July 2
‘Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.’ Hebrews 12:14
Bible reading: Joshua 7:1-13 (Go to the Bible passage)
‘Gott mit uns’ (God with us): these words were written on the belts of the German soldiers in the second World War, but they did not help them.
When God is not with us anymore, we can still pretend He is. We can adorn our walls with scripture-verses, or we can place an open Bible on an antique table with a burning candle next to it. But if the enemy is stronger than we are, if darkness invades the church till its innermost core, then the time has come to sober up and let go of all assumptions; to face reality. Sailing under false colors does not work anymore. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion, and he does not even need to search anymore for someone to devour.
Once, when I had spoken to a youth group, one of those young men said, ‘I think you are very pessimistic.’ I told him that - according to the Bible - the church should be a town on a hill, a lamp on a stand, a refuge for people in distress. I asked him, ‘Where is this church?’ Without hesitating, he said, ‘Such a church you will find nowhere.’ I replied, ‘Then you are more pessimistic than I am, for this church is to be found wherever the children of God sanctify themselves to fulfill this tremendous mission.’
The prayer of Joshua - after the defeat at Ai - was not exactly full of faith and courage. But still, it was a lot better than our usual lame shrugging when Satan has been victorious again. Joshua cried out to God. In great despair, not because of himself, but because of God’s honor, he asked, ‘What then, will You do for Your own great name?’
To such people God says, ‘Stand up! (…) destroy whatever among you is sinful!’

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