What are you afraid of? Once again, even though they’d already gotten in trouble and punished for it…not to mention that God had assured them there was no reason to be afraid, the Israelites are afraid of people inhabiting the land God promised them. Though are definitely scary things in life, please don’t ever be afraid of whether or not God will be faithful to his promises to you.
- 10 – The Canaanites were descendants of Noah’s son Ham who was sent away after he dishonored his father.
- 3-4 – In Numbers 26:33 and 27:1-11, Zelphehad’s daughters initiate an agreement so that they too can receive inheritance since their father had no brothers. This is that agreement being enacted.
- 14-18 – Yet again, the Israelites are fearful of the people who already possessed the land. God gave them authority to oust all the inhabitants, but the tribe of Joseph is afraid of the Canaanites because of their fancy chariots.
- 1-6 – The tribe representatives took account of what there was in the various territories of land still left to be distributed. Though casting lots is normally considered a bad thing, Joshua casts lots before the Lord to distribute the remaining land to the remaining tribes. Presumably, because it was done “before the Lord”, it’s an acceptable practice.
- 1-10 – Tax collectors were hated figures because they collected taxes required by the Roman government (already disliked) and added considerable charges on top of the taxes for their own profit. It felt like betrayal to the Jews for Jesus to befriend a tax collector. Note that an encounter with Jesus was all it took for Zacchaeus to change his ways and repent double and even fourfold.
- 11-27 – There is a lot going in this parable. A few key things to note are 1) The parable parallels the coming of the kingdom. Because the king goes away for a while, this explains that Jesus will be gone for a time and the kingdom of God will not be immediate on earth. 2) The nobleman represents Jesus. 3) All followers of Jesus are given callings/commissions and some day we will have to answer for what we did in those realms.
- 2 – Zion is the hill that Jerusalem was built on.
- Most often, wealth gained little by little takes time and effort to grow. This inevitably grows the wealthy person’s appreciation for it.
Have you ever heard someone say, “money can’t buy happiness” and then someone responds, “but it can buy me a lot of stuff that makes me happy”? It’s a fair point…kind of. And honestly the story of the rich young ruler in Luke isn’t really about money. It’s about where God ranks in the things we love. As we cling desperately to God, everything else should be held with a loose grip.
- This is somewhat difficult to understand because we’re not familiar with the landscape of ancient Israel. Check out the Joshua 15 map to give you a better idea of where all these landmarks are and what land belonged to what tribe.
- Though this passage may have seemed a little dry, it is a reminder of what excellent records the Israelites kept of their history, inheritance, possessions, and families.
- 18-25 – The deepest issue is not that of wealth, but of how wealth tends to have control over us. The rich young ruler loved God but loved his stuff more and was sad to have to let it go. When we allow our wealth to take hold of us, it is impossible to serve God first.
- 27 – We sometimes interpret this to mean that because of God, we are able to do anything, but we forget that is actually God’s power and strength at work. He can do all things.
- 28-30 – An encouragement to all those who have sacrificed for the gospel.
- 31 – The journey to Jerusalem first mentioned in chapter 9 is still in progress.
- 42-43 – Like the blind man, when we act in faith, God works, and others are drawn to God through his work. Acting in faith brings great results.
- 11-12 – This is a lovely image of God teaching us his ways for our benefit so that we might in return follow those ways. God doesn’t give us unreasonable requests, he gives us what we need to do what he asks us to do.
- 9 – A reminder that evil does not win out. It can be frustrating when evil seems to get the upper hand, but in the end, Jesus wins.
Consider this an all things Easter bonus edition of our blog! Today is THE GREATEST DAY of the year!! Today is the day we celebrate God’s triumph over sin and death and recognize that Jesus truly is the Savior of the World.
Finally, enjoy this explanation of the foretelling and fulfillment of the Messiah, Jesus – Our Savior!
Do you ever wonder if God answers prayers? In today’s Luke reading there is a parable that reminds us that God does hear us. Don’t make the make mistake of equating God with the judge. But if even the unrighteous judge hears persistent requests, how much more will God?
- 13 – It is unclear why the Geshurites and Maacathites were allowed to stay on Israel’s land while all others are driven out. It could be that they didn’t pose a threat of causing the Israelites to be unfaithful to God.
- 8-12 – Caleb and Joshua were the only two who trusted the Lord to give them the land like he promised even though it looked impossible. Because Caleb “wholly followed the Lord” he was blessed with an inheritance and good health.
