Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triomphe

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Mar 17, Jos 22-24

Today's readings are Jos 22-24.

Jos 22 shows us the importance of clear communication and how easy it is to misunderstand a situation and react in an inappropriate and perhaps dangerous way. The near-violent reaction Israel has to the eastern tribes' altar stems from acting too quickly before knowing all the facts. This is a good lesson for today's media rich, instantaneous data, everyone's-opinion-is-valid culture.

Josh 23-24 are filled with reminders of the work God has accomplished in and through Israel. Joshua gives a farewell address, repeats the Law and renews the covenant between God and His people. The people enthusiastically affirm all of it.

During his speech, Joshua makes a familiar statement. "...choose this day whom you will serve..." (Josh 24:15), a passage frequently taken out of context. When reading this verse, or any other, we should always make an effort to understand the context and audience. Joshua is talking to the Hebrews here, the chosen people of God. He's not asking them to make a decision to follow God; they already are! He's warning them about the pitfalls of being lured away from the blessing and protection of God by worshiping the gods of pagan nations.  The people are never in danger of being forsaken by God, but they can lose His protection.

Joshua dies after he charges the next generation of leaders. He leaves behind a faithful and strong Israel who will remain that way, at least for a while (Jos 24:31). The book ends where it started, with mention of the land. Only now, the land has been given to Israel. There is peace in the Promised Land. The journey has been a difficult one. But, God's grace has been abundant, and His promises remain true.

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