07/31/F – Persistent Faith

Joshua 14:1-5; Luke 18:1-8; Psalms 85:8-13; Proverbs 20:12

OT: “The descendants of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord promised Moses the man of God at Kadesh-barnea about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the Lord’s servant sent me from Kadesh-barnea to scout the land, and I brought back an honest report. My brothers who went with me caused the people to lose heart, but I followed the Lord my God completely. On that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land where you have set foot will be an inheritance for you and your descendants forever, because you have followed the Lord my God completely.’ “As you see, the Lord has kept me alive these forty-five years as he promised, since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel was journeying in the wilderness. Here I am today, eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me out. My strength for battle and for daily tasks is now as it was then. Now give me this hill country the Lord promised me on that day, because you heard then that the Anakim are there, as well as large fortified cities. Perhaps the Lord will be with me and I will drive them out as the Lord promised.”” (‭‭Joshua‬ ‭14:6-12‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Caleb is such a great example of persistent faith. He was promised by the Lord through Moses an inheritance in the land of promise. He was a man of faith when the 12 spies were sent to spy out the land, and he continued to be a man of faith 45 years later. His hope did not wain and he didn’t give up on what was promised. At 85 years old, he was still willing and able to take on the giants in the land because He knew that 1) God had promised him and 2) God was with him. The fulfillment of the promise tarried for a time, but it did come. Caleb wasn’t about to give up his inheritance, and with confidence he said to Joshua, “give me what is mine.” In Psalm 2:8, The Father says to the Son, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance and the ends of the earth your possession.” The word of God also says that those who are Christ’s disciples and are found in Him are joint-heirs. That means that the nations of the earth are our inheritance as well. Will we be like Caleb and persist in faith to see the promise fulfilled? It will require a fight, but God promised and God is with us.

NT: “Now he told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not give up. “There was a judge in a certain town who didn’t fear God or respect people. And a widow in that town kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he was unwilling, but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or respect people, yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so that she doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming.’” Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. Will not God grant justice to his elect who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay helping them? I tell you that he will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”” (‭‭Luke‬ ‭18:1-8‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Jesus told His disciples a parable so that they, like Caleb, would not grow faint and give up, but would persist in faith through prayer. To be clear, the widow is not us and the judge is not God. Jesus used the widow and the judge as differentiators – to show us how much different it is for those who are disciples of the King and sons of The Father. In Jesus’ day, widows had no legal recourse whatsoever. 1) They were women and had no societal standing, 2) the didn’t have a husband to represent them, and 3) they were poor and could not bribe their way onto the court docket. All the widow could do was annoyingly badger the judge until he agreed to hear her case. The judge in this story wanted nothing to do with the widow and only heard her case because her constant pestering was becoming both annoying and embarrassing. The point that Jesus was making is: if the unwilling judge in this story finally agreed to hear the widow, how much more is our loving Father willing to hear the case of His beloved sons and daughters? If we are disciples of Jesus and are in Christ through faith in Him, then God hears us and He will answer. Though it may tarry because of timing, the answer will come… and God will grant justice. Jesus’ question to His disciples and to us is, knowing what we know, will we persist in faith?

Psalms: “I will listen to what God will say; surely the Lord will declare peace to his people, his faithful ones, and not let them go back to foolish ways. His salvation is very near those who fear him, so that glory may dwell in our land. Faithful love and truth will join together; righteousness and peace will embrace. Truth will spring up from the earth, and righteousness will look down from heaven. Also, the Lord will provide what is good, and our land will yield its crops. Righteousness will go before him to prepare the way for his steps.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭85:8-13‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

The first part of this psalm was a prayer of intercession for the people of the Lord… that the Lord would be merciful… that He would forgive and revive His people. In praying, the psalmist stands in faith… faith in the character and faithfulness of God. Through prayer, instead of being discouraged, the psalmist was able to be full of hope and persist through the challenging times by faith. Surely the Lord will declare peace to His faithful people. Surely, He will lead His faithful ones away from foolishness and into salvation. Faithful love (mercy) and truth will join together. Righteousness and peace will embrace each other. Those who remain faithful to the Lord can be assured of that. Don’t give up. Don’t grow weary. Pray and know that Our Father hears. Have faith.

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