Many years ago when my daughter was in preschool, I attended a mom’s group with some girlfriends at a similar place in life. Our children would play together and participate in various activities while we studied The Word and prayed for one another. It was one of those rich circles of friendship God knit together as we encouraged each other to follow Him.
Many of the women in the group thought that my girlfriend, Lori, and I looked a lot alike. We are both fair, have similar hairstyles. We have similar personalities and we get excited about the same things. The women in the group were not the only ones who thought Lori and I resembled one another. It quickly became apparent that her three year old son, Andrew, did too.
When Andrew needed some comfort or a reassurance, like all three year olds, he would run to his mom, grab ahold of her leg and cling to her. His eyes would turn upward, looking for her reassuring smile that said he was loved and that everything was going to be alright.
Without fail, at every mom’s event, Andrew would confuse me with his mom. We could see it coming from across the room, but there was no easy way to stop it. Andrew would see what looked to be his mom from a distance. He would run to ME, throw his arms around MY leg, and CLING to ME! When his gaze turned upward and he realized that he was clinging to the wrong mom, he would let out a scream and go running! Clinging to the wrong mom actually brought greater angst rather than the comfort and peace he was seeking!
Kind of sounds like us. When we need some comfort or reassurance, we are going to go running. We are going to reach out for someone to whom we can cling…but we find that clinging to the wrong ‘one’ actually brings greater angst rather than the comfort and peace we are seeking as well.
In Joshua chapters 23 and 24, the people of God have taken possession of their Promised Land. Under Joshua’s leadership, they have received their inheritance. They are literally living in the promise of God enjoying freedom, peace, abundance, possessing every good gift that their Father always had waiting for them. A group of former slaves turned wanderers are totally free people! Joshua is aware that his time to depart this promised land for the next is coming soon and wants to share some final words with the people God has entrusted to him. He stands in front of the elders and the people of God and gives them final instruction and a final challenge.
Joshua says, ‘Look at where you are now standing. Look at what the Lord has done!’ He tells them that God will continue to fight for them, push out their enemies and lead them in victory if they keep His Word, if they continue to obey. And then he leaves them a challenge, going forward…
‘…but you shall cling to the Lord your God just as you have done to this day.’ Joshua 23:5-8
Joshua challenges the people…Cling to the Lord your God.
The word for cling in the Hebrew is pronounced daw-bak’. The definition is to cleave, to follow after hard, to pursue closely, to be joined together.
Joshua was telling the people if you want to remain free cling to Him. If you want to walk in victory, follow hard after Him. If you want to live in the abundance you were created for, pursue Him closely. A life of peace and victory would only come to those clinging to Him.
And then Joshua went on…
“But if you turn away from Him and cling to the customs of the survivors of these nations remaining among you, and if you intermarry with them, then know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive them out of your land. Instead, they will be a snare and a trap to you, a whip for your backs and thorny brambles in your eyes, and you will vanish from this good land the Lord your God has given you.” Joshua 23:11-12
Choosing to cling to the world, to anything other than the One Who had set them free, would lead them away from the life He had for them. Following hard after anyone else would stop the blessing of God in their lives. Pursuing even the customsof those following other gods would lead them to a place of whips and brambles, out of the good land He had given them. They would find themselves in bondage again. Clinging to the wrong one would lead them to greater angst when their souls desired His peace.
Joshua knew that the people had a choice. They had to choose to whom they would cling. There were a lot of gods out there, but only one true God. There were a lot of people out there saying they had a way to follow, but there was only one Way. There were a lot of nations out there desperate to see those in the Kingdom of God fall, but there was one King who had purposed His people to live. Joshua knew his people would only thrive if they would cling to Him.
There are a lot of gods out there today as well. The enemy tries to make what is evil look good and appealing. We are constantly presented with things that have been twisted to resemble the truth and told to cling to them, but clinging to the wrong one will leave us in greater angst than we had before. Clinging to anything other than the One Who is clinging to us will keep us from the peace, comfort, joy and love we crave.
We have a choice to make. Who are we holding onto?
Who will we cling to today?
If we want to remain free, we will cling to Him. If we want to walk in victory, our heart’s cry must be to follow hard after Him. If we want to live in the abundance we were created for, we must pursue Him closely, run to Him, cling to HIM. A life of peace and victory will only come to those clinging to Him.
‘I cling to You.’ Psalm 63:8