Ruth Reflections

These are notes collected from studying with Matt Lantz and Matt Roefer. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

Prelude to Ruth

In preparation of Ruth, consider:

  • Judges ended with “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)
  • 1 Samuel is focused on the inauguration of kings in Israel. And when the people said, “We want a king like the nations,” God said, “they have rejected me from being king over them” (1 Sam. 8:7)

So consider that Judges was a rejection of God as their king. And the monarchy was a rejection of God as their king.

Now…in between those 2 books is the short book of Ruth. The whole message of Ruth is watching the family line of Elimelech eventually birth David as King (who is a type for the TRUE KING to come: JESUS, see Matt. 1:1; Rev. 22:16). Ruth begins with Elimelech as the main character. And ends with David (as connected to Elimelech).

Now…drumroll please…anyone know what the name Elimelech means?? It literally means “God is King”!!! Consider the importance of this. Elimelech is a literal man, but his name (and story) conveys so much more. His story comes in between the rejection of God as king in Judges and 1 Samuel. And in the book of Ruth, Elimelech (literally “God is King”) is starved out of the land. I think it is a picture: God as King of Israel is losing power to the point of being driven out of the land.

OK…that’s all for now…lot’s more to look for in the book of Ruth though. Hopefully that sets a good start as we read about how “God is King” is driven out of the land but eventually restored through David (who points to Jesus). Amen and Amen

Redemption

I was also reading this morning the Hebrew word for redemption is listed 23 times in this short book! Specifically, how redemption is bound to kindness… seems close the the heart of our Savior.

May His kindness continue to draw us toward repentance and closer to Him today.

Naomi and Mara

“She said to them, ‘Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara…’
“So Naomi returned…” (Ruth 1:20-22).

I chuckled reading this today. She just gets done telling others to call her Mara because of what she’s gone through. But then the Holy Spirit picks up the narrative by calling her, “Naomi.” It was almost like God was ignoring her feelings and read on the situation. Don’t want to take that further than I should, but it did minister to me considering how many people today believe reality is shaped by feelings and experiences. The “trans” craze seems to play into that. So while we tell people about reality through the lens of our feelings/experience, how much is God sitting there saying, “You may feel that way, but that’s not the truth. I see clearly, you don’t.”

Charity and Dignity

When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”
Ruth 2:15-16

Love this! He was sacrificial, even over and above the “required amount to give,” while he still had her do work on her end (she had to gather), thus giving her dignity, etc. What an example for us!

Ruth Summarized

The story of Ruth:

  • Elimelech (“God is King”) is forced out of Israel.
  • A foreigner (Ruth) is grafted into the family, redeemed by Boaz (of Elimelech “God is King” family). Elimelech (“God is King”) continues to grow through this foreigner grafted in. Eventually bringing David who is King over Israel as a type for Jesus.
  • Strikes me the similarity with Jesus (God-king). Israel largely rejected Him. Gentiles receive Him. His kingdom is built and restored through Gentiles. At the end, I believe, we will see revival among the Jews, and a return among a faction of treating Jesus/God as King.

Genealogy Through Perez

Q: What do you make of the genealogy starting with Perez at the end of the book? I have some ideas but not sure.

A:

My thoughts on Perez…
If you look at Gen 38, the story is as follows:
Judah (the tribe where kings would come from) is part of the scheme to get rid of Joseph (see Gen 37).
After that, “Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah.” (Gen. 38:1).
There, Judah marries a foreign woman, then mistreats his daughter-in-law. But through her cunning, she ends up conceiving twins for Judah, and the firstborn was Perez (Gen. 38:29)…
I just think there are so many parallels to Ruth’s story that it is fitting to connect Perez with Jesse (via Boaz-Ruth)…Namely:

  • Judah = royal line (like Elimelech = “God is King”)
  • Judah forsook God’s way in mistreating Joseph (like Israel forsook God’s way, bringing a famine, forcing Elimelech and family out of the land)
  • Judah married foreign wife // Elimelech’s family married Moabite women
  • The daughter-in-law’s husband died in both
  • So the daughter-in-law had to pursue the older man in the family to have children (in both)
  • And the first child born was Obed (with Ruth) and Perez (with Tamar)

I’m thinking those parallels may give a hint into why it’s starting with Perez here…but I’m not 100%…either way, it’s powerful to consider the much broader connections within Scripture!

