OPEN HEAVENS DAILY DEVOTIONAL
DATE: FRIDAY 14TH DECEMBER 2018.
THEME: THE NEED FOR DISCERNMENT.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
READ: Joshua 9:1-16
1And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof;
2 That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.
3 And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,
4 They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up;
5 And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.
6 And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.
7 And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you?
8 And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?
9 And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt,
10 And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth.
11 Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us.
12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy:
13 And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey.
14 And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.
15 And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.
16 And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them.
16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
There are so many con-artists in the Church and in the world today, so much so that the gift of discernment has become a necessity in the life of every believer. In your business dealings, if you do not want to fall victim to the cankerworm of cheats and frauds, you need to rely on the Holy Spirit to help you exercise discernment over business opportunities that are brought your way. In your job, if you do want to escape from agents of darkness looking for every opportunity to milk their employers dry and implicate innocent people along the way, you need the gift of discernment to begin to operate in your life. The stories narrated in our Bible readings are good life lessons on the need of the gift of discernment. Joshua was hasty in entering into a pact with the Gibeonites without first consulting God and he ended up falling for a lie; the impact of which continued to affect the Israelites generations after (2 Samuel 21:1-9). Be wary of any deal or matter that is brought before you which requires you to make a hasty commitment. Also, at your work place, be careful when a document is brought for your signature and pressure is being applied on you to sign it quickly without thoroughly scrutinizing its contents.
In contrast to Joshua who fell for the lies of the Gibeonites, we also read of Paul who was able to detect the spirit of divination at work in the supposed “public relations secretary” who volunteered to serve his missionary team in Thyatira. She followed Paul and his team for several days, publicizing what Paul and his team came to do in that locality. Thank God that Paul, through the gift of discernment, detected after many days that it was a demonic spirit at work in her. If this was not found out, many people would have assumed that she was operating with the same spirit as Paul and his team, luring them to follow her and enabling the evil spirit in her to make merchandize of them. This would have brought shame to the Name of Jesus Christ, and the message of the gospel would have been adulterated. This is a great lesson for evangelist and missionaries: volunteers should be handles with caution. Free services may not be free at the end of the day. We have had such experiences in our ministry, where people have come to tell us that there are openings in some countries for missions, only for us to later find out that they were just trying to use the church to realize their dream of getting out of the country, or even trying to swindle the church of her money. We therefore, need the gift of discernment to be able to detect the wily moves of the enemy. This gift is freely given when you thirst and ask God for it in prayer. Ask for it today.
Father, please endow me with the gift of discernment so that I can always distinguise falsehood from the truth.
BIBLE IN ONE YEAR: Hosea 1-4
AUTHOR: PASTOR E. A. ADEBOYE
HYMN 15: NEARER MY GOD TO THEE.
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee. Nearer to Thee!
Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness comes over me, my rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee. Nearer to Thee!
There let me see the sight, an open Heaven;
All that Thou sendest me, in mercy given;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee. Nearer to Thee!
Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee. Nearer to Thee!