ODJ: swamped

May 31, 2015 

READ: Joshua 1:6-9 

Be careful to obey all the commands I give you. You must not add anything to them or subtract anything from them (Deuteronomy 12:32).

Dave gazed at the magnificent network of trails reaching into the Canadian wetlands before him. At the swampier sections, timbers strategically placed between patches of terra firma served to keep hikers dry—in theory.

Several fellow hikers ventured ahead. Every one of them splashed into the cold, murky water. But Dave saw one hiker calmly leaping from log to log till he safely reached the other side. Then the hiker hopped back to where he had started. “How’d you do it?” Dave asked. “Focus!” came the response. He showed Dave how the water was much deeper on one side. Everyone was looking at the deep side and leaning towards the shallow. Inevitably, they overcorrected. Dave tried it and found success!

How we need the right focus in life—Jesus. By His strength and guidance, we can find our way.

As God prepared Joshua to fill Moses’ big sandals, He told him: “Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you.” (Moses had received those instructions from God.) Then God said, “Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left” (Joshua 1:7). One implication of this instruction is that there are two primary ways we violate God’s instructions. Bible teacher Haddon Robinson noted that the devil tries to get us either to ignore God’s laws or to add to them. “He knows we can fall into a ditch on either side of the road,” Robinson wrote. And the tempter doesn’t care which side we choose.

We ignore God’s instructions to our peril. But to add to them by creating layers of rules is a spiritually fatal overcorrection. Only by focusing on Jesus do we get to where we want to be—living in healthy relationship with Him and with each other.

—Tim Gustafson

365-day-plan: Daniel 3:1-30

In Genesis 3:1-6, can you spot how Eve “fell into the ditch” on both sides of the road? (Compare v.3 with Genesis 2:16-17.) 
Am I willfully violating God’s instructions? Is it possible that I could subtly be adding to those instructions? What needs to change?