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 Israelites lost.
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 stories.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review.