We Must Fight, But . . .
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to act in accordance with all the law that my servant Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you may be successful wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful.” - Joshua 1: 7-8
In the book of Joshua, God provides a story of the successful life of integrity, as the Hebrews entered the Promised Land. It would do us good as Christian lawyers to learn some of the same valuable lessons about having a successful life in the law. At the end of 2015, we are covering six lessons from Joshua.
Lesson #3 - We Must Fight, But . . .
In the Christian life, we need to work. Works won’t save us, but we were created for good works (Ephesians 2:10). God gave the people of Israel possession of the land that he promised them, and he won the battles for them. But they drew their swords, died, stood courageously, and did all the things that warriors do. He fought, but they fought, too. And when they fought, He won the battles in his way. In fact, most of the time, the victories were not standard military affairs, and each fight was an occasion for God to demonstrate his control and sufficiency in every situation. So, they fought, but they had to fight His way. And He was in charge of victory.
There is no formula for success here or in the conquest of the Promised Land. Thankfully, we do not wage warfare with weapons, and that violent conquest was a unique and limited call of God to a special people at a special time. Our “warfare” is spiritual, fought with the divine power, not human weapons, against arguments, thoughts, and obstacles to true knowledge.
In Jericho, they marched around the city silently once a day for six days, with the priests and the ark of the covenant, not the warriors, leading the way. On the seventh day, they circled the city seven times and on the seventh blew the trumpets and gave a shout. Thus the great walled city of Jericho was defeated. They never fought against another walled city in this manner again, despite their success. Ai was conquered by a fake retreat, and the southern city-kingdoms were conquered as God threw hail stones from the sky to kill their soldiers, and he caused the sun to stand still at Joshua’s request. These exploits, likewise, are not repeated. Yet when the Israelites tried to defeat Ai with their own methods (and with sin in their camp), they were routed. There is no formula but this: we accomplish the task God has before us in the way in which He desires it to be done. And it’s likely a different method every time.
Do we treat our clients as fungible means to the working out of our legal expertise, or as unique, valuable, eternal human beings who God has sent to us for his purposes? Success requires our obedience, every day, in every circumstance. Are we open to the change that moral conversation will require? Our victory over the struggles we face in the law is in God’s hands; we must simply struggle in the way he desires. This is the difficulty of course; how to know His desires? But there is not much more than an allegiance to His Word, his people, and his practices.
Lord, Thank you for the work you have called me to do. Remind me daily that Your success comes from my obedience and full reliance on You. Help me to seek and know Your desires in all that I do - at work, home, and play. Amen.
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(Adapted from Redeeming Law by Michael Schutt)