October 22, 2016

Today you should read: Joshua 22

One goal—“to keep the commandment to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and serve him with all your heart and soul…” With this instruction, the Eastern tribes of Reuben, Gad, and eastern Manasseh are released by Joshua and sent back to their own regions. These tribes had fulfilled their duties to fellow Israelites and now take their places in the designated regions. Just to summarize for a second—they construct an altar, which my Bible calls, “of imposing size,” (v. 10). This was built on the Israelite’s side of the Jordan, but visible from either side. When the rest of the Israelites heard about the altar, they prepared to go to war against them, for fear that the eastern tribes had turned to idol worship, inviting God’s wrath on the nation.

It turns out that it wasn’t as they expected. These tribes constructed the altar as a witness to them and to their children that they belonged to the LORD. Once they’d had a chance to explain themselves, the other tribes accepted the explanation and war was deemed unnecessary.

One possible lesson from this passage is a reminder not to jump to conclusions, and, that if you suspect that someone has done wrong, it should be handled in the way God ordains. Yet, I’d like to focus instead on the instruction spoken by Joshua in v. 5. Then we’ll view the story through that lens.

Joshua sends the eastern tribes out with the reminder of what truly matters, what’s important. “Only be very careful to…” he urges them, and then lists (observe the law, love the LORD your God, walk in all his ways, keep his commandments, cling to him, and serve him). I like the way this is worded. By the way he begins, “only,” you’d think he’s about to give one focused assignment, but rather what we get is a list of six different instructions, each distinct, but all meant for the purity of their worship.

What I love is the vigilance the Israelites show against idolatry, at least in this one chapter. Knowing their past—that they’re prone to getting sidetracked and worshiping idols—the western tribes recognize a potential misstep in their brothers and go quickly to restore them. But they do it in a righteous, unassuming way. They allow the brother tribes to explain themselves and then accept them back once understanding is had, to the glory of God.

For us:

  • The Israelites recalled their own sin and how it impacted not only the guilty individual, but those associated with him. Do you see that your sin affects not only you but those around you?
  • The Israelites showed zeal to keep their hearts pure in worshiping the true God alone. Are you zealous to keep yourself and your family pure in worship? With what idols do you need to make war?

By: Taylor Gilliam

October 21, 2016

Today you should read: Joshua 21

There are two fantastic highlights in today’s reading. The first exposes a good moment of obedience for Israel. The second points to the faithfulness of God.

Israel has not been known for her obedience thus far in the scriptures. If you were to classify Israel, you would more than likely use words like complaining, unsatisfied, proud, unfaithful, unwise, wayward, defiant, etc., not obedient. But in verses 1-3, you see a moment of simple obedience:

Then the leaders of the tribe of Levi came to consult with Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders of the other tribes of Israel. They came to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan and said, “The Lord commanded Moses to give us towns to live in and pasturelands for our livestock.” So by the command of the Lord the people of Israel gave the Levites the following towns and pasturelands out of their own grants of land. Joshua 21:1-3

This is a great moment for the Israelites. They didn’t question God or try to come up with a better plan. They followed the Lord’s plan for the Levites according to what He told Moses to do.

I don’t know about you, but I typically try to add to God’s plan or find my own way to follow through with what He has told me to do. This is a great reminder to trust God’s commands and simply obey. Why? Because He is unwaveringly faithful.

The Israelites heard all kinds of promises from God, but many wondered if these promises would ever come true. They probably asked questions like, “When will God come through on His word?” or “Why follow a God who doesn’t keep His promises?”.

We get to the end of the chapter, and we are reminded once again of the incredible faithfulness of our great God:

So the Lord gave to Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had solemnly promised their ancestors. None of their enemies could stand against them, for the Lord helped them conquer all their enemies. Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true. Joshua 21:43-45

GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES! As if it were not clear enough, the word “all” is used in the Hebrew text 6 distinct times in verses 43-45. What an awesome reminder. Never forget the faithfulness of the Lord, especially as New Testament Christians. We have so many to cling to, but none greater than Jesus Himself:

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” ascends to God for his glory.
2 Corinthians 1:20

Additional Study Help
Someone GeoCached Joshua. Here’s a link to GoogleEarth that helps with all of the geography mentioned in the Bible. It works by Bible chapter. Check it out with Joshua here…

By: Todd Thomas

October 20, 2016

Today you should read: Joshua 20

This passage of scripture is all about the justice of God and how He is honoring the promises He made to Israel. Have you ever just sat back and thought about how just God truly is? It is easy to sit around and look at our world and the chaos that is in it and think about how bad it is. To those who do not know Christ, they would look at everything and say that a good and loving God wouldn’t let these things happen. But for the one who follows Christ we know that is not the case. We look at God and see that man disobeyed Him, and because of that there had to be punishment. Separation from God and the sin that causes that is to blame for chaos and destruction. God is faithful and just.

In this passage the creation of the cities of refuge. They are places where you are guaranteed judicial due process. So your side will be heard. The passage gives the example of the manslayer and the avenger of blood. This refers to a person who unintentionally or without premeditation took another’s life. The avenger of blood is the kinsman-redeemer who is responsible for putting to death the manslayer. So the person would have no trial, instead they would just be killed. The cities of refuge are made for the opportunity for justice and not vengeance. God desires justice for both the innocent and the guilty.

Isn’t that so true for us today? We are all guilty of sin. We are all separated from God, and yet we are offered refuge. We can come to Jesus and He goes a step farther for us, because He stands on trial in our place and takes our punishment. God is still completely just because the punishment is paid.

Today take some time to praise God that He is just.

Today thank God that He is also gracious and merciful.

Today thank God that He is worthy of our trust, and that He always fulfills His promises.

By: Dakota Gragg

October 19, 2016

Today you should read: Joshua 19

Joshua 19 is all about the land allotments being given to the various tribes of the Children of Israel.  At first look, this may seem like a chapter to skim or breeze through.  But when you realize what it means, it becomes a golden nugget to savor.

This is all the fulfillment of God’s promise made to Abraham in Genesis 17:8:

The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.

God is a promise maker and a promiser keeper!  Every time!  For many years they could not imagine this promise coming true.  They were slaves in Egypt – they were wonderers for 40 years in the wilderness.  Now God is making good on His promise.  You can trust Him!

But why now?  Why wait this long?  God honors and blesses obedience.  It took this long for them to obey and claim the promise of God.

What’s keeping you from God’s full blessings?  Is it worth it?

What promises has God made to you?  How has He fulfilled them?  Praise Him today!


By: Tim Parsons