Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Holiness in Stubborn Places*

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Wednesday, April 17, 2013:  Joshua 15:1-63

As for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem to this day.  Joshua 15:63 (NKJV)

The title of the this blog is taken from a chapter in John Eldredge's book The Utter Relief of Holiness.  In this great little book, the author deals with a definition of holiness that corresponds in many ways to the Book of Joshua.  Most people view holiness as keeping the rules.  John Eldredge sees it as much more.  It is becoming "whole" as well as "holy".  It is finding the liberty and release that Jesus promises.

The utter relief of holiness is NOT arrival at moral purity.  It is the kind of relief "the anorexic young girl would feel when she simply no longer stuggled with food."  Or the man "consumed with jealousy who one day discovered that his feelings of jealousy were gone."  Holiness is more than outward rule-keeping.  It is inward liberation.

The heart of Eldredge's book is Chapter 10 which deals with "holiness in stubborn places."  What do we do about those areas of our lives that steadfastly resist the rule of God?  What do we do about the stubborn places?

Joshua had the same problem.  In Joshua 13:1 we read, "Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the Lord said to him: “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed."  In the next chapters, a phrase recurs: Israel "could not drive them out" (Josh. 15:63, 16:10, 17:12, and 19:9).  God fulfilled His word to Israel in bringing them into the Land.  But Israel never fulfilled His commands to drive out the enemy.

The stubborn places remained in enemy hands while Canaan came under the overall rule of God.  This is a picture of many of our lives.  We belong to Jesus, but there remains areas in which the enemy still harasses and hinders.  For Israel it produced an uneasy rest. 

Of particular interest is a stronghold that later became the city of Jerusalem.  In II Samuel 5:6-10, we read the amazing story of David's first act after he ascended to the throne of God's people.  He drove the Jebusites out of this high place and renamed it The City of David.  He completed the job that Israel left unfinished in Joshua 15.

There are no simple answers to these stubborn places.  John Eldredge calls us to allow God to deal with our HEARTS, not just our habits.  At one place he says, "Casual repentance equals casual results."  Allow Jesus to take us to where we really live.  He will do His miracle work there.  The result will not be temporary relief, but utter relief.  "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free" John 8:32).

No comments:

Post a Comment