Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Reset Button

Today is the fourth day of week thirteen, reading the Bible through in a year.  Our scriptures today are: Joshua 5-8; Luke 15; Psalm 14.

At Antioch, our sanctuary's forty-year-old furnace system has been on the blink.  Pretty frequently, it just won't start.  The other day, a member of our Building and Grounds Committee took me back to our dark and spooky furnace room to show me what I needed to do.  Without benefit of a flashlight, he said, "I know you can't see what you're doing, but just reach around here and put your hand where I tell you to."

I thought, "This kind of thing only happens in horror stories."  But I didn't say that.  Instead, I said, "I don't think I can find it in the dark. Can you take my hand and put it on the button?"  So he did.  Travis put my finger right on the button and showed me what I needed to do.

And it turned out okay.  No horror movie.  No blood-curdling screams.  Only a reset button.  One push and she fired right up, generating heat for another day.

Does your life need a reset button?
In Joshua's story, we find the nation of Israel hitting the reset button.

After Moses died, Joshua led God's people into the Promised Land.  They crossed the Jordan by God's miraculous provision, and waited on the other bank for the Lord's instruction.  Before they could take Jericho, there were a couple of things they needed to do, in order to hit the reset button on their relationship with God.  The Lord had promised to see them through, but they needed to be faithful to Him in restarting their lives of obedience.  See, their fathers had sinned against God by worshiping the golden calf.  God had disciplined them by making them wait forty years before entering Canaan.  Now, the new generation was ready to take their parents' place.  But where their parents had been faithless, they needed to show themselves faithful.  They needed a reset button.

The first thing they did was to circumcise all the males who had not been circumcised during that forty year trek (Joshua 5:1-8).  The faithless generation hadn't engaged in this time-honored tradition of honoring God through sanctifying their children.  The new generation had to restart this custom, not for the sake of aesthetics but for the sake of obedience.

Next, they kept the Passover as a way of remembering God's faithfulness as He had led them out of Egypt (vv. 10-12).  They renewed their dependance on the blood of the Lamb who saves them from destruction.  When God saw that they were faithful in these two ways, God blessed them by giving them the green light to  go ahead with their invasion.  From that day on, no more manna was found.  The people would be forced to plow ahead, rather than relying on God's charity.

Hitting the reset button on their relationship with God was exactly what the people needed.  The result was that God gave them the victory on the battle that lay before them (Joshua 6).

Not long after their first victory, Israel knew defeat that they brought on themselves by their own communal sin (Joshua 7).  Israel hit the reset button one more time by dealing with that sin in their camp.  They couldn't ignore or avoid dealing with it, but had to come face to face with sin's serious repercussions.  After dealing with this sin, God once again showed them favor and gave them victory (Joshua 8:1-20).  Then, they hit the reset button once more by building an altar and renewing their covenant with God (vv. 21-35). 

Israel found out that not only is God the Lord of second chances--He's the Lord of third, fourth, fifth, and four hundred ninetieth chances as well.  Just like our church's furnace leaps to new life as soon as you hit the reset button, so God's forgiveness and restoration fill us with new life as well.  What's necessary is a repentant heart, a willingness to change, and a dependance on the blood of the Lamb--Jesus Christ, who saves us from our sins and gives us a fresh start.

Does your life need a reset button?  Have you let your relationship with God fall by the wayside?  Have you sinned, and need a fresh start?  Do you find yourself fumbling in the dark to find it?  Maybe you need a friend to do what Travis did for me--to take your hand and put it right on the button.  Find a Christian friend who can lead you to Jesus and to the new start He can bring to your life.  Let God restart your faith, and help you to walk in a new relationship with Him.

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