July 3

2 Kings 3:20-22 (NIV) 20The next morning, about the time for offering the sacrifice, there it was–water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water. 21Now all the Moabites had heard that the kings had come to fight against them; so every man, young and old, who could bear arms was called up and stationed on the border. 22When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the way, the water looked red–like blood.

The LORD told Elisha to have the army dig ditches, and that God was going to fill those ditches with water so the armies of Israel, Judah and Edom could drink. The next morning water flowed from the direction of Edom and filled the ditches. The able bodied men of Moab had gathered to resist the attack. When they saw the reflection of the sunrise and thought the water was the blood of the armies that had come to fight them, they rushed headlong into an ambush of ready, thirst-quenched soldiers.

The day before the armies in league with Israel had thought God was against them, bringing them to defeat through thirst. Instead, it was God's way of getting them to stop their plans so that He could work. We are often ready to jump into a spiritual battle, ready to take the enemy's territory, but God has His own way of doing things. He may introduce a difficulty to get us to seek His face and go His direction. The very solution to their difficulty was the means God used to trick the army of Moab. Two birds with one stone! The lesson was that the hand of God would work in their favor if they would seek His face and listen to Him.

Consider: The next time you face a dead end and feel the Lord is working against you, stop and seek His face. Find out how He would have you proceed. The difficulty may be preparation for a victory in your life.

July 3

John 15:15-17 (NIV) 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.

Throughout the Old Testament, the prophets were called God's servants. In Jesus' day, the disciples that followed a teacher served their leader like a servant. Jesus made it possible for many to enter into a relationship that few under the old covenant had experienced. God called Abraham His friend and spoke to him in a very personal way. He entered into a covenant with him personally.

There are a number of parallels between God's friendship with Abraham and Jesus' friendship with us. He calls us before we have done anything deserving of His call. He enters into a blood covenant with us. He speaks intimately with us. He does not hide from us what He is about to do. He allows us to intercede for others. He calls for an expression of faith. He makes our life fruitful. In the life of Abraham, the friend of God, we can see the new covenant relationship with God. Abraham's children are even a picture of the two kinds of fruit we produce as Christians. We need to get a handle on the superabundant grace expressed in the fact that God would call us friends. Do we honor Him as our closest and most highly esteemed friend?

God is after fruit that will last in our lives. Our friendship should cause us to act on His instruction. His instruction is to love each other. If we will obey, we will see lasting results from our relationship in Him. So much of the business of Christians does not produce lasting fruit because it is not based on obedience to Jesus' great command. Loving each other as He loves us will produce fruit naturally. It isn't forced. It is a product of allowing His life to flow through us.

Consider the wonderful reality that you are the friend of God.