our lives—that is the problem. When we justify anger, lust, pride, judgmental attitudes, and other sins that are easy to camouflage, we commit the sin of the Israelites. We have allowed Canaan to camp out in our hearts.

The Bible should serve as a cautionary tale in this regard, for there is story after story of how allowing Canaan to camp out paved the way for Canaan to rise up and bite Israel in the backside. The end result of inattention to sin is always far greater than the pain of sin when it is in full bloom in our lives—and it will always grow into bloom if we neglect our call to decimate it.

Got sin? Deal with it! Even the little, leftover stuff. The good news is, God stands ready to assist those who get serious about being done with sin.

Going Deeper With God: Is there leftover sin in your life—the little stuff that is easy to camouflage and justify. Quit! Stop! Deal with it! Today is a great day to start, and God will supply both the want to and the will to give it the boot from your life.

Asking For The Whole Enchilada

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

A.B. Simpson said, “Our God has boundless resources. His only limit is us. Our thinking and praying are too small.” So in your praying, don’t just ask for the bare minimum, go for the whole enchilada, because if you don’t ask, he won’t give. And if you don’t ask bigly, don’t be surprised that you don’t receive bigly. Your Father wants you to see unlimited possibilities in him. He longs for you to ask, and ask daringly. And when you do, you honor him.

Going Deep // Focus: Joshua 15:18-19

As Caleb’s daughter, Acsah, got down off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What’s the matter?” She said, “Give me another gift. You have already given me land in the Negev; now please give me springs of water, too.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

In your praying, don’t just ask for the bare minimum, go for the whole enchilada. That is why I think this otherwise unimportant story was included in scripture. If anything, Acsah’s request of her father teaches us not to sell God short. God is a big God and his resources are unlimited. As A.B. Simpson, the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination, said, “Our God has boundless resources. His only limit is us. Our thinking and praying are too small.”

Acsah was the daughter of Caleb. Caleb was one of two spies out of twelve that came back from scouting the Promised Land with a positive report. That story is told in Numbers 13, forty five years prior to this moment in time. Caleb was of a different kind of spirit than the average guy. He was a possibility thinker. He didn’t see obstacles, he saw opportunities. His faith in God informed his asking and his acting.

When the ten other Israelite spies saw their enemies as giants and themselves as grasshoppers by comparison, Caleb (along with Joshua, the twelfth guy in this consortium of spies) saw only the God of Israel who was bigger than Israel’s biggest enemy—even bigger than the gigantic men of Anak (Numbers 13:28). In fact, four decades later in Joshua 14, Caleb, now an eighty-five-year-old, boldly asks Joshua to give him the mountains around Hebron for his inheritance. And in declaring that he could take the mountains, he specifically called out the giants of Anak, who were still in the land occupying the very mountain that now belonged to Caleb. I think Caleb was still spoiling for a fight with these gigantors all these years later.

His daughter was cut from the same cloth as Caleb. Like her father, she was bold, she was brassy, and she didn’t see problems, she saw possibilities. When her father gave the inheritance—a rarity that a woman would be specifically named in the allotting of land in that time and culture—she decided that what he gave her was not enough. Not that she was ungrateful, she just knew the can-do spirit that her father possessed—and she leaned into it. She knew that he was motivated by faith; that his eye saw beyond what normal people saw, so she appealed to his character in asking for not only a piece of land, but for the nearby springs as well. After all, what good is land in the wilderness if it has no access to water? So Acsah wasn’t just asking to gratify her selfish desires, she was asking for something that was essential for her family to succeed and expand.

And her father granted her request. (Joshua 15:19) My guess is that as she walked away from this encounter, old Caleb turned to his buddies and said, “that’s my girl!”

And your Father will grant your requests, too. But if you don’t ask, he won’t. And if you don’t ask bigly, don’t be surprised that you don’t receive bigly. Your Father is of a different Spirit—one that wants his children to see unlimited possibilities in him. He longs for his kids to ask, and ask daringly. That is why he has encouraged them throughout his Word to ask for the desires of their heart. In one of the most stunning passages in scripture, the Son of God said,

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. (John 15:7-8)

Now obviously, this isn’t a blank check for selfish asking. The key to what John 15:7-8 says is that we first must “abide in him and allow his words to abide in us.” The “abiding in his word” isn’t about Bible reading or scripture memorization, it is about intimately knowing the character of God—and letting that knowledge inform your asking.

This is the story of Caleb and Acsah. Both of them were of the tribe that asked for the whole enchilada. I hope you will join me in being a part of that tribe, too!

Going Deeper With God: What are you asking God to do in your life? Kick it up a notch; don’t just ask for the land, ask for the springs, too. God loves it when you do that.

Faith Sees Farther

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

William Newton Clark said, “Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see!” As believers in Jesus, you and I are in the mountain moving business, and our currency is faith. If what we are doing doesn’t involve faith—if we can do it ourselves without a desperate need of God—then we are not doing the Lord’s business. But with faith we are, and with it, nothing is impossible.

