Wednesday, April 15, 2015

APRIL 14 "ARE YOU RIGHTEOUS?"

     OUR idea of righteousness is not even close to what "righteousness" truly is.  I was at a convenience store this morning, bought a refillable coffee cup cause I'm sick of paying for a cup every time I go (I digress) so the clerk offered for me to go in the back of the store to rinse the cup. I looked around and there was tons of goods lying around that I could have easily slipped into my pocket; any thief would have taken advantage of the situation.  "But you are not a thief" you would say. That's right and I could walk away feeling quite smug that I was not even remotely tempted to take anything for my gain; I could feel quite smug about my righteousness....UNTIL I read today's reading. Let's be honest, WE would have broken this oath as quickly as we made it.  You deceived me and there's no way I'm going to honour this oath!  "but you gave me your word, you promised", they would say, and we would reply, "I don't care!!!". We would have broken our promise and not have felt an ounce of guilt.  Joshua and the leaders honour their oath and this is amazing to me, or maybe stupid, not sure which one it is. Was it stupid or righteous for them to keep that oath?  Apparently it was "righteous" because God let's it be and years later when the oath is broken and the people are slaughtered God judges Israel severely for breaking the oath.  I have broken many promises/oaths/commitments/pledges etc....etc....etc....and many times it was not because I was deceived either! It was simply because it was more convenient to break it rather than follow through. Surely it would have been more convenient for Joshua to break this oath. Joshua and his men are deceived yet still believe they have an obligation to honour their promise. We are a very, very long way from righteousness in our society today. We buy goods, signing a piece of paper (a contract of sorts) allowing us to the leave the store with the goods in promise to pay them later. It's called credit. What happens...we don't pay, or we pay late or we don't pay in full. We make promises and pledges, to God, our children, our peers, our business associates, our spouses and we break them on a whim. Divorce is at an all time high, another broken vow (well he turned out to be a jerk, he deceived me!). On a scale of 1 to 10 how righteous ARE WE REALLY!  Compared to Joshua and his crew how do we measure? Jesus said, "those that hunger and thirst for RIGHTEOUSNESS, they shall be filled". To suggest something be filled is based on the premise that it is empty. If you were busy talking and I asked to re-fill your cup of coffee, you would look down assuming to see it empty or mostly empty, otherwise I would not have asked.  Thence, Jesus is not recommending that we yearn to be filled with righteousness because we are, but rather because we are not. Did you ever file bankruptcy or have a discharge on a credit card? Hey, hard times happen, the issue is, did you return the stuff? I gather you didn't. It's one thing to go through hard times and have defaulted, but we default and we keep the stuff. In essence we end up with the goods without having paid for them even though we promised we would, "but I couldn't repay" then return them! "ughhh, well........" How righteous are Christians today compared to our predecessors?
     One lesson we could learn from Joshua is if we would seek God before making spontaneous promises we would find ourselves in less situations where we are tempted to break them. Never did Joshua seek God before he made this HUGE oath, a huge blunder, but yet Joshua, being a righteous man, HONOURED HIS OATH, regardless. I am convicted and challenged by Joshua's righteousness and perhaps that's exactly why God put that story there for us to read.