LOVE BENEATH THE WAVES

Jonah knew it was his fault.

So he did what was right.

“Pick me up and hurl me into the sea

and the sea will quiet down for you,

for I know it is because of me that

this great tempest has come upon you.”

Jonah 1:12

 

The smartest thing we can do

is to surrender to God –

even if it means being thrown into the sea

for there will be love beneath the waves.

Freydoon Rassouli: Surrender to the Flow

Sometimes tempests come that are not our fault.

But this week I want to concentrate on the tempests that are our fault. For learning to quickly acknowledge our sin, confess it, and accept the consequences is a huge secret in making progress in the Christian life. When we do this, we will find “love beneath the waves.” Our souls will be enlarged and the presence of God will return, flooding us with peace and joy. These are the people who change, these are the people who have the radiance of Christ, these are the people who find love beneath the waves.

It’s always hard to admit when we are wrong — especially if we have to do it, as Jonah did, to unbelievers!

It’s painful. But we will always find love beneath the waves.

I had to go to my sister Bonnie when I was a young Christian and apologize for coming on

so strong — for being argumentative and proud and difficult.

It was humbling — but I found love beneath the waves.

 

I have had to turn around (more than once!) and go back into a store to apologize to a clerk for

being snippy. (Kim shared the same thing last week!)

A real apology where I name my sin, admit the pain I brought, and don’t make any excuses always

brings me to tears, and it’s humbling. But I also always find love beneath the waves.

 

When we resist, as is our natural tendency because we have what Martin Luther calls “curvature of

the soul,” we harden our hearts, grieve and push away the Holy Spirit, reap bitterness and

depression, and stay stunted spiritually.

 

Again and again I ask myself — who do some believers grow and the others remain mudbound?

What makes me grow — and what keeps me mudbound?

 

If our deepest desire is for God, then we will do what it takes to stay right with Him. We will be

good repenters, as humbling as it is, as hard as the consequences may be, for nothing will be more

important to us than the sense of His presence. Resist and we “forfeit the grace that could be ours.”

(Jonah 2:8) Part of that grace comes in the form of more light. He gives more light to those who

have shown they are willing to walk in the light.

 

This week you will listen to one of my favorite Keller sermons, which you may have already

purchased for it was one I listed at the beginning of this study. It is called Love Beneath the Waves.

It’s worth the price. If you haven’t already gotten it, here is the link.

 

In this message, Keller says there is a strong parallel between Jonah and Achan, whose story is

found in Joshua 7. Achan’s sin, like Jonah’s sin, brought a storm. When confronted, like Jonah,

Achan confessed his sin. But instead of being rescued, like Jonah, this is how Achan’s account

ends:

And Joshua said,


“Why did you bring this trouble upon us?

The Lord brings trouble on you today.”

And all Israel stoned him with stones.

Joshua 7:25

Gustave Dore "Stoning of Achan"

 

Yet I discovered that even for Achan, there was “love beneath the waves.” I think it’s a fascinating

study this week, and I’m so eager to join with you who have gentle hearts and seeking souls for this

week’s journey.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

The main filming for Idol Lies is scheduled for June 23rd. Please pray! God has so surprised me even this week — he’s provided a wonderful video photographer, Martin French told me I could use his great drawings for free, God has provided some wonderful sharp women from various ethnic backgrounds for the audience, and my publisher announced she was coming! My son J. R. and I prayed about him doing the edit and agreed this was how the Lord is leading. This is a step of faith for me, but I’m encouraged to take it for I have been so encouraged at how clearly God is moving. I’m learning I really don’t have to be in control.

I am also aware of what I think is increased spiritual warfare. That’s a good sign that the enemy is nervous, but how we need His  shield of protection. How important are your prayers!

  • For the key people to be healthy and to get here
  • For the weather to be good — this area is known for storms that can cause power outages
  • For the Lord to provide the women He wants to be here and will quicken them to be responsive and quicken them when they share
  • For His quickening on me as I prepare, on the photographers, for Cynthia who will be interviewed, for Ed who may be interviewed and is going to cook, and everyone participating
  • For quickening for my son J. R. as an editor and for our relationship
  • For my make-up artist (Vanity in part, but I also still have bruises and want to feel confident!)
  • For Tim who is working on three testimonies in Kansas City
  • For a HEDGE from the enemy
  • For God to be so glorified through all this and each of us to continually remember this is what it is all about

And this — just to bring a smile to your Sunday. One of God’s sweet surprises. Almost two Sadie escaped from Sally and Phil in CVS — and they found her like this:

Classic Sadie

Sunday/Monday: Ice-breakers

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. There was trouble between the sailors and Jonah. When there is trouble in a horizontal relationship, Keller says it is always our move. How has this applied to your life — or how does it now?

Monday-Wednesday: Bible Study

3. Read Jonah 1:10-12

A. Why did the men know that Jonah had sinned?

B. One definition of sin is “running from God.” Where are you tempted to run from God?

C. Read Jonah’s response to the question of the sailors. What is admirable about his response?

D. What constitutes a good apology? A bad one?

One of my favorite apology stories is from Letitia Baldridge who was the personal assistant to Jacqueline Kennedy. Her friend had planned a dinner to introduce Letitia to well-known people in Washington D.C. — but Letitia had put the wrong date in her planner and didn’t show. (She was in a movie with her husband, so she failed to pick up on the ten urgent phone calls.) When Letitia realized what she had done, she went in person and told her friend how terribly sorry she was for the pain she had brought upon her, the embarrassment, and the grief. Her friend was cool and Letitia kept sending flowers or gifts or notes acknowledging again and again her sorrow at the pain she had caused. She asked for the guest list so she could write every guest and explain it was totally her fault.

I believe in a real apology we make no excuses, acknowledge the pain, and do whatever we can to make what the Bible calls restitution.

4. How would you rate Jonah’s apology and why?

5. Read Jonah 1:13-17 and find the beginning of “love beneath the waves.”

6. Share a recent time when after genuine repentance you found “love beneath the waves.”

Jonah and Jesus

Jesus himself quotes Jonah 1:17 to point to himself. The irony is that Jonah fled God and a storm came, whereas Jesus submitted to God and the storm came. Jonah brought pain to the world. Jesus brought love. Yet both were rescued after three days and three nights in the depths.

Jonah and Achan

In the sermon this week Keller compares Jonah to Achan, the man who also brought a tempest because of his disobedience. Jonah was rescued whereas Achan was stoned — but even when God chooses to take the life of a disobedient believer, that is not the end of the story. There can still be love beneath the waves.

7. Read Joshua 7:1-9  Following the tremendous victories of chapters 1-6, there is defeat. Describe the defeat and the reason for it.

The “devoted things” describes all the valuable objects like gold and silver that were to be dedicated to the Lord’s treasury. This was evidently to be done as a kind of first fruits of the land, and as an evidence of the people’s trust in the Lord’s supply for the future (cf. Lev. 27:28-29).

8. Read Joshua 7:10-26

A. Summarize what God told Joshua in verses 10-15

B. Joshua could have told Achan that he had brought great trouble and grief upon God’s people.

What does he say instead? (verse 19) Comment.

C. How does Achan respond? (verse 20-21) How does this evidence genuine faith?

For Narnia fans, feel free to note the parallel between Achan and Eustace.

D. What happened to Achan? How could this be “love beneath the waves” for Christ’s bride?

E. Can a believer sin terribly, lose his life for it, and still be in heaven? Explain.

F. How do you think Achan’s death affected the body of believers?


Love Beneath the Waves: Turning a Valley of Achor into A Door of Hope


God’s discipline is always meant for good — not just for our good, but for the good of God’s corporate Bride.  Achan’s death no doubt brought a holy fear of God — and Achan himself, I believe, went from his death into heaven.

9.   Read Hosea 2:14-15

A. What will God do when we face wilderness times if we do not back away?

B. How have you experienced this?

C. What promise is given in verse 15? What do you think this means?

 

Thursday-Friday: Keller Sermon

Sermon Link

Keller emphasizes this verse: My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise to him. (Joshua 7:19) Pray through this for yourself, for your life today.

10 Share your notes here.

11. CHALLENGE:  When Joshua confront Achan, he centered not on the pain and death his sin had caused, but his failure to give God glory. LIVE WITH THIS QUESTION BEFORE YOU TODAY — how am I giving God glory? See what happens and tell us.

Saturday:

What is your take-a-way and why?

 

A BLOGGER PICTURE

Laura-dancer has been growing so — it’s a delight to have her here. She faces enormous challenges but with faith and courage. Here she is in a happy moment last weekend with her daughter graduating!

Laura-dancer and her daughter

COMMENTS (246) Post a New Comment ↓
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7. Read Joshua 7:1-9 Following the tremendous victories of chapters 1-6, there is defeat. Describe the defeat and the reason for it.