Judges Reflections

These are notes collected from studying Judges with Matt Lantz and Matt Roefer. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

The Book of Judges & Us

First, I highly recommend The Book of Judges & Us (Teaching by Peter J. Williams). I found this 2 hour teaching series on Judges really on point for us.

Ch. 2-3: Teaching War

“I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua. Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.
Judges 2:21-3:2 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Judges%202:21-3:2&version=ESV

Weak Vessels

Takeaway from Judges thus far: major players/judges that were used all seem to have deficiencies that worked in their favor: (1) Ehud was left-handed…I heard this is how he was able to slip his weapon past the guards, because they would check on where a right-handed person would hold their weapon, (2) Jael was a woman…thus the warrior enemy let his guard down around her, and she had access to kill him via tent peg, (3) Gideon was fearful…which I believe showed why he asked for so much confirmation, but this allowed God to “show off” and speak directly to him…and he still went forward, though fearful, (4) Samson was a womanizer…of course, this in itself is a sin more than a mere “deficiency”…but even this was used by God to get deliverance on the Philistines. In all this, I’m struck that God is looking for people with weakness and deficiencies. Like He said to Gideon: “I don’t want a big army…you’ll be tempted to think you did it…give me an army where everyone knows only God could have done this!” (my paraphrase). Our weakness is what God needs right now, and those humble enough to recognize this will be used mightily, IMHO.

Yes! I was also reminded in reading through the book again (which was so good) just how fallible all these Judges were! Some of them are even listed in Hebrews 11 hero’s of faith chapter. Yet, they still had so many flaws. Especially resonated with Gideon and that spoke to me.

I was really moved by chapter 2 early on and the compassion of God to even give Judges and then continue to give Judges over and over. He could have wiped them out way earlier for the continual sin and yet they continue to go back to their old ways after about every judge. We need good leaders but yet even good leaders are susceptible to sin. What a great reminder of all of our great need for Jesus and Him to break through to our sin.

Slow Fade

Another takeaway: each Judge seems more and more carnal / sinful as the book goes on. Shows the slow fade into total corruption at the end of the book. Sadly, I think we might be living in a similar time (consider when someone like Trump [with his very flagrant issues] represents Christian policies more than other leaders in US…you know we’ve gone downhill).

I have spent the last two weeks in and out of Judges…Man it’s a disturbing book. The judges seem to go from pretty good, to okay, to bad, to worse. When that happens they had no leadership and did what was right in their own eyes. Isn’t that fitting for the world we live in and the history of the world. We walk away from God and start serving our own ideals.

Another thought that came to me was the Israelites did not drive out the Canaanites in their land, thus they started to resemble them and you couldn’t tell the difference between the Israelites and Canaanites near the end of the book.  If we don’t drive out, get rid of bad habits in our life, we will look more and more like the world! 


BTW – I have been pairing this study with Halley’s Bible Handbook; it’s been a great resource.

Marriage & Divorce

Introduction

I submit this humbly. I truly don’t mean this to be the FINAL word on the matter. I’d love others to present Scriptures / principles / concepts that seem missing or off here, and I’d be eager to change it.

Further, I know there are a million different scenarios, many of which I can’t imagine and my heart goes out to you–truly. I think we all have to be careful not to carry on a Pharisaical stance on either side. This could look like jumping on an “opportunity” to exit a marriage when a spouse isn’t living up to their part in serving their spouse. This could also look like people slavishly following the “letter of the law” of staying married when the heart/spirit is in defiance and divorce-mode already.


