April 17

Joshua 1:9 (NIV) 9Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Two times in this chapter and once from the mouth of Moses, Joshua has heard, "Be strong and courageous". See yesterday's morning devotional and Deut 31:23 Sometimes we need to hear it from God personally to really have faith. What a word this is for us when there is a change in leadership or we begin to be called to lead. Why should we never be terrified or discouraged? The LORD our God is with us wherever we are.

Here we see two tools of the enemy, fear or terror, and discouragement. Today we often label discouragement as depression. If Satan can get you to forget about God's omnipotence and omnipresence, then he has a position from which he can resist God in you. When we realize that is a lie, our faith in who God has been and is today, enables God in us to be Satan's worse nightmare, an unbeatable foe. It takes faith in God to receive the enabling.

Discouragement is a tough battle to fight. Moses succumbed to it at times. Joshua would surely face situations that on the surface would look discouraging. Certainly every one of us does. We need to respond with eyes that see the spiritual realm. There, all things work together for good, and even the defeats are steps forward. Only eyes of faith that see God with us, working through the difficulty, can claim this positive attitude that keeps us strong and courageous. Are you faced with discouragement? Open your spiritual eyes and see past the difficulty to God in you working good things into your life.

Consider: Am I seeing with eyes of faith?

April 17

Mark 12:35-37 (NIV) 35While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, "How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? 36David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."' 37David himself calls him 'Lord.' How then can he be his son?" The large crowd listened to him with delight.

After answering all the trick questions presented to Him with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, Jesus had a question for those who inquired of Him. Jesus referred to one of His most quoted passages, Psalms 110:1. They all knew that the Scripture plainly taught that the Messiah would descend from David. The prophecies declared this One would reign forever. Then He reminded them that the Scriptures are written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. To these points they could all agree. Now He springs the trap on them. Unlike the traps they were setting for Him, His trap is intended to bring them life. Their questions were designed to bring accusation. His questions were designed to bring revelation. This is a good tool of discerning our own heart and the intent of others. Ask yourself if your desire in asking a question is to bring life or to find fault.

The word translated 'Lord' is from two different words. An expanded translation in contemporary language would be, The Eternal One said to my Master... If David called Him Master, how can He be his son? The Jews saw a father as superior to his son. The question is then, how can a son of a man be the man's master? Now it is the Pharisees that are on the spot. They cannot answer. They have no idea how that could be. There is only one way it could be, incarnation. The Word became flesh through the womb of a woman descended from David. Jesus was all God and all man, but without sin. Jesus is David's Master and his descendent. Through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, David heard the Father ask His only begotten Son, Jesus, to sit at His right hand until all His enemies were put under His feet.

The people listened with delight. The religious leaders had pushed them around with their interpretations of God's Word. Now they are silent, unable to answer questions about the Word. They did not respond with a desire to understand but with a plot to murder the One that understood the Word better than they.

Consider the divine wisdom with which Jesus answered His critics.