- 12 – The Anakim were legendary people and are believed to have been giants.
- 1-8 – As is explained in verse 1, this parable encourages the hearers to pray and not lose heart, but it should not be mistaken that the judge represents God. The judge is meant to be an unrighteous man, but the comparison is made that if even he can be persuaded to do the right thing with persistence, how much more will God hear our prayers?
- 9-14 – This is a warning against self-righteousness, which is an easy trap for those of us who do our best to faithfully follow Christ. It is far easier to see ourselves as the justified tax collector than the Pharisee.
- Based on the first 3 verses, this is most likely written about the beginning of the Israelites’ return from exile. They can begin to see God’s goodness being restored to them, but they have still have not fully returned to the prosperity they once knew. They’re still asking if God is angry, but they’re aware of his faithfulness.
- This is similar to a comparison made in Proverbs 12:9. Because of the honor/shame society the Israelites lived in, they would much rather be seen as honorable or as having wealth, whether it was true or not, so they would not receive shame.
First off, HAPPY EASTER!!! I hope you feel the love of Jesus throughout your day!
This week we have a number of noteworthy verses, passages, and events to read. For starters, in Joshua, there is a really powerful verse that we should all claim for our families. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Joshua has done everything possible to lead the Israelites towards faithfulness and yet they are easily tempted by the presumed glamour of other nations’ gods. So he draws a line in the sand and tells them all to choose who they’ll serve. But he doesn’t have to choose, because he already has.
And this week in Luke we begin reading his account of Holy Week, beginning with the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. As you read through Jesus’ last week of life (it will extend into next week’s reading) remember all that we just remembered and celebrated. I don’t want to spoil anything for next week, so I’ll just leave it at that.
We also get to see a cool way that Scripture all ties together. In Friday’s psalm, the psalmist reminds us of the covenant God made with David and how God promised that David’s line would be on the throne forever. As was affirmed in Matthew and Luke, Jesus’ line runs directly from David. When Jesus dies and resurrects, which we know he’s about to do, he becomes the everlasting king. David’s line truly does remain on the throne forever.
Sometimes we just need a change in perspective. Our world has convinced us that everything is urgent, which often pushes out what’s important. In today’s psalm, the psalmist begins it by stating how magnificent it is to be in God’s presence. The psalmist even states how he longs to spend time with the Lord. If we could shift our perspective from the urgent to something more like the psalmist, we’d be a lot better off.
- 15 – There are a number of times where Scripture describes someone doing everything exactly as they were instructed, or in this case, leaving nothing undone. One hundred percent compliance is what God wants from us.
- 17-19 – All 10 were healed, but only one praised God for it. Each of us receives blessings, but few of us remember to give God thanks for the blessings he’s given.
- 20-21 – Living on earth, we are caught in what is often called the “already but not yet”. This means we can experience some of God’s Kingdom here on earth: grace, joy, selfless love. But we are also still waiting for the fullness of God’s kingdom because we still experience pain, suffering, and injustices here on earth.
- 31-37 – These verses are where the idea of the rapture derives. Many believe that when Jesus comes again, believers will be taken up with him instantaneously and non-believers will be left behind.
- 1-2 – So often we feel as if we have to make time for God or that time with him is simply an item on a checklist. The Psalmist here has a very different view of God and what a gift it is to be in his presence. He says that his soul longs and faints to be in the presence of God.
- 10-12 – Beautiful imagery of the blessing it is to be in God’s presence, the way he cares for and protects us, and how he gives us good gifts.
- We view most sins as harmless, but this verse explains that sin can overthrow us and lead to our ultimate demise.
Temptations are all around us. They’re so sneaky that at times, we don’t even know we’re being tempted. And though sin can be avoided, temptation cannot always be, but it is incumbent upon those of us who are believers to not create or introduce temptations to others. Instead, it is our job to lead others closer to Christ.
- 14-15 – Note that the Israelites and Joshua did not ask God what they were supposed to do in this situation.
- 19 – This is the reason the gospels say to “let your yes be yes and your no be no” and not to swear by God or anything else. They’ve made a promise with the Hivites that was not sanctioned by God and could cause them to have to disobey God’s instructions later.
- 12-15 – Sometimes it is hard for us to believe in some of the miracles described in the Bible, but we are told that with God all things are possible and we know that he is not constrained by the same things we are.