My Brief Statement on Marriage and Divorce

Marriage is a covenant between man and woman that represents God’s covenant with His people. It is not a contract. A covenant says: “Till death do us part,” “I will never forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5) “Even when you’re faithless, I’ll remain faithful.” (2 Tim. 2:13). A contract says: “You do your part, I’ll do mine.”

With this definition of marriage, the God-honoring reason for divorce would ultimately be when your spouse refuses to stay committed, even though you continue to love and serve them in the Lord (see 1 Cor. 7:10-15). This is akin to God’s covenant with us: “If we deny Him, He also will deny us.” (2 Tim. 2:12).


Q & A

Question: If someone says their spouse has denied them, is it right for them to initiate divorce?

Answer: I’d turn the tables. How soon would we want God to leave us? There are times where we’ve been unfaithful, and may have looked like we denied Him (look at Peter who literally did so). Aren’t we glad that He doesn’t “jump” on such an opportunity to leave us? I think we need to mirror God in this. I don’t think there’s is a magic formula for when denial takes place, but I think we should hold out and try all we can to reconcile until/unless denial is clear and inevitable in the other party.

Question: Did God divorce Israel?

Answer:

For Israel (Northern part): Their Assyrian captivity was a divorce (see Jeremiah 3).
For Judah: Their Babylonian captivity was seen as temporary discipline (perhaps separation), but not divorce.

I’d add the caveat that the “divorce” to Israel seems more akin, in type, to divorcing a betrothal than a marriage.  But in practice I don’t think that changes anything for us today when we marry/divorce.

When God Divides

God longs for unity among His people, and His children’s heart should long for the same:

  • Psalm 133 – “how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity”
  • John 17 – Jesus prays that the church may be one as He and the Father are one
  • Eph. 4:3 – “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace
  • 1 Cor. 1 – Paul admonishes the Corinthians for dividing over issues other than the gospel
  • 1 Cor. 11 – In fact, God disciplined the church with sickness and death BECAUSE they were being divisive and creating factions.
  • Heb. 12:14 – “pursue peace with all men”

But God desires this unity where the true Jesus is Lord, and the true gospel is believed. Any unity that does not honor the true Jesus and true gospel is false unity, and doesn’t please the Lord.

Consider:

  • Romans 16:17 – Paul warns them to separate from people who have a different gospel/doctrine
  • Gal. 1:6-10 – Paul says anyone preaching a different gospel is eternally condemned
  • 2 Cor. 6 – just as light CAN’T fellowship with darkness, so there is no fellowship among Christians and non-Christians
  • 2 Cor. 11:1-4 – Paul rebukes them for “putting up” with people teaching a false Jesus and false gospel.
  • 2 John 10-11 – John warns that the church must reject any fellowship with people who teach a different Jesus than the Biblical Jesus
  • Rev. 18:4 – Jesus warns his true church to come out of fellowship with a false church, “so that you will not share in her sins”

Trying to maintain such “false” unity is condemned and warned against.

Along these lines, there are times where God actually initiates division. These are times where God’s people have compromised on true worship of Him and His gospel.

  • Luke 12:49-53 – Jesus says He came to bring fire and division upon the earth, based on how people honor Him
  • 2 Chron. 11:4 – “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not go up to fight [for a united kingdom] against your fellow Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this [division] is my doing.'”
  • Haggai 2:20-23; Heb. 12:25-29 – Here God is initiating a shaking that happens to his professing people “by the sword of his brother”
  • 1 Cor. 11:18-19 – God says there must be factions among you (even though he deplores them), “to show which of you have God’s approval”

In fact, God’s original priests were established based on their willingness to slay their brothers (Ex. 32:27-29). To state the obvious: this was not a great act of unity!

Again, God does want unity, but He wants it on His terms, under his Lordship and true gospel. Where this is not present, He wants separation. In fact, it grieves me to say this, but I wonder if this is part of the division and polarization we are seeing today. It’s part of God’s refining to show who are truly His.

