Day 69 – Thru the Bible
Today we finish Joshua (six books completed – well done!) and continue Psalms.
Joshua 22 – The tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh had been granted land east of the Jordan, on the condition that they would help the rest of the tribes conquer Canaan (see Numbers 32; Joshua 13:8–33). This chapter records the return of the eastern tribes to their land after Joshua commends them for following God’s commands—though even here, God as the true deliverer is identified as the one who “has given rest to your brothers.” Now the eastern tribes are to take possession of their own allotted inheritance. They are exhorted to “be very careful to observe the commandment and the law,” loving God with their whole heart and soul. The message is clear: “The land is now holy; keep it that way.”
The eastern tribes want to celebrate God’s victory at the boundary of the Jordan, and the western tribes (led by the zealous priest Phinehas, grandson of Aaron) are ready to declare holy war on their brothers for setting up what they see as a rival altar to the one God commanded at Shiloh. Phinehas accuses them of breaking the covenant and bringing God’s wrath upon “the whole congregation of Israel.”
However, when the eastern tribes explain their covenant-honoring motives in building the altar, the western tribes stand down.
On the one hand, this episode highlights the holy zeal of both sides. On the other hand, it highlights the tension and mutual suspicion provoked by the recognition of God’s holiness and their own sinfulness.
How does this part of the story reveal that, because of our sinfulness, we need a better Covenant?
Now that we are under the New Covenant, how do we know we can rest securely in the finished work of Jesus? Hint: 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13–14.
Joshua 23 – Joshua charges Israel’s leaders to obey the covenant, again on the basis of God’s total faithfulness to His promise. Their obedience will be in response to God’s provision rather than earning it. The people have received their allotted inheritance. Therefore, it is time for Israel again to swear—and keep—its oath, loyally yielding to God’s commands. God has kept every word, but if Israel does not, the curses God has brought on the Canaanites will fall on their head “until He has destroyed you from off this good land that the Lord your God has given you.”
What is this pattern of continual failing to meet the requirements of the law pointing us toward?
Joshua 24 – Here we see the covenant renewal at Shechem. As at Mount Sinai, Israel has the speaking part in the renewal of the covenant. In both cases, the covenant presupposes that God has already made His promises and kept them.
Again the covenant formula appears: God has given; “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and faithfulness’.” The people’s response shows that they understand this order in the covenant: God’s deliverance and gift as the basis for their response of loving obedience to His commands. They swear to do everything in His law.
Joshua suspects (and God already knows) that Israel will fail to keep this law. Similar to Deuteronomy, Israel is called to circumcise its own heart (Deuteronomy 10:16) and yet God prophesies that after Israel’s failure and exile He will save His people and circumcise their hearts (Deuteronomy 30:6).
We can already see the blessings of the New Covenant—blessings that defy the unfaithfulness and condemnation of the human partner—are anticipated. We will see this more fully in the Prophets (Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36).
How do we see this internal heart-work ultimately fulfilled through Jesus? Hint: Romans 2:25–29; Colossians 2:11.
Everyone returned to his own inheritance, and Joshua went to his heavenly inheritance, at 110 years of age. Here for the first time he is called “the servant of the Lord”—a title that to this point has been reserved for Moses, and that will one day be taken up by Jesus Himself.
With the death of Joshua comes the transition from the age of promise (Genesis 15 to the exodus and conquest) to the age of fulfillment (ruling and keeping the Promised Land). Yet, this story is a miniature narrative of a much deeper and wider pattern of promise and fulfillment.
Israel will be exiled for unfaithfulness in the land. Yet beyond exile, the greatest promise made to Abraham will be fulfilled: namely, the gift of a Seed in whom all the families of the earth will be blessed, a greater Joshua who will conquer, subdue, and rule the world in righteousness forever, and a greater priest even than zealous Phinehas
Unlike what happens in Joshua, believers do not inherit merely a plot of land in a sliver of the Middle East. Rather, they “shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Moreover, in a scandalous twist of divine grace, our everlasting inheritance is not dependent on our faithfulness.
By embracing Jesus in faith as our conquering King, what is our ultimate inheritance? Hint: 1 Peter 1:4.
Psalm 69 – David provides the believer with words to express a lament when falsely persecuted. However, the New Testament’s application of these verses to the Messiah also teaches the worshiper that his ultimate vindication can come only through his union with Jesus.
The Psalm opens loudly with the cries of a drowning man. Though he reaches for a handhold, he only sinks deeper and deeper. The Savior felt like this as a victim of man’s mockery (John 15:25). However, all of His suffering was out of zeal for the glory of his Father and love for those he came to save (John 2:17).
Since there is no way to avoid the messianic nature of this Psalm, we conclude that Jesus bore our reproach and became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). David and his Greater Son lead the spiritually depressed out of their grief into praise for the God who saves the weary (Matthew 11:28–30).
What area of your life today needs to experience the rest that only Jesus can bring?
How will you let the truth of Matthew 11:28-30 calm you today?
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.
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