Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April 19: Joshua 19 – 20; Psalm 88; Proverbs 13:12-24; Luke 19:28-48



Overview

            Joshua: Lots were cast for the inheritance of the remaining six tribes. In order of the lot, a description of the land and the cities are provided for the following tribes: Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan. But Dan couldn’t take their land so they went to Leshem and took it for themselves. Joshua was given an inheritance in the hill country of Ephraim.
            The Lord told Joshua to make sure that the cities of refuge were designated where an accidental man-slayer can flee. The man must make his case to the elders before being protected within their city. So Israel designated three cities on each side of the Jordan.
            Psalm: This is a Psalm of the sons of Korah. The Psalmist cries to the Lord day and night because his soul is in turmoil and he appears to be near death. He feels as if he is already in the grave. He considers his condition to be a result of God’s wrath. He believes God has caused his friends to desert him even though he constantly prays to God. He asks if anyone can praise God from the grave. He has suffered all his life. He again asks why God has hidden his face from him, caused his destruction, and his family and friends to shun him.
            Proverbs: Not seeing hope fulfilled can depress a person but seeing some fulfillment brightens life. Disregarding God’s Word is self-destruction but obedience brings life. A wise person’s teaching brings life and keeps one from death.
            Luke: Jesus approaches Jerusalem and stops at Bethphage. He sends his disciples into the village to get a donkey colt that had never been ridden. If anyone asks they are to tell them the Lord needs it. They get the colt, tell the owners that the Lord needs it, and bring it back to Jesus. As Jesus rides down from the Mount of Olives, the multitude of disciples start to praise God and say “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 19:38). The Pharisees tell Jesus to rebuke them but Jesus says the rocks would cry out if they didn’t.
            Jesus then weeps over Jerusalem because they don’t know the source of their peace. Their enemies will destroy the city and inhabitants because they don’t recognize Jesus coming as king.
            Jesus enters the temple and drives out the merchants because they turned his house of prayer into a den of robbers. Jesus taught daily in the temple. The Jewish leaders wanted to kill him but couldn’t because the people were hanging on his words.

What Stood Out

            Joshua: “When the territory of the people of Dan was lost to them, the people of Dan went up and fought against Leshem, and after capturing it and striking it with the sword they took possession of it and settled in it” (Josh 19:47).
            Psalm: “Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless” (Ps 88:15).
            Proverbs: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Prov 13:12).
            Luke: “Because you did not know the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:44).

Insight

            Joshua: The details of the conquest of the Promise Land reveal that the tribes had various levels of success. Dan is probably one of the least successful and that turned into an ignoble resolution. They couldn’t dive the people from their allotted land. They then went to Leshem and took the city. Their allotted territory was west of Jesursalem and extended to the Mediterranean Sea and north to Joppa. The city of Leshem was at the northern end of the allotments of Israel and within the territory of East Manasseh. It was more than ninety miles away from their territory. The full story of this conquest is found in Judges 18.
            What makes this conquest dishonorable is twofold. They gave up trying to take the land promised to them. They failed the test the Lord gave them. The second part is worse. They went to a town of unsuspecting people and wiped them out. These people were not listed in the nations that Israel was supposed to annihilate. There is no indication they gave the city the opportunity to surrender as the Lord had commanded (Deut 20:10-15). To add to their sin, they set up a carved image in the city (Judg 18:31).
            We are often like the Danites. When we fail at doing what the Lord wants, we will try an alternative that we think is better. It is usually results in sin.
            Psalm: This could well be the cries of anyone that we term mentally and physically ill. The Psalmist’s affliction has been with him all of his life. There doesn’t seem to be anything positive in this Psalm. He has lost hope in God and friends. However, he continues to pray every day. This one thing alone may be sustaining him in his darkness.
            When we see people in long-term illnesses, we can’t always empathize with them unless we’ve been in the same situation. So reading this Psalm and meditating on it should help us to have mercy on those who are undergoing afflictions. It is something that we should consider before we attempt to minister to them. Since they feel abandoned by both God and friends, simply spending time with them and not trying to fix them would be valuable for them.
            Proverbs: After reading Psalm 88, Proverbs 13:12 is poignant. The Psalmist didn’t express any hope in his situation and his heart was sick. He was depressed. The Christian life is one that offers hope to the depressed, afflicted, and persecuted. When we place our hope in temporal things of this life, it is misplaced hope since they will eventually disappear even if we gain what we want. When we fall to illness or persecution, depression often follows because of the lack of hope or the wrong expectation that God is supposed to give us bountiful, pain-free lives. But that isn’t what Jesus taught. The one who desires to live a godly life will suffer in this life (2 Tim 3:12). So we fix our hope on the one thing that this world can’t take away and that is our eternal life (2 Cor 4:16-18). While the proverb says a deferred hope making us sick, when we understand when our hope will be realized, it gives us strength.
            Luke: There are only two places in the Bible that speak of Jesus weeping, this occurrence when he approaches Jerusalem and before he raised Lazarus from the dead. You would think that both of these times would be joyous. Here he is coming with a multitude of disciples into the most important city of the Jews. The crowd seemingly accepted Jesus as their Messiah. It would seem like a most unlikely time to weep.
            When Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the grave, it would seem that he should be happy to restore his friend to life and give him back to his sisters. Instead, he wept.
            These two events reveal our Lord’s greatest concern for mankind and both are related. Jesus knew the city would reject him and many in the crowd would be yelling for his crucifixion or would have abandoned him by the end of the week. He knew that their rejection would mean the destruction of the city, but more importantly, continued rejection of Jesus would be eternal ongoing suffering and torment in hell. It wasn’t God’s plan for Israel to accept Jesus at that time, but it didn’t make it any less sorrowful for Jesus.
            Jesus also knew that raising Lazarus from the dead was going to be the second greatest miracle. The first greatest would be his own resurrection. Some have suggested that his sorrow stemmed from having to call Lazarus back from paradise into this sinful world. But I think his weeping was for a different reason. He knew that this miracle was still going to end in his rejection by many Jews resulting in their everlasting punishment. There is nothing more sorrowful to our Savior than seeing people reject him and his sacrifice for their sins and ending up in hell.

Application

            Regardless of the vileness of my sins, Jesus wants to be my Lord. That means I need to do things his way and not invent my own when the going gets tough. He has paid the price so that I can have hope in him instead of this world. Keeping focused on Jesus and the hope of eternity with him enables me to handle what happens in this sinful world.

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