Going Deep // Focus: Joshua 14:10-13

Then Caleb said to Joshua, “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, with the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance.

Are you daring great things for God? Whether or not you are is your choice, but I say “why not?” You and I have only one life to live, and it will be over soon enough, so let’s try something daring for God. Why not do something that will make a difference in someone’s life one hundred years from now? How about we try something that will leave them talking about us long after we are gone? Yes, let’s attempt something that will be celebrated by saints and angels alike for all eternity! Why not at least try?

That is the story of faith in the Bible. Read Hebrews 11 and you will see that God’s Great Hall of Faith is made up of men and women no different than you and me who stepped out and attempted the impossible for the sake of the kingdom. Now some of them were successful and some of them were not, by the world’s standards anyway, but it was the faith that led them to try that got them eternally noticed in Hebrews 11.

Caleb was one of those kinds of people. He was in his mid eighties when he informed Joshua that he was ready to take on a certain warrior-like and historically large—and I mean physically big and imposing (see Deuteronomy 2:10, 21; 9:2)—segment of the Canaanites in the well fortified hill country surrounding Hebron. “Give me this mountain,” Caleb said to Joshua as the land was being allotted to the tribes, and that has forever become the war cry of unlikely men and woman whose faith sees farther than the eye sees and whose spirit dares to attempt impossible things for God.

I love what William Newton Clark said, “Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see!” As believers in Jesus, you and I are in the mountain moving business, and our currency is faith. If what we are doing doesn’t involve faith—if we can do it ourselves without a desperate need of God—then we are not doing the Lord’s business. But with faith, nothing is impossible. Jesus, the Founder and Finisher of our faith, said, “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘move!’ and it will move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.” (Matthew 17:20)

We have been given faith—more than enough, actually—but are we daring to exercise it? We have in front of us at the present moment “things farther than we can see.” Or at least we should. If we don’t then we need to come before God and ask him to give us a scary big vision of what could be.

Whatever that vision is, however impossible it might seem, whatever the obstacles that stand between us and it, if it is noble, if it is consistent with God’s kingdom, if we hunger after it, we must stretch ourselves to reach it, to achieve it. William Carey, missionary to India and considered to be the father of modern missions, said, “Attempt great things for God—expect great things from God.”

That is the story of common men and women who stepped out to where others wouldn’t and in so doing, ended up achieving the uncommon. They didn’t step out thinking they were doing the heroic, they just stepped out thinking God would take care of them. And he did—and by stepping out in faith, they stepped into God’s Great Hall of Faith.

“Give me this mountain,” eighty-five-year-old Caleb boldly demanded. He was the forerunner of many others who would do similar:

  • Jabez said, “Enlarge my territory!”
  • David said, “That giant is no big deal!”
  • Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego said, “We like it hot!”
  • Nehemiah said, “Let’s rebuild this wall!”
  • Esther said, “If I die, I die!”

What are you saying? What are you praying? What is your faith laying hold to? What is the Holy Spirit daring your soul to see that your eyes cannot? Dare great things for God—do great things for God.

Going Deeper With God: Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” (John 14:12-14) Ask for some big things today!

A Spiritual Vacation or a Spiritual Victory

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

God always leads us in triumph. There is always more territory he has destined us conquer. There are always more enemies he has empowered us to defeat. And while a part of you may yearn to sit back and relax, the glory of what it means to be Christian is to march forward as more than a conqueror. And why would we not embrace our calling to conquer? We have the promise of God that he himself will drive out our enemies.

Going Deep // Focus: Joshua 13:1,6

When Joshua was an old man, the Lord said to him, “You are growing old, and much land remains to be conquered.… “I myself will drive these people out of the land ahead of the Israelites.”

We will rest when we get to heaven. Until then, there is still work to be done. I am sorry to disappoint you if you were thinking of your Christianity as a spiritual vacation. It is not; it is a spiritual victory. Of course there are ebbs and flows in the journey of faith, but there will always be more promises to possess, territory to claim, enemies to overcome and victories to secure.

Thus it will always be. That is the ongoing saga of redemptive history. While God brings us through challenges and gives us victory over our enemies, the end has yet to be written. Of course, the outcome has been predetermined, but it is still in the making. That is why we say he leads us from victory to victory.

While the promises of God are as good as done, and even though the outcome has been predetermined, that never means the believer gets to sit back and rest on their laurels. God’s rest is not a piece of geography—not at this point, anyway—it is a spiritual condition of triumph. That triumph is experienced in the advance of his kingdom through our lives. Through the work that he has given us to do, we are victorious—and that is what propels us along our journey of joyful rest.

That is evident in the story of Joshua 13. General Joshua has been one of history’s most brilliant military strategist. He has won conquest after conquest against enemies that were fiercer, stronger, better equipped and more battle hardened than Israel’s army. Moreover, God was on their side, and city after city fell into Israel’s hands. But after a long period under Joshua, the time had come for others to lead in the remaining battles.

