Due to inclement weather, the 9 a.m. service for Sunday, Jan. 20 has been cancelled. We will have one morning service at 10:45 a.m. as road conditions improve.

Hold the Line

by Rebekah Shaffer

For many of us we are feeling the return of some normalcy. The pandemic is receding into an endemic and many of the mandates and policies are changing. It has been a hard two years for everyone on every front. And out of this valley we have all walked through we have learned many lessons. For my family, as well as many of you, we have learned that God and family need first place in our lives. While it is true that some Christians wandered away in the last two years, it is overwhelmingly noticeable that many Christians and their families leaned into the Word, to His church, and to each other. Now is the time of increasing vulnerability. We all tend to seek the things of God in the valleys, but we lean on our own understanding on the mountain tops, at least I know I do. We must take wise counsel from Joshua as he encouraged the Israelites after the conquest to rest, but be careful.

1At that time Joshua summoned the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, 2 and said to them, “You have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you and have obeyed my voice in all that I have commanded you. 3 You have not forsaken your brothers these many days, down to this day, but have been careful to keep the charge of the Lord your God. 4 And now the Lord your God has given rest to your brothers, as he promised them. Therefore, turn and go to your tents in the land where your possession lies, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. 5 Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” 6 So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents.

When I read this, I can hear this great warrior-leader calling for God’s people to “hold the line.” Maybe that phrase brings up images in your mind of Mel Gibson as he played William Wallace in Braveheart or maybe you see some other great valiant warrior shouting it to their men. I know it does for me. Now, can you see the warrior Joshua as he tells his people not to quit, to keep holding to what you know is right to do? How were they supposed to “hold the line?” He commanded them to “observe the commandment, love the Lord your God, walk in all His ways, keep his commandments, serve him with heart and soul.” Notice verse 4: these were the things they were told to do after the conquest and during a time of rest. The physical battle was over and now the spiritual battle waged against them. The same is true today when the physical hardships subside, when old routines return, when business creeps in we begin to get comfortable again but we actually face a more important battle, one that is spiritual. This is the time that we must hold the line. All of the wonderful things that we did during the pandemic, to draw us closer to God and family are more important than ever. And so, to us today we are reminded that if it was right to do during the pandemic it is right to do now. Let’s hold the line!
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