Georges River Congregational Church Devotion from Pastor Haydn – Are We the Faithful Violin or a Solar Eclipse?
Sometimes when you’re going the Bible, you read something that seems so straightforward that you wonder why it’s even there. One example of this is Joshua 4:15-17. The text simply reads: And Yahweh said to Joshua, “Command the priests lifting the ark of the testimony to come up from the Jordan”, so Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up from the Jordan”. We might read that, wondering, “Well, yes of course. God told Joshua to do something and then he repeated it verbatim. Why did the narrator waste eight Hebrew words in verse 17 telling us that Joshua echoed God?”
That’s where we can so often overlook something so obvious and even glorious. Let’s slow this down: God didn’t need Joshua to tell the people what to do; He could have done that Himself. He could have asked someone else to do it. However, 4:17 demonstrates Joshua’s suitability to lead in one very revealing sentence. How so? In Hebrew, Joshua uses the exact same words as God’s in verse 16 (‘alu min ha-Yardain); he does not embellish or interpret them, which shows that he isn’t getting in the way. He is not repeating God’s words like a brainless parrot; he’s faithfully passing on instructions. Joshua isn’t just standing there doing nothing, but he’s not doing taking unhelpful initiative, like the moon blocking the sun in a solar eclipse. He’s ‘letting’ God run things.
Joshua is like a good instrument in the hands of an expert violinist: the musician never makes a noise from his own body. During the performance, the violinist is there (he must be), but he himself remains silent throughout. The violin ‘speaks’ the performer’s music aloud as soon as the bow hits the strings. If the violin gets in the way it will either be re-tuned, or dispensed with.
This begs us the question: are we honestly like Joshua with God? Very likely we are getting in the way when God tells us to do something. We can diminish His words by dismissing them or watering them down, only to avoid them – and then we wonder why God’s not powerfully at work in us and our walk with Him is so dull it puts us to sleep. Let us confess this, ask God’s forgiveness for it, and be praying and striving to have an obedient heart like Joshua.
God bless, Pastor Haydn.