Yes, battles remained. Get used to it! In preparation for the end of his career, God told Joshua to divide the land between the twelve tribes. He was to assign specific geographical territory to each tribe, even though some of it was yet to be firmly in Israel’s possession. So why divide the land between the tribes before Israel had conquered it?

For one thing, Joshua was advancing in years and the day of his death was looming. The task would not be complete by the time of his passing. Furthermore, there would not be a singular leader over Israel for the next four hundred years as they continued to possess and settle the land, so God assigned Joshua the task of allotting the land among Israel’s tribes, clans and families.

But while that is the practical reason for counting their chickens before they hatched, there was also a faith reason. God was on their side, and he would see to it that the land came under their possession. While they would have to work and war to possess it, we are told by God, “I myself will drive these people out of the land ahead of the Israelites.” God’s promise to work on Israel’s behalf was so certain, that the division of the land could be made even before it was conquered. God’s promise is as good as done. God was asking Israel through this division of land to picture what he had promised. Again, the faith principle is that we need to picture what we want to possess.

So what is the point? Simply this: God always leads us in triumph. There is always more territory to conquer. There are always more enemies to defeat. And while a part of you may yearn to sit back and relax, the glory of what it means to be Christian is to march forward as more than a conqueror. And why would we not embrace our calling to conquer? We have the promise of God that he himself will drive out our enemies.

Yes, the time will come for rest soon enough. In the meantime: onward toward yet another predetermined victory.

Going Deeper With God: Memorize Romans 8:37-39, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

FaithList: Naming Names

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Perhaps you think that reading through the seemingly endless lists of names in Scripture is unnecessary. Maybe you think taking the time to utter these names is boring, meaningless and a colossal waste of your time. But let me ask you this: why do you think God, in his providential oversight of bringing the Bible into existence, saw fit to include so many statistical and genealogical lists? Do you think it was merely for historical purposes? Or are they to build the faith of his people? I would argue for both. Don’t neglect these genealogical praise songs!

Going Deep // Focus: Joshua 12:1-2

These are the kings east of the Jordan River who had been killed by the Israelites and whose land was taken. Their territory extended from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon and included all the land east of the Jordan Valley: King Sihon of the Amorites… King Og of Bashan, the last of the Rephaites….The king of Jericho…The king of Ai, near Bethel…The king of Jerusalem…The king of Hebron…

We have seen it many times already in reading through the Old Testament: endless lists of meaningless names—at least, meaningless to us. But not meaningless to the people of Israel! Every name is a story—a God-story, to be specific—of God’s provision for his people and punishment for his enemies. And every time Moses or Joshua wrote these lists down, they became a kind of checklist of praise for the people of Israel. You might say, they were praise songs for statisticians. God even loves the numbers geek!

As I have said before, we might be tempted to just skip over these names when we come to them in our Bible reading—at least I am. But I would encourage you not to do that. As an act of worship, read the names out loud. Of course, you won’t know how to pronounce half of them, so just make them up. Remind God of what he did for his people. Of course, God doesn’t need reminding, but in reminding him, you are really reminding yourself that the activity of God is rooted in history—it is real; that God is for his people—he is not an uncaring, distant deity; and that God fulfills his promises—which includes empowering his people to overcome their enemies.

I would then encourage you to list out your own victories. Write a “faithlist” of things that God has done for you. Go back into your past and dredge up your God-stories back up. Write down the things he has done for you lately. Include little provisions and big miracles. Remember what God has done and memorialize it on a list. Then thank God for each one of those answers—out loud. Do it as an act of worship. Remind God of how great he is. Of course, he already knows his own greatness, but you will be building your own faith as you do it.

Perhaps you think that what I am suggesting is unnecessary. Maybe you think it is a colossal waste of your time. But let me ask you this: why do you think God, in his providential oversight of bringing the Bible into written form, saw fit to include so many of genealogical and statistical lists? Do you think it was merely for historical purposes? Or are they to build the faith of his people? I would argue for both. They are to remind us that God’s work is not merely spiritual fable; it is rooted in history. Moreover, what God has done in history is to teach us that he will do again. Since he is a covenantly faithful God, the interventions, provisions and victories that he wrought for his people in the past, he will work into the lives of his people today.

These statistical and genealogical praise lists are powerful. That is why I would suggest that you come up with your own from time to time in your journey of faith. There is an old gospel song authored in the late 1800’s by Johnson Oatman that captures what I am calling you to do. When I was growing up, my faith community periodically sang this song, Count Your Blessings. One of the verses and the chorus went like this:

So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Count your blessings;
Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;
See what God hath done.

Truly, God has been good!

Going Deeper With God: Why don’t you try counting your blessings today? Make a faithlist of all that God has done for you. You will be amazed at God’s goodness and filled will more faith to take on the day ahead.