They went to Ai to defeat them, but the men in Ai defeated them. They were shocked. The reason they were defeated was because God wasn’t their rear guard, He wasn’t with them empowering them to win. He had turned His face from them because of Achan taking some of the things God commanded they set apart for Him.

8. Read Joshua 7:10-26

A. Summarize what God told Joshua in verses 10-15

Israel has sinned and broken God’s covenant. God is upset that not only have they stolen, they have lied about it and hidden it among them..(I am thinking of Rachael hiding things under her skirt.) This is why they are being defeated. God said they must remove these things hidden among them before they will be able to defeat their enemies again. God asked Joshua to have the people prepare themselves-cleanse themselves before tomorrow. God will move in such a way as to show them who did this. Then after the person is revealed, they must burn him and everything he owns.

B. Joshua could have told Achan that he had brought great trouble and grief upon God’s people.

What does he say instead? (verse 19) Comment.

He told Achan to give glory to the Lord by telling the truth-don’t hide it from Joshua.

C. How does Achan respond? (verse 20-21) How does this evidence genuine faith?

Achan responds by saying it is true-he sinned against God, then he described exactly what he stole and why, then went further telling where he had them hidden.

D. What happened to Achan? How could this be “love beneath the waves” for Christ’s bride?

He and his family were stoned and then they were burned along with all their belongings including what he stole.
He repented and turned right there and as a result Israel was restored to God-He was the willing sacrifice of Israel so she could be restored to God. Even though he lost his life in a horrible way, he repented and was with God after he died.

E. Can a believer sin terribly, lose his life for it, and still be in heaven? Explain.

Yes. Jesus gave his life for that believer as a sacrifice for his sins so that his sins won’t be held against him. When the believer sins on Earth even if he doesn’t repent before he dies-even if in the midst of the sin he dies, because of what Jesus did, his standing before God won’t change. God will see Jesus’ white robes on him.

F. How do you think Achan’s death affected the body of believers?

I think their fear of God grew-they saw how serious sin was to God. I am reading into this, so it might not be accurate, but I also think they saw how futile it was to behold these things-worship these things over beholding, worshiping God-perhaps that part is the sin part. They learned that God desires for them to hold Him up as more ultimate-to love Him more than to love these things.

    Reply

    Great on Achan.

    Reply

    This sentence on hiding things from God and each other jumped off the page to me, Rebecca. “God said they must remove these things hidden among them before they will be able to defeat their enemies again.” This applies to me personally and, also, to the church. I know it has been true in my life, how unconfessed sin has hindered God’s peace and work in my life. When we hide our sin, refuse to confess our sin to God, and sometimes to each other and make restitution, then God does not work, His work is hindered in us personally and as a body of believers.

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C. How does Achan respond? (verse 20-21) How does this evidence genuine faith?
Achan confesses his spiral into sin—he saw, he coveted, he stole, and tried to cover it up. Achan knew the penalty for his sin, and he still confessed. He also acknowledges that the beginning of his sin was when he “saw—and coveted”—when he took his eyes off God.

D. What happened to Achan? How could this be “love beneath the waves” for Christ’s bride?
Achan and all his family and animals were stoned to death. I see the consequence for sin, the example set for the other believers. I think the love I see is that Achan did confess, when confronted. I think that shows some sense that God was at work in his heart.

E. Can a believer sin terribly, lose his life for it, and still be in heaven? Explain.
Yes, I believe so. I think of Carla Faye Tucker. The beauty of Christ’s redemptive love for us is that there is no expiration date.

F. How do you think Achan’s death affected the body of believers?
I think they saw the severity of sinning against God. They saw the downward spiral—how easy it is to get entangled into sin. They saw the consequence of sin, and I imagine in renewed in them a deeper awareness of God’s holiness.

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I want to clarify concerning the comment “It’s always your move” when there is a problem in a horizontal relationship.

If we are in the wrong, as Jonah was, a clear apology and restitution is needed — even if there is some wrong on the part of the other.

However, if you are dealing with someone with mental illness, or who is an unbeliever persecuting you, though I still think it is right to own any wrong, you also need boundaries. “I” statements such as “It hurts me when you call me names or speak disrespectfully to me. I cannot talk to you when you do that.” If the person has a mental illness, it’s especially difficult, and you probably will need a third party to help you — a godly counselor.

If a person has a pattern of hurting you, and you know you have done absolutely nothing to incite it, then I think, like David did with Saul, it is all right to withdraw, if you forgive him from your heart. If that person is a spouse or a child, it is especially difficult, and you need to seek the Lord.

I know a blog has its limitations — and I’m feeling them this week. I don’t want to put anyone in danger!

    Reply

    Dee–I just saw this and SO appreciate it. It was well said and timely for me and I’m sure many of us. You bless us with your wisdom–thank you for listening to His nudge to speak this truth.

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I see Kim hasn’t posted today and Joyce was going to call her when she was able to give her an update – has anyone heard how Joyce is? We were in PA yesterday and I prayed silently for Joyce whenever she came to mind, which was often!

Elizabeth, I loved your post about spending 2 hours alone with God in the car – that was time well spent. I’m just throwing this out here – how do you all “make it work”, meaning spending time with God in prayer and Bible study, taking care of a home and children, some of you even work full-time? My two boys are 18 and 21, and I have an 11 yr. old daughter. You’d think things would slow down since they’re not toddlers, but I seem just as busy as ever. I know my house could be a lot more organized and cleaner, I could spend more time cooking fantastic meals…I hate days where time with God gets squeezed out, like today. I started reading a Psalm and talking to God and the doorbell rang. We had the cable guy scheduled to come and fix the cable b/c our internet goes out all the time, and he was an hour early. Then I remembered I had to schedule doctors appts for my son before he goes away to school, and time to pull out the fridge and get that dust out from behind there…

How do you make it all work?!

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Update on Joyce:
I went ahead and called Joyce this morning since I had not heard anything. She had left me two text messages which I didn’t get since I don’t have that capability on my phone. Family was with her until she came back from surgery then they went back home (three hour drive). Today is the worst day pain-wise. She hopes to go home Friday. Kendra is doing okay.

    Reply

    kim–i came on to see if you’d heard-thank you for this update. still praying!

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    Glad to see Joyce came through her surgery and that family stayed until she came back from surgery. I’ll keep praying. Hope her pain eases soon. Too bad she has to be alone through this.

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    Thanks Kim for the update on Joyce, was looking to see if there was anything. Been praying and thinking about her.

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4. How would you rate Jonah’s apology and why?
Jonah’s sin cost others a great deal in wares that had to be thrown overboard and according to the KJV the ship was like to be broken. And, he sure took his sweet time admitting he was the reason for the great tempest. I am not impressed with Jonah who didn’t say how sorry he was or ask forgiveness.

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I wasn’t going to bring this up here, but with what Dee said above, I am just going to and ask for prayer. As I’ve shared a million times, I struggle to forgive with the offender doesn’t seem sorry. I tend to err on the side of letting them know when they hurt me–and I do think my desire, at least some of the time, is just for restoration. But here’s the hard part–when the person responds with basically “you are just too sensitive”–either said with their words or actions. It’s hard for me when I’ve been hurt, I’ve tried to let the person know, and they don’t own it or apologize. Then what? They want to move on and act like all is well, and I still have this unresolved pain. This is with two of my sisters. So much times has passed, and what’s sad is we are all believers, but this forgiveness thing–I just think it’s a bad weed in our family–like whatever that kind is that just comes back over and over. Oh, I am venting–so sorry. So I proceed in this case (no mental illness involved) with love and grace, and no wall? Just so hard for me–I’m a open book kind of person, my feelings easily show–would make a horrible actress!Thanks for prayers

    Reply

    oh this one above is one i wish i could delete but don’t want to cause all that messed up order on the blog–so y’all just ignore my venting ;) I know what i need to do, and have been acting in love towards them–it’s just I love open honest “real-ness” and it’s hard to get that in situations like that…sorry–this is one of those days I start to “talk” with you friends, and I don’t want to do that–venting and rabbit trailing! back to the study ;)

      Reply

      Elizabeth, it helps to understand background sometimes :) I too have trouble with spewing too much information (not that you have done that). It’s just that we are close here and sometimes prayer is very personal, however we need prayers warriors! It’s a delicate balance. You are an intelligent person to recognize this about yourself. Please don’t stop filling us in! I care about you :) if we don’t have time to read everything (not speaking for anyone else, just myself) then I’m sure we just won’t, but someone here will and they will be blessed by it all. I appreciate any prayers from anyone. I enjoy praying for you too.

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    Nothing wrong in asking for prayer about complicated hurts in relationships, elizabeth. Most of us have similar issues with relationships, I am sure. It is hard to love, forgive and move on, especially when the other does not seem to care about our pain. I personally am glad that you share so openly with us.

    By the way, I don’t think I told you how much I like your new gravator. Did you say your son did it? I love his sense of colour and vibrancy – it’s joyful!

