Day 113, April 23, 2021
Scriptures: Joshua 11-12, Psalm 149, Proverbs 23
“Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.” Proverbs 23:17
Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their couches. – Psalm 149:5
God is binding up the kings in Joshua 11-12, and opening the way for the Israelites to reside in the Promised land, free of foreign nations. Psalm 149 has a connection because it speaks of God binding up the kings, “to bind their kings with fetters and their nobles with chains of iron” (149:8).
It all is leading to exulting the Lord, celebrating him. We are all invited to live our lives zealously for the Lord, in reverence of Him.
I am reminded of Philippians 2, “Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess Christ as Lord.”
All of our the kings will be bound up and recognize the true Lordship of Jesus.
Day 112, April 22, 2021
Scriptures: Joshua 9-10, Proverbs 22
“The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.” (Joshua 9:14)
The Israelites sampled the provisions and bought into the ruse. The Gibeonites had tricked the Israelites into believing they were from a distant country. This failure to seek the Lord, will provide problems in the near future.
We often find ourselves in difficult situations because we do just what the Israelites did, they did not inquire of the Lord.
A whole book is written on the wisdom of seeking the Lord. In our Proverbs reading today, “Proverbs 22:17–19 “The words of the wise: Incline your ear and hear my words, and apply your mind to my teaching; 18 for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. 19 So that your trust may be in the Lord, I have made them known to you today—yes, to you.”
Seek the Lord, seek His wisdom and truth!
Day 111, April 21, 2021
Scriptures: Joshua 8, Proverbs 21, Psalm 33
Proverbs 21:30 No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel, can avail against the Lord.
As we read in Joshua, no armies will avail against the Lord, either.
We have entered into what will be a difficult several weeks of reading because of the violence that permeates the text of Joshua and Judges.
Entire cities will be ransacked, and people killed at the hand of the Israelites. We contrast the destruction of Ai, the impaling of its king with Psalm 33 “May your unfailing Love be with us Lord.”
We can wrestle with the violence of the Old Testament. How do we reconcile the God of love found in the New Testament, and the Old Testament’s usage of violence to accomplish God’s purposes?
It’s difficult and my short thought on it won’t properly do justice for the volumes of books that have been written on the matter of understanding God in light of the OT and NT.
Here’s my take on the violence of the Old Testament. The purging of evil came at great sacrifice of people. The Israelites wouldn’t have been able to live in the Promised Land safely had the corrupt people not be ousted from the land. God knew the hearts of the people would be easily persuaded away from Him if they did not purge the land of evil. They fall short of this endeavor, and evil will get the better of the Israelites. Trouble will come.
But there is a greater sacrifice to rid the world of evil. It comes not at the sacrifice of people and violence. God takes the violence of the world upon himself. God exhaust the darkness of its power. God takes on death, hatred, anger, violence, and frees us by the destruction of death’s power.
It doesn’t end the conversation. As we read this, we keep Christ in focus. God is opposed to violence. So opposed to it, he will lay his life down to empty it of its power. Christ will be the sacrifice to end all sacrifice. He will take the violence of the world upon his shoulders, that violence would no longer be the way in which his purposes are accomplished.
We can join with the Israelites what they sensed to know about God, what the Spirit revealed to them: “A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. 17 The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save. 18 Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, 19 to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield. 21 Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. 22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” (Psalm 33:16-22)
Day 110, April 20, 2021
Scriptures: Joshua 6-7, Proverbs 20
Joshua 7:20–21 And Achan answered Joshua, “It is true; I am the one who sinned against the Lord God of Israel. This is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, then I coveted them and took them. They now lie hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”
Proverbs 20:9 - Who can say, “I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin”?
Jericho’s walls go tumbling down. But as I said yesterday, the faithfulness of God’s people will be short-lived. Achan directly opposes the commandments of God. He sees what he wants, he takes it for himself and buries it.
We have a way of burying our sin. God call the Israelites to holiness, and right after their first great conquest, there is already wrongdoing in the eyes of God. Achan takes plunder for himself.
We are all like Achan. And the consequences are not immediate death. But the wages of sin is death.
The free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Join me in praising God with thanksgiving, that today, we are forgiven in Christ and have new life in Him.
Day 109 – April 19, 2021
Scriptures: Joshua 3-5, Proverbs 19
The manna stopped.
The Israelites ate fruit from the land of Canaan.
This is a significant transition happening in Joshua when the Israelites finally enter into the Promised Land. The long journey is finally coming together. They have miraculously crossed over the dry Jordan. The manna has stopped and the fruit, that they didn’t work for, is now theirs. God is providing for them in. new ways, as he said he would. The Israelites are called to remember the Lord and his faithfulness in bringing them to this point.
The Manna stopping was not a removal of God’s blessing, but an opening the door for a greater blessing. The manna was a provision for a season of their lives, a constant reminder of God’s provision from heaven. They’ entered into a new era within a new place.
The way back to Egypt has been shut off, and the people of God are now enjoying the blessings of a life within the Promised Land.
