Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
The Jane Austen Centre and Regency Tea Room in Bath, England

Friday, March 25, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Mar 26, Josh 16-18

Today's readings are Josh 16-18. Tomorrow's are Josh 19-21. 

The land continues to be allotted and the tribes begin to occupy their areas. There are notable exceptions. Judah is unable to drive all the Jebusites out of Jerusalem (Josh 15:3). The Geshurites and the Maacathites remain (Josh 13:13). Canaanites remain among Manasseh (Josh 17:12). Ephraim is unable or unwilling to fully defeat the Canaanites (Josh 17:16). 


All these things happen in spite of the Lord's admonition to take the land (Josh 1:5-6) by being "strong and courageous." Did God miss something or did His people lack strength and courage? This is most likely the early evidence of spiritual slippage and weakness among the Hebrews in the Holy Land. God has repeatedly shown His faithfulness. His children have repeatedly shown their lack of faithfulness. The Jews' reluctance or unwillingness to complete the job will have disastrous effects as we will see in the Book of Judges.  


This is how backsliding starts, with a small, seemingly inconsequential infraction that can grow into a destructive movement away from God. This is why God encouraged His people to be "strong and courageous" early on. They would have to depend on God's promises, not their circumstances. This would take courage when things got rough. It is also why He was adamant about removing all leaven. Leaven is a symbol for sin. Any leaven allowed to remain had the potential to contaminate all their food and slow them down. Likewise any sin allowed to remain in the Promised Land could contaminate their entire lives and draw them away from God. 

These are two of the themes of Joshua that should be lessons for us. We should take courage in the word of God when we seem to be failing. We should ruthlessly eliminate sin from our lives. 

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