    Reply

    Elizabeth I agree with Diane, I’m glad you shared and asked for prayer. I am praying for you. I still struggle with forgiveness towards my sister-in-law and feel like giving up even having a relationship with my brother because of her. So I can certainly understand your pain. I was flipping channels this morning and the 700 Club was on…I never watch it but this beautiful woman caught my eye and they had her book up on the screen called “Love is Not Supposed to Hurt”…now I know love can hurt..but she was in an abusive marriage and talked about how she tried to stay but in the end God let her leave. She talked about forgiveness and how it doesn’t mean forgiving will automatically makes this person safe for you. Just some interesting thoughts. She is a journalist on CNN. Anyway…now I’m rabbit trailing but just know you are not alone!

      Reply

      Laura, Diane, Anne–thanks for such generous grace! our group never ceases to amaze me–such a gift

      Reply

      I feel for both you and Elizabeth. It is so hard to have painful relationships right in the family.

      I guess I disagree with the woman on 700 club– though I didn’t hear her as you did — so might be misunderstanding. I think real love is supposed to hurt. I think that’s the kind of love Christ gave and we are called to give as well. Real forgiveness means suffering, and real love means costly sacrifice. But I didn’t even see her testimony!

      I’m with Linda Strom now – -the woman I so admire with her work with incarcerated women. Your brother happened to call me when she was just coming in the door and she did a little dance he was out. :-) She said, “Oh — this will be a wonderful but very hard time for him — and he needs all the rallying and support of his family.” I wondered if that was a Word for you. I don’t know — but I thought I should pass it on. I’m not saying you don’t need boundaries with your sister-in-law.
      I love you, Anne. You know that, I so hope!

        Dee this was so good and really helps my perspective shift–I just read Joni E. Tada’s devotional from a few days ago–and it was on these same lines. She gave “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” I Peter 2:21
        And ended with this “God desires our intimacy, but He shares that intimacy on His terms. And those terms require for us to in some way suffer as His Son suffered. The next time you get hit broadside with a bruising disappointment, remember the example of Jesus Christ. God is asking you to follow in His steps.”

        I’m praying for you too Anne–you have a uniquely difficult challenge given to you

        Thanks Elizabeth.

        As I read Anne’s again — I see the woman was in an abusive relationship. I am certainly not saying to stay in an abusive marriage. I certainly didn’t mean that! Just, as Joni said, that loving anyone well will lead to suffering.

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6. Share a recent time when after genuine repentance you found “love beneath the waves.”

I’m having a hard time to think of something recent…maybe I need to stop and repent for my unknowing sins! I know I’m always amazed at how God remembers are sins no more when we repent of them. We are the ones who keep bringing them back up, not God. I think it’s hard to forgive ourselves, sometimes harder than forgiving someone else.

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7. Read Joshua 7:1-9 Following the tremendous victories of chapters 1-6, there is defeat. Describe the defeat and the reason for it.

The Israelites attacked the men of Ai, who were few in number, but were still able to defeat the Israelites as they chased them down when Israel backed down. Israel retreated after losing 36 men.

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6. Share a recent time when after genuine repentance you found “love beneath the waves.”

God seems to be messing with my vacation plans. The friends that we always vacation with are probably having their daughter’s family move in with them temporarily (daughter, hubby, and three kids, including a newborn) because of the new job move. This means that any time spent at their house (1 week) now becomes chaotic and very unvacationlike. Although I haven’t said anything to my friend, because it is out of her control, I inwardly pouted and she sensed my withdrawal, asking what was wrong. It has taken me some time, but, when I asked the Lord to show me what was bugging me and He did. He has shown me that I have to give up my control of my plans and let Him take care of things. I have confessed my bad attitude to God, asked Him to change my heart and He has given me Jeremiah 29:11 again “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, Plans to prosper you … to give you hope and a future.” I now need to apologize to my friend and be willing to go with the flow of God’s plans, whatever they are.

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    oh diane, I’m just in awe of your maturity, your humility in this situation–truly offering it up at the altar. I just can only see myself squirming–I am really inspired by His work in your heart. That’s an amazing example.

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    So good, Diane.

    I think we as women particularly like to plan those special times, and it does hurt — but you responded in a godly way.

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9. A. What will God do when we face wilderness times if we do not back away?
I think this is my new favorite verse. I like the MSG for vs 14 only “”And now, here’s what I’m going to do:I’m going to start all over again.I’m taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I’ll court her.I’ll give her bouquets of roses.” But the MSG misses the best part in verse 15—the reference to the Valley of Achor. When I read that yesterday after having read Joshua, wow. How can it not bring tears.

I keep thinking more on these verses. I’m probably over stretching here. In Joshua, God takes all the tribes together, He calls out Achan and his family, he destroys them. Like He is calling Israel back to Himself, purifying her, and then the door of Hope. The death of Achan brings renewed life to Israel. For Jonah, his wilderness was the whale’s belly. It’s a place where He speaks and wants to make sure we finally hear.

When He calls us into the wilderness—its not to hurt us. It’s to bring us away from all the distractions, to pull us close so we can finally hear Him. He wants to remind us Who He is, and help us see the futility of our idols. And the death of our idols, brings us to our door of hope. The burning up of what we thought we had to have, allows us to freely hold the only thing we’ll ever need.

B. How have you experienced this?
For the first time in a health trial, I haven’t tried to run away from Him. I’ve had some moments of real fear, but He has lured me back each time, turning my eyes to the door. And I think that’s key for me—in the wilderness, the door is hard to see. I imagine a dark wilderness and a vine covered door…one that cannot be found without Him.

It is called the door of HOPE. That part, that He uses that word- is the part that brings my tears. And my tendency to run, has become more of a step away and then a run back to Him because I know He will never leave me—and only He has the keys to that door! He has shown me things in this—about what I thought was so important to me, more subtle, “respectable” sins—but things I had put before my love of Him. Like that question people ask—what would you grab in a fire?—I didn’t really know how high a price I put on health until it felt threatened by fire. But He has helped me to see that all I really don’t want to ever lose in His presence, and He promises I can’t.

I praise Him because when I remember my pain in the beginning, it is not near as bad and I have hope I’ll continue to get better—my Door of Hope. And the renewed vineyards, a reminder that the time in the wilderness was not His forgetting about me, but almost the opposite-? His wanting to draw me in closer, to a deeper sense of His love for me. Thank You Jesus.

C. What promise is given in verse 15? What do you think this means?
He will give back what was lost. When I looked back at verse 12, and see what was lost, verse 15 is the promise of restoration, renewal.

    Reply

    I just love your imagery here. ” a dark wilderness and a vine covered door…one that cannot be found without Him. It is called the door of HOPE.” So true!

    Reply

    I to like the beginning of MSG — but yes, need valley of Achor. Kathy Troccoli called it the Valley of Ache.

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8 C. How does Achan respond? (verse 20-21) How does this evidence genuine faith?

20 And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”
Achan showed genuine faith by complete confession.

D. What happened to Achan? How could this be “love beneath the waves” for Christ’s bride?

He was stoned with his entire family and belongings, including the things he had stolen, in the Valley of Achor. His judgment showed that God takes sin seriously. It has to be punished.

E. Can a believer sin terribly, lose his life for it, and still be in heaven? Explain.

I was wondering about Ananias and Sapphira here. They were Christians in the early church. They sold property and decided to give some of the money to the church, but lied about it, wanting to appear more generous than they were. (See Acts 5:1-11.) Peter confronted them and they both dropped dead. The result was great fear fell on all the church. The story is quite similar to Achan. If they were believers, then they are in heaven.

F. How do you think Achan’s death affected the body of believers?

Fear of God’s holiness is important in understanding who God is.

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9 A. What will God do when we face wilderness times if we do not back away?

He will speak tenderly to us and make the wilderness a door of hope. This reminds me of Psalm23:4.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
I think the psalmist term the valley of the shadow of death includes all of life. Through life there are many dark valleys but I don’t have to fear because God is with me and comforts me.

B. How have you experienced this?

There have been many, many times that I have been in deep shadow and God has rescued me and comforted me.

C. What promise is given in verse 15? What do you think this means?

God promises to make the Valley of Achor into a door of hope and will cause Israel to love God as in the youthful days of love. The fact that God took the Valley of Achor (associated with judgment of Achan) and remade it into a door of hope is awesome. It certainly does seem to indicate that God was showing his forgiveness of Achan.

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    Love your answer to C.

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8. Read Joshua 7:10-26

A. Summarize what God told Joshua in verses 10-15.

God told Joshua to find the person who stole the devoted things. That person needed to be destroyed because they broke a covenant with God. Otherwise, God could not be with them anymore.

B. Joshua could have told Achan that he had brought great trouble and grief upon God’s people.

What does he say instead? (verse 19) Comment.

He tells Achan to speak the truth; don’t lie. Give glory to God. It is difficult to admit when you have done wrong because you know you will have to suffer the consequences, which may be in great detriment to you.

