Joshua 3:1-4:24 ~ Luke 14:7-35 ~ Psalm 80:1-19 ~ Proverbs 12:27-28
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Old Testament - Today is a major day in our readings as the Israelites cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land! The significance of the events in today's readings cannot be overstated. The Israelites 40 years in the Wilderness are over. God's Promise made to Abraham is being fulfilled!
I am intrigued by verse 5 in Joshua chapter 3 today as the Israelites are about to cross the Jordan - "Then Joshua told the people, "Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great wonders among you."" I'm wondering what the Israelites did to purify themselves? Some sort of ritual purification I'd guess - likely similar to the purification before meeting God at Mount Sinai, which included washing all their garments as well as themselves. I also wonder what we do in our lives today to purify ourselves? The first thought comes to mind that we are of course purified today completely by the blood of Christ. But, then, I also know that once we have made the decision to follow Christ we will still sin on occasion. And then, is purification needed? Not from a salvation standpoint - but from simply having a pure heart before God? I'm thinking that our purification today is confessing directly to God our sins and repenting. And I think through this process God's grace arrives in a nanosecond and purifies us. I think we're purified by God's grace today. But, I think in part we need to recognize our own need for purification and confess to God our shortcomings and repent. Let me know what you think on this in the Comments below if you'd like. Again, I'm not looking at this from a salvation / justification perspective - more of the sanctification perspective. I like the thought of purification - of being pure before God. I pray for this for each of us. No dark corners. No secrets. Just a pure heart before our heavenly Father.
A watercolor painting is below for verses 16 & 17 - "Then all the people crossed over near the city of Jericho. Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the LORD's covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by them. They waited there until everyone had crossed the Jordan on dry ground."
Bible.org's commentary on Joshua's readings today titled "Crossing the Jordan" is at this link.
New Testament - Wow. Jesus' teachings in Luke chapter 14 verses 12 through 14 are so powerful - ""When you put on a luncheon or a dinner," he said, "don't invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will repay you by inviting you back. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the godly, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you."" How often do we do something for others - in hopes of getting something back in return? Maybe it's simply praise? Or maybe it's indeed an invite to something else in the future? Kind of the whole idea of "I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine." Jesus tells us there is another way - care for others that cannot repay you. Because God will repay you. And who would you rather receive repayment from for your good deeds - humans or God? Do you think that caring for the poor is giving to God? Will you give to God?
Today in Luke chapter 14 verse 27 we read – "And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." I don’t know about you, but I’m not so good at carrying “crosses.” I’m not so good at taking on perceived burdens. I’m not so good at suffering at all. I like to get my way. I often feel entitled to get a lot of good stuff in my life. . . And yet. . . Jesus says if I am to be his disciple I must carry my cross. And I must follow him. I think sometimes in our culture we want to keep up with our neighbors – be hip; be cool; be relevant; know the latest styles; wear the latest fashions; and this list can go on. Jesus tells us to carry our cross. And truly, this is the eternally hippest / coolest / most relevant decision any one of us can make – to take up our cross and follow Jesus. Nothing else matters.
Bible.org's commentary on Luke chapter 14's readings today titled "Table Talks" is at this link and commentary on today's readings titled "How to Hate your Wife" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 80 verse 19 today is powerful - "Turn us again to yourself, O LORD God Almighty. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved." I like that opening - "turn us again to you God." I don't believe that God turns himself away from us - but that we do indeed turn ourselves away from God. And like the Psalmist, maybe sometimes we literally need to pray that God will turn us back toward him. I kind of come up with the imagery of us maybe sometimes being like pouty kids with our arms folded and our backs toward God - and God is looking at us lovingly - all we simply need to do is turn our face toward God and his grace will heal that pout and whatever is troubling us immediately... If you need to, will you turn yourself again toward God?
Proverbs - Today in Proverbs chapter 12 verse 28 we read - "In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality." What is the way of righteousness? How does one find the way of righteousness? How does one share with others the way of righteousness? Do you believe there is immortality along the way of righteousness?