- 19-31 – We are often consumed with our own comfort on earth, but this story clearly tells us that comfort on earth is fleeting. It is our job to help comfort the afflicted while on earth and then enjoy comfort in heaven.
- 1 – Temptations are inevitable in life, but far be it for us to provide those temptations for others, particularly those who are earlier in their faith journey.
- 3-4 – We are not to judge, but we are to lovingly call people out for their sins. We are also called to forgive as we’ve been forgiven.
Have you ever had to fill enormous shoes? Joshua, throughout the book, is presented as the next Moses – he even parts the Jordan River. But unlike Moses, he is able to bring people into the land they’ve longed for for 40 years. This video will explain all that and more.
Today’s proverb reminds us of something we all know but struggle to practice. We should listen first and speak later. Words can be destructive, especially when we aren’t even sure what we’re talking about.
- 16-26 – Achan took riches from another nation and was punished for it. Dating as far back as Abraham, the Israelites were supposed to refuse the riches of other nations so they wouldn’t be tempted to credit that nation with their blessings.
- 1-17 – The Israelites attempted to conquer Ai before but were vulnerable because someone in the camp had been unfaithful. Like all things that start badly, God made good out of it. The people of Ai were overconfident and pursued the Israelites into an ambush.
- 10-13 – Convicting passage. We often think our small bouts with unfaithfulness are no big deal. Instead, God asks us to be faithful in the little things so we can be entrusted with the big stuff. Our small decisions and actions do matter.
- 14-15 – Pharisees were held in high regard in society. They were much more holy than most people according to the law and could look down on others. Jesus reminds them that the law matters but most things that we exalt are not what matter to God.
- 3-4 – These are commands God gives us throughout Scripture. Serving those who are unable to serve themselves is later described as the purest form of religion.
- We should be slow to speak and quick to listen. Our words are often destructive and are best not spoken.
Today’s Luke, Psalm, and Proverbs reading all have a similar theme. There is wise instruction, which would offer protection, but the hearer refuses to listen. In the Prodigal Son parable, the young man squanders his inheritance and leaves his father’s home. In the psalm, the Israelites are finally allowed to feel the consequences of their wayward ways, and the proverb reminds us that when we are wise we listen to the faithful instruction of those who love us. Seems like God might be trying to tell some of us something…
- 1 – Clearly other nations had heard of the power of the God of Israel. Though they worshipped other gods, they knew of the wonders God had performed.
- 10-12 – A powerful illustration that God provides for us in different ways, but he always provides.
- 15 – The parallels between Joshua and Moses continue. When God called Moses from the burning bush, he also told Moses to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground.
- 1-25 – Joshua toppling the walls of Jericho is a fairly familiar story, but often we don’t know why or when it happened. Now we see that Jericho was part of the Promised Land that Israel was to take it over.
- 25 – Phrases like, “to this day” in Scripture remind us that the stories of the Bible were told by actual people about actual events. This culture had an oral tradition meaning they passed down their history and faith through telling stories to one another. These stories were repeated again and again. Clearly, when the book of Joshua was written down, Rahab was still living under Israelite protection.
- The three parables in this section all have to do with God’s willingness to pursue anyone who is sinning and straying. It also describes the joy that occurs when anyone repents from their sins and chooses to follow Christ.
- 12 – This is the younger son basically telling his father he wishes he was dead because inheritances were not normally distributed until the father was dead.
- 15-16 – This would have been detestable to the Jews listening to Jesus because Jews viewed pigs as unclean animals.
- 22 – The ring the story speaks of is a family ring designating that the son is fully embraced back into the family.
- 11-32 – This familiar parable, often called, “The Prodigal Son,” is easy to relate to. A wayward child sins and then returns and is welcomed back by a gracious, loving father. The older, faithful brother is angry because the younger son’s shortcomings are seemingly being celebrated simply because he’s returned home. It is easy for us to relate to the father or the younger son. It is hard for us to relate to the older son, though most likely, that’s the role that many of us play.
- 12 – It is explained that God finally gave the Israelites what they wanted. They didn’t want to obey God’s commands, but they didn’t think about how that meant God could no longer protect them. This is like when a parent finally allows their disobedient child to experience the consequences of their actions.
- This Proverb relates perfectly to the parable of the Prodigal Son as well as the Psalm. Both the father to the son and God to the Israelites gave wise counsel on how to live. They had the choice to listen or to choose their own way. When we choose our own way, we suffer the consequences.