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Get Up!

"And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?" Joshua 7:10

Israel had just suffered a defeat by their enemies and Joshua was really upset about it. Though he had cried out to the Lord in his distress, he seemed not to know the answers to the setback. Here, it is evident that God is not into pity parties, especially when the people He has chosen and given victorious promises, just lay down and quit. So, the Lord steps in and, as always, gives inspirational instructions which may include doing what we do not feel like doing, but ends up being for our good and His glory.

Let's personalize God's instructions to Joshua. Replace "Joshua" with your name and ask God to instruct you on how to deal with failure and defeat. Now, if you are not down and out and you feel as if you are sufficiently successful, you don't need to read this article. Just pass it along to a friend. On the other hand, if I can get a witness, we are on the threshold of experiencing God's grace and believing God as never before imagined. I know one preacher who has failed miserably and is not in any other position than face down. His name is Elder Randy Waters. That makes God's message to Joshua especially precious to me and what's precious from God to me, as your pastor, I want it to be precious to you as well.

Joshua and the Israelites had just defeated Jericho via the mighty hand of God as they obeyed His command on how to march around the walls and blow the trumpets. A little while later, a smaller army of the enemy sent the Israelites running for cover. My, how the tides of life can turn so quickly.

What happened? Sin is what happened! Achan had decided it would be okay to tweak God's command to destroy all of the enemy's stuff and he instead hid it in his tent. We can't hide anything from God though, so God is about to tell Joshua how to remedy the situation. Notice that what Achan did affected the whole congregation of Israelites. Are you aware that when you and I sin and try to hide it, the whole congregation at SPBC suffers. That's the way it is because the church is like a body. Every member is important and must function properly or else the whole body is weakened and hurts. Yes, my sin and your sin hurts ourselves, others and God.

Sin weakens and discourages and will eventually lead to death. That's why we have a Saviour. His name is Jesus Christ and He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He took our place on the cross of Calvary so that when we're flat out and face down we can look up and get up!

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3: 14,15

See, we are to look to Jesus not only when we're worshipping on the mountain, but when we're down in the valley and the wilderness. One of the driest wilderness experiences a Christian can have is to be in church and not feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. Lukewarm and even cold hearted worship will cause the fruit of the spirit to turn into a desert cactus.

God tells Joshua to look at something he could not see, to do something he did not feel like doing. In other words, God wants him to use his faith. Faith always pleases God and he knows that if we 'faith it' we can 'make it.' Every believer has faith and it is to be used to get up from face down frowns to heads up crowns. The very gift of faith is a hint that you will want it, that at certain points and places you will especially require it, and that at all points and in every place you will really need it. Faith is not a magic drug, or a spiritual anesthetic: it is the victory that over cometh the world by doing battle with it.

Get up means STAND UP! The implications in the text is "Joshua why are you lying there with your face down, stand up please." The entire theme and cause of the Christian in the world is influence. In other words, God made you different so that you can make a difference. And to make a difference that matters, you must stand because if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything. One of the most important questions that the Christian faces today is "How to follow Jesus in this modern, sophisticated society?" Why we try to complicate something that is so simple is just too human. Following Jesus means we listen to and obey His words (Just what Achan did not do). It also means we deny self and take up our cross as we follow Him.

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock." Matthew 7:24,25

Much of the timidity and faithlessness of Christians today is the result of not honoring the word of God. Worship can be cold and put us on our faces when the preacherís personality or the type of music is more important than the hearing and obeying of the truth of Godís word. The word of God is called the sword of the spirit in Ephesians Chapter six and the word is one of the six pieces of spiritual armor given by God for the purpose of, you guessed it, standing.

"Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Ephesians 6:11.

From Josiah to Nehemiah to Pentecost, the Bible tells us when the word of God is taken seriously and personally, God's people get up. Often, though, we just lay in our burdens and wallow in our complacency without realizing that we're stuck in cheap grace. We're not standing because we'd rather lay in the shade of forgiveness without repentance, baptism without discipline, and communion without confession. The word of God will convict us but will also comfort us. We need to be bold sinners in the sense that we know that we are sinners, not that we like sin, but that we realize our desperate case and genuinely appreciate salvation by grace and so we stand up for Jesus. The third stanza in the hymn "Stand Up For Jesus" says,

        "Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone;
        The arm of flesh will fail you, Ye dare not trust your own:
        Put on the gospel armor, And, watching unto prayer,
        Where duty calls, or danger, Be never wanting there."

