March 20: discipline (Joshua 7-8; Psalm 69; 1 Corinthians 5)

Rahab and Achan: two people who encounter God and experience very different outcomes. Rahab is described in the opening chapter of Joshua. She is a Canaanite woman, who provides refuge to the Israelite spies. She shows courageous allegiance and devotion to the LORD God and is therefore received into the Promised Land of Canaan. In today’s reading, we are introduced to Achan, an Israelite man who is disloyal to the ways of God and steals what belongs to God. Therefore he loses everything, even life.

We can draw many lessons from these two stories. One lesson is the importance of a disciplined life, following the teachings the God has given. Another is how the sin of Achan destroys an entire family and puts the nation at risk. A third is that God disciplines those God calls.

That need for discipline surfaces in 1 Corinthians 5. Immoral behavior that is not self-disciplined is disciplined for the sake of the Christian community. It may seem harsh, but if the body encounters disease how are we to respond? The issues Paul mentions in verse 11. Are they like diseases? Do such things build up a community or destroy it?

Each person has influence that can be positive or it can be negative. Are we in need of discipline in our own lives – for our sake and for the sake of others? Certainly self-discipline is to be preferred.

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