OT: Deut. 34:1-Josh. 2:24
Well, people, we are officially out of the Pentateuch! Let the carnage begin!
Oh, and random trivia question: WHY, exactly, do we think that Moses wrote these five books? I remember reading a verse a few days ago about how Moses wrote down the Law in a book, but these books are so much more than just the Law. So again...why do we think it was Moses? Also, he would have had to write about his own death, though I do understand that Joshua or someone could have tacked that on. I don't know. All I'm saying is that, unless there is some other verse we haven't gotten to, I'm not convinced.
Moses' death is one of those times that I would like the DVD version of the Bible that I just know God has on file. It's not that I'm morbid, but I just would like to see how he died. And for that matter, I'd like to see how the Israelites knew he died, since there were apparently no witnesses to his death or burial.
But now, it is time for the passing of the torch onto Joshua, who, by all accounts, seems like a really stand-up guy. My recollections of Joshua are all positive. It definitely seems like he got the repeated memos to be strong and courageous (even the people tell him to be so today), and so he just plunges right in to his task. And to give him full credit, it is no easy task!
My favorite verse of today's OT passage is when the people tell Joshua, "Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you" (Josh. 1:17). I'm sure Joshua was thinking, "Greeeaat. That's saying a lot."
I love the interaction with Rahab and the deal that the spies cut with her. I don't have a lot of commentary on it, but I enjoyed reading about it.
Jesus' words in today's passage kind of capture the weirdness of God's invitation to man. On the one hand, God longs to be united with man, to have a relationship with him. As Jesus laments about Jerusalem, "how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" (13:14b). In this life, God yearns for us, but it is ironically we who have the power to actually initiate the relationship. (Even there, it gets weird, though, because we can only come to God because He draws us to Him. But since I believe that He draws everyone to Him, then I must conclude that everyone does have that power of choice.) Anyway, the impression Jesus gives here is that He would love a relationship, but He is bound by man's choice.
The sad part is that our power of choice ends with our death. Jesus' imagery in 13:24-30 paints a chilling picture of regret and desperation. It even seems, as it so often does with Jesus, that many of those on the outside mistakenly thought that they were on the inside. The idea that people could mistakenly believe themselves to be saved always unnerves me. It is kind of hard to rest in my salvation when I think about the idea that I could be somehow deluded.
When I start to get anxious while pondering Jesus' words, two verses always comfort me. One is in 2 Cor. 1:22 says that God has "put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." Since I feel the Spirit in my life, I can rest assured of what is to come. Secondly, I think of I John 3: 18-20, which says, "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything." To the extent that our salvation is contingent on our actions, the only actions that matter are our active love toward others. I can handle that:).
Whew! I was probably the only one who needed that little pep talk after reading Jesus today, but I thought I'd share anyway:).
Oh, and my favorite verse of the NT today was in 13:33, where Jesus says, "In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day--for surely no prophet can die outside of Jerusalem!" I love this wit! Like his other comment about that generation building the tombs for the prophets, this one is not sarcasm exactly, but it is something really close.
Asaph is sooo...human. His humanity cracks me up, mainly because I can so relate to it. Just one psalm ago, he was grappling with all the bad things that were happening and making intellectual sense of it all. He was cognitively and rationally arguing that God was in control of the mess, and that He, in fact, orchestrated it. This psalm, however, finds him reverting to weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. This psalm has him crying out to God and wondering, "Why don't you save us?" (not an actual verse). I am so much like that. I vacillate horribly between being totally "cool" with and intellectually satisfied by the idea that whatever happens on this earth, God is in control...and on the flip side, freaking out and being overwhelmed by all the bad things in the world. The result is that I basically go in circles and have to revisit the same material over and over. It is a lovely existence. David and Asaph let me know that I'm not alone, though.
Well, it seems that the meaning of part A of this psalm was fairly obscure. Our options are, "A righteous man is cautious in friendship," or, "a righteous man is a guide to his neighbor." Those don't sound incredibly similar. I wonder what the NLT says. Probably something like, "A happy man gathers flowers for friends." J/K. I like to make fun of the NLT because it sometimes seems like one step away from the Message, but I'm sure it is a fine translation. (I'm mainly ragging it b/c you are reading it, Becky, and that's the type of person that I am:)).