Saturday, January 20, 2024

January 20, 2024

Anything you hold more closely than God and give more time to could be considered an idol. God is jealous and will leave you to your own devices if you chase after them rather than Him. What’s even sadder is the children; they only follow what they see, and if you don’t put God first, they will follow after whatever makes them feel good rather than God. With all the main characters gone, Moses and Joshua, it didn’t take long before Israel fell into the trap of the Canaanites. The children didn’t see or know God as the elders did, so they didn’t fear Him as they should have. Israel didn’t drive out the Canaanites as God had warned them, and if they weren’t going to make the effort to get rid of them, he wasn’t going to do it for them. God is so good that he sent an angel to advise them of their foolishness, which I believe was probably Jesus because he spoke the words in the first person rather than speaking them as if God had said them. They wept upon hearing his words and then made the appropriate sacrifices; that seemed short-lived, so God raised up judges, but they wouldn’t listen to them, so he let their enemies overtake them. 

The lesson for this chapter is for us not to allow anything to come between us and our worshipping of God. Whatever your distraction is, make sure it doesn’t override your dedication to God. If you do, you may be in danger of Him allowing you to reap the consequences of what you sow. 

And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. Judges 2:1-3

Friday, January 19, 2024

January 19, 2024

Even though we may come from many different denominations, we are one in Christ Jesus and should help one another in our quest to defeat the enemy. Judah, the largest tribe, was the first to set out to conquer their land after Joshua had died and requested the help of the Tribe of Simeon, which was the smallest tribe. They told them if they helped them, Judah would return the favor. We should do our best to help one another, whether strong or weak, in faith; combined, we can conquer the enemy. Someone strong in faith can help another in their weakness to become stronger. 

The other day, I realized we had a lapsed insurance policy three months past due! We've changed our address many times, but this one fell through the cracks. I freaked out a little and began to pray. After talking to the agent, she assured me we would have to get an entirely new policy because they never reinstate policies that have lapsed for that long. I mentioned returning to the old company and trying to get the new insurance through them since they already knew our property. I hate getting new insurance because they usually want to do inspections, which is much more complicated when you have tenants. She called me back the next day, extremely excited because the insurance company made an exception and agreed to reinstate the original policy. She couldn't believe it and said she had never had that happen. That's when I told her that I had been praying. She was a believer, and her faith was strengthened because of my faith and prayers. Do you see how simple that was? All I did was mention that I had been praying. Others need to hear our "God" stories. Use them whenever you can.

And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with him. Judges 1:3

Thursday, January 18, 2024

January 18, 2024

In this last chapter of Joshua, we have him encouraging them to continue their devotion to God. In this book, we get the scripture, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." These words are written in the hearts of most believers. I have a painting with them, and I know others who have it tattooed on their bodies. He encouraged them by making it a matter of their choice, but if they chose wrong, they would have to face the consequences of their actions. All those standing before him committed to follow God. 

Not long after he gathered the people, he passed away. They called the mountain where he was buried the quaking hill, "the Jews say it was so called because it trembled at the burial of Joshua." Matthew Henry. The Bible doesn't mention the quaking, but it makes perfect sense, being the people didn't mourn his loss; the hill mourned for them. Also mentioned in this chapter was the burial of Joseph's bones and the death of Eleazar, Aaron's son. 

Those reading this have chosen to follow God and are saved through faith in Jesus. You have chosen well, my friends. Continue your quest to know and honor Him in all you do. 

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; Joshua 24:15-16

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

January 17, 2024

It is hard to obey, but we are not to have fellowship with unbelievers or those who run after fake gods. Joshua warned the Israelites not to have communion with the Canaanites or marry them because of their idol worship. Doing so would cause them trouble, would negate their covenant with God, and give him no choice but to leave them to their own demise and provide him with cause to run them off the good land he had given them. When reading God’s warnings, I remember that he never changes, though because of Jesus, we have a shield between us and the Father. However, we should be obedient in this command so we don’t get caught up in sinful behavior and cause our witness to be tainted. It’s easy to get lured away from following God fully, so we must be diligent to stay holy because He is holy. Following Jesus is a lifestyle change and something to be embraced. Don’t allow the enemy to pull you away. When I began to fully embrace everything Godly, my life changed drastically! I’m not saying I don’t have trouble, but I am saying it’s much easier to cope. He soothes our anxiety and helps us focus on Him when things go awry, giving us the peace and confidence that all will work out for the best. Avoid idols, make no covenant with people who worship them, and trust God fully.

That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day. Joshua 23:7-8

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

January 16, 2024

When all the fighting was over, Joshua dismissed the two-and-a-half tribes to return to their land. After entering their land, they decided to set up an altar to remind them of the altar of God at Shiloh. When the rest of Israel found out, they became fearful that God would punish all of them for the error of those tribes, so they decided to fight against them to remedy their sin. However, they decided to send ambassadors before starting a civil war, and thankfully, they got to the bottom of the issue before they began killing their brethren. They discovered it was more of a memorial so they wouldn’t forget about God, who had been so good to them. The ambassadors were pleased to hear their intentions. I found it commendable that the other tribes offered to give them land with them rather than have them stay across the Jordan. They were willing to give up parts of their land to accommodate them so they could be closer to the altar of God and not forget about Him. They were incensed by the appearance of sin but took the time to dig a little deeper rather than immediately persecute them. 

There are a few lessons in this portion of scripture: 1) Avoid the appearance of sin. 2) Listen to understand before condemning. 3) Offer accommodations to help if needed. 

And the thing pleased the children of Israel; and the children of Israel blessed God, and did not intend to go up against them in battle, to destroy the land wherein the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt. Joshua 22:33

Monday, January 15, 2024

January 15, 2024

Soon after the land was divided among the tribes, the Levites reminded Joshua and the leaders of Israel that Moses had told them to give the Levites cities. Joshua 21 gives an account of what cities and suburbs were allotted to them. God wanted them scattered amongst all the tribes to help keep Him and his laws in the forefront of their minds at all times. Though it took some time because of the disobedience of the Israelites, God had fulfilled his promise to give the land he swore to their fathers to give them, and now they were able to rest from their striving and fighting. Everything he told them had come to pass. 

Some of the promises that Christ-followers are given include eternal life, peace, joy, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Other things manifest because we believe in Jesus, such as spiritual gifts and the fruits of the Spirit. We are a blessed people because of our Savior, Jesus Christ. His promises are trustworthy and true. 

There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass. Joshua 21:45

Sunday, January 14, 2024

January 14, 2024

Now that the boundaries had been established in Israel, cities of refuge were appointed. If you remember, I compared those cities to Jesus, our refuge and protector from the consequences of our sins if we run to him. The chosen cities were significant in that they were only a half-day journey from anywhere in Israel, and they were situated on a mountain so a fugitive could easily find their way to it. Any sojourner or non-Israelite could also find refuge there or a priest to give them guidance or prayer, being they were not allowed to enter the Tabernacle where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. Until the cities were actually picked, we didn’t know their names, which chapter 20 of Joshua points out. These names show how detailed God is in his plan for all of his creation, especially for our salvation in Jesus. 

These are the names of the cities:

Kedesh means holy 

Shechem, a shoulder 

Hebron, fellowship 

Bezer, a fortification 

Ramoth, high or exalted 

Golan, joy or exultation 

Isn’t that a picture of Jesus? He is all those things and more. Run to him when you are hurting and in trouble. It may be uphill, but he becomes your safe haven, your city of refuge and protection once you get there.

That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood. Joshua 20:3