Monday, April 10, 2017

April 10: Joshua 1 – 2; Psalm 79; Proverbs 12:26; Luke 13:22-14:6



Overview

            Joshua: The Lord instructs and encourages Joshua to take the Promised Land. No one will be able to stop him all his life. He is told to be strong and courageous. He is to follow the Law, meditate on it day and night and he will have success. He is not to be frightened or dismayed.
            Joshua instructs Israel to get ready to cross the Jordon River in three days. He reminds the tribes with an inheritance on the east side of the river that they have to pass over first and not return until the rest of Israel has taken possession of the land. The people respond by saying they will do as told and they will kill anyone who disobeys. They tell Joshua to be strong and courageous.
            Joshua sends two men ahead to spy out the land and Jericho. They are detected but Rahab hides them. She tells them that everyone is frightened by Israel and asks to be spared for helping them. They tell her to tie a scarlet cord in her window and any relatives in her house will be spared. After promising to spare her, she helps them escape.
            Upon their return to Joshua, they tell Joshua that the Lord has given the land to Israel because all the inhabitants are afraid of them.
            Psalm: Asaph is again lamenting the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem. So many have been killed that there is no place to bury them. Judah is a scorned by other countries.
            He asks God how long it will be before he pours out his anger on the nations that have laid waste to Israel. He asks God not to remember Israel’s past sins but to have compassion on them. He pleads for God to save them and atone for their sins for his name’s sake. Otherwise, the nations will ask if God is real.
            Asaph again asks for God to have vengeance while caring for the prisoners and sparing those doomed to die. He says that Israel is God’s sheep and they will thank him forever. All generations will praise him.
            Proverbs: A righteous person can lead others correctly but wicked people can’t.
            Luke: When asked if only a few would be saved, Jesus replied that the door is narrow and many will not enter. When the door is shut, many will knock wanting in. But the Master will tell them he doesn’t know them even though they ate and drank with him. The workers of evil will have to depart. They will weep and gnash their teeth seeing the patriarchs and prophets in the kingdom of God but they are cast out. Many from other places will be there.
            A Pharisee warns Jesus that Herod wants to kill him. Jesus tells him that the threats won’t stop him from doing miracles and going to Jerusalem where other prophets were killed. He wants Jerusalem to come to him but they are forsaken and won’t see him until they acknowledge him as Lord.
            On a Sabbath, Jesus is eating with Pharisees. He sees a man with dropsy. He asks the Pharisees if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. They said nothing because they were waiting to trap him. He healed the man and told them that even they rescue their animals on the Sabbath. They couldn’t reply.

What Stood Out

            Joshua: “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go” (Josh 1:7).
            Psalm: “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name's sake!” (Ps 79:9).
            Proverbs: “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor” (Prov 12:26).
            Luke: “I do not know where you come from” (Luke 13:25).

Insight

            Joshua: While the book of Joshua recounts all that occurred when Israel took over the Promised Land, it has an overriding theme expressed in Joshua 1:7. Joshua and all Israel are to do two things if they are to accomplish God’s will for the nation. They must be careful to do everything written in the Law. They can’t deviate from it. Obedience to God’s Law is a fundamental element of faith in God. Christians can’t claim to have faith in God if they are not willing to obey Jesus. Israel could not claim the Promised Land if they were unwilling to obey God. As they went into the land, when they obeyed, they took possession of the territory. When they disobeyed, they were defeated. It’s the same in the Christian life. When we obey the Lord, we have victory over sin living in peace with the Lord. When we disobey, we are defeated and suffer the consequences whether they are spiritual, emotional, or physical.
            The other thing they must do is to be strong and courageous. In other words, they can’t stand idly by and expect God to do all the work. They have to recognize that their strength comes from God and he works through them. At the same time, they have to move out. They can’t stay on the other side of the Jordon. This is also true for Christians. We must do more than pray that we can overcome sin. We must take the steps to put off the old sinful nature and put on Christ (Rom 13:14, Eph 4:23-24, Col 3:8-10). Just as Israel had to go in the power and dependence of the Lord, so we must also do this with the power of the Holy Spirit.
            Psalm: In the middle of this Psalm, Asaph asks God to deliver the people and atone for their sins for God’s name’s sake. This is very interesting because the Lord had explained to Israel what must be done to atone for the sins of the people. When we went through Leviticus, the rituals were clearly defined. So why would Asaph ask God to atone for their sins? Isn’t this something they had to do?
            Perhaps he had read what Isaiah wrote, “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isa 43:25). Perhaps Aspah was speaking of the coming Messiah who would atone for our sins. The biggest thing Asaph got right in this lament is that God is the only one who can truly atone for our sins. The sacrifices couldn’t do what Jesus did on the cross, remove our sins once and for all. It took the holy One to provide the perfect sacrifice. No other person or animal could do that. Recognizing that means we can give thanks to God forever (Ps 79:13) for our salvation.
            Proverbs: When we look at the completely righteous Jesus, we can see that he is really the only one who can perfectly lead us. While we may try to be righteous leaders, we are not perfect as Jesus is. So there is always a danger that we can lead others astray. If we are following Jesus and asking other to follow him then we will do much better.
            Luke: Human nature wants the way to heaven to be broad and wide. We would like it if everyone would be there after they die. The person who asked Jesus if only a few would be saved might have been baiting him or he may have thought that Jesus would answer that only Jews would be saved. Whatever his reason, he probably didn’t expect Jesus to answer the way he did. Jesus affirms that not everyone will be saved. The first criterion is that they have to come through a narrow door. In John, he clarifies that he is the door (John 10:7-9) and that no one comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6). He specifies that many of those who think they are going to be saved will not be able to enter. It doesn’t matter if they claimed to know Jesus if they worked evil. The second criterion is that they will obey Jesus to show that they really know him.
            The second part of the answer is that many will be saved. However they won’t be only Jews. Jesus says that they will come from all parts of the world. There will be some people who we think will be last but will be first and vice versa.

Application

            We need to continue to be strong and courageous in our walk with Jesus. We can’t sit back and think we are OK without obedience to the Lord. We must put off sin and put on righteous living in Jesus. It shows that we really are saved.

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