Got K-LOVE? A couple of times each year, I enjoy sharing the impact K-LOVE radio has had in my life. First and foremost, I want to simply share with each of you that listening to K-LOVE has absolutely redeemed so much time I have spent in my car. I cannot tell you how many times I've jumped into my car thinking or worrying about x, y, or z and then some amazing song comes on K-LOVE (which is, oh, about all the time!) and I just start singing along and oftentimes worshiping God. This radio ministry has blessed my relationship with God significantly and turned me into a frequent car worshiper! I have a hunch there are many of you out there who know exactly what I am talking about here? I used to be someone who would listen to news or talk radio frequently while driving. However, I now pretty much listen to K-LOVE all of the time in the car. I can get my news easily from other news sources at different times of the day. I cannot get back the opportunity to worship God so frequently in my car that K-LOVE affords.
So, if you're not a K-LOVE listener, I want to encourage you to please find your local station and give this ministry some time to work in your heart and life! I have a hunch you'll soon realize how K-LOVE can redeem the time in your car significantly. You can find your local K-LOVE radio station by simply typing in your zip code at this link: https://www.klove.com/. Also, you can easily listen to K-LOVE online at klove.com or on iTunes under their Radio tab, then select "Religious" category, then K-LOVE.
If you are a K-LOVE listener, I do want to encourage you to please consider supporting their ministry. They have been doing their Spring Pledge Drive this past week and I encourage you to please make a monthly pledge if you are not doing so already? Will you join me in making a gift of $10 (or more) each month to K-LOVE? You can even make a monthly pledge, one-time gift, or pledge of prayer support right now at this link: https://www.klove.com/. Thank you so much for your support of K-LOVE!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: ""Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Luke 14:34-35 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you are the salt of the earth through your relationship with Jesus. Pray that you will not lose your salt and light.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Based on our Luke 14:27 readings today about carrying our cross, how about you? Are you a disciple of Jesus carrying your cross? Do you know what your cross is? Do you want to know? Are you following Him? Are you letting worldly and pop-cultural cares fall to wayside of your life as you walk along the true path of following Jesus? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our One Year Bible readings at this link.
p.p.s. Download a schedule of our One Year Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
p.p.p.s. I would greatly appreciate it if you would pray for this One Year Bible Blog ministry today. Thanks!
I believe the Book of Joshua is jammed packed with models and examples of how to walk by faith giving examples of things to do and things not to do. The third chapter begins with the Israelites leaving Acacia, which also happens to be the type of wood the Arc of the Covenant is made from as well as the poles used to carry it. The wood is very dense and is naturally resistant to insects and diseases and is very heavy. I have compared the Arc to a type of Christ because it was made from a nearly indestructible wood, which was covered in pure gold, Christ like.
The Levities were told after three days (Hmmm, Jesus was in the grave three days.), the people having “purified” themselves before, to "Lift up the Ark of the Covenant and lead the people across the river." Only this time, unlike the crossing of the Red Sea where the water separated and formed walls in front of their very eyes, the Levites were told to step into the water and then the water would stop flowing, but the place where it stop was about 30 to 90 miles upstream, O my. In Egypt they stepped out on dry ground, now they had to get their feet wet relying on and believing that God had stopped the waters because they couldn’t see where the waters had been blocked.
Boy-o-boy! When we first began our walk with God how many of us use to get our prayers answered one, two, three but now there is a delay. Could it be as we mature in faith and in our walk, God is asking us to trust Him more by telling us we have to get our feet wet? The Jordan is not a pretty river, it is very muddy and at some places it may be just a “trickle” very unlike a river, but that day the Jordan was at flood stage so it was moving fast and it was pretty high. Am I afraid to get my feet wet because I don’t trust God to stop the water because I can’t see where the flow has been cut off?
Everything that happened at this crossing took place because of obedience to God’s Word. Trusting seems to walk hand in hand with obedience and it is in the obedience that good things happen.
Mike I began really thinking about your question in the gospel reading, “How often do we do something for others - in hopes of getting something back in return?”
