~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Joshua 7:16-9:2 ~ Luke 16:1-18
Psalm 82:1-8 ~ Proverbs 13:2-3
Old Testament - In Joshua chapter 7 today we continue to read about Achan's sin, which caused 36 Israelites to die in the first attack on the city of Ai. I found Joshua's words interesting in verse 19 as he spoke to Achan - "My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, by telling the truth." He has a fatherly tone here - and I like the thought of giving glory to God by telling the truth.
In chapter 8 verse 1 we read this today - "Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid or discouraged." This repeats what we heard God say to Joshua in chapter 1 verse 9 - "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." This makes sense that in the midst of the conquest of the Promised Land that this would need to be repeated often. I'm wondering if we need to hear this in our lives today as well from God often - do not be afraid or discouraged. It is so true. With God in our lives we do not need to be afraid or discouraged. I need to be reminded of this often...
Now that we are just past the Pentateuch in our readings - the first five books in the Old Testament - verses like 34 & 35 stand out to me as God's covenant is renewed with the Israelites - "Joshua then read to them all the blessings and curses Moses had written in the Book of the Law. Every command Moses had ever given was read to the entire assembly, including the women and children and the foreigners who lived among the Israelites."
After our recent readings about the Israelites victories at Jericho and Ai, I am not surprises by Joshua chapter 9 verse 2 at all.... - "These kings quickly combined their armies to fight against Joshua and the Israelites." Seems like a logical idea to try to band together. We get some interesting tactics coming from the Gibeonites in tomorrow's readings.... stay tuned....
New Testament - The story of the shrewd manager in Luke chapter 16 today concludes with some powerful teachings from Jesus. Verses 8 & 9 stand out to me today - "And it is true that the citizens of this world are more shrewd than the godly are. I tell you, use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven." I like that teaching - we should use our worldly resources to benefit others. I've actually been thinking about this based on a chapter I read in Donald Miller's book Blue Like Jazz recently. He speaks about a time when he was a kid and he buys his mom a cheap Christmas gift - because he spent the bulk of his money on some fishing gear for himself. And he realized this was wrong. And he realized that we have a choice to make - we can choose to try to make ourselves happy in our lives, or we can choose to make others happy. And he decided choosing to make others happy is the better way to go. And I think ironically this brings more happiness to ourselves as well in the end. So, I've been thinking about this a bit more lately. And I wondered what it would be like if I went through my days consciously trying to make other people happy. I don't think I've really ever done this over a sustained period. Maybe I've glimpses of using my resources to benefit others. To make them happy. I want to do more of this... How about you? Are you consciously using your resources (time, treasure & talents) to make others happy in your life each day?
Verse 10 is also a strong teaching from Jesus today - ""Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won't be faithful in large ones. If you cheat even a little, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities." I think there was a very popular book out there a while back called "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff." Well, it looks to me in this verse that God sweats the small stuff. And you and I should sweat the small stuff. We need to be faithful in small matters in our daily lives or else indeed we will not be faithful in large matters. Will you join me in sweating the small stuff when it comes to matters of our integrity before God?
Bible.org's commentary on our Luke chapter 16 readings today titled "Does Christ commend the crook or "The Sting?"" is at this link.
Psalms - I love Psalm 82 verses 3 & 4 - ""Give fair judgment to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people." I realize these verses were spoken to Israel's judges. But, I think they can speak to you and I today as well. Particularly, "rescue the poor and helpless" stands out to me today. What are some ways you are rescuing the poor and helpless in your life today? How are you delivering them from the grasp of evil people? This actually reminds me of a couple of friends of mine who are so passionate about rescuing young girls from the sex slave industry in some Asian countries - I think Thailand is where they do most of their work. Clearly, young girls that have to sell their bodies in this type of situation are under the grasp of evil people. And I am so humbled by my friends' work toward delivering girls from this grasp. My friends are only able to do this really well because of their relationship with Jesus. Jesus is the true rescuer - first of my friends and now through my friends to these young girls. But, wow, it makes me wonder if I am truly allowing Jesus to rescue the poor and helpless through me? How about you?
Proverbs - There is probably absolutely nothing I could or should add to Proverbs chapter 13 verse 3 :) - "Those who control their tongue will have a long life."
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!