Consider further:

  • Psalm 133 – unity is pictured as garments brought together UNDER the HEAD of the HIGH PRIEST. This is a clear picture of Jesus, the “head” of the church, and her “High Priest”. Unity under Jesus’ Headship/Lordship is key.
  • Heb. 12 – “pursue peace…AND HOLINESS”
  • John 17 – the unity Jesus prays for is for “those who will believe in me through their word” (17:20). And it is based on God’s glory, and a unity centered around that (John 17:22)

Thus, when Israel rejected Jesus and His gospel, Jesus weeps that true peace was hidden from them (Luke 19:42), then actually upends their “temple service,” leading ultimately to them killing Him (Luke 19:45-48). Thus there is no unity even among the very religious Jews, because they reject the true Jesus and His gospel. Meanwhile, Luke tells us that Herod and Pilate UNITED in their killing of Jesus (Luke 23:12).

Again, unity was never the goal for God. It has always been unity under Jesus as Lord. Something Israel rejected, and thus peace left them.

The same thing is seen in Matthew 18. Jesus says He will be with gatherings of 2-3 SO LONG AS they are gathered under the name of Jesus. This means they are gathered under Jesus’ authority and Lordship. Where people do not worship the true Jesus and receive the true Gospel, there is no promise of blessing (no matter how many people are together in “unity”).

The purpose of God-ordained division centers around Jesus and the Gospel. God wants the revelation of Jesus and his true gospel to remain pure. He stands on no side, but is seeking those who will firmly stand on the side of the true Jesus and the true Gospel. See Joshua 5 where the angel of the Lord says he takes no side, But he is seeing if Joshua/Israel will submit to God’s side.

Thus, God allows division to happen to see who will follow Jesus to the end. It’s his way of refining, and pruning, so those who are truly dedicated to Jesus will thrive and be shown for that, while those who reject Him will be exposed.

Further, do not too quickly assume you are the party in the right, while the dividing party is in the wrong. In the case of the God-ordained division of 2 Chron. 11, for instance, we are told that THE REASON for the division was idolatry in the Southern kingdom (Judah), see 1 Kings 11:26-40. But then we read that the Northern kingdom ALSO commits gross idolatry after they split (see 2 Chron. 11:13-17). Thus, both parties were guilty of idolatry when God brought the division.

What is our only hope?

Thankfully, God isn’t silent in telling us how to proceed. Look at Jeremiah 3:11-18. Here were told that IF ISRAEL REPENTS:

  1. God will give His leaders to His people (Jer. 3:15)
  2. God will cause multiplication (Jer. 3:16)
  3. God’s presence will return (Jer. 3:16-17)
  4. Nations will come to worship God (Jer. 3:17)
  5. Israel will be RE-UNITED (Jer. 3:18)

Notice all those promises. If only we repent.

Choose this day where you will fall. Because division has been catalyzed. Unity may not currently be an option with some people and some situations.

1 K 18:21 – “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

Choose a side! Is Jesus Lord or not?

“Silent in the churches” – 1 Cor. 14:34 Examined

There are clearly lots of opinions and emotions around 1 Cor. 14:34: “women should keep silent in the churches.”

Personally, I’ve adjusted my own view on this over the years.

Initially, I thought it was just reciting what the Corinthians were doing (wrong) by forcing women to be silent, and Paul is dismissing it and encouraging women to speak freely (see 1 Cor. 11).

But my view now is that 1 Cor. 14:34 reflects Paul/God’s own thoughts on what should happen. It is not meant to be an absolute that women never speak in church meetings (for just a few chapters before that, Paul/God explain how women are to speak in church meetings!). Instead, the text is describing a specific type of speech women shouldn’t do. That is, women are to be silent in matters of the ultimate judging of doctrinal purity and discerning God’s word on behalf of the entire congregation. In fact, this is a role spelled out for elders to do:

“He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (Titus 1:9)

And since elders are spoken of as males in the Bible, it is actually very consistent that the role of guarding the doctrine in 1 Cor. 14:34 is entrusted to men. This doesn’t diminish the woman’s place in prophesying, exhorting, speaking faithfully, and giving Spirit-led input in general. God forbid–we need more women doing this! But it does show that it should be within the oversight of the elders who are ideally men (according to Scripture).

