June 20, 2017
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 20 June 2017
Tara is the name of a fictional plantation in the state of Georgia, in the historical novel Gone with the Wind (1936). In the spring of 1861, Scarlett O’Hara, an attractive Southern belle, lives on Tara. Scarlett is concerned only with her numerous suitors and her desire to marry the Southern gentleman, Ashley Wilkes, who eventually marries the frail, yet good-hearted, Melanie Hamilton. Scarlett’s father, Gerald, loves the South and his plantation, Tara. At one point, Gerald tells Scarlett, “Land is the only thing in the world that amounts to anything.” Scarlett eventually treasures land more than love, and when Ashley rejects Scarlett, he gives her a clump of Tara’s dirt and reminds her that she loves the land more than she loves him. Gone with the Wind depicts the importance of inherited property (especially land). The inheritance of land was also very significant for God’s people.
Joshua 11 concludes, “So Joshua took the whole land” (v. 23), yet chapter 13 begins with the Lord saying, “much of the land remains to be possessed” (v. 1). In the Hebrew mind, everything is, or should be, a part of the whole. Therefore, conquering part of the promised land meant taking the entire land, even though some of the land remained unconquered or unpossessed even by the time Joshua was “old and advanced in years” (13:1). Although the Israelites had captured the primary strongholds of Canaan, still people not devoted to the Lord surrounded them.
No reasons are given for Joshua’s inability to possess all the land. Judah was unable to take Jerusalem, “so the Jebusites” dwelt “with the sons of Judah at Jerusalem” (15:63). The tribe of Manasseh could not take possession of certain cities, “because the Canaanites persisted in living in that land” (17:12), and were later subjected “to forced labor” (v. 13). God’s people were compelled to dwell with some people they simply could not dislodge from their midst, and even when the Israelites were strong enough, they subjected the Canaanites to slavery rather that expelling them. The experience of Israel is similar to the life of the Christian.
First John 2:15-16 reveals that every believer encounters three enemies to spiritual development and maturity, with each posing a different challenge: the flesh, the world, and the devil. The world is similar to the Jebusites because it is impossible to dislodge those who live contrary to God’s purpose and will. While believers live in the world, they are not to conform themselves to the world’s standards; rather, God’s people are commissioned to be “salt” and “light” (Matt 5:13-14).
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; (Matt 5:13-14).
Until the redemption of the body, the flesh can never be conquered entirely, and is similar to the Canaanites who were determined to live among the Manassites. The tribe of Manasseh was strong enough to dispel the Canaanites, yet they decided to make slaves of them. Similarly, many believers do not conquer the flesh entirely (cf. Rom 8:13), and choose rather to tolerate its sinful compulsions.
for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live (Rom 8:13).
The devil is an enemy that the Christian is unable to conquer, no matter how earnestly one may pray. Nevertheless, the Lord God has promised a coming day for Satan’s doom, when he will be confined to “the lake of fire and brimstone” (Rev 20:10). God’s people must “not love the world nor the things in the world” because those obstacles are “not from the Father” (1 John 2:15-16). Do not permit anything to interfere with your fellowship with God” for even now our resolve to persevere in faith “is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Cor 4:17). “The world is passing away” (1 John 2:17); therefore, to live according to its standards is to live for what is not eternal. The believer is not foolish to surrender what is not eternal for what abides forever.
Living with an Eternal Perspective,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.