April 26

Joshua 9:14-15 (NIV) 14The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD. 15Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.

After Israel conquered Ai, the Hivites that occupied nearby towns concocted a deception to save their lives. They sent a group of men that pretended they had come on a long journey. They had bags of moldy bread and looked travel weary. Actually they were the next towns that Israel would battle.

The leaders of Israel saw the dry wineskins, the patched sandals, and the worn bags with moldy bread and believed their story. Besides, it was kind of uplifting to hear how people in far off lands had heard the testimony of what God was doing for them. Great testimony wasn't it?

They ate together and made a treaty with these deceivers. They had believed what their eyes had seen instead of consulting with the LORD. Now there was nothing they could do but put those people to work serving Israel. They could not take their lands as God had purposed for them.

Satan is the Great Deceiver. He often brings in subtle lies that make you feel good about yourself. It may even look like it is giving glory to God. We must consult the LORD. We must ask God to lead and not be led by our natural senses. We are easily tricked, but God is never deceived. He will always give us the best advice. It may not be a total loss, but it is not the highest and best that God had planned for us. Consult God in His Word, in prayer, through godly counsel and walk by faith not by sight.

Consider: Am I trusting God, or my senses?

April 26

Luke 1:51-53 (NIV) 51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

Today's passage is the rest of Mary's Holy Spirit inspired song upon meeting her cousin Elizabeth. (see April 25 evening) This was an amazing event in history. The woman whose womb holds the forerunner of the Messiah and the last Old Testament prophet had just met her cousin whose womb held the Messiah. They were both filled with the Spirit and uttered prophetic words. Mary's words are believed to have originally come forth as a song.

In the latter half of the song, we have the passage for today. It is a sweeping view of the work of God. It gives us a principle of the way God works. God is writing history by His mighty acts. Those who are proud, even secretly within their hearts, are scattered. Pride is such an offense to God because He knows how utterly needy and poor man is. Pride denies the true condition of man and the wonder of God. God takes the rulers off their thrones and lifts up the humble. The people who think they have power find that God can take that power from them in a moment. It is the humble that find themselves exalted.

Near Bethlehem is Herod's incredible structure, the Herodium. Like a giant hill on the landscape, this towering circular structure is an architectural wonder. Underneath it are vast cisterns for water storage. Before it was a giant water arena in which sea battles were performed that included hippos. Surely the King of the Jews would be born in such a magnificent place. No, the incarnate God was born in the shadow of this structure in a little rock grotto. The humble unknown woman from Nazareth, a tiny, despised town in the far north, gave birth to the God-man, Jesus. God lifted up the humble.

Those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness will be filled. They know they are needy. They know God is great. They know He is their only hope. They touch reality. May we all lose our pride in recognition of the reality of our sinful condition and the awesome sufficiency of God.

Consider: Your view of this reality will determine whether you go away hungry or filled.