All that to say, a VERY GOOD treatment on this subject (that ultimately persuaded me) is: “Silent in the Churches”: On the Role of Women in 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36 (by D.A. Carson)

It’s long, but well worth the read, in my humble opinion.

Brian

Antichrist & Revelation

Scriptures

  • 1 John 2:18-22; 4:3; 2 John 7: ANTICHRIST
    • “Antichrist is coming…many antichrists have come”
    • “from us…not of us;” “denies…Jesus;” “false prophets;” replaces God (cf. 1 Jn 2:26-27)
  • Dan. 7:7-12, 17-27: LITTLE HORN
    • Emerges in 4th kingdom, when 10 kingdoms arise (Rome); plucked up three horns; “eyes like the eyes of a man” (false prophet/seer); “made war with the saints and prevailed over them”; a “different” kingdom; “speak words against the Most High;” “the saints…shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time;” defeated by Jesus’ return
  • 2 Thes 2:3-12: MAN OF LAWLESSNESS
    • “Rebellion;” “opposes and exalts himself…proclaiming himself to be God;” “in the temple of God;” “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work…he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way;” “the Lord Jesus will kill;” “power and false signs and wonders;” “deception…strong delusion”
  • Rev. 13; 17: LAMB-BEAST
    • “like a lamb…spoke like a dragon;” “exercises all the authority of the first beast;” “great signs…deceives;” “his number is 666”
    • “False prophet” (Rev. 19:20)
    • Connected with earthly-harlot-Babylon / false church (Rev. 17); contrasting heavenly-bride-Jerusalem / true church (Rev. 21)
  • Book of Revelation
    • 1; 21-22: Jesus & Pure Bride
    • 2-3: Seven existing churches = “things that are” (1:19)
    • 4-5: “things that are to take place after this” (1:19; 4:1)
    • 6-7: Seals (Secular Rome – “Christian” Rome?)
    • 8-9: Trumpets (Rome & Islam?)
    • 10-11: Church’s witness reduced; Word & Spirit present
    • 12-13; 17: Beast of Sea, Earth (Secular Gov’t, False Church?)
    • 14-16; 18-20: Bowls & final judgments

Historical Records

Daniel 7; 2 Thessalonians 2 & the Papacy

  • Arises after Rome Falls: “The early writings of the [church] fathers tell us with remarkable unanimity that…on the fall of Caesar, he [Antichrist] would arise.” (Guinness, as qtd by Ralph Woodrow, Great Prophecies of the Bible, 1989, p. 130)
  • Rome split into 10 kingdoms: “Macchiavelli, the Roman historian, described the [Roman] Empire as being divided among the [10] various Gothic tribes.” (Ralph Woodrow, Great Prophecies of the Bible, 1989, p. 136)
  • Rome takes 3 kingdoms: “The ‘three kings’ which he [the Papacy] displaced…are thought to refer to Lombards, Ravenna and Rome, which were handed over to the Popes as the beginning of their Temporal Kingdom, (A.D. 754).” (H. H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 346). They could also be: Heruli (493), Vandals (534), Ostrogoths (553) (Elliot, as qtd by Ralph Woodrow, Great Prophecies of the Bible, 1989, pp. 136-137)
  • “a time, times, and half a time” (1,260 days/years): “The Papacy dominated the world for approximately 1260 years, 6th to 18th centuries A.D.” (H. H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 348)
  • Boastful words against God: “It is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Bull of Pope Boniface VIII promulgated November 18, 1302) “Union of minds, therefore, requires…complete submission and obedience of will…to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself.” (SAPIENTIAE CHRISTIANAE ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON CHRISTIANS AS CITIZENS) “We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.” (Encyclical Letter Præclara Gratulationis Publicæ of Pope Leo XIII JUNE 20, 1894)
  • “War with the saints”: “Untold millions” of martyrs died at the hands of popes (H. H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 793). “It has been estimated that fifty million Christians were killed during those centuries of Papal persecution.” (Ralph Woodrow, Great Prophecies of the Bible, 1989, p. 139)

