Joshua: When Israel confronted the people of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh about building an altar, they answered the rest of Israel. They said the Lord knows their motivation and if it were out of rebellion, then they shouldn’t be spared by Israel and the Lord should also take vengeance. The altar was intended to be witness between Israel on the west of the Jordan and those on the east so that future generations from the west would not prevent those on the east for worshiping the Lord with them.
Phinehas the priest and the chiefs of Israel accepted the explanation. They affirmed that the Lord was in their midst because the eastern tribes didn’t commit a breach of faith. So they went home and told the rest of Israel.
Much later, when Joshua was old, he gathered Israel and spoke to them. He told them all the land had been allotted including the nations that hadn’t been driven out. He warned them to cling to the Lord and not depart from his ways. No one will be able to stand against them because the Lord is with them and fights for them. If they intermingle or intermarry with the nations that remained or they even mention the names of their gods, then the Lord will not drive out the remnant nations. They will become snares to them until Israel perishes from the land.
Psalm: Ethan continues to extol God’s attributes. He talks of God’s righteousness and justice and how people rejoice in them. He then recounts God’s promises to David giving him strength over enemies and God’s continued love for him. David will call God his Father and he will be appointed God’s firstborn. The promises extend to David’s descendents forever. If David’s descendents should stray from God’s decrees, God will punish them but will not remove his love from them or change his covenant because God swore by his holiness. David’s line will endure forever.
Proverbs: Wickedness brings trouble. It happens to messengers of evil, people who ignore instruction, and fools who don’t turn from evil. Faithful messengers bring healing even if it is reproof when heeded.
Luke: The Sadducees come trying to trick Jesus. They use the Law about a brother being required to marry his brother’s wife if the brother doesn’t have any heirs when he dies. They present a case where a woman is married to seven brothers and all die. They ask who she will be married to in the resurrection. Jesus tells them marriage is only for this life. Those who are resurrected do not marry because they cannot die anymore. They are equal to the angels and are sons of God. He tells them that the dead are raised because Moses calls the Lord the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God is not God of the dead but the living.
The scribes thought Jesus answered well, but he asks them how they can say the Christ is David’s son. Jesus quotes, Psalm 110:1, “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand.”
So Jesus turns to his disciples and the people and warns them about the scribes. They exalt themselves, extort widows, and make long prayers to impress people. They will receive greater condemnation.
What Stood Out
Joshua: “When Phinehas the priest and the chiefs of the congregation, the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh spoke, it was good in their eyes” (Josh 22:30).
Psalm: “I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth” (Ps 89:27).
Proverbs: “To turn away from evil is an abomination to fools” (Prov 13:19).
Luke: “[They] neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore” (Luke 20:35-36).
Joshua: The delegation that went to the people of Reuben, Gad, half-tribe of Manasseh heard the explanation about the altar they had built. The result of an investigation revealed that there hadn’t been any breach of faith with the Lord. The war was averted.
It could have turned out quite differently. The eastern tribes could have been offended by the accusations from the west. That is usually the way people react to confrontation. We’ll see that later in the book of Judges. We often become defensive and answer back harshly. They could have been alarmed that the west had already prepared for war. We often mull things over in our minds and expect the worst.
However, this didn’t happen and it is a lesson for us as well. When confronted, the eastern tribes were shocked, not at being confronted, but at the seriousness of the sin. They agreed that had they done this thing, they should be punished severely. If we are accused of a sin that we didn’t do, how often do we gasp and say, “Oh, if I did that, may I be punished.” No, we get indignant and defend ourselves. By agreeing that the supposed sin is seriousness, the wind is taken out of the accusers. They are ready to listen to the explanation and accept it. Of course, if there was sin, then admitting to it must lead to repentance and a resolution for restitution.
Psalm: Ethan’s praises of God lead to the promises God gave to David. These promises extended way beyond David’s life. They speak of his immediate descendents who reigned as kings over Israel and then Judah. Some of them did stray from God’s decrees and were punished. However, it becomes obvious that these promises are ultimately fulfilled in Jesus. Many of these statements could apply to David or some of the other kings, but making him God’s firstborn is only possible for the Son of God. Speaking of Jesus, Paul writes, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Col 1:15 NKJV). Satan tempted Jesus in the desert by challenging if he really was the Son of God to turn stones to bread (Matt 4:3). There is enough confusion over this that cults claim this means that Jesus was created and not God from all eternity. However, this terminology is not referring to his physical creation. It speaks of giving Jesus the position or rights of a firstborn. He has dominion over all creation because of his position.
I’m sure Ethan didn’t think all this through and he didn’t have the rest of the Bible, but the Holy Spirit put this in the Psalm so that we would know that only the Messiah could claim to be the this unique Son of God.
Proverbs: It is amazing that foolish people call good evil and evil good. Everything is upside down for them and they call Christians crazy and evil. This is just part of the downward spiral that foolish and evil thinking inspires. Paul says that they become futile in their thinking. They claim to be wise but are fools (Rom 1:21-22). They flaunt their sins and approve of people who do the same thing even though they know deep in their hearts that they deserve God’s judgment (Rom 1:32).We see this increasing in our society with perverted sexuality. We see extreme cases of this when people claim that the Holocaust didn’t happen. We see it all the time with ISIS and other extremists who believe that slaughtering people they call infidels will bring them honor in the afterlife. We’ve even seen people who call themselves Christians do the same. They are all fools
Luke: Jesus tells us that there is no marriage in heaven because we cannot die again. On the surface, that doesn’t seem like much of a reason for not marrying. The reason that marriage was instituted in the first place is because man was alone and God wanted him to have a helper fit for him (Gen 2:18). Once we have a resurrected body and are in heaven, we will not have that need anymore. We will be with Jesus and every longing, every need, will be fulfilled by that relationship.
These verse (Luke 20:35-36) also dispel the concepts of the afterlife held by cults and other religions. The first is that there is no marriage in heaven. So those who are looking forward to marriage in heaven are going to be greatly disappointed (if they get there and they probably won’t), especially if they’ve been promised multiple wives. Women will be greatly relieved that they won’t have to put up with a husband that has many wives. Think how degrading that would be. Those who believe they will come back to earth in another form, either a bug or an exalted person, will also be disappointed to discover that this life is the only one they have. If they haven’t trusted in Jesus, they won’t get another chance to do so.
I need to be careful the way I talk to others when I perceive something is wrong. I’ve heard it said that accusation harden but questions convict. I need to keep from becoming defensive when confronted and answer wisely.