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Joshua 11:1-12:24 ~ Luke 17:11-37
Psalm 84:1-12 ~ Proverbs 13:5-6
Old Testament - An interesting note on Joshua 11 verse 21 - "During this period, Joshua destroyed all the descendants of Anak, who lived in the hill country of Hebron, Debir, Anab, and the entire hill country of Judah and Israel." The descendants of Anak were the giants the Israelite spies feared some 40 years earlier in Numbers chapter 13 verses 32 & 33 - and you'll recall these verses kept the Israelites wandering in the desert for the next 40 years... "The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them." Interesting to see how the fear of 40 years prior had turned into the faith and confidence here in Joshua. I wonder if this type of change can happen in our lives too? A change from fear to faith and confidence? Is there an area in your life where you might need this type of change?
New Testament - Wow. I love Jesus' teaching in Luke chapter 17 verses 20 & 21 - "Jesus replied, "The Kingdom of God isn't ushered in with visible signs. You won't be able to say, `Here it is!' or `It's over there!' For the Kingdom of God is among you."" And truly, of course, literally the Kingdom of God was amongst those Jesus was speaking to with this verse - Jesus himself was there. But, I also believe the Kingdom of God is still amongst us today. Jesus has risen from the dead. He lives in the hearts of men and women. We do not need to look for visible signs to which we can say - here it is! When, truly, the Kingdom of God can be within you. And once the Kingdom of God is within you it is amazing to see how Jesus can transform your life and those around you through his peace, grace and power. Is the Kingdom of God among you?
Psalms - Today in Psalm 84:5 we read: “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.” Where does your strength come from? God? Or your own will-power? Why might it be a good idea to rely on God for your strength rather than yourself? Have you set your heart on a pilgrimage? Is the pilgrimage toward God? Do you think this will be a life-long pilgrimage? Later in this Psalm, verse 10, we read: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” This is a song many of us have probably sung before at church. What does this verse mean to you? What does one day in God’s courts look like for you? Why would one day in God’s courts be better than one thousand days elsewhere? Do you look forward to spending an eternity in God’s courts? Is your heart on a pilgrimage to God’s courts?
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 13 verse 5 - "Those who are godly hate lies; the wicked come to shame and disgrace." Here's a question - is it ever okay to lie? I've spoken with friends who have said they believe it is okay to lie to preserve an innocent life. And I guess if you think about maybe someone who saved lives in the Holocaust by lying, then this would seem to be an okay instance to lie? I mean, you are lying to save an innocent life. Is that okay? I realize the trick becomes where do you draw the lines on when it is okay to lie. We could rationalize almost anything saying it was okay to lie because of x, y, z greater good. This Proverb says those who are godly hate lies. I am sure we all do hate lying. But is it ever okay to lie? To save an innocent life - is it okay? Please post up in the Comments if you have thoughts on this. One more thing I just thought of - Jesus never lied. I'm guessing this is a pretty strong hint to the answer to my questions above... but, as sinners, could we perhaps lie to save an innocent life and then confess it to God right away?? :) This is some tricky theology ground I'm treading - and probably not very well... I'm sure there are books written on this subject right?? Yeah, I know, the book by Moses about the Ten Commandments.... :)
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!