C. How does Achan respond? (verse 20-21) How does this evidence genuine faith?

Achan admits his sin. He tells what he took and where he put it. This shows that he loved the Lord because by telling of his crime he would suffer the consequences. He probably knew what those were also.

For Narnia fans, feel free to note the parallel between Achan and Eustace.

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8. Joshua gives him a chance to repent on his own before being accused, he lets him be honest. there was a lot of blood on his hands, Im sure the families of the dead men were very angry. he responds with a total confession and yet he is still faces the consequenses of his actions, but i believe when we get to heaven he will be there.
Im sure seeing this sobered everyone and made it even more clear that God is God and we need to listen to what HE says.
love the flower through the ashes, great picture of beauty in the midst of pain.

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    “I’m sure the families of the dead men were very angry.”
    That certainly gives us the weight of his sin.

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9. Read Hosea 2:14-15

A. What will God do when we face wilderness times if we do not back away?

He will draw us with His beauty and will tenderly minister to us during the turning, and be a balm to our hurting soul.

B. How have you experienced this?

Oh yes, but I won’t repeat it again.;-) It was during the times I was bound by my comfort and approval idols and He drew me to Him and I gazed on His beauty in Scripture, the Cross, creation and saw how He moved in others to minister to me-yes, He came to me this way. It is so sweet He reminded me of this-so sweet that He(His Word)is indeed alive. :-)

C. What promise is given in verse 15? What do you think this means?

He will give her back her vineyards and make the valley of Achor a door of hope and she will respond like when she came out of Egypt.

God quickened me here so this might be long. :-)

God will restore us-It is a process and may involve wrestling with Him in the beginning as it did with me, and we may stumble, but He is powerful, He is GOD and His restoration will make us stronger in intimacy than even before we went into the wilderness, yet I’m still a 6 year old!

This is the beauty of Him making my Achor a door of hope-He took what Satan used to try to destroy me, and also to destroy God’s glory, and completely turned it upside down using it to take me higher with Him-His love compelled me to respond with praise and adoration, and along with it a dread of going into the wilderness again-not because he will forsake me, but because I don’t want to treat Him like dirt again. I do know because of my natural bend away from Him I could-It breaks my heart to think I have forsaken him, but I have and realize I do even on days I am not totally in the wilderness. I must be on guard and in His Word-seek His counsel in others when trials hit. I don’t want to go inward, but bend toward Him and really it isn’t about me it is about Him and this will bring Him glory-others will see Him.

This passage is really romantic- not in an infatuation sense, but in a marital sense. God could have left it at Him restoring Israel but he included-”And she will respond like when she came out of Egypt.” I am learning how he desires that!

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    Love love love this quickening to you, Rebecca.

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5. Read Jonah 1:13-17 and find the beginning of “love beneath the waves.”
“Now the Lord provided” Isn’t that just like God to give a second chance when we blow it. This is love beneath the waves

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A. Summarize what God told Joshua in verses 10-15
I hit the wrong key and lost all my answers to this section so I will briefly re-do.

B. Joshua could have told Achan that he had brought great trouble and grief upon God’s people.
He called him son treating him as a brother. Told him to tell the truth. I am surprised Joshua didn’t remind him of the men that lost their lives because of his sin.

What does he say instead? (verse 19) Comment.
Give glory to the Lord and tell the truth.

C. How does Achan respond? (verse 20-21) How does this evidence genuine faith?
He admits the sin and tells where he hid the items. He wants to be right before God.

D. What happened to Achan? How could this be “love beneath the waves” for Christ’s bride?
He and his family had to be killed and all the possessions were burned.

E. Can a believer sin terribly, lose his life for it, and still be in heaven? Explain.
The Bible says the believer’s sins are under the blood of Jesus therefore Jesus has paid the penalty in advance for the true believer which makes hin an heir to heaven at the time of death.

F. How do you think Achan’s death affected the body of believers?
It would be a reminder of the wrath of God. It also shows the seriousness of our sin.

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A. Why did the men know that Jonah had sinned? Because he had told them he was running from God

B. One definition of sin is “running from God.” Where are you tempted to run from God?
From believing He loves me in a deeper life changing sort of way

C. Read Jonah’s response to the question of the sailors. What is admirable about his response?
He was willing to face death, the rest were in danger because of him.

D. What constitutes a good apology? A heartfelt request for forgiveness that changes ones behaviors going forward

A bad one? A sorry sort of attempt to shift the blame onto the one who has been hurt, or at least deflect the blame from the giver of the insincere apology

4. How would you rate Jonah’s apology and why? Very good, I suppose though that he could have prayed for the sailors, perhaps he did, he seemed sure that throwing him overboard would stop the storm

5. Read Jonah 1:13-17 and find the beginning of “love beneath the waves.” I suppose it was loving that God did stop the storm when Jonah was thrown overboard, God certainly loved him by providing the fish to preserve his live, to give him another chance at obedience

6. Share a recent time when after genuine repentance you found “love beneath the waves.” The first thing to come to mind is my marriage. We have had some exceptionally difficult chapters in our story together. There have been times when I was so certain that I would be better off on my own, when staying put & yielding to my husband’s God given authority was extraordinarily hard. Sometimes the words “God hates divorce” were the only thing that kept me in it. I have had arguments with God ending with asking Him to change my heart in this area. He has changed us both, Bill and me, we are not perfect, but we are okay with each other, we are both so thankful that we didn’t have to walk through our recent troubles as enemies. God has truly blessed my obedience & repentance about my willful attitude & desire for control in this area of my life.

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    Shifting the blame to the one who has been hurt — wow — that is a very penetrating definition

    The fact that you and Bill have walked through what you have been through is a monumental tribute to how your obedience in the past led to grace later

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    love this!!

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A. Summarize what God told Joshua in verses 10-15

He commands Joshua to get up, He informs him of the sin among the people, that it keeps God from being with the whole nation, that it must be dealt with. He tells them to purify themselves and remove the ‘consecrated things’ (The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them) from among them.
He outlines how to determine the offender and decrees his destruction

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B. Joshua could have told Achan that he had brought great trouble and grief upon God’s people.
What does he say instead? (verse 19)

He Asks him to bring glory to God by confessing, he calls him son.

C. How does Achan respond? (verse 20-21) How does this evidence genuine faith?

He admits his sin, naming it & bringing it out into the open, he blames no one else

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D. What happened to Achan? How could this be “love beneath the waves” for Christ’s bride? He was stoned and burned and made into a monument. Who were the “them” referred to? Was his family stoned too?
The love for the church come by showing them that God takes sin seriously, He wants all of the devotion of His people for Himself

E. Can a believer sin terribly, lose his life for it, and still be in heaven? Explain. Yes, I think people pay heavy prices for their earthly choices all the time who are believers. That we have the grace of God for eternity does not mean we will suffer no consequences for our actions here on earth.

F. How do you think Achan’s death affected the body of believers? Profoundly I should think. They would have begun to fear God, and to set themselves apart from sin.

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Keller emphasizes this verse: My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise to him. (Joshua 7:19) Pray through this for yourself, for your life today.

10 Share your notes here.

These are the areas God quickened me in Tim Keller’s sermon:

What really stuck out to me and convicted me is this. When a storm hits it is easy to think, what did I do to deserve this-or my life is so horrible with one trial after another. Storms aren’t designed to punish me but to help me-to draw me out of myself and on onto Him-to show me I am weak in the areas I think I am strong and I have these areas! Keller said this: “No one gets what they deserve. God has given you all of your life-he has created you and you owe him every ounce of your love and look how you treat him-every day you run your own lives you don’t give him lordship. You make all the decisions of your life and they hinge on your own joy, your own satisfaction and glory- MAJOR CONVICTION TO ME!! If God gives us what we deserve we would all be gone in a blink but he doesn’t do that, He is a God of mercy, he will never give us what we deserve-MAJOR ENCOURAGEMENT TO ME-Makes me not want to live for myself!! Jesus says therefore repent lest ye parish.”

This was music to my ears, but there is a dread though with it! Weird I know but I don’t believe that God is aloof with storms or somehow distant, because He loves us so much, and knows us so well-He intervenes with storms-and He knows exactly what we need to have our eyes opened when we think we are in control-then it is up to us to respond. I loved it when Keller said this about Jonah: “God set him up for failure-put him in a situation where he had to fail. God knew it was the only way he could show jonah the major faults in his soul.”

And then when Keller said this: “God called jonah to fail because jonah wouldn’t be competent as a preacher until he failed at it utterly. Until Jonah failed and saw how weak and stupid he was, until he saw the idols of his life-racial superiority etc..until that he wasn’t competent to preach on sin and grace and therefore he failed. The Bible teaches until you see you aren’t competent to run your life, you aren’t competent to run your life. This is an intervention of God.”

