~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Joshua 9:3-10:43 ~ Luke 16:19-17:10
Psalm 83:1-18 ~ Proverbs 13:4
Old Testament - As we read about the Gibeonites deception today, Joshua chapter 9 verses 14 & 15 teach a valuable lesson for each of us - "So the Israelite leaders examined their bread, but they did not consult the LORD. Then Joshua went ahead and signed a peace treaty with them, and the leaders of Israel ratified their agreement with a binding oath." They did not consult the Lord - and thus signed a binding oath based on a deception. How about you in your life today? How often do you consult God on major decisions in your life? Even minor decisions? I don't know that I do this enough. I do know that more and more I have found myself praying "thy will - not mine - be done" when major decisions are before me. I am seeking God's will and guidance in my life. But, I'm not sure that I'm really consulting God all that often. And I'm afraid when I don't I can rush into quick & bad decisions... I pray each of us will consult God with all of our plans & decisions in our lives - be they major or minor. Bible.org's commentary on our Joshua chapter 9 readings today titled "The Peril of Walking by Sight" is at this link.
Today in Joshua chapter 10 we read about the day the sun stood still! Have you ever received the email about this chapter titled "NASA and the Bible?" - basically the email goes into how a man from NASA proved that the sun stood still. I have received this email a bunch of times over the past 5 years or so. This email does appear to be an Urban Legend, but it's a fun email - check it out at this link. I have read many commentaries on this chapter and do believe that a miracle took place, as we read in verse 13 - "So the sun and moon stood still until the Israelites had defeated their enemies. Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day." Do you believe this miracle took place? Do you believe in miracles? Here's a cool stain glass image below from Duke University Chapel with Joshua and the son and the moon -
Bible.org's commentary on our Joshua chapter 10 readings today is at this link.
New Testament - Today in Luke chapter 16 we read about the rich man and Lazarus. I have always found verse 31 to be such a great reflection on what it means to have having a soft heart and a strong faith - ""But Abraham said, `If they won't listen to Moses and the prophets, they won't listen even if someone rises from the dead.' "" Basically, Abraham is saying that people whose hearts are hardened to faith will not even believe it if a dead man returns to them and tells them to repent. They still won't repent even with this miracle. And I believe this is true. Let us pray that our hearts are soft and open to faith and that we can share the Good News of Jesus with others in our life whose hearts may be becoming more and more hardened with each passing day....
Wow. I love Luke 17 verse 10 - "In the same way, when you obey me you should say, `We are not worthy of praise. We are servants who have simply done our duty.'" I wonder if sometimes we do good works for Jesus expecting some praise or return on our works? This is obviously not a good motive. We should simply be obedient to Jesus and not expect praise for our obedience - from Jesus or from others. It is simply a blessing for us to be called to Jesus' service. That is more than enough.
Bible.org's commentary on our Luke chapter 7 readings today titled "Taking Sin Seriously" is at this link.
Psalms - Ever feel like the Psalmist in Psalm 83 verse 1 - "O God, don't sit idly by, silent and inactive!" I think the beauty of the Psalms is seeing some of our human emotions expressed so well. Considering this verse - I don't think that God is ever sitting idly by, silent or inactive. I believe God is a Living God who is always with us. But, perhaps sometimes God's perceived silence in our lives is for a purpose that we may not fully understand now, but will later. If God seems very "silent" to you now, I would encourage you to pray to God - and really listen in your prayers - don't just speak. I believe you'll soon hear him...
Proverbs chapter 13 verse 4 is brilliant - "Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper and be satisfied." Hard work pays off. It really does. I do thank God for the blessing of work in my life. I pray you do to. And I do thank him for occasional vacation days too! :) But - overall - I honestly cannot imagine a life of just "vacation." It would be a bit of a hell for me personally.... I do love and appreciate the opportunity to work.
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!