Nov16TueNovember 16, 2021
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JOSHUA 22:6-8 (ESV)
“Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, that you may not mix with these nations…or make mention of the names of their gods…but you shall cling to the Lord your God just as you have done to this day.”
CLINGING TO THE LORD
When Christian couples get married, it is common for the officiating pastor to quote from Matthew 19 at some point during the wedding. There we learn Jesus’ definition of marriage: “A man shall leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Mt 19:5). It is a definition, but it’s also a description.
A healthy marriage requires one to place some distance between previous child/parent relationships and focus new efforts upon connecting deeply with their spouse. God is greatly honored when husbands and wives continue habits of ‘clinging’ to one another throughout their married life.
As wonderful as marriage is, it’s important to remember that marriage is also an illustration which points to a greater truth – the relationship between Jesus and His people (Eph. 5:32). Jesus (the groom) clings to His people out of the abundance of His mercy, and God’s people (the bride) cling to Him as their Redeemer and King.
As we know, there is no infidelity on Jesus’ end. He is always faithful and true. But God’s people must make intentional decisions to ‘cling’ to the LORD. What does this look like? Joshua’s instructions to Israel give us some direction.
First, clinging to the Lord requires a desire to know and understand the Scriptures. Although there is some danger in loving the Bible more than God, we must recognize that one of the primary ways that God communicates His grace and truth to us is through His Word. Regular habits of reading Scripture and hearing the proclamation of Scripture help us cling to God. The Holy Spirit assists in this process so that the Word of God becomes “living” and deeply relevant.
Second, we must desire to put into practice the life which he has revealed. Joshua said, “Keep and do all that is written” (v6). Daily obedience helps us cling to God, much like daily actions of love help a husband and wife be unified.
Third, clinging to God also means that we ‘shake loose’ our connections to other allegiances. In Joshua’s day, this meant fully separating from the religious practices of the surrounding pagan culture (v7). For us, it means daily rejecting the “sin which clings so closely” (Heb. 12:1). We must reject sinful thoughts and actions in much the same way a married person must reject thoughts of adultery.
To summarize, clinging to God requires saying ‘yes’ to His Word, ‘yes’ to obedience and ‘no’ to sin. But that is not the sum total. Unfortunately, it is possible to be outwardly religious and still not cling to God. Sadly, the rest of the Old Testament demonstrates that lesson.
In addition to these, we must also treasure God as supremely precious. He must be our first and greatest love. As you go about your week, consider how you are intentionally clinging to the Lord. He is worthy of all of our affection.
Jesus, increase our love for you as we give you more of our time, attention, thoughts and actions. Help us, Holy Spirit. Amen!