Humility-well I think the very definition isn’t focusing on yourself and putting yourself down, it is thinking of Him more than yourself, and others more than yourself. It is basically this: “The way up is down, the way to live is to die to yourself, the way to find yourself is to stop finding yourself but to find Him, the way to rule is to submit, the way to freedom is to give yourself to him completely. Jesus gave himself utterly to the father in obedience and was exalted to the top. Jonah threw himself completely into the justice of God and found down there God’s gracious provision.”- Keller.

It is this by Sara Edwards: “Sara Edwards wrote her daughter as soon as Johnathan Edwards died in his mid 50’s. ‘My dear child what shall I say? a Holy and good God has covered us in a dark cloud. Oh that we might kiss the rod he lays on our back and not complain. God has done it, He has helped me adore His goodness that we have had your father for so long, but the Lord Lives and he has my heart.’- Keller

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    That quote from Sara Edwards…she must have been something

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      Oh, I know. thinking of memorizing this and the Keller quote about the way up is down.

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D. What happened to Achan? How could this be “love beneath the waves” for Christ’s bride?

Achan was stoned to death along with his entire family, cattle, and household. It seems harsh to me; why couldn’t he just be punished? Why did he have to die? But then again thus is why my children have issues. I guess I shouldn’t have been lenient at times. I should have been harder on them. I don’t see “love beneath the waves” when the guy dies. I suppose it teaches the others to not covet or lie to God, but what a price.

E. Can a believer sin terribly, lose his life for it, and still be in heaven? Explain.

I guess my answer here should be “yes.” Achan believed in God so I suppose that he would be allowed in. He was apologetic for his actions and he gave the devoted things up. He didn’t whine (that we know of) and he accepted the consequences accordingly. He showed his love for the Lord with his actions and God rewarded him.

This gets back to the people who commit heinous crimes and at the end of their lives accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I don’t really understand this. What makes us do “right” in our lives if we can just sin, accept Jesus, and then all is well? I wonder if some of these people are authentic, or are they just saying they accept Christ at the end so they think they will make it to heaven. Why should someone who only believes for a day be “equal” to someone who believes for a lifetime? These are rhetorical questions for me…..I know the answers already. However it still bothers me somewhat.

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    Laura-dancer, I thought the same way that you did, but once I realized the truth to the statement that it is not by ANYTHING that we’ve done, but only the blood of Christ it no longer bothered me. Even if a person was “good” for most of his life or was only saved for a minute after a life time of sin. Compared to eternity our entire lives are just a molecule compared to the universe. The only moment in your life that counts is the moment you accept Christ as savior. None of us can wait until the end of our lives to accept Christ because we don’t know when our lives will end.
    I realized that it was the sin of pride in me that kept me thinking that somehow I deserved heaven more than someone else, because of how I lived my life.

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    Laura dancer, Dawn said it all so well. I struggled a lot with this because I like things to be “fair”–and Keller said something that turned that upside down for me. He said what is unfair, is that any of us our saved–God is “unfair” in our favor–because all of us deserve death. In Reason for God he says “God’s grace does not come to people who morally outperform others, but to those who admit their failure to perform and who acknowledge their need for a Savior.”
    It is mind-boggling, it IS against our culture, and for some of us, against our nature–but that is God. None of it really makes sense-it isn’t logical. Grace is completely undeserved for all of us.Jesus died the death we ALL should have died–to give us the life none of us deserve. It’s radical–but that’s grace.
    I think you probably “know” all of this, as you said–it’s a bit rhetorical for you–but for me, it was when I stopped trying to fit grace into any definition that made “sense”–that I realized that’s the very beauty of it’s nature–it doesn’t make sense–thankfully!

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    You raise honest questions, Laura-dancer. “I wonder if some of these people are authentic, or are they just saying they accept Christ at the end so they think they will make it to heaven.” When I hear people say that they will wait until just before they die to accept Christ, I cringe. Do they think accepting Jesus is like buying a ticket to a park, that it is of no benefit to buy it early? Or do they think God isn’t really fair and they think he will ask too much of them while they are here on earth? Or something else. Like you, I think some of these death bed confessions are not authentic. But I realize I cannot know or judge. It is not the words a person says (like “I accept Christ” but the heart attitude in authentically turning to God). I also know of people who “walked the aisle” but never gave any indication afterward that God had entered and was changing their lives. In these cases, isn’t it “by their fruit you will know them”? God judges the thoughts and intents of the heart. We need to be very careful not to judge, or feel superior, and leave this mystery to God. Personally, I know of people who say they are Christians but I honestly wonder if they are. I need to pray for God’s work in their lives no matter how far they are from God at the moment.

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    Laura-Dancer,

    I won’t go into detail because I am sure you do know the answers, but I have struggled too-and your pondering is helping me. I want to make sure I am hearing you right. First, you want to know what is the point if we can just sin our whole lives and then at the end of our lives repent and turn and then be in glory with Him-why should someone who only believes for one day be “equal” to someone who believes for a lifetime. I am with you! I am so finite in my understanding of His Grace that I have to look at the cross. Let me know if I am off in my understanding of what you are saying. :-)

    I think some are authentic when they repent, but some aren’t whether in prison or not in prison. Just like the two thieves on the cross-one just wanted Jesus for what He could give him-take him off the cross, and the other truly repented and wanted to be with Jesus, and Jesus told him that today you will be in paradise with me.

    What helps me is to remind myself that we are all equal-all deserving His wrath-His justice yet Jesus took it all on for us. Since our salvation isn’t merited it doesn’t matter when we come to know Him.

    You have made me ponder further. I was thinking that for those of us who have walked with Him a long time, our obedience is only because of His clothing us in His righteousness. Our obedience over time doesn’t make God accept us any more or any less than the one in prison who believes on his deathbed. We bring Him great delight when we grow more and more in love with Him and our obedience is how we show Him we love Him, but it doesn’t change the fullness of the love He poured out on us when we came to know Him. Just like the person who believes on their deathbed-He pours out the fullness of His Grace on them and it is no more or no less Grace than what He has given us.

    I also started thinking that His sovereignty is a mystery and with each one of us His timing is different. The thief on the cross is a great illustration of this as well.

    I am not sure I have helped, but your pondering really is great!

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    Laura Dancer, Wow..I was writing mine while everyone was posting theirs and after reading them all I SEE A COMMON THREAD! God is ministering to us all-such wise answers. God is here, and He is awesome. :-)

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      Very cool and thank you everyone! I like intelligent discussion about important things and this is awesome! It makes me think from a different perspective…plus I really want to understand the Bible!

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F. How do you think Achan’s death affected the body of believers?

It scared the bejeebez out of them!!!!

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A. What will God do when we face wilderness times if we do not back away?
He will woo us to Himself, treating us with tenderness, turning our sorrow into dancing. We will enjoy Him like in the beginning when we were first saved.

B. How have you experienced this?
Yes, this is the best part of being saved – covenant relationship with Him. Being in synch with the creator of the universe.

C. What promise is given in verse 15? What do you think this means? When we live without Him the devil is able to steal from us but here He is giving back what was lost. He gives beauty for ashes making our life more meaningful and using the bad things to help others.

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5. Read Jonah 1:13-17 and find the beginning of “love beneath the waves.” -for the other sailors it was the calm sea after they threw Jonah overboard and for Johan the love beneath the waves was the assigned fish that God sent his way to swallow him.

6. Share a recent time when after genuine repentance you found “love beneath the waves.” – I can remember 2 instances when I found “love beneath the waves” I prayed after I got divorced and asked God to forgive me for not being a good wife and that I wanted to be married and after 10 years of being a single mom, the Lord brought to me a great guy who I am now married too. He is loving and kind and faithful and a very hard worker and good provider and most importantly a believer in Jesus Christ. The 2nd is when I kept praying and asking God to show me what I did to make a co-worker keep ignoring me even though I continued to say hi and good-bye to her. I wanted to give up trying, and did for a bit but than started to acknowledge her again and she now is also saying hi, goodbye, and even talking to me. I just don’t like when people are at odds with each other whiter me and someone else or people that are close to me, it just hurts to see the distance between people who deep down love and need each other.

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    Love your coworker story — so applicable to us — to love when we are not loved, and how love is so irresistable…

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I did not get to write while listening, so these are my thoughts of how the sermon impacted me.

We all have unique ways of running from God, but we all do it. Sin is running away from God and grace is His running after us. God usually intervenes in our life with a storm to get our attention. And like it was with Jonah, He asks us to do something we are not equip to do—something we will fail at, because this will show us how flawed we are in our soul. We have based our life on our own goals, on getting that one thing that will make everything better. His intervention is our of love. Sometimes its subtle—He lets us get what we think we have to have, and we realize it wasn’t enough—we’re still empty.

How do we react when the storms hit? Do I say ‘I don’t need this, I don’t deserve this…You don’t care about me…’ or do I repent. Repentance brings humility, brings sweetness. I loved the Sarah Edwards example—oh to be soft, tender at heart in the face of such loss. Her strength? She knew who she was.

