Joshua 23 – Joshua’s charge to the leaders, and his recounting how God worked through them to drive out the nations, yet there was still work to do. He said that they should remember what God had already done and finish the work, and that they should keep the Book of the Law of Moses. Of course, we know that they did not stay true to the law and that I don’t think they drove all the people out. Instead, they intermarried with them.
As I read this, it occurred to me that the entire of the Old Testament is the story of a failed humanity. Humanity decided that it could live without God, that it could make its way on it’s own terms. Of course, that failed and even when they did return to God and enjoyed his blessings, as in Joshua’s time, that faithfulness was short lived and they went their own way. The OT then, and the history of humanity simply stands to illustrate the need for a savior, for Jesus. Over and over we proved that we cannot live without God, that we need Him and that we need Him to save us from ourselves.
The whole of the OT, the whole of human history actually, is a beacon pointing to the necessity for Jesus and the gospel.
Joshua 22:1-9 – The people ho had their allotment before Joshua took over on the east side of the Jordan are essentially told by Joshua “Well done, good and faithful servants.” They stood by their brothers, even though they already had what was promised them.
Think of the parallels for us. God has already won the victory, we have already passed from death to life in baptism (Romans 6), but we are not yet permitted to enjoy the blessings that are already given us. Oh, make no mistake, they are already irrevocably ours, though we don not yet enjoy them fully. Instead, God has charged us to go out and win the same for our bothers and sisters, to do the work of the kingdom, living as his ambassadors. Our gifts are already secured, yet we remain in order to sing the praises and proclaim the favor of the one who gave us such blessings.
Viewed like this brings a new light to the obligations of a life of discipleship.
Joshua 22:25 – The remainder of the chapter is about a misunderstanding between the tribes in the east and the rest of Israel over an altar built by the eastern tribes on their way home. What was interesting to me was this from verse 25: “So your children might make our children cease to worship the Lord” We tend to view worship as a personal decision, one that is Independence of others. They, however, clearly tied worship with the community, to the point that they were concerned that the western people would prevent the eastern tribes from worshiping. Perhaps it’s tied more to formal worship and ritual and sacrifice at the tabernacle, which would reside on the western side of the Jordan.
Still, for our way of thinking, that wouldn’t enter our minds, worship is personal and done at any time, whether ‘at church’ or not. To them, it seems, worship was more closely tied to place.
Four years ago, my online friend Paul Soupiset committed to sketching daily for lent. I linked to his amazing sketches at that time because they were very good and because I was a bit envious. I always wanted to be able to sketch like that, but I’ve never had the patience, discipline or whatever to develop the skill. I can draw, but I can’t sketch like this.
Anyway, this year he’s doing it again and they are every bit as incredible as before. These arent’ necessarily sketches about Lent or spiritual art (although the two I’ve chosen here are), but it’s about the discipline of slowing down, observing and immersing himself in his surroundings and meditate.
You can see them all here and if you missed them in 2007, some (though it loks like not all) are here.
Joshua 20:1-6 – I like the Cities of Refuge idea. A place where the one who is guilty, but not malicious, may flee. There he can find refuge (and the city elders must accept him) until his case is heard. it’s a built in mechanism to separate the parties and allow things to cool down so calmer heads may prevail. it also brings others into the conflict, the elders of the City of Refuge and the judges. We should apply this concept to our own conflicts. Some times we just need to separate and bring in advisers and only revisit it after we’ve all cooled down.
Joshua 20:9 – These cities were provided for Israel, and for strangers passing through. The stranger was provided the same protection as the native.
Joshua 21 – As I read (OK, skimmed :-D) this chapter listing the cities and pasture land given to the Levites, it struck me how each tribe was cared for. Caleb spoke up and said Moses promised me this, and it was given to him. The Levites spoke up and said we were promised cities and ti was given to them. There is no recording of bickering or fighting nor any denial of what was promised anyone.
Joshua 21:43-45 – This passage implies that the work was done, God gave them the land and they took possession of it. No enemies withstood them, it says. All God’s promises came to pass. So, was the failure to drive all the Canaanites out not really a failure? Was it not God’s intention that they all be driven out? Looking back to Joshua 1, God did not command that they drive all the people out, he only that they go into the land and that he would give them every place they set their feet and that no one will be able to stand before them.
Joshua 15:14 – In the midst of a rather dry passage about the allotment of the land that reads like a property deed, is this: “And Caleb drove out from there the three sons of Anak, Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai, the descendants of Anak.” not bad for an 85 year old guy. If he can muster that kind of zeal at 85, having sustained it for 45 years, why can’t I muster the motivation to read, pray and share my faith regularly? Sigh.
Joshua 15:16 –
Joshua Caleb promises his daughter to the one who captures a certain part of the land. He’s 85, so his daughter is, what, 60 something at least, right? 😀
Joshua 15:63 – More evidence that Israel did not complete driving out the Canaanites. So why, back in Joshua 11, did it say that “Joshua took the whole land“? I suppose Joshua did all that God had called him to do, it was up to the people to finish the work.
Joshua 16:10 – More unfinished work …
Joshua 17:12-13 – And more …
Joshua 17:14-18 – The people of the tribe of Joseph complain that they don’t have enough land, but Joshua points out that they do, they only need to clear the forests and drive out the Canaanites living there. When they complain that the people are too strong (They have iron chariots!), he stands firm, saying that they can do it. It seems that the people, when together and under Joshua’s leadership, are bold, but on their own they are weak and timid.
Joshua 18:3 – This passage seems to confirm it, “How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land?” Joshua asks. But I wonder, it seems that up front God charged the tribes with allotments on the east side of the Jordan to stick with their brothers until the land was conquered, why wouldn’t that apply here? If I was of those tribes challenged to go and finish the work, I’d be wondering why I had to go it alone. It seems that once the big battles were won, the unity of the nation began to falter and each tribe was left to fend for themselves, which doesn’t seem to have been God’s plan.
(I skimmed over much of these chapters, since it was about ancient boundaries in a land I’m likely to never see. :-D)
Johsua 13:1 – Joshua 12 told of how Moses did his part and Joshua did his, but “Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the Lord said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess.” I guess that’s what I remembered.
Joshua 14:6-14 – Imagine being promised land from the Lord, yet because of the unfaithfulness of others, you had to wait 45 years for the opportunity to claim it. And notice in verse 12: “It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.” The implication is that this area had not yet been captured (although it doesn’t seem to match with the list in Joshua 13), yet Caleb, at 85, is ready to take it as God had promised him. I find it hard to maintain my motivation and zeal from one week to the next, let alone for 45 years.
Joshua 11:1-5 – Thefirst thing that came to mind when I read this is that famous quote “Insanity is doing the same thing again and expecting a different result.” Did they not pay attention when the other kings allied together against Israel?
Joshua 11:20 – “For it was the Lord’s doing … in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy” We like to think of God as being merciful, primarily and there is truth in that. however, God is also a God of justice and wrath and woe to the one who finds himself opposing Him. I need to keep this in mind as I weigh my sin, or the sin in others, and what my reaction to it should be. God is not one to be trifled with.
Joshua 11: 23 – “So Joshua took the whole land … ” Somehow, from my prior readings of Joshua I thought they had not completed the task. Aside from the treaty with the folks of Gibeon, they did. Huh, wonder where I got the idea that they had failed?