Wednesday, April 12, 2017

April 12: Joshua 5 – 7:15; Psalm 81; Proverbs 13:1; Luke 15



Overview

            Joshua: All the Amorite kings on the west side of the Jordan were greatly afraid of Israel after they heard that the waters had dried up and the people crossed over.
            The Lord told Joshua to circumcise all the males of Israel. The males who came out of Egypt had been circumcised but those born on the way had not.
            Israel then celebrated the first Passover in the Promised Land. When they ate some of the produce of the land, the manna stopped.
            Joshua saw a man with a drawn sword and challenged him. The man said he was the commander of the Lord’s army. Joshua worshiped him. Joshua took off his sandals because he told Joshua it was holy ground.
            The Lord told Joshua to have the men of war and Levites with the Ark of the Covenant and march around Jericho once each day for six days. Seven priests were to go before the Ark blowing ram-horn trumpets. On the seventh day, they were to march around seven times. So each day they did and Joshua instructed the people to be silent until the seventh day when he told the people to shout when the trumpets were sounded. When they did, the walls fell down. They were instructed to destroy everything and take nothing for themselves. Only Rahab and her house were to be saved.
            Joshua put a curse on the city saying that the person who rebuilds it will lose his firstborn when the foundation is laid. He will lose his youngest when the gates are put into place.
            Achan took some of the devoted things and kept them. The Lord was angry so when 3,000 men went against Ai, they were defeated. Joshua tore his cloths and mourned along with the elders until evening. He asked the Lord why he brought them out of Egypt to be destroyed by the Amorites. They would have been content on the other side of the Jordan.
            The Lord told Joshua to get up and asked why he fell on his face. He explained that Israel had sinned because someone took devoted things. As long as there is sin in the camp, they will be defeated. The people must consecrate themselves and then in the morning, the people will come near the Lord by households and the guilty party will be exposed.
            Psalm: Asaph calls upon Israel to sing and shout the praises of God with music. They are to do this because God brought them out of Egypt and relieved them of their oppression. When he did that, he gave them a statute that they should not worship foreign gods. But they didn’t listen. So the Lord gave them over to their enemies. If they would listen to him, he would subdue their enemies and would satisfy their needs with the best produce.
            Proverbs: Be wise and listen to your father, those who ridicule advice don’t listen to anyone’s rebuke.
            Luke: The Pharisees started grumbling because sinners and tax collectors were being drawn to Jesus. So, Jesus tells some parables explaining the kingdom of heaven.
            The first is the parable of the lost sheep. The shepherd leaves the other sheep and when he finds the lost sheep, he calls friends to celebrate. He says there is more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than ninety-nine who don’t need to repent.
            The second is about a women who cleans house until she finds a lost coin. She calls friends to rejoice. There is joy before the angels over one repentant sinner.
            The third is the parable of the prodigal son. The younger son gets his inheritance from his father and goes to squander it in a foreign land. He ends up poor and destitute. When he came to himself, he realized his sin against heaven and his father so he goes home. His father welcomes him and has a feast. His older brother is upset. His father tries to point out that all he has belongs to the older son, but it was appropriate to celebrate the younger son’s return because he was lost but found, dead but now alive.

What Stood Out

            Joshua: “The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? Israel has sinned’” (Josh 7:10-11).
            Psalm: “Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!” (Ps 81:13).
            Proverbs: “A wise son hears his father's instruction” (Prov 13:1).
            Luke: “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7).

Insight

            Joshua: There are times in our lives when it should be obvious that calamity is a result of sin. For years, Joshua had been told how the Lord would defeat their enemies as long as the people obeyed. He saw how Jericho had fallen when he did it exactly the way the Lord commanded.
            So now, Joshua sent some people to spy out Ai and determined they only needed 3,000 men to conquer it. He didn’t ask the Lord what to do, he just went ahead and did it. He didn’t know that someone had taken devoted things from Jericho and he didn’t ask the Lord how many men to send to Ai. When they were defeated, Joshua essentially blamed God.
            God’s response was that Joshua should have known better. He should have known that there was a problem in the camp as soon as he heard that the troops had been defeated. God was gracious because he didn’t say anything about not asking him but going out in his own wisdom.
            Not all of our troubles are a result of our sin. Sometimes they are the results of other people’s sins. Sometimes it is a result of living in a world that isn’t perfect. Sometimes we can avoid the consequences by being more in tune with the Lord and other times, we can’t. As we walk with the Lord, we should become more able to recognize when the problems are our own fault. Regardless of the problems we face, we shouldn’t ever blame God for them.
            Psalm: After reading about Asaph’s whining about the destruction of Jerusalem, we finally get to hear God’s response. He reiterates that the reason the people are in trouble is because they forsook the Lord and worshiped other gods. This Psalm reveals God’s heart and desire not only for Israel but for us. His desire is for us to listen to him and walk in his ways. If we will, he will subdue our enemies and feed us with the best foods. That was a physical promise to Israel. Does that same promise apply to Christians?
            Paul said that our enemies are not flesh and blood but are all of Satan’s kingdom (Eph 6:10-12). When we are walking in God’s ways, trusting and leaning on Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, we resist the devil and he flees (James 4:7). It is also a promise that we will be able to overcome sin in our lives because our own sinful nature is often our own worst enemy (Gal 5:16-17). We may not get all the choicest foods, but our souls will be at rest and satisfied with Jesus (Matt 11:28-29).
            Proverbs: If we want to be wise, we will want to listen to our heavenly Father even more than we listen to our earthly father. We don’t always have fathers who are wise. Some are wicked, others are weak; they are all fallen people and not perfect. So we turn our attention to the Bible that has our Father’s wisdom and advice about how to live godly live. We find the way of salvation in the Bible.
            Scoffers ridicule the Bible and make fun of people who trust in the Lord. They don’t listen to good advice from the Bible or others. I think I’ll choose listening to my Lord.
            Luke: Each of these parables has a focus on repentance. It may not be obvious at first but the first two talk about the joy in heaven when a sinner repents. What isn’t obvious is that repentance in the first two doesn’t occur until the shepherd or the woman go looking for the lost item. In the same way, we would never repent of our sins unless God came looking for us. Our ability to repent is completely dependent upon God convicting us of sin and giving us the grace to repent. Paul explains it, “God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Tim 2:25-26).
            The parable of the prodigal son doesn’t show the father pursuing or looking for the son. Rather, repentance in this parable focuses on what happens to the son after he “came to himself” (Luke 15:17). This fills in what is missing in the first two parables. However, we must not assume that the Lord didn’t give the son the ability to repent. Once convicted of sin we can see the steps that he takes. He admits his sin. He admits that it was sin against God as well as against his father. The first is the most important but the second must follow as well. Many people will agree that they have sinned but will blame others. Just look at Adam and Eve as examples.
            The next thing the son did was to get up and go home. This is putting action to the mental transformation. Follow through is just as important as the decision. We would call this making restitution and reconciliation when it is possible.
            In all three parables there is joy in heaven when the sinner repents. But look who doesn’t rejoice. The older son who is like the Pharisees who were upset seeing people come to Jesus.

Application

            I need to be alert to sin in my life. If I have a problem, I should examine myself to see if it was caused by sinful behavior, attitude, or thought. If the problem is a result of my sin, I need to admit it, not blame others, and repent. I also need to rejoice when other repent.

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