I’ve been in a storm that feels a bit like the whale of a belly and I have caught myself a few times just wanting OUT—enough already! The sailors just wanted out, no repentance. So today, when I listened for the 3rd time, I heard something different. The ways out of a storm is not to focus on my trouble, my struggle, or even my sin—the way out of my mess is to get my eyes off my SELF and on HIM. Look at Him. See what He sees, hate what He hates, love what He loves. When the storms come, it can either shipwreck me or bring sweetness. I want the sweetness—to repent, to kneel, to put my eyes on Him alone, and in that there is freedom. In the heart of my storm, He will give me provision—if I give myself completely utterly to Him, I will remember who I am, and find the Love beneath the waves.

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    Your spirit is so beautiful here, elizabeth. “When the storms come, it can either shipwreck me or bring sweetness. I want the sweetness—to repent, to kneel, to put my eyes on Him alone, and in that there is freedom.” Sweetness. Me too. That is my heart’s desire.

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      diane–i just thanked Him for the way He uses you so often to encourage me–your timing is always so perfect, so of Him–your heart must be so in tune to His leading–thank you

      any new update on your daughter and kids? praying for you

        Elizabeth, you are kind. I certainly would like to be in tune with him, but I know many times I miss his whispers.

        Thank you for asking about my daughter. She seems to be doing much better. I took her out shopping (without kids) for her birthday this week. She just seems much more positive and happy. She was saying that she feels the Lord leading her to sing a song in church. She has sung before but not for a long while. The song she wants to sing is Laura Story’s Blessings. She also feels God wants her to give her testimony sometime. She laughed saying this is definitely out of her comfort zone. She is also encouraging her husband to become more involved in Bible study and other activities in church. As a mom, I am worried that there will be more crashes, but I praise God for this progress.

        That all sounds so hope-filled Diane, and yet I understand your concerns of the future. I do praise Him with you though for the progress and pray she will be strengthened through this time and more able to lean on Him when waves do come. You are doing so well leaning on Him through this and trusting Him to her–I can hear it in your words.

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I’m back. Oh how I want to read everyones comments, but must lie down. We got home today. I have to rest alot. HopefullyI will get stronger everyday. I prayed fopr everyone in general and God knows all your requests anyway, so I will have to continue this way for awhile. Everything went good, but Dr. said to Maurice if I don’t slow down, he will be making a wheelchair ramp for me. I’m scard, please pray for Kendra and I. I can hardly do anything now, but will have to do less. I love you all so much.

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    Welcome back Joyce! So glad you are home now and get to rest. I will continue to pray for you and I can so understand how you would be scared! Keep us updated as you are able, or perhaps sweet Kim can continue to keep us updated. Love you!

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    Oh Joyce — so glad you are back. PLEASE LISTEN TO YOUR DOCTOR.
    We love you and have been praying.

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    Yay Joyce! So good to hear from you. Please rest now. You just had major surgery and need to recover. Know that we are thinking of you and your family. It sounds like everyone made it through. Although it has been tough on Kendra, I bet she is learning from this situation. Does she want to wait on mommy hand and foot? How I would love to be there to see her kindness toward you. You are blessed with a daughter who loves you dearly. I will pray for you and your family.

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    Yay! So glad you are back. Glad all went well. Please rest and listen to your doctor. Praying you find someone reliable and loving to care for Kendra and you.

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    Love you too, Joyce. We will keep lifting you up for a full recovery.

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    oh Joyce, we’ve missed you so–just not the same around here without you! Praying for you all–

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So glad to hear from our JOyce!

Would love some of you to respond to Laura-dancer above. She is so growing — but like many of us, has struggled with both justice and grace…

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9.   Read Hosea 2:14-15

A. What will God do when we face wilderness times if we do not back away?

He will lure us back to Him so we are able to hope.

B. How have you experienced this?

Well, when there is no hope left there is only one place to go; to God. Yes, with my son John. I explained his story before; how I had no where to turn but to God. Now my son calls me and tells ms how much he loves me. He is a kind man. He is trying to be a better person. God helped us through a very difficult time and he will help us again.

C. What promise is given in verse 15? What do you think this means?

A promise of a gift where the “valley of achor (trouble)” becomes one of hope. God will see us through the hard times. He will be with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God!

 

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    For part A, I noticed many others here said God would lure with gentleness or kindness or something like that. He has never done that with me. It has always been when I am at my worst, when I had tried everything I knew of to help a situation and had no luck whatsoever. I then would realize (I guess I’m slow!) the only way to improve this situation is with God’s help. I turned to Him and had faith that He would take care of the situation. All I had to do is believe.

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      Just wondering, Laura – dancer, the very fact that you thought to turn to God in times of trouble IS God wooing you.

        So true, Diane.

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What is your take-a-way and why?

It is hard to pick one thing, but God is quickening me to focus on His Mercy. To have been given breath is a gift and to still breathe and wake up and see the sunrise while meeting with Him in the mornings is a small taste of what is yet to come-I don’t deserve this, but because of His Mercy He has given me each day of life so far and an unspeakable future face to face with Him. I want this to be burned into my soul. God has every right to strike me down in an instant-but He hasn’t because of the cross- and when my time comes to die, where will it’s sting be? To love Him Face to face without any sin in the way-I can’t imagine. 48 years of life is longer than what I deserve-He has blessed me with days, and the future to come-oh my!

His mercy covers me when I have days I fail to trust Him in the middle of a storm. I just don’t deserve Him-I don’t, but God gave His life for me and made me His despite me.

Even though the depths of His sacrificial love is a mystery, I can rejoice in it-He wants me to. Yes I don’t deserve it, but because I don’t deserve it, yet it is mine-I can rejoice! I need to grow in this because I can easily forget this too! Oh my, I am a mess-so glad He loves me anyway. :-)

I also can’t help but focus on the future-I think He wants me to. This isn’t in our study this week but really this life on Earth is here and gone so fast, and God sees time in a stream-I can easily be so short sighted going into myself, but He knows that and rescues me and extends more Mercy. I do find I am longing more and more for the future.

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Thoughtful responses from Dawn M. S., Elizabeth, and Diane to Laura-dancer’s penetrating questions up above a bit!

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10 Share your sermon notes here.

Sin is running away from God and grace is God chasing us down, hunting us down in love and intercepting our self-destructive behavior. You are not just a troubled person, a hurting person, not a self-sufficient person, but primarily and first of all a fugitive.

Every one of us has unique ways of hiding from God – unique habitual ways of running away. Until you know what yours are you can’t really grow as a Christian, as a person.

God called Jonah to do something that he knew he would fail at. God called Jonah to fail; he set him up to fail. The only explanation for that is that it was the only way to show Jonah the major structural flaws in his soul. Until he saw the idols of his life like his racial superiority and spiritual pride, he was not competent to speak on sin and grace.

The Bible teaches that until you see that you are not competent to run your life, you are not competent to run your life. This is an intervention of God. An AA intervention is when a bunch of friends get an alcoholic in a corner and confront him, telling him he has a tragic flaw which he can either admit it or die. Jonah is not as competent as he thinks he is. He needs to see that. God’s intervention with us is usually a storm. You are not in control of your lives. Admit it or die.

When storms come into our lives most of us act like alcoholics. You usually say “I don’t need this, God. Enough already.” That is the way an alcoholic talks. It takes sometime a lot to finally break through. An alcoholic will say “This is not fair”, to his friends who are intervening (breathing on his glasses). Yet all the criticisms are there in love.

It is not the storm that can turn you into a wise, deep person. Instead it is your response to the storm.
There are probably people in the room who would admit, Yes, I am a bitter person but it is because so and so treated me like this. My friends, so and so is the occasion for your bitterness but not the cause. It is your lack of forgiveness that is the cause. It is your response to the storm that will make or break you; that will make you much harder or much softer and wiser and deeper.

Sarah Edwards, when the great Jonathan Edwards died in his mid-50s, wrote her daughter and said, “My dear child what shall I say? A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud. Oh that we might kiss the rod he has lain on our back and not complain. The Lord has done it. God has helped me adore his goodness that we had your father for so long. But my God lives and he has my heart.” Where did she get such strength, such positive force of character, such a sweetness at a time like that? She knew who she was. She knew she was a creature, not a creator.

Do you really think that repentance is unhealthy for you? Think again. Until you get these truths in your heart, the world will be an awful place. Admit and you will see God’s grace everywhere. Hold on to an unrealistic version of your rights and you’ll live a hard and bitter life.

When Joshua confronts Achan, see how he leads Achan out of the problem. He says, ‘My son, give God glory and confess to him.”

The main thing is that you have robbed God of his glory. You have taken him lightly. You haven’t given him the center of your life, given him priority.Do you know what repentance is? It is finally to begin to think about something bigger than you, bigger than your problems.

Storms can shipwreck some people. Or they can give them a tremendous buoyancy of spirit, a sweetness, a wisdom and a depth.

