Friday, October 26, 2007 the right or to the left

Joshua 1:7-8 says, 'Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.'
So were the people of Israel called to walk 'with the law' or 'in the law'? And if we believe that the old testament foreshadows the new, are we then called to walk 'with Christ' as much as we are called to walk 'in Christ'?
To turn from it [the book of the law] to the right or to the left wouldn't necessarily suggest that the people of Isreal we're leaving it behind, but perhaps shifting it to a place of secondary focus - a bit like standing at your car door ready to get in, but then at the last minute turning to the right and proceeding to walk along side the car in order to get to where you want to go - doesn't make sense does it! The book of the law was not established for the people of Israel to carry in their brief cases, (in either their right hand or their left)!
When God called Noah to build and ark, all the people became focused on 'the ark'. When God called told the people of Israel that he was giving to them the promised land, their focus became 'the promised land' and the fact that they had not yet received it. When God called the people to build the tabernacle, their focus became 'the tabernacle'. When God released Solomon to build the temple, their focus became 'the tempple'. However, when Jesus came to sepak the 'Word', or the fulfillment of the law, or the new covenant - everyone's focus remained locked into 'the temple' or 'the tabernacle' or 'the ark' or the 'law of Moses'!
Perhaps without becoming fully aware, it's easy to turn to the right & to the left, to believe that we haven't forgotten about the Lord, but perhaps in reality, he has become just another resource that we carry with us if & when needed.
So the revelation is this - Sometimes the object that carries the promise becomes more of a focus than the promise itself, and sometimes the promise becomes more important the one who made it with us. When God spoke to the people of Israel as they were about to cross over into the promise, he didn't say - don't let the ark depart from your mind; he said, 'don't let the book of the law [that lies within the ark] depart from your mouth' (v8). Do not turn from it to the right or to the left (v7). In other words, don't let it be with you...let it be within you. We know that four walls don't constitute a church, yet the outworking of the church can easily get in the way of it's purpose - Covenant relationship with God & with each other. Noah's ark was not about the ark, it was about Covenant relationship with God and with each other. The tabernacle was not about the tabernacle, it was about Covenant relationship with God and with each other. The temple wasn't about the temple, it was about covenant relationship with God and with each other. Jesus Christ wasn't about himself, he was about the Father and his covenant relationship with you and me and us with each other.

'Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me' (John 15:4). For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. (Colossians 2:9-10)
So the deepest form of relationship with Christ is relationship in Christ not relationship alongside Christ?

Just a thought.

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