There may be some rare occasions where a person needs to shoot first and ask questions later. I’m thinking of occasions like natural disasters, criminal violation, terrorist attacks, and military endeavors. But most would agree that “shoot first and ask questions later” is the stuff of movies, and normally not the best approach.
Confidence. It’s an attractive character trait. It’s something most people wish they had more of. The problem is, confidence is not a stand alone, self-contained commodity. It doesn’t just exist in and of itself. It is the out-growth of what we believe about something or someone. And so, whether confidence is a good thing or a bad thing depends on the object of our confidence.
Small matters. This truth struck me one day when I discovers termites in my house. They were so small, the termite inspector had to get a magnifying glass to determine if they really were termites. They were small, but they were on their way to doing big damage. Small matters!
This is the major theme of Joshua chapter 7. Despite their amazing victory over the huge and fortified city of Jericho, the Children of Israel suddenly find themselves retreating, defeated, discouraged, and scared. And even their faithful and courageous leader Joshua is trembling with dismay. Why? Small matters.
Walls. They prop up our structures. They give us protection, privacy, and a sense of security. Walls can also isolate us, impeded us, and entrap us. All these functions can be good or bad, depending on our motivation.
But any wall that stands between you and what God wants for you needs to come down.
“Little things are important.” “It’s the little things that mean the most.” These are sayings most of us have heard all our lives. The reason little things are important and matter so much is that big things are made up of little things. Little things require a lot of thought, discipline, commitment, and sacrifice. That means that little things are actually “big things.”
In Joshua chapters 3-4, we find the Israelites preparing to cross the Jordan river and move into the Promise Land. They’re facing rapid and radical changes. They are uncertain and they don’t know from moment to moment what they are to do or how they are to do it.
When I was a young boy, my parents would get together with the neighbors and play cards on a Friday and Saturday night. While they were playing cards, we kids would play games and find ways to entertain ourselves. One of our favorite games to play was hide and seek in the house, and one of my favorite, most successful places to hide was in the clothes hamper. You were pretty safe in the hamper.
In the last movie of the “Matrix” trilogy, there is a line that sticks in my head. There, the character of Morpheus says, “Some things never change, and some do.” It may not seem very profound, especially taken out of context, but this statement is applicable to a lot of life.
In Joshua chapter 1, there is a major change taking place. The great Moses – probably the most revered and feared man among the people of that day – dies and his position as the leader of the Children of Israel must be filled. How do you replace Moses?! Think of all he did…
Celebrities and successful people seem to just spring up out of nowhere these days. The media is full of stories about the latest star or business guru who seem to have suddenly appeared.
I wonder if, when Moses appeared on the scene, the Children of Israel thought, “Who’s this upstart?” “I wonder how long he will last?” “How long will it be before the new wears off of this one?”
Some things just stick with you. They are indelibly inked on your mind and heart. It might be an event, a realization, a statement, a phrase or an image. Whatever it is, it’s stamped into you, and becomes timelessly highlighted in the midst of all the “normal” of life. This happened to me while reading Deuteronomy chapter 32. It was a phrase that grabbed me when I first read through the chapter, and it continues to echo in my head.
God, in explaining to Moses why he could not enter into the Promise Land, uses this phrase… “You failed to demonstrate my holiness to the people.”