Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 14

OT: Joshua 9:3-10:43

The whole matter of Gibeon is so interesting to me. Through his own carelessness, our great and mighty Joshua is tricked into making a treaty with a people who live in Canaan. That seriously derails God's plan. And yet, God doesn't seem too angry with Josh. After all, Joshua's failure to consult God does not lead to any military defeats or consequences of that sort. God is still very much "with" the people. I kind of find examples like this to be comforting, b/c it shows that just because Joshua messed up, he didn't totally wreck God's plan. Yes, it was a setback, and yes, there were consequences, but God was still with Joshua and the people. Joshua's humanity didn't screw things up too much. At least, not yet. I wonder if having the Gibeonites around will lead to problems down the road...

NT: Luke 16:19-17:10

Luke is the only gospel that includes this story, and it very much fits in with his particular interests. After all, this story clearly divides along economic lines, with the poor being whisked off to heaven, and the rich suffering in hell. Odd detail: I guess it goes without saying that the rich man was punished because he failed to help Lazarus. The reason I guess that is because it literally did go without saying: Abraham didn't accuse Lazarus of being unkind to the poor; he accused him of being rich. Specifically, he said, "Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony" (16:25). Odd detail number 2: Abraham calls the rich man "son," which is saying something because the Jews were quite proud of being sons of Abraham. And at one point, Jesus accuses them of not being Abraham's true sons but rather being sons of the devil (John 8:39-44). So it is an interesting detail that Abraham calls the rich man, "son." It is also probably meaningless. Odd detail number 3: the rich man is not given a name, but the poor man is. That goes along with the idea that the last will be first, and the humbled will be exalted. In life, people tend to know the rich man's name, and not the poor man's. It is kind of a status symbol for people to know your name, you know?

Okay, there wasn't a ton of application in those odd details, but I kind of feel like we all get the application here, so I just wrote what stood out to me. I would also like to note that Jesus is really hammering the idea of having worldly wealth here, especially when taken in conjunction with yesterday's reading.

I love the idea of faith in this passage. First of all, I love the idea that it takes faith to live in the radical way that Jesus calls us to live. The disciples realize that because, when faced with Jesus' tall order about forgiving others in 17:3-4, they immediately reply, "Increase our faith!" The only way that they felt that they could obey Jesus' teachings was if they had more faith. Not more self-discipline. Not more determination. More faith. That is interesting to me.

Also, the idea that if we only have faith as small as a mustard seed, we can verbally throw mulberry trees into the sea is fascinating to me. I am open to the idea that Jesus is being a wee bit hyperbolic, but I am also drawn to the idea that we are all just on the tip of the iceberg of possible faith. Compared to what we could have, our general level of faith is smaller than a mustard seed. I guess you could think of that as a depressing thought, but it actually kind of excites me. There is a lot of potential for growth there!

Psalm 83: 1-18

I really want to know the exact historical context of this verse. I looked it up in my chronological Bible, but it was just listed with all the other psalms. The reason I wonder is because of verse 8's mention of the Assyrians. Is this psalm written right before the Assyrian invasion? If so, it would be quite haunting to me. As it is, I'm sure that I could research when Asaph lived and when the invasion occurred, but I don't have the time right now.

Proverbs 13:4

"The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are satisfied." That's a good one to teach to your children. It gives compelling reasons to work hard!


  1. Joshua: Well, the best thing I am reminded of in this story is that we should always consult with God through prayer before we act. But, like you, I am thankful that God is still able to work His purpose in our lives when we fail to ask His blessings and guidance first.

    Luke: The rich man had to have seen the beggar every time he went in and out as Laz was sitting at his gate. So, the problem was not in being rich but it was that he had no compassion for "his neighbor". It would have been nothing for him to have taken care of Laz - because he was a RICH man - to have fed him, clothed him, tended his medical fact, just to do anything. But he didn't.

    vs 7 and on continues to remind me that my actions are not "earning" my salvation, they are in fact my normal duty from the extreme gratitude in my heart for the grace and forgiveness I am receiving every day. I love that.

  2. Oh, and one more thing about the rich man/poor man story: Wasn't it rather confirming of yesterday's lesson on how we should be "shrewd" in this life by being compassionate on this earth in order to obtain our goal of eternal life with Christ.