Thru the Bible – Day 68

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Day 68 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue in Joshua and the Psalms.

Joshua 13-14 – Joshua 13:8 marks a major transition from the phase of conquest to dividing the spoils. It is not a haphazard land rush, with each man for himself, looting and pillaging like the wicked. Rather, it is an orderly distribution of the inheritance that God had prescribed for each tribe (see Numbers 32–35). Inheritance of God’s blessings is always according to God’s plan (Ephesians 1:11, 14; 2:18; 1 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 3:13).

Just as God subdued the watery chaos and set man over each realm, He turns chaos into an order by placing the land of Canaan under the rule of the 12 tribes. God will continue to drive out His enemies. He does the work; Joshua is simply to receive the Lord’s victory and parcel out the geographical spoils according to God’s word (Joshua 13:6–7).

But all is not well. “Yet the people of Israel did not drive out the Geshurites or the Maacathites, but Geshur and Maacath dwell in the midst of Israel to this day” (13:13). The same failure is mentioned in 15:63. Such allowances of evil, like Adam allowing words of the evil serpent in the garden instead of expelling him, would eventually lead to Israel’s seduction, just as God had warned (Deuteronomy 7:4; 12:29–31).

A notable exception is Caleb. In Joshua 14:6–15, Joshua consents to Caleb’s request to conquer Hebron, despite the fearsome strength of the Anakim living there and the fact that Caleb is now 85 years old. Confident in Yahweh, Caleb is given strength equal to his youth and inherits Hebron.

Nevertheless, after Israel’s victories, “the land had rest from war” (Joshua 14:15; see 11:23). For a brief and shining moment, there was a glimpse of God’s everlasting Sabbath: rest, in a land flowing with milk and honey. This is a rest that was given in Eden, lost in the fall, regained in Jesus (Matthew 11:28–30), and will one day be finally and perfectly fulfilled in the new earth (Revelation 21:1–4).

As you read of Joshua and the people of God entering the land and enjoying peace, what does it bring to mind regarding your secure inheritance because of the finished work of Jesus? Hint: Matthew 19:28–29; Romans 4:13.

 

Joshua 15-21 – Chapter 15 continues the measuring out of Israel’s allotted inheritance in the Promised Land. The division of the inheritance concludes in chapter 18 with the report that, “Then the whole congregation of the people of Israel assembled at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting there. The land lay subdued before them” (18:1). Just as in Genesis 1 and 2 God’s word had subdued chaos and divided creation into allotted and ordered realms with man as His representative ruler over all, Canaan’s moral chaos has been overcome. The result, at least for now, is rest.

The distribution of the land is, above all, a celebration of the fulfillment of God’s promises!

Also anticipating both inevitable corruption in God’s land as well as God’s redemptive provision, six cities of refuge are assigned in chapter 20, as well as the cities of Levites in chapter 21. Both deal with the problem of sin. Yet as with the other aspects of this covenant, the new covenant will surpass the old just as the reality of Jesus will be greater than its Old Testament “types.”

Once again underscoring the difference between Israel’s story and the dreary record of empires and nations invoking religious justification for violence, the hero of the conquest of Canaan is God. Joshua is not the “founding father” of Israel in Canaan. Caleb is not celebrated for his patriotism and military prowess. “Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there” (Joshua 21:43). This is the repeated refrain we have heard throughout the book of Joshua. “And the Lord gave them rest on every side. . . . for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass” (21:44–45).

Reading of God’s exhaustive faithfulness to keep His word is heartening for believers today in the face of all kinds of trials. Not one promise from God to His people will fail, for Jesus has secured “all the promises of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Jesus promises rest (Matthew 11:28). He promises triumph over our enemies (Luke 10:19). And He promises to bring us home one day to Him (John 14:2–3).

Seeing that, in Jesus, all our needs are met—today’s and tomorrow’s—how does that lead you to celebrate Jesus today?

 

Psalm 68 – God is uniquely praiseworthy because He protects weaklings and pursues nobodies. With language reminiscent of Moses’ war cry, David reminds the covenant people that God’s power over their enemies is like wind to smoke, and fire to wax. God rode “through the deserts” on the cloud, which was a foretaste of His tabernacling presence in Jesus (John 1:14). Through the cloud, God showed that He defends against human and natural enemies (Daniel 7:13–14). Such total care is endearing and strengthening.

How does knowing that as a believer God’s presence is always with you give you comfort and strength for today?

With a highly compressed montage of scenes from Israel’s history, David reminds believers that God preserves His people—even as a remnant. The desert, Sinai, the defeat of Sisera (Judges 4:7; 5:4), the arrival in Canaan, and the displacement of bloodthirsty enemies are all events in which God moved heaven and earth to prove that salvation comes from the Lord (Jonah 2:9; Matthew 12:39–41).

God’s preferred way of overtaking unbelievers is by summoning them into His kingdom through saving faith, as He did with Rahab, Naaman, and other formerly unrighteous people (1 Corinthians 6:9–11). What is most startling about God’s battle plan—illustrated in these historical skirmishes—is that He assembles a rag-tag band of warriors from a weak and persecuted people to execute it. Similarly surrounding Himself with orphans, widows, aliens, prisoners, poor, unwise, and weak sinners, Jesus will bring humiliating defeat to hell itself (2 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 4:8).

How is God’s love summoning you into His kingdom?

 

What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?

 

Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.

All links you need to be a part of this are here – Thru the Bible in 2018.

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