Kernersville Community Church
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All Things For Our Good

To Sons and Daughters…

I have had an interesting past few years in my family. After Joseph and I got married 6 years ago, we returned from our honeymoon to the news that my dad was moving out of the house and getting separated from my mom. A year later they were divorced. It was and is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to go through. To watch your dad give up on God, after years of knowing Him and pursuing Him, is just plain hard.

Since God works everything in my life out for good because I belong to Him and love Him (that’s what Romans 8:28 tells me), this difficult and painful situation has turned out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I’m not saying that it’s ok to divorce because it will be a chance for your children to experience something great, so don’t misquote me! I am saying that God, The Great Redeemer, has a habit of taking broken things and making them whole and strong again. Wayne Grudem, in his book Christian Beliefs, writes, “The story of the human race, as presented in the Bible, is the story of God fixing broken people living in a broken world.” Whatever hurts us, disappoints us, or breaks us is a chance for God to fix us. And when He fixes us, it is unexpectedly glorious. It’s like a bunch of ashes turning into something beautiful. Only God can do that.

In Joshua chapter 5, we see the story of the Israelites crossing over the Jordan River, into the land that the Lord had promised years before. Verse 2 says, “At that time the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.’ So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.” Verses 4-8 of the same chapter tell us why the Lord said this to Joshua. I’m going to paraphrase it for you.

God made a promise to a bunch of people (His people, the Israelites) that if they would trust Him and stay devoted to Him, He would lead them into a place that was better than they could ever dream about living in. But for 40 years, the people did not stay devoted to Him, they turned from Him, wandered around in the wilderness, and never arrived in the Promised Land. They died, but their children, who had been born during those 40 years, lived on. Here is Joshua, and God is telling him to circumcise them. Their fathers had been circumcised, or set apart, but then they disobeyed God and He vowed not to let them enter the Promised Land. So God “raised up their sons in their place” (v.7). And their sons were the ones who crossed over the Jordan that day and entered into the Promised Land God had sworn to their ancestors. But they had to be circumcised. Can you imagine? I would’ve been so mad at my father and everyone else’s father for giving up back there in the desert! They had a chance to trust God and they blew it, and now here were their sons having to pay for their mistakes.

If you are a son or a daughter of someone who has given up on believing in the goodness of God and the perfection of His ways, I would love to encourage you to compare your story with the story here in Joshua 5. Often, when one generation gives up and messes up, the second generation will have to face the battle the previous generation never won. Perhaps one of your parents disobeyed God and is not living in the peace of the “land” God promised. And here you are, a son or a daughter, choosing to follow hard after God. And you’re having to face some battles that your mother or father never quite finished. Getting across to the Promised Land can be painful. That last step, the circumcising part, is probably the most painful. For the Israelites in Joshua chapter 5, it was a physical circumcision. For us, the circumcision happens to our hearts. Maybe you feel like your heart has just been cut to pieces. Don’t forget that God is on your side – He wants you to win, and He wants you to walk in freedom. Whatever happens He will work for our good, and we are wise to embrace it as a chance to know Him better. The circumcision will not last forever. Whatever God is cutting away from your heart (it could be dependence on things other than God, insecurities, alcoholism, deeply imbedded fears, a spirit of poverty, anger, or anything else that has been a “stronghold” in your family), whatever He is setting you apart from and for right now, will someday not be an overwhelming battle anymore. We will be fighting the good fight of faith until the day we die (I Timothy 6:12), but that doesn’t mean that we cannot face the giants that have plagued our families, and win the battle! It really can stop with us!

Look what happens in Joshua 5:9 after the sons have been circumcised, Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” The Lord will roll away the shame of your past. It will not hang over your head. It will not be passed on to your children.

Don’t give up.

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