I think this whole thing is Jesus’ way of teaching us how to give and receive gifts. Although there is a consequence of not accepting the free gift of salvation, Jesus didn’t give salvation to get anything from us. For us to be more like Him we have to understand what it is too not only receive gifts but what is to give one. The dinner Jesus was invited too had both elements, Jesus told the host to invite those who couldn’t pay him back and the guests were admonished not to try to get a “bigger” place in the house of the host.
If we don’t know how to receive a gift we will have trouble accepting the free gift of salvation. The guest at the dinner thought it was their right to jockey for a better seat to show they had power and position. Jesus told them to stop doing that. And if we don’t know how to give a gift we will misunderstand grace and mercy.
A gift is something you give to someone with no strings attached. If they don’t use it, its on them; if they use the gift, how they use it is on them. Most of us have never received a gift from our fellow man, even our parents. What we really receive are bribes and extortions, we receive things with strings attached and that “ain’t no gift.” When we give gifts we look to endear ourselves to the one we gave the gift too and expect them to treat us right because after all look what I gave you.
This entire reading is about Jesus “renewing” our minds on what it is to receive and give so that we will understand His work on the cross from a new perspective. It is not about us but all about Him.
The parable of the great feast shows what happens when we reject the gift He gives, He will just go out and bestow His generosity on others. The excuses that some of the previously invited guests give are really pathetic or they are very stupid. The guys who brought the field and the oxen and then claimed they had to inspect and/or try the oxen, were utter fools. Who buys a field sight unseen, and who buys an animal without seeing if they will do the kind of work or be the kind of pet they need them to be? Now the guy who said he just got married is also a fool because they date for the feast had already been given because the text states: A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. 17 When all was ready, he sent his servant around to notify the guests that it was time for them to come.
This was one of those invites that said, “Save the Date,” and he didn’t.
This Psalm is about God’s people suffering before the coming of Messiah. This is the hearts cry of all those waiting for a deliverer even if they don’t know they are waiting. In the beginning of the Psalm the writer is begging God to turn His people back toward Him and he then rehearses their deliverance from Egypt in the hearing of God. He recalls how they prospered comparing the nation of Israel as a tender vine growing deep roots and spreading out. But then they find themselves in a precarious state, broken and defeated by their enemies.
Verse fourteen then turns and refers to a son, and not the nation,
14 Come back, we beg you, O God Almighty.
Look down from heaven and see our plight. Watch over and care for this vine
15 that you yourself have planted,
this son you have raised for yourself
Then the last three verses boldly state:
17 Strengthen the man you love,
the son of your choice.
18 Then we will never forsake you again.
Revive us so we can call on your name once more.1
9 Turn us again to yourself, O LORD God Almighty.
Make your face shine down upon us.
Only then will we be saved.
This cannot be talking about anything but the coming of Messiah! Jesus is everywhere in the Old Testament, He is Christ concealed in the Old and He is revealed in the New.
27 Lazy people don't even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find.
This cannot be laziness the way we think of it as being. It takes stamina to hunt, at least back then. This must be a laziness of the mind and a lack of understanding of how to take raw material and process it to add value. This is kind of like the Parable of the Talents.
Mike in answer to your question about purifying ourselves as Christians today and what would that look like, I believe we can find lots of examples in the Apostle Paul’s letters. The Epistles were written to churches in specific cities or to individuals and I believe Paul spoke about “purification” often. His letters were written to believers so if he dwelt with sin it wasn’t the sin of the “world” but the sin of those that belonged to the Household of Faith. The fourth chapter of the Book of Ephesians, the entire chapter, is devoted to walking rightly,
20 But that isn't what you were taught when you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus, 22 throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. 23 Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. 24 You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness--righteous, holy, and true.
25 So put away all falsehood and "tell your neighbor the truth" because we belong to each other. 26 And "don't sin by letting anger gain control over you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.
Grace and peace,
Posted by: Ramona | April 10, 2020 at 09:11 PM
I too am always conscious of the thought of purification. We sin constantly and must repent and be aware of our sins to be purified at the end of the day. I also think of when we take the sacraments. We must be purified before we partake.
Posted by: Ed Rauch | April 11, 2020 at 09:55 AM