“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”Psalm 14:1 NIVUK
This is, perhaps, not a Scripture I will quote to an atheist but definitely one that I need to keep in mind if, in a respectful conversation about matters of faith, I am the recipient of verbal abuse. Unfortunately atheists can be rather angry in their exchanges of whether there is a God or not. As follower of Christ I never have to feel intimidated … Scripture is uncomfortably clear about people who say there is no God.
Rather, I need to keep my cool and try my best to ensure that I testify respectfully, with an attitude of humility, about who God is. After all, no amount of anger and abuse can change that. Scripture teaches us …
“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.” Proverbs 26:4 NIVUK
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” – Matthew 28:18-20 NIVUK
The order of Jesus’s instructions mirrors God’s instructions to Joshua as he was about to the lead the Israelites into the promised land. Jesus says, “All authority in heave and on earth has been given to me“. God tells Joshua, “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. ‘Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’” (Joshua 1:5-9 NIVUK) Oh the confidence we should have as we go out in His Name!
The big difference between these events is that whereas Joshua’s conquest of the promised land was a physical invasion of the land promised to them, Jesus’s disciples conquest will be a spiritual invasion of this world to enlarge God’s Kingdom. However, both were dangerous conquests. I think we often underestimate the battle that is raging around us in the spiritual. May God open our eyes so that we can enter into this battle with a clear understanding of what is happening and a solid confidence in the One who is leading our charge because He has all authority.