Let’s take a moment to fully appreciate this. Tomorrow, the story changes. But for now, they have trusted in the Lord.
God has opened up the blessings of this land, for his people.
God is faithful to His Promises.
Lord cut off the way back to our old life, and bless us to what is good and true today.
Day 108 – April 18, 2021
Scriptures: Psalm 1, Joshua 1-2, Proverbs 18
Check out Joshua Bible Project Video for a helpful overview of the book
Proverbs 18:17 (TNIV) — 17 In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines.
That’s not really a connecting verse in any way. I just found it funny because one of my children came to me crying. The first to speak seemed right. Then I cross examined, and well, they were both in the wrong!
On to a strong connection, the Law of the Lord.
Proverbs 18:15 (TNIV) — 15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.
Psalm 1:1–2 (TNIV) — 1 Blessed are those who do not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but who delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on his law day and night.
Joshua 1:7–8 (TNIV) — 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Delight in the Law of the Lord.
Do not turn from the Law.
Meditate on the law, day and night.
Be careful to obey everything written in it.
The Israelites would stray from the law of the Lord. If we are honest with ourselves, we have strayed too. We are thankful for forgiveness. We are not perfect, but we are certainly forgiven.
There is a great connection to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6-8. He teaches that those who listen to him, and obey his teaching, they are like wise men who build their house on the rock. The winds come, and the waters rise, but the house stands firm.
When we seek the Lord, meditate on his Word, and seek His will, we will find that our lives will prosper. It’s not a guarantee against bad things happening - a flood and windstorm might hit your house! But your life won’t be swept away. You will have built your house on something solid.
That’s a part of the imagery of Psalm 1. You will be like a tree, planted on the rivers edge. Always with a steady supply of what you need. The sun may beat down, but the roots are connected to a stream of rushing water.
Meditate and delight in the Lord and His Word and there will be a steady supply of what you need!
Keep it up! We are at day 108!
Day 107 – April 17, 2021
Scriptures: Deuteronomy 33-34, Proverbs 17
Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. – Proverbs 17:9
One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper; one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble. – Proverbs 17:20
As we come to the close of Deuteronomy, the Israelites are invited to follow Joshua. God appoints Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised land, crossing over the Jordan River. Moses is dead, it’s time for them to move forward now, with Joshua.
The wisdom of God, communicated through Moses is for the Israelites to remain faithful to God and trust in Him to lead them forward. They are called to a life of love, obedience and justice. Their witness is to obey God’s commands in the Promise land and live as a witness to the nations of God's mighty presence, power and faithfulness.
In our Proverbs reading, I feel like every young person should be reading this particular chapter. From experience I find it true that when you love people who have offended, it yields much better results then sharing it, over and over again and stirring up problems. Gossip hurts.
I feel like we need a billboard, advising people there is a better way forward than what is being offered us. We don’t have to quarrel, we don’t have to repeat the wrongs of others. Instead, we can offer love and encouragement.
God has warned throughout Deuteronomy, there are two kinds of hearts, a righteous one and a corrupt one. A heart that prospers and a heart that leads to destruction.
Israel will enter into the Promise land shortly, what will they choose?
What will you choose?
Day 106 – April 16, 2021
Scriptures: Deuteronomy 32, Proverbs 16
Proverbs 16:9 - In their hearts human beings plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
Deuteronomy 32:4 - He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
As we near the end of Deuteronomy, we are called to follow the way of the Lord. Today’s devotional thought is a simple one. Let’s set our hearts and our ways on the Rock of our life! God’s ways are higher and better than our own.
May God align our heart to his ways. May the Lord establish our steps.
Have a great day!
Day 105 – April 15, 2021
Scriptures: Deuteronomy 31, Proverbs 15, Psalm 139
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lordyour God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Proverbs 15:33 Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.
Why was Joshua chosen to lead God’s people after Moses? Perhaps it was humility. It was the willingness to admit that he needed God’s help, God’s strength and presence to go with him. He trusted that God was greater than the adversaries they would face. He was humble to know that God would lead and protect the Israelites and him.
Humility comes before honor.
Christ humbles himself, and he is lifted up.
Joshua will humble himself, open himself to God’s leading, power and presence. He will be lifted up.
It is in humility where we find our greatest strength. Where God truly lifts us up.
Be Humble! Like me.
Day 104 – April, 14, 2021
Scriptures: Deuteronomy 29-30, Proverbs 14
Proverbs 14:31 - Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
A lot of the wisdom of Proverbs and the law of God are summed up here in Proverbs 14:31. If we oppress someone who is poor, we show contempt for God. But if we care for those in need, we honor God.
It is quite similar to the greatest commandment of Jesus, “Love God and Love others.”
How we care for others is how we care for God. How we honor God, is how we honor others.
For us to care for the needs of the poor is a reflection of our love for God.
Let’s look for ways today to honor and love those who are in need. When we do that, we will honor God.
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.