And here I am today, eighty-five years old! I’m as strong as I was the
day Moses sent me out. I’m as strong as ever in battle, whether coming
or going. So give me this hill country that God promised me. You yourself heard the report, that the Anakim were there with their great fortress cities. If God goes with me, I will drive them out, just as God said. Joshua 14:11-12
You’ve got to admire Caleb’s faith. Not only was he one of the only two spies to bring back a report to Moses saying "We can do it! God is with us! Let’s go for it!" – but here he is forty-five years later at the ripe old age of 85 – still keeping the faith. I hope and pray that my faith, my passion and my "spunk" for God only increases with age.
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You may have noticed that it’s been a few days since I posted a "chapter-a-day". You know, sometimes reading scripture, especially some sections of the Old Testament is like mining for gold. There are days you strike it rich, days you find a few nuggets for your soul and days you seem to come up empty. Here’s today’s nugget:
But Moses gave no inheritance to the tribe of Levi. God, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, just as he told them. Joshua 13:31 (TM)
I think it’s cool that God established the fact that the priests – the Levites would be provided for by the offerings of the rest of the tribes. What a great message for the Levites to hear – that they were not to be concerned with inheriting land and possessions but inheriting God Himself. It’s also a good reminder for those of us who live on this side of the cross and the empty tomb. If we believe in the "priesthood of all believers", then we should look to God’s message to the Levites as a guide. Our inheritance is not of this earth. We should focus on God to be our inheritance.
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Joshua erected a monument at The Gilgal, using the twelve stones that they had taken from the Jordan. And then he told the People of Israel, "In the days to come, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What are these stones doing here?’ tell your children this: ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry ground.’" Joshua 4:20-22 (TM)
Reading about Joshua’s monument, it got me thinking about all of the things God has done in my life. Nothing quite as dramatic as God stopping up the River Jordan, but personally dramatic and miraculous just the same. Are there any stones pointing people to remember those occasions? How will my children and grandchildren remember what God has done? It made me want to be more purposeful in doing something on these occasions that will serve as reminders to our girls and their children of what God has done for us.
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God says it, you do it. Go to it. I’ve given you your orders. Joshua 8:8 (TM)
Life may often complicated, but obedience really isn’t.
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In the plunder I spotted a beautiful Shinar robe, two hundred shekels of silver, and a fifty-shekel bar of gold, and I coveted and took them. Joshua 7:20-21 (TM)
It’s interesting that throughout scripture we’re warned and given examples of "the lust of the eyes". Adam and Eve saw the forbidden fruit and wanted it. In today’s verse, Achan sees the forbidden plunder and takes it. David sees Bathsheba bathing and takes her. There is clearly a simple connection between what we look at, what we desire and what we do to get it. It makes me think about what I do with my eyes. Job made a covenant with his eyes not to use them to look with lust (Job 31:1). What will I look at today?
At that time God said to Joshua, "Make stone knives and circumcise the People of Israel a second time." So Joshua made stone knives and circumcised the People of Israel at Foreskins Hill. Joshua 5:2-3 (TM)
Circumcision is never a comfortable subject for any of us in the male persuasion. I think it’s interesting that God chose to set Israel apart from their neighbors by differentiating the male sex organ. It would forever be a reminder to the men that they are called to be different than the other nations in their sexuality – especially in a time when sex was an integral part of the fertility cults around them. It’s a good reminder for me and for all men in a time when open sexuality without boundaries is thrust at us as "common" and "normal". We need to remember that sexuality is an important part of our being "in the world but not of it."
Then Joshua addressed the people: "Sanctify yourselves. Tomorrow God will work miracle-wonders among you." Joshua 3:5 (TM)
The miracle at the Jordan river came after a time of anticipation and preparation. Joshua set up the anticipation by announcing that miracles would happen the next day and the people responded with faith ["the assurance of what is hoped for" Heb 11:1 – which is the necessary human ingredient for any miracle]. He also called them to prepare ("sanctify": set apart for sacred use) themselves to have God in their midst doing wonderful things.
I wonder what would happen in church on Sunday if all of us anticipated that God would show up and do amazing things among us and if we prepared our hearts for just such an occurrence. Do you think the service might look a little different?
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