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Joshua 3:1 - The ultimate "We have done it that way before" - Day 182

Dear pilgrims in a barren land, Finally got this devotional done.  The nice thing about electronic is they are easy to edit.  The bad thing is that they are easily deleted.  Had to type this a couple of times. One of the things Jonathan emphasized this week is that the Bible is not about us.  We are prone to ask "Where am I in this story?"  I have heard Sinclair Ferguson say "You aren't in this story".  The first thing we need to do is see Jesus and how he is better than the people in the story. Blessings, Jeff "Do not come near (the ark), in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.”  Obviously, no one had been over the Jordan and into Canaan.  However, those who were under 20 at the time of Red Sea crossing had experienced going through the water.  What was different this time? Moses was no longer with them.  He had used his staff as the instrument of parting the Red Sea,  Now it was the ark of the covenant car
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Matthew 10:5 - Jesus says Go but I don't obey - Day 181

 Dear Friends, As I have mentioned before, one of the things that I like about the M'Cheyne plan is how passages overlap in a way.  Today the parallel between Joshua leading Israel into the Promised Land and Jesus sending out the 12.  I confess the conviction of the Spirit at times like this.  He shows me how little I know about the kingdom. Jeff Picking up on yesterday's  theme of following Jesus, the better Joshua.  Joshua invaded heathen Canaan.  Jesus sends the disciples to the lost sheep of house of Israel.  Joshua's mission was physical conquest.  Jesus' mission is spiritual conquest with physical evidence.  Joshua had roughly 600,000 men.  Jesus had 12. I am confronted with the obedience of disciples.  They did as they were told knowing that in themselves they were unable to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers and cast out demons.   I find myself arguing with Jesus.  You can't really expect me to be so radically committed to the kingdom of God among

Joshua 1:16 - Just like we obeyed Moses - Day 180

Good Morning, Starting a new portion of  Israel's History.  Moses spent the "prime of life" in the desert of Midian.  Joshua has spent the last 40 years with the people of Israel in the wilderness.  Now he is called on to take over late in life.  But it is at the right time in God's plan. Blessings Jeff I am always somewhat amused by Israel's statements about their relationship with Moses.  If I was Joshua, I am not sure I would be comforted by their promise to "Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you."  Joshua knew the truth about how frequently the people disobeyed Moses.  So this makes me ponder my estimation of my relationship to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Perhaps you have heard the proverb that the faults I see in others are really the faults that I refuse to see in myself.  Something like "the log and the speck" from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus as the better Joshua - I can't say "only may the Lord you

Isaiah 59:14 - Don't be afraid to depart from evil - Day 178

Dear brothers and sisters, Today we see a rather vivid description of the marketplace of ideas from Isaiah's time and marvel how not that much has changed over the millenia. Blessings Jeff A recent Al Mohler "Daily Briefing" podcast reported on the "discovery" that atheists and believers have different moral compasses.  The point of division is on questions of authority, loyalty and sanctity.  I think these two verses are evidence that this is really a re-discovery. Justice, righteousness and truth are pictured as being outcasts in the society that Isaiah is describing.  This statement only makes sense when referring to justice, righteousness and truth as given in the Bible.  The authority of these attributes makes all the difference.  God's standards are unchangeable because they are a reflection of his character.  He is the authority for true justice, righteousness and truth.  They are outcasts because unbelievers (both ethnic Jews and Gentiles) reject His

Psalm 119:5-6 - Are you walking in darkness? - Day 177

Good morning fellow readers, One of the reasons I picked this verse is that it is the one that God used in a good friend's conversion.  So let's look at this verse and hear what God is saying. Some observations: Why does someone need a light or lamp?  Because they are in the dark.  The psalmist doesn't have to say he was in the dark.  God breathed these words to speak to people who know they are in the dark and need a light to find the way.   Why would some one in the dark not want a light or lamp?  While a light helps us see where we are going, it also allows other people to see where we are.  So if somebody doesn't want to be seen, a light would be a bad thing.   This is not always a bad thing of course.  Think about ships at sea during war or London during the blitz in WWII.  The darker the night, the more noticeable a light is.  But sneaking around in the dark is usually associated with criminal or immoral activities.  Did you know that police hang out around bars a

Deuteronomy 30:11 - In what way is "the commandment not too hard"? - Day 176

Taken by itself, this passage would support a works based salvation.  The commandment is not too hard.  It is in your heart and mouth so that you can do it.   It almost sounds as if Moses expects  everyone in Israel to actually comply with the law. If it is easy, then there is no reason for people not to comply. But the scripture record shows that man does not comply with the law as given.  Just the episode at Kadesh-barnea 40 years before shows inability to comply.  Israel had been given the law and yet refused to enter the Promised Land.  Or if we look forward to the period of Judges when "everyone did what was right in the own eyes". So why does Moses use this language?   Calvin points out that Moses is saying that the law is clear and understandable.  It is does not require superior intellect or years of study.  Do not murder.  What could be clearer?  The ten commandments with all the annexed reasons are just 17 verses.  Anybody can easily memorize them.  But knowing them

Isaiah 56:1 - The new life after being in exile - Day 175

Continuing in the context of post-exile restoration being described before Judah goes into exile. The Lord says: All you have to do is keep justice and do righteousness. Blessed is the man... who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.  When you come back from captivity, all you have to do is what your ancestors failed to do. Makes me think about the goal of prophetic office.  It is not just to tell the future, it is to prepare the listener for the future. In other words, Here is what God wants you learn while you are in exile so that when you come back you will understand what is has happened to you.   So to me, the natural question to ask is "Why are the returning exiles going to be able to do what their ancestors failed to do?"  I think Paul helps us at this point.  Romans 7:9 - when the law came, sin came alive and I died.  Now Paul grew up in the law which was given through Moses centuries before, so it was not just knowing the law.