Notable Christians Endorsing the Papacy as Antichrist:

Eberhard II (1200s); Michael of Cesena (1300s); John Wyclif (1300s); John Huss (1369-1415); Martin Luther (1483-1546); Philipp Melancthon (1497-1560); John Calvin (1509-1564); John Knox (1505-1572); Huldreich Zwingli (1484-1531); William Tyndale (1484-1536); King James Bible translators (1611); Nicholas Ridley (1500-1555); Hugh Latimer (1490-1555); Roger Williams (1603-1683); Westminster Confession of Faith (1647); Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727); Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758); John Wesley (1703-1791); Albert Barnes (1798-1870); Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Joshua Reflections

These are notes collected from studying Joshua with Matt Lantz and Matt Roefer. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

Jordan Baptism

As Israel passing through the Red Sea is a type for Christian baptism (1 Cor 10:1-2, 6)…
So Israel passing through the Jordan (Josh 3-5) also seems a picture of this water baptism…However, the Red Sea passing, I believe, shows what we pass OUT OF. While the Jordan passing shows what we pass INTO. Thus they are like 2 sides of the same coin.

Red Sea:

  • left Egypt
  • Sin/oppressor was buried
  • It was on Passover

Jordan (Josh 3-5):

  • enter Canaan / Promised Land
  • New people (this is the 2nd generation, because the first sinned)
  • Happened in conjunction with circumcision
  • Day AFTER Passover they entered Promised Land
  • Now they are following Joshua (the Hebrew name is identical to Jesus’ name)
  • “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” (Josh 5:9)

Baptism is depicted in the NT as a burial of our old self unto a resurrection of a new self that now follows Jesus. It is also compared to circumcision wherein the flesh (our old/sinful self) is cut off / buried in the waters. In baptism Egypt (old self) is buried and we come out to follow Joshua (Jesus) into the Promised Land (ultimately a picture of heaven).

Israel Conquering Canaanites

A thought on Joshua thus far…
We read about how Joshua and Israel utterly destroyed the different peoples in Canaan. They did this by the sword, oftentimes, and by God’s power and help.

I think for many reasons, people today bristle or even show revulsion for what they did here. But there is a LOT of context that skeptics (and even Christians) miss in all this.

For instance:

  • God waited 400 years before kicking the people out of the land. Why? So that “the sin of the Amorites” would be “complete” (Gen. 15:16). In other words, God waited a long time before doing this. He needed the sin to be at “full measure” so to speak. And then it had to be removed without hesitancy.
  • How bad was the sin? Leviticus gives some ideas of it when we read that the residents were practicing homosexuality, bestiality (sex with animals), witchcraft, killing their children as sacrifice to idols, hosts of other sexual idolatry, and just general pagan practices. It was really bad.
  • Further, as we read in Joshua, their heart was hard toward God’s people and God’s ways. They were ready to kill (and not co-exist with) Israel without hesitation. So Israel had to for survival in some ways, as well.
  • If you remember from Gen. 6-9 (the flood), God had to send a flood to judge the sin of the earth. How bad was it? “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. ” (Gen. 6:5). Consider that language: EVERY INCLINATION was ONLY EVIL ALL THE TIME. Not just their actions were bad, but their heart was bad. Every inclination of their heart, in fact, was bad. Every inclination was ONLY evil. How often? ALL THE TIME. That is some extreme language. And, sadly, it’s true of the human heart in general, outside of God’s regenerative work. Thus…
  • Instead of using a flood to judge this “new crop” of wickedness in Canaan, God used His people to execute His wrath. A similar concept is seen in Rom. 13 regarding God using governing authorities to execute His wrath today.
  • There are other reasons He did it this way. And there are reasons why Christians reading Joshua today would be gravely mistaken to think this is a call to kill people who don’t follow God (hint, hint: The gospel really changes everything along these lines). But hopefully this is helpful for now