Jonah says, I give myself utterly and completely to you. Do whatever is fair. Do whatever is right. Whenever you obey God in dark times and it looks like to obey him will lead you NOWHERE, and will lead to a dead end, and will lead to the end of your life, like Jonah, we will find underneath the waves a gracious provision. Are you going to like the Jonah of verses 1, 2, and 3 – running, angry and saying I deserve a better life than this? Or are you going to be like the Jonah of the end – humble yourself under his mighty hand that he will lift you up higher and higher?

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    Diane, your notes are excellent and really help me with the sermon for I came to so many takeaway points and before I can write them down there is more. It is a fabulous sermon.

    I am praying for your brother, you and the whole situation. How painful for you to be caught in his storm.

    Lord, I pray that You will give Diane wisdom and discernment as this opportunity approaches to see her brother. Would You begin, even now to work in his heart. Help him to see that he has been running from You for years and desire to humble himself before you. Help him to see the depth of Diane’s love for him and let her near. Help him to leave his bitterness and find Your provision, presence and love beneath the waves. Amen

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      Thanks for your prayer and encouragement, Anne. I appreciate it. This is what I have been praying as well.

      Glad you found the notes helpful. Sometimes when I post these long notes, I wonder if anyone finds them helpful. His sermons are so packed full of wisdom, aren’t they. I listen so much better when I take notes. I have a hard time not wanting to write everything down. I end up pausing the sermon and rewinding it a zillion times to get the notes. I know that not everyone can do this, but I just don’t want to miss anything important.

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    I appreciate your thorough note, Diane! I still haven’t listened to this one yet, now I can’t wait!

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Saturday:
What is your take-a-way and why?

There is much I could say here. I really appreciated the sermon and got a lot out of it but it is the personal application part of this lesson which has me pondering.

I want to be, as Dee says, a “good repenter, as humbling as it is, as hard as the consequences may be, for nothing will be more important to us than the sense of His presence. Resist and we “forfeit the grace that could be ours.”

I’m still pondering “When there is trouble in a horizontal relationship, Keller says it is always our move.” I am praying that God will show me clearly how to reach out to my brother (who lives 1500 kilometres away) who is angry with me and my father, blaming us for incidents long past that he never mentioned at the time, but now are so huge in his eyes that he is not talking to us. (I should say here that there had been simmering tensions of an obscure nature for many years, but we did not know why they were distant.) Suddenly last Fall, he and his wife lashed out in anger. He won’t even tell me specifically what he is mad about. Then refused to see his dad after his dad had already paid for air flights to visit, citing some unrealistic slight. He won’t answer his phone and has ignored any email apologies. I willingly admitted any insensitivity and criticalness of him on my part, but it seems that is not enough.

Now summer is coming and we are planning to go to visit friends who live in the same province as my brother. Should I ask to see him and arrange a visit, if he is willing? If he refuses, then I will be hurt again. What if he agrees and then lashes out in anger again? I am still hurt as well as feeling guilty, but see that I cannot wholly blame myself for his anger and unforgiveness. Should I defend myself at all? How do I protect myself and yet reach out at the same time? I know there are no simple solutions. I have been much in prayer over this issue, yet the way forward is not clear to me. I am praying that God will move in his heart and that he work in my life as well. I trust that God is working unseen to me. What is my move?

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    Lord, I lift up Diane to You–her relationship with her brother. Please give her wisdom about seeing him or not, and Lord, most of all, I ask that You would soften his heart, You would bring repentance and allow their relationship to be healed. We are asking for a miracle change–but I pray this in Your Name, for Your glory, Amen

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      Thanks for your prayer, elizabeth. It brings tears to my eyes. This brother issue is HUGE in my life, but it is complicated and I hesitate to mention it here. I really want God to become BIG to my brother. Although brought up in a Christian home and nominally a Christian at that time, he has not attended church for many years. He might not even say he is a Christian any more. He is angry at God, too, and I think that is a big part of the problem.

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What is your take-a-way and why?

What a beautiful lesson, Dee. My take away is a prayer.
God, I have robbed you of your glory. I have taken you lightly. I don’t consistently give you the center of my life and make you a priority. For this I ask forgiveness and turn my wicked heart towards you. May I say as Sarah Edwards,
“A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud. Oh that we might kiss the rod he has lain on our back and not complain. The Lord has done it.” May I say with gladness that I adore you, Father, whether I understand or not. Live in and have my heart. Amen.

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    Amen, Kim. Me too.

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Saturday:
What is your take-a-way and why?
I don’t mean to sound self-absorbed, but I feel like this lesson was exactly for me! This whole week I just feel overwhelmed by His presence, His teaching—even parts that were not what I wanted to hear, but needed to. I love this: “If our deepest desire is for God, then we will do what it takes to stay right with Him. We will be good repenters, as humbling as it is, as hard as the consequences may be, for nothing will be more important to us than the sense of His presence.” So when I don’t feel like apologizing or the offender’s apology doesn’t seem genuine “enough” for my usual standards, or when I’m tired of going back to my children and admitting my wrong—I ask myself—what am I really caring about? I know my deepest desire is muddy at times, but I also know I want it to be God. And that gives me the motivation to go. To go and make amends, to offer grace, to forgive, to embrace. I do it for Him. And then I get the reward of His presence—I get Him.

The wilderness—its not punishment—it’s an act of love. He pulls me away from all other distractions, He wants me alone, so I can hear Him. He talks to me, He reminds me His promises, His truth, that He has a purpose for all of my pain, all of the suffering—He will not waste it, He will use it to bring Himself glory. The way out of my storm—relational, physical, emotional… is not to focus on the storm and trying to get relief—but get my eyes off my SELF and on HIM. Go to Scripture, remind myself Who He is, and what He promised. And I have to stay there long enough to let it shift my thinking—until I can see the Door. Because as I hear Him, He points to the Door of Hope—my door of hope—that exists because of His grace, because of His mercy towards me. In the wilderness, I just have to close my eyes and see the door of hope is there. I love that part so much.

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    Your take away is so beautiful, elizabeth. Love this, “I have to stay there long enough to let it shift my thinking—until I can see the Door.”

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    Elizabeth,
    Your take-away is beautiful in every way. I love how you describe the Door of Hope, it encourages me to think there is one for each of us in whatever our situations – there is one for you, one for me, one for each one of us. That door is there because of His grace and mercy.
    I see in your words the “key” to that door – going to Scripture, “and I have to stay there lone enough to let it shift my thinking – until I can see the Door”.
    I’m so glad to know you, Elizabeth!

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      oh susan–you are such a blessing to me! i have missed you the last few days–been praying for you as you have come to mind so much. I love the hope in your words–that yes, He has a door for each of us, so thankful

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I am sorry to be absent this week. I have been doing the study don’t think my answers will be very helpful. I have not been feeling at all well. The ear doctor wanted me to take high dose Prednisone for my ear symptoms, even though there is no growth right now. I almost don’t want to talk to anyone because I am not thinking straight. I can’t seem to hold onto one thought long enough to finish it before another comes and carries me off and I have a very hard time understanding things. Tuesday I begin 4 day taper off and hope to be back to normal the following week.

I have very little peace about my oldest going to New York. If he goes I pray other living arrangements will become available, but I really doubt that. My friend says I should pray that he does not go. I don’t know about that because I want to leave room for the Lord to work. I am praying for love interest here. This leading came out of the blue and I think it may have been from the Holy Spirit. The funny thing is that after this encounter where I felt so led to pray, he showed sparks of interest. Something else wonderful that could happen is for a last minute acceptance to come from Carolina Law School (20 mins. away). That I am also praying for. Above all else I pray that he will boldly and diligently pursue his dreams, not being discouraged or faint of heart.

I have no news on Joseph’s neurological workup yet. I don’t even have an appt but it is in the works. I think I have been in denial about this. It is almost more than I can think about or process right now.

Joyce, I see that you are home and I am so thankful. I pray that you will be able to rest well and heal well. No wheelchair for you!

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    Lord, I lift up dear Anne to You–please put Your arms of protection around her. I pray the prednisone would work to bring healing and prevent any future growth. I pray You would protect Anne while taking the steroid, and grant her peace. I pray You would lead her oldest to the plans You have ordained for him before time, I pray You would make the way clear and he would follow You. Lord, I pray for Joey, that You would bring answers and healing for his foot. Thank You that You are always present, always listening, all powerful. In Your Name I pray.

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      Elizabeth, thank you for praying and thank you for your takeaway. It spoke to me deeply. The way out of the storm is through it to the Door. Love that. I think it is the love beneath the waves.

        He is the love beneath the waves, for Achan as well as for Jonah. And for us, no matter what happens.

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    So sorry you have been feeling so lousy, Anne. You seem to have a lot to deal with right now. Amen to elizabeth’s prayer. Hope you feel better soon and that you sense God’s loving arms in your storm.

