Trying to settle down
Joshua 5: 10-12
10 While the Israelites were encamped in Gilgal they kept the passover in the evening on the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho. 11 On the day after the passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. 12 The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.
Forty years of wandering. Homeless and stateless. Only a promise of milk and honey to keep you going.
And then, the crossing into Canaan. Was there something unsettling in the settling down?
Life's always been a precarious and unsettling business. Our own wee country’s history tells us that. Anyone who’s seen Outlaw King will recognise the cheapness of life in Bruce’s Scotland. The Highlanders of the 18th and 19th centuries became accustomed to forced eviction and emigration. Many of us are only a generation or two from the mud of Flanders or the beaches of Normandy.
Today’s world is no different. The ringing phone in the night. The unexpected email. The lover turning their back. The unreturned text to a friend. Our century gives us ever more ways to receive an unwelcome shock or the dreaded news.
We can feel sanitised from the cruel reality of our fallen world. Decent healthcare and growing prosperity since the Second World War can make the shock, when it comes, all the more difficult. Whether it’s an unexpected death; a feared for illness; a breaking relationship or an unexpected twist at work, we are not immune from the hammer blow of unwanted events.
But today’s reading tells us something very important and that is that God stands beside us whether we are in chaos or in calm and in the transition between the two.
Chaos will come - if it has not already visited - of that we can be sure. And in such times, we can feel cheapened or failures if we define ourselves by “that” job, or “that relationship”, or by our relationship to that departed loved one or by the physical prowess we no longer have.
But these things matter not to God. What matters is how we define our place next to Jesus. Knowing him as our friend and Lord is the rock which cannot be shaken. If we have that basis, we can be sure and certain of God’s love through the good times and the bad.
when we are uncertain or lost, remind us that we are yours and that in you we find our whole being. When we are tempted to value ourselves by how we look to the world, remind us that we are beyond all value in your eyes.
WEEK 5: Every day this week light a candle. Ask God to show you in the day ahead new ways you can bear the light of the Kingdom in your community.