I’d also add that God warns Israel that if they continue in these same sins that the residents of Canaan did, then God would “vomit” them out of the land as well (Lev. 26, and elsewhere, talks about that). So it wasn’t God taking 1 side over another. He wants His glory to be known in the earth, which includes his purity and holiness…or I guess it is Leviticus 18:28 that talks about “vomiting” out…but I think Lev 26 also walks through all the warnings toward Israel in not following the sins of the residents.

quick neat testimony:

FOCL (Forum Of Christian Leaders) is a ministry I’ve really respected (based in Europe). I was looking at their annual conference teachings this year (happening now), and decided to listen to 2 teachers I’ve really grown from: (1) Albert Mohler, (2) Peter Williams.

And guess what they were talking about (out of all topics they could talk about)?:
(1) Albert Mohler – focused on Deut 6 and how to stay devoted to the Lord in the midst of a post-Christian culture (the very thing that has been so moving from me for the past 2 weeks…since I read it in Deut)
(2) Peter Williams – goes through the entire book of Judges in quick teachings. I started queuing it up right after I finished Joshua! The timing couldn’t have been better.

Don’t want to make more out of this than is there, but I did see it as a potentially slight confirmation that the Lord is stirring his people back to His word similarly to how He’s stirring us in that direction. Press on!

Something else…last night when putting the kids to bed I read them Psalm 73 where it says God holds us by our right hand. They asked, “why the right hand?” I talked about how it is a generally dominant hand, so it shows strength. In the back of my mind I wondered about Ehud (left-handed man used by God)… I thought about how that story broke the norm, and wondered about it fits in with the whole of Scripture. After putting them down, I started listening to Peter Williams on Judges, and wouldn’t you know it, he talks about the significance of Ehud being left-handed in light of the rest of the Bible. You can’t plan these sorts of things! I love the Lord weaving all these things together!!

Assigned Territories

Quick Question:  For us a 21 Century Believers in Christ, what do we do with all the territory descriptions and locations in Josh 18-19?  It seems boring.  I guess we could map it out. Just wondering anyone’s thoughts.

I actually do have a couple thoughts on this:

  • when I wrote through the book of Joshua years ago, I did take out a map and try to draw out the territories…it was fascinating
  • I also think of the application in terms of ministry — their territory parallels the ministry God gives us…you can see how faithfulness leads into more territory/ministry (like with Caleb)

Be Strong and Courageous

As someone who has struggled with anxiety for some time (thankfully much improved as of late by the grace of God) I really appreciate the book of Joshua. Specifically his call from Moses to take over for him and from the Lord over and over to be “strong and courageous” and he leads his people into the promised land. There were so man chances for him to cower in fear but he was truly strong and courageous. And then His famous call at the end of the book “As for me and my House we will serve the Lord.” Basically telling them you do as you choose but I have seen all the Lord has done and how faithful he has been and I will follow Him the rest of my days! Powerful.

God As Our Portion

Also I was really struck by how the 11 tribes were all getting their portion or “inheritance,” and the Levites who have been set apart now for some time were not getting property. Instead, their inheritance was to be the Lord (Joshua 13:33). I found this to be incredible.I have had some really terrible, gross thoughts lately about somehow being entitled to an inheritance here on earth as I see others on my life getting money, houses, etc from their families. Of course, this is the kind of stuff that tears up families. I do not want to be entitled or need one dime from anyone though. Rather, for only the Lord God of Israel to be my inheritance. This is my prayer today and has been through this week as I came across this passage. May I be more like a Levite- only desiring the Lord.