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Personal Experience

Personal Experience

26 March 2021

Jim Stephens

Reading: Joshua 23-24; Psalm 44; 1 Corinthians 11

The people of Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him—those who had personally experienced all that the Lord had done for Israel. (Joshua 24:31 NLT)

A generation of Israelites and their children had personally experienced the transition from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the land of Promise through God’s miraculous intervention and provision. They saw plagues and miracles, drank water from the rock, and ate miracle manna every day for nearly forty years.

The children of ex-slaves had grown up in the wilderness, crossed the Jordan River, and personally fought the battles of conquest. They saw God drive out nations greater and more powerful than themselves. Now their children were growing up in cities that had been built by their conquered enemies. They lived in houses, cultivated fields, and tended orchards and vineyards given to them by the powerful hand of God.

The death of this transitional generation ushered in one of my least favorite periods in Israel’s history, chronicled for us in the book of Judges. The next generation had not personally experienced all that the Lord had done for Israel, and their faith was religious and cultural, not personal and experiential.

My kids and their kids will have to experience God for themselves. It’s my privilege to tell them the stories of God’s power and provision, it’s my responsibility to live as an example of faith, trust, and obedience, but they will have to personally experience what God does for them. They must experience God’s power to deliver them from the slavery of their own Egypt. They will have to travel through their own wilderness and personally drink water from the rock and eat the bread from heaven. They will have to face their own Jordan River, their own Jericho, their own battles. Their faith must be formed in Personal Experience of God.

Prayer:

Father, Today I pray for my kids and their generation. I’d like to help them avoid Egypt and the wilderness and the battles. But I know they’ve got to personally experience your deliverance, your provision, and your power. Please be gentle with them after I’m gone. But don’t skip anything they’re going to need. Give them stories to tell of their personal experience of the reality of God in the world of man! Amen.

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