Max Lucado. Glory Days: Living Your Promised Land Life Now. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2015. See here to buy the book.
Max Lucado notices that a number of Christians are in a rut. They
are not overcoming temptation. They wonder if the Christian life is
supposed to be better than what they are experiencing. Like the
Israelites in the Book of Numbers, they are wandering around in the
wilderness, and they have yet to enter the Promised Land.
Lucado draws from the biblical Book of Joshua as he attempts to
provide Christians with a better outlook that can help them to enter
their Promised Land. Some of the principles that he highlights include
remembering God’s love, meditating on God’s word and obeying it,
trusting God for one’s needs, putting one’s own talents to use,
reaffirming one’s identity in Christ, and setting one’s mind on the
Lord, not so much one’s problems.
Lucado does, in some sense, treat the Book of Joshua as an allegory
for the victorious Christian life. I would say that the positive
attitude that he promotes is consistent with things that the New
Testament says: about how God has given us all things that pertain to
life and godliness (II Peter 1:3), and how God has given us a spirit of
power, love, and a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7). Lucado cites these
passages, among others.
At the same time, Lucado also respects the Book of Joshua on its own
terms, in a literary sense, or in a sense that may be consistent with
the broader story of the Hebrew Bible. Israel settling the Promised
Land, Lucado contends, was about God setting up a place where God could
demonstrate God’s own glory, to bless the nations of the earth.
According to Lucado, the reason that the mysterious commander of the
Lord’s hosts in Joshua 5 tells Joshua that he is on neither Israel’s
side nor the side of Israel’s enemies is that God was not necessarily
against the Canaanites: God wanted the Canaanites to repent, and one of
them, Rahab, actually did. Lucado also speculates about why the
Israelite Achan took from the plunder that was devoted to God (Joshua
7), and his explanation is that Achan did not fully trust God to provide
for his needs: Achan was trying to set up a nest-egg in case the
Lucado emphasizes God’s unconditional love, how we have God’s favor
by grace and not by our performance, and how the Christian life is a
matter of God holding on to us, not so much us holding on to God (as
important as that is). I was wondering if that message is consistent
with what is in the Torah and the Book of Joshua, since both seem to
have a strong conditional element that stresses obedience to the Torah
as the path to blessing and life. My question is valid, but I do not
think that it overthrows what Lucado is saying. God having already
given Israel the blessing, before she even crossed the Jordan and
entered the Promised Land, is in the Book of Joshua. Joshua and Israel
getting right back up after making a disastrous mistake is in the Book
of Joshua. In short, God’s grace and commitment to Israel are in the
Book of Joshua.
What is the Promised Land, according to Lucado? It can
“occasionally” include money, but it also includes overcoming
temptation, being able to sleep well at night, being empowered with
leadership skills, and having more patience, affection, and hope.
Lucado talks about leaving behind such negative mindsets as fear.
Lucado did well to describe what blessings he meant.
I struggle spiritually with some of the things that Lucado talked
about: Jesus’ command in Matthew 5:23-24 for us to pursue reconciliation
with those we have offended (I doubt that Jesus did this after
offending the Pharisees), and how our sin nature has lost its power
after we accept Jesus (in my mind, it still seems to be powerful in my
life, and the lives of other Christians). Still, I think that
continually reminding myself of Lucado’s positive insights would be good
for me, in terms of my spiritual life.
Lucado’s books usually are not known for their incredible depth. I
wish that Lucado drew a little bit more from scholarly commentaries. At
the same time, I appreciated his insights, and I found his book to be a
delight to read. Some of Lucado’s jokes were corny, but he had some
stories that were actually funny. Lucado also told some inspirational
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review.
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