28 May – 3 June 2017.
One of the great lessons that Jesus teaches us is to be humble, and to place the needs of other people before our own. After all, in a world where so many people fall into the trap of selfishness and only think of themselves, it’s important that we remember to be humble and to care for others too.
But we can take this lesson too far. While we must think of other people, that doesn’t mean we should completely forget about ourselves or our own needs. Nor should we get so focussed on being humble that we forget about our own rights.
In Joshua 14, Caleb is now an old man but he comes to Joshua to claim the land that Moses had promised him. Is it wrong for him to ask for this land? Maybe some of the Israelites would have said yes. Caleb is a foreigner, an Edomite, and not a child of Israel. So maybe others would be quick to reject him, push him away, and deny him any land together with the Israelites. But Caleb knows that even though he is a foreigner, he too has a right to the land, and it’s correct for him to claim it. Joshua also recognizes Caleb’s rights, and so he gives him the land of Hebron.
Humility is so important for our Christian lives. But we shouldn’t let our Christian humility allow others to abuse us or hold from us the things that are rightfully ours. In the Old Testament, for example, God gave particular rights for food to the poor and weak, to widows, orphans, and foreigners. It is God’s will that the poor and needy be provided for, and so he established this right and placed it in the law. But sadly many Israelites ignored that any such right to food existed, and did everything they could to deny the poor what was properly theirs. That’s incredibly unjust. Of course, today this problem still exists. There are many people who do all they can to convince us to forget about our rights, and to give up or forget about the good things that God has prepared for us.
That’s why in our Christian life it’s very important for us to find the right balance. We should be humble and consider the needs of others. But God has also prepared many good things for us. We shouldn’t be embarrassed to come forward and take them.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis