Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Good Reason to Stay Home

Lately here in Cookeville many hours have been spent indoors. The schools have been closed for more days than I can ever remember. The bitter cold and wintry mixes have kept county roads unsafe for carefree travel. The flu has been spreading, and some of our younger people in our community have even died from it. Nobody wants to visit our local hospital for fear of infectious disease. Besides all of this, it has just been plain cold! Even our dog has been living in the garage most evenings. You have to talk yourself into going outside and tell yourself that whatever you are doing is worth it.

Now imagine, if you will, an even better reason for staying at home. Imagine that leaving your house meant certain death! When the Israelites invaded Jericho after the famous destruction of the city walls, they were given these instructions by Joshua, their courageous leader, "Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it" (Joshua 6:17a). To be a Gentile in Jericho on that day was bad news. It was a death sentence decreed by God Himself. Not only was there a proclamation, there was ample power to execute.

But Rahab and her household were the exception, for Joshua also said, "Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent" (Joshua 6:17b). Rahab had been moved with godly fear to help the Israelite spies hide safely when they first came to the city. In exchange for her assistance she made them promise to save her and all of her family when they came to destroy Jericho. The spies agreed, upon the condition of her both gathering all of her family under her one roof, and marking her house with a scarlet chord which would be seen hanging from her outer window. They also added the following arrangement - "So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him" (Joshua 2:19).

When it comes to the principle of staying at home for safety's sake, there is a great lesson here. Everyone outside of Noah's ark perished (Genesis 7:23). Every Gentile outside of Rahab's house died. Every person outside of the Lord's body, the church, will also perish (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23). The church is the true "ark" of the covenant. The church is the true house of safety. It is not just about getting in the house in time, as some are willing to do, but it is about staying there! There is a reason God wants us to be at home. Danger lurks outside, and the devil will take our lives from us right in the middle of the street! This is why God has designed salvation such that it is only available for those who will be found faithfully serving in His household when Jesus comes again (Matthew 10:22).

We need to be wise. It shouldn't take but a small peak out our window for us to see what is going on in the world. What some call "choices" and "expression" and "opportunity" could just as easily be called spears and swords and daggers. We can watch from inside the house and see that those things are killing people spiritually everyday. Don't be fooled. We don't have to leave the house and participate in order to find out.

If you are a Christian, please realize you have come to the mountain of Zion and the city and fortress of the living God! Nothing can touch you in here! If you are not a Christian, please understand that the walls have fallen, the water is rising, the enemy is present, and you need to go home to God immediately. When you get there, STAY THERE! The possibility of an eternity in hell is a good reason to stay home!

"Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie." ~ Revelation 22:14-15

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