Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Joshua 13 - 24

In these chapters of the book of Joshua the scripture is very specific about what clan inherits each portion of the promised land. The specifics go down to what group would inherit each portion of land and where the boundaries were for each group. Here is preserved a written verification of who gets what. This is important not only for that day, but even for today. There is nowhere in the world where land is fought over more than in this area. Even today there is controversy and war between Israel and the Arabs who live in the region. The Israeli people believe that they are entitled to this land as a part of their inheritance, but the Arab people believe that they were wrongly driven out of the land. The specifics of Joshua should be a help to the people of Israel, but because the disobeyed God and did not drive out everyone from the beginning there is still controversy about this land today.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

mid-life crisis?

Joshua 6-15

I've always had a little trouble with the way the people of God took over the Promised Land. Why did God want them to destroy everything and especially everyone? I've always understood the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, these cities were extremely wicked. So God brought fire down upon them. But was Jericho and Ai and Jerusalem filled with wickedness? Why were they not given a chance to repent? Why weren't they offered a treaty?

This directive given by God is very different than the God of the New Testament. God is Love. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Where is that God in the Old Testament?

I don't think I have it all figured out, but here is my take for now. God is God. He is in control. He did not have a mid-life crisis somewhere before the New Testament was written. He is still the same God. He is still the same today. He was and is still a holy God. He is incapable of sin. He must punish sin. One of the pillars of the Law is that you should have no other gods before God. I believe that God was compelled to destroy those cities because of their idolatry. In the Old Testament dispensation there was no other way. This sin must be punished. Now since Jesus has been in the world there is hope for everyone. God will allow us to live today so that we might choose to accept the gift of His grace. I don't see any other reason why He would be so harsh in the Old Testament time and why He would be so loving now in the New Testament era. Now there is an alternative. He is still the same God, but with more options.

May I ever be aware that God is a holy God. May I ever be aware that God is a loving God.


Joshua 6

Joshua chapter 6 describes how the Israelites took the city of Jericho. For six days the army of the Israelites marched around the city of Jericho in silence. I guess the people of Jericho were either scared to death or pretty smug while watching these unorthodox war tactics. If I had to choose I would say that they were smug. They were sitting behind a huge wall, just watching this army walk around their city. There were no acts of overt aggression. No taunts. Not even a pebble thrown toward their wall. Just once a day they would carry this golden box around the wall. Then on the seventh day they kept walking. Not just once around, but twice, then three times until they were on their seventh time around. Then it happened. The guys around the golden box blow their trumpets and the army shouts. And the precious wall that had been a protection began to crumble. I'll bet there were hundreds of men on the wall watching to get a good view of this odd war tactic. The army gave a shout and the wall began to fall. The people of Jericho were probably not feeling quite so smug as the wall came down. Now they are completely exposed.

There are lists and lists of things that we use to hide behind. For every person it is a little different. For some of us we think that we can stay behind our job, or family, or hobby, but those things don't define who we are to God. We can try to hide behind our intellect, our wit, or our personality, but God knows who we really are. There is no wall that can conceal us from the Living God. The bible speaks of another day when there will be a trumpet blast and a shout. On this day all of our walls will be stripped away. We will see God face to face. We will be fully exposed before him.

May we be honest with God now, not waiting until that day to be exposed. May we live in the open with our God so that we will not be ashamed or frightened to see God face to face on that day.