Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April 18: Joshua 16 – 18; Psalm 87; Proverbs 13:11; Luke 19:1-27


            Joshua: These are the allotments and description of the borders and cities for the tribe of Israel Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh). The descendents of Machir received Gilead and Bashan because they were men of war. The daughters of Zelophehad received their inheritance along with the males of the tribe. The Manassites could not drive out some of the Canaanites who lived in the land. After the Manassites became more numerous, they made the Canaanites forced laborers.
            The people of Joseph complained to Joshua that they were too numerous for the single allotment given them. Joshua told them if they were so numerous to go into the forest and clear the land where the Perizzites and Rephaites live. The people continued to complain that the hill country wasn’t large enough and the Canaanites in the valley had iron chariots. Joshua repeated that they could have the hill country and since they were so numerous they could drive out the Canaanites with the iron chariots as well.
            Israel gathered at Shiloh where the tent of meeting was set up. Seven tribes had still not received their inheritance. Joshua asked how long they would delay taking over the rest of the land. He asked for three men from each tribe to go and map out the land and return. When they did that, he would cast lots before the Lord to determine the land for the remaining tribes. So they did.
            The allotment for Benjamin is described including all the cities that they would inherit.
            Psalm: The sons of Korah exalt Jerusalem because God has chosen it for his dwelling on earth. It is described as the city God loves. They mention several nations including Zion and state that they know the Lord and will be counted as being born in Jerusalem. The Lord establishes the city and registers all people as being born there. Singers and dancers find their source of life in Jerusalem.
            Proverbs: Get rich quick schemes often end up as get poor again quickly schemes, but a person who diligently saves ends up with more.
            Luke: When Jesus passes through Jericho, Zacchaeus climbs a tree to see Jesus. Jesus stops and tells him that he must dine at Zacchaeus’ house today. When the crowd see it, they grumbled because Jesus went to eat with a tax collector and sinner. At dinner, Zacchaeus repents and tells Jesus he will restore everything and give half of everything he has to the poor. Jesus says that salvation came to Zacchaeus’ house.
            People thought the kingdom of God was to appear immediately, so Jesus tells a parable. He speaks of a noble man who goes to a far country to receive a kingdom. He gives ten of his servants a mina each. He tells them to do business until he comes back. The people send a delegation after the noble man asking that he not be given the kingdom. When he comes back, he asks for each of his servants to give an accounting. The ones who used the mina faithfully and gained more were told they were good and faithful servants. They were put in charge of the same number of cities as the minas they earned. One servant did not use the mina but hid it away and gave it back. He thought his master was a hard man so he was afraid. The master took the mina because the servant didn’t even put it in the bank to get interest. He gave the mina to the man who had ten. He who has, more will be given, but the one who doesn’t have will lose whatever he does have. Then the master had his enemies killed.

What Stood Out

            Joshua: “If you are a numerous people, go up by yourselves to the forest, and there clear ground for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you” (Josh 17:15).
            Psalm: “The Lord records as he registers the peoples, ‘This one was born there’” (Ps 87:6).
            Proverbs: “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle” (Prov 13:11).
            Luke: “He [Zacchaeus] was seeking to see who Jesus was” (Luke 19:3).


            Joshua: When the going gets tough, the tough try to talk their way out of doing what God called them to do. This seems to be the pattern for the overthrow of the Promised Land. We don’t see it spelled out in all the tribes, but Joseph’s descendents set the tone for the others. Rather than finish the job of driving out the Canaanites, they wanted to have a bigger allotment. Joshua gave them more land, but the grass wasn’t greener on the other side. The hill country had its own problems with its inhabitants.
            Joseph’s descendents presented their problem as not having enough room. The same thing happens to us when we are having relationship problems. We go to another person or the Lord and present what we want them to think is the problem. We are looking for sympathy but not the correct direction for our lives. Joshua presented an acceptable solution to the problem but they balked at the idea of fighting the Perizzites and Rephaim, so they added the problem with the Canaanites and the iron chariots. We do the same thing when we don’t like the solution that the Lord or our counselor suggests. We finally present the real problem. They didn’t want to fight the iron chariots because they were afraid even though they didn’t say so. They were focused on the problem instead of God’s power to do through them what he had promised.
            When we are having problems, we should really try to get to the root problem sooner and stop trying to get our selfish way. The real problem is usually a lack of trust in God.
            Psalm: This must be a Psalm describing the millennium reign of Christ. At the time it was written and even now, the people of these nations can’t be described as people who know the Lord and are therefore registered as being born in Zion. On the other hand it could also be a description of all Christians, wherever they live. We know the Lord and God registers each one of us as a person born in the city of God. This certainly looks forward to the end of all times when the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven. What assurance we have that we are registered in God’s city! We are citizens of heaven!
            Proverbs: Many people who have fallen for get-rich-quick schemes end up with nothing. Others who actually get it quickly haven’t learned how to handle it wisely and end up with nothing. Those who are diligent in saving and not looking for the big killing are the ones who have developed the good money handling habits that enable them to increase their wealth steadily as well as maintain it. Jesus said, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:10), which agrees with this proverb.
            Luke: Zacchaeus demonstrates a trait that was in direct opposition to the Pharisees of the day. They wanted to discredit Jesus making him out to be a fraud, heretic, or anything other than the Messsiah. Zacchaeus wanted to find out who Jesus was. The Lord can work in a person who is curious about Jesus. They are open and don’t have any negative preconceive ideas. The servant in the parable who hid his mina had negative preconceived ideas about his master and the result was losing everything he had. Zacchaeus dined with Jesus and presumably found out who he was. When he did, he was willing to restore fourfold whatever he had taken by fraud. Assuming he still had a lot left, he was willing to give half of it to the poor. This was an indication that he had placed his faith in Jesus unlike the rich ruler who was unwilling to give up everything he had. It is notable that Jesus didn’t ask him to repent or give up any of his wealth. This reflects a changed heart.


            I can learn a lesson from Zacchaeus. When I seek Jesus, he will find me. When I hear from Jesus, I will be changed. If I want to be changed, then I need to seek Jesus and not my preconceived ideas of who he is.

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