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Thank you all so much :) I love you! I know this is all in God’s hands as I needed to quit helping Kendra so much and let her help herself. I’m getting a temporary gal and the plan is it teach her how to use the bathroom and dress herself and eat by herself..all big, big steps. But Kendra was not willing to learn these things from mom,(mom’s are suppose to just do it for them, you know!!)
So this is a great time for her to grow and learn. Pray for permanate help. Shanon (has breast cancer) wants to come back some time, but still doing chemo and not feeling good. Pray for this situation, as I need to get some help lined up now and I’m worried for her. It put’s me in a very bad spot. I don’t want to just leave her when her life is upside down either.
Laura I liked your question too! It’s been a hard day for mom, so sweet Kendra wants to bring me things I need, and to help me :) She is coloring mom picture’s and I tuck them in my bible:)
She sit’s by me, as I read and lies down by me, when I take a nap. She hold my hand, in the love seat. It is so precious I have a hard time not crying! She got the mail for me too! Maurice is cooking and bringing me everything and helping in every way. He is helping Kendra in all ways also. Lord, why do I deserve this love? It is only through your beautiful grace and blessing upon us and I can’t thank you enough. I have my family and friends (Thank you Kim) and my sister’s-in-Christ at my fingertips. It’s almost worth all the pain:)
Please pray for Kim as I don’t think she is sharing here, as she is so humble. They are moving the same time as unpacking for a week, the fireworks thing’s…soon. She is getting Kendra a black cat fireworks shirt for cost. Pray her headache’s DO NOT return.
I’m praying for all of you, new and older sister’s. God is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo Goooooooooooooooooooood (I’m not a night owl now!!…Goodnight, Praying for you, Anne!!)!!!!!

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    We will all pray for Kendra and for a new temporary gal for you, Joyce. You are loved here!

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    So wonderful to hear from you, Joyce. I will be praying for a permanent helper for Kendra and for you. So glad you have Maurice, Kendra and others to help you at this time.

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Joyce, this post has caused me to rejoice in the goodness of God to you, for your sweet girl and husband. So glad for answered prayer!

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4. How would you rate Jonah’s apology and why?

I’d give it a 10 out of 10, because it’s simply honest. He shoulders the blame, he takes responsibility. He’s truly sorry that the sailor’s lives are in danger because of him and he is willing to pay the cost of his sin to save them.

5. Read Jonah 1:13-17 and find the beginning of “love beneath the waves”.

I actually see the beginning of it in verse 12, when Jonah says to throw him into the sea, and it will become calm. How did he know it would become calm? It goes against logic to think that diving into a storm will bring calm. I’m relating this to the storms of life, which I try to get out of, run away from. Perhaps this is telling me that if I dive into them, there will be peace in the midst, there will be calm. It is in there that I will meet with God. The word “surrender” comes to my mind when they took Jonah and threw him in. Jonah didn’t resist. The beginning of finding love beneath the waves is to surrender to God. When Jonah did that, God sent the fish to save his life.

6. Share a recent time when after genuine repentance you found “love beneath the waves”.

This question convicts me. I’m really good at covering my sin, of explaining circumstances in a way that it makes me look better to others. I see that often I repent only half-heartedly, still clinging in many ways to my sin, to self-protection. I have to make myself look good, so I think. I’m often afraid of the consequences. But, I’m seeing that the worst consequence is not finding that “love beneath the waves”.

Something in Diane’s sermon notes stood out to me, “Do you really think that repentance is unhealthy for you? Think again. Until you get these truths in your heart, the world will be an awful place. Admit and you will see God’s grace everywhere.”

If Jonah had not admitted, the ship would’ve gone down, and all their lives perhaps lost. I dodge repentance because I think it’s the way to stay safe, but I see how wrong that thinking is. I’ve believed the lie that repentance is unhealthy for me in certain circumstances. The truth is repentance is God’s way for me to find love beneath the waves, every single time.

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I feel so much better today. Thanks to all of you for praying. I know that made the difference for me.

I just finished the last questions and they really blessed me. I would like to share 9b with you.

My most difficult time was when my mother became ill with dementia. I wasn’t very mature at the time but I did hold on to the Lord. I went through many emotions but anger at God was not one of them for He did speak tenderly to me, getting me ready. I grew up with some bitterness toward my mother but God had lead me into forgiveness before all of this happened. I am so glad that I obeyed Him in that because what ended up happening is that we had a sweet time of closeness during her last days. I will always remember it and in years to follow I received assurance that she is in heaven waiting for me. This is how my Valley of Ache became a gateway to hope.

I may be wrong but I wonder if the promise is that we will return to the joy we knew at salvation. I am tempted to look at that as a blanket promise for all believers but I don’t think it is for it depends on our response to the wilderness.

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Deep thought’s Anne…so glad your feeling better.

Thank to all for your loving comments and prayers…love you all!

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7. Read Joshua 7:1-9. Following the tremendous victories of chapters 1-6, there is defeat. Describe the defeat and the reason for it.

Joshua sent some men to spy out the city of Ai, to see what would be needed to take it over. The men returned, saying only a few men were in that city, so only about 3,000 men would be needed to defeat them. However, the Israelites were defeated soundly by only those few men of Ai; they even killed 36 men and chased the Israelites out of the city and pursued them.
The reason for the defeat is that Achan, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. The entire nation of Israel was held responsible for acting unfaithfully. God was angry at them and He was not with them in the battle.

8. Read Joshua 7:10-26.

A. Summarize what God told Joshua in verses 10-15.

God tells Joshua the reason for the defeat. Israel has sinned and violated God’s covenant by taking some of the devoted things. God says they have stolen, lied. God will not be with them anymore unless they destroy the person who has done this. Coming forward tribe by tribe, clan by clan, and family by family, man by man, God singles out the one responsible.

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B. Joshua could have told Achan that he had brought great trouble and grief upon God’s people. What does he say instead? (verse 19) Comment.

Joshua says, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and give Him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

Joshua does not come at Achan with angry words or railing at him. I note that he calls him “my son”. What this makes me think of is when a believer sins, he does not lose his sonship, his salvation, but the relationship with God needs to be restored. When Joshua calls him thus, I think it means Achan is still being treated as one of them. Joshua equates admitting the sin as giving glory to the Lord.

C. How does Achan respond? (Verse 20-21) How does this evidence genuine faith?

Achan confesses everything. He says he has sinned against God, and names the sin – first he coveted the beautiful robe, silver, and gold, and then he took them. He tells where they are hidden. His faith is genuine because he sincerely confesses and repents. He doesn’t make any excuses. He humbles himself and accepts the consequences.

D. What happened to Achan? How could this be “love beneath the waves” for Christ’s bride?

Achan was stoned to death, then burned. A large pile of rocks was heaped over his body which remained a visual reminder to all of what happened. This is really hard to see the love underneath. I’m guessing that as Achan went under the wave of stones, fell, and died, because his heart was clean from repenting and because of the Cross, in the future, God took Achan to be with Him.

E. Can a believer sin terribly, lose his life for it, and still be in heaven? Explain.

This made me think of 1 Cor. 11:29-30, where Paul says that some in the church were taking communion in an unworthy manner, and so many were weak and sick, and some had even died. I will say yes to this question. A believer can sin terribly, and the consequence may be he loses his life. He doesn’t lose his salvation; Jesus said that He would lose none of those the Father had given to Him.

F. How do you think Achan’s death affected the body of believers?

I’m sure it troubled them greatly and was not soon forgotten. The account was probably passed down from generation to generation as a warning. It would be a reminder of the seriousness of sin, that all sin is really first and foremost against God, and the consequences can be terrible.

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9. Read Hosea 2:14-15.

A. What will God do when we face wilderness times if we do not back away?

God brings up the Valley of Achor in this passage. The listeners knew the terrible lesson of Achan’s sin and what that valley represented. Yet God says He will make this valley which represents the worst possible consequence of sin – death, into a door of hope. Each of us has had or is having or will have a Valley of Achor in our lives, caused by our own sin, or by another person’s sin, or just an unexplainable wilderness time. If there was no God, there could never be a door of hope.
God promises to be with us in the wilderness times. He will speak to us there and give us hope.

B. How have you experienced this?

I remember a time when my own sin put me in the wilderness, yet I am so glad that God loved me enough to go after me and not let me go. I didn’t understand why I was there at first, but when I saw my sin and repented, God began to give me hope. The hope comes through confession and repentance and turning back to God.
I’m thinking that if Achan had denied his sin, he would have been stoned anyway, but there would not have been any love beneath the waves for him. His death could not have represented a future hope.

C. What promise is given in verse 15? What do you think this means?

God promises to make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. Perhaps God is showing the people a different way to think about what happened to Achan. Yes, he died, but his heart was right with God. He died submitting fully to God and there is the hope. If the people will turn their hearts back to God, not resisting, but submitting to Him, the best thing is that He will never leave them. I think it also is a foreshadowing of Jesus and the Cross, because that is the hope for all for forgiveness of sin and to be reconciled to God.

    Reply

    Susan, I love your answers here, especially “God says He will make this valley which represents the worst possible consequence of sin – death, into a door of hope.”

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