Richard Toms, owner of Steak 'n Shake restaurants in Statesboro and Pooler recently closed both stores on Sundays in honor of the fourth commandment, citing he felt he was keeping his employees from attending church services on the Lord's day. Certainly and thankfully, we are not under the law, yet the moral code of God does apply to New Testament Christians. I appreciated Richard Toms getting up and taking a stand for God's word. Be sure though, when we stand for Jesus there will be much resistance from the world and even from the religious grace grazers.

Get up means START UP! When we're face down in our fears and failures, it's difficult to do anything. Some mornings I don't feel like getting out of bed, but I know I must start. Usually, I find I feel much better after I've gotten up, taken a few steps, and had a cup of coffee. There is a Chinese proverb which says, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." The most important trip we'll ever take is our journey back to God. And you know what is so great, the Lord not only starts us, He starts toward us. Just like when the prodigal son realized his predicament of being face down in the pig pen, when he started home, the father came to embrace him.

A few days ago I got into my truck to drive somewhere and my battery was dead. As soon as I realized the situation, I remembered that I had checked the mileage the night before by switching on the ignition but not starting the truck. Consequently, I forgot to turn the ignition switch off and ended up with a dead battery. Obviously, the truck was not going to start without help. A jump start from my tractor got me going though. Christians can be switched on for Christ, go to church, be baptized and attend conferences, yet never take anything in. It's like we're walking by faith without our spiritual motors running. When that happens, we will surely need a jump start. Christian friends and church family are good jump starters. Actually, as believers, a jump starting ministry is one way we can love our neighbor as ourselves by starting to show love, hope, and faithfulness when they are down and out. It's God's power that does it, we're just the cables through which the power flows. I think I once heard a battery company ad which said, "If you want to start something, get a Hixon." So as born again believers possessing the indwelling Holy Spirit, we can say, "If you want to start something, be a Christian."

Since God chose us, saved us, and called us, we ought to be a get up, start up people. Start forgiveness by forgiving someone who has offended you. Start loving someone by doing something for them that will show you care. Start a prayer group, a devotional or a community project. Start a revival and invite others to be a part of it! Remember, it's never too late to start and our greatest regret may be that we never started.

If getting up means standing up and starting up, then we will need STRENGTH to stay up. One thing for sure, if God tells us to get up, He will enable us to do it. Actually, the times of our failure and faces in the dirt of doom and despair, are the arenas where we grow stronger because we are totally dependent upon our Lord. The trials we go through will hurt, but they will strengthen us by causing our spiritual roots to grow deeper in God's word and grace. Did you know that often God allows hurt and failure to come into our lives so that we can strengthen someone else?

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Luke 22:31,32

One thing for sure is that our strength must come from God. Could it be that the weakness of our denomination and dwindling church numbers is because we're trying to get up by our own strength instead of Almighty God's? Have we like the Old Testament strong man Samson, allowed "a Delilah" to take our affections away from the true Word and practice of faith. Unity, numbers, programs, leadership are valid concerns of the church, but the real concern should be that the Lord may depart from us.

"And she said, the Philistines be upon thee Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him." Judges 16:20

Sin is a strength sapper and must be confessed and forsaken. Peter got up when he realized that he denied the Lord of Glory and was strengthened to feed the sheep. Even Samson, though blinded, was strengthened by God to bring the house down for God's glory. Joshua was commanded by God to get up so that the sin in the camp could be dealt with and victory restored.

When we get up for God, we do it without our sins. Jesus Christ got up on the cross of Calvary and shed His precious blood to pay our sin debt, so that when God regenerates us we are justified fully and declared righteous. Although declared righteous by the merit of Christ Jesus taking our place on the cross and imputing into us His righteousness, our daily sins will weaken and drag us down. As we confess and forsake them, we are strengthened to get up to bring glory to God in His kingdom on earth.

There is no greater need in the world today than for the Christian to Get up! The darkness and sinfulness of the world makes for a perfect storm to fan the passion of born again believers to make much of the Lord Jesus Christ. It's not how many times we fall, its how many times we get up that means the most. The good news of the gospel is that God can use low down, flat out failures to stand up for His cause, to start a passion for His presence or to strengthen a fellow Christian. Now, we may not know if we should get on or get off, get in or get out, but we know for sure it's time to get up!

Brother Randy

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