OT: Joshua 15:1-63
Well, the author of Joshua apparently felt that his material was a bit dry, so he tried to liven it up a bit for us today. Here are all the things that Judah's southern boundary did in today's reading: it started (2), crossed, continued, went over (3), ran, curved (4), passed, and joined (5). He didn't repeat a verb! Here's what the northern boundary did: it started (5), went up, continued (6), turned, came out (7), ran up, climbed (8), headed, came out (9), curved, ran along (10), and passed along (11). That was one busy border! I was seriously impressed by the variety of verbs. They really made the border "come to life":).
We also met Othniel, one of Israel's future judges, in today's reading. Today, we learned that he was Caleb's nephew and, due to his derring-do in capturing Kiriath Sepher, also became his son-in-law. And either he or his wife got the idea to ask for a field, but she instead asked for some springs. That part was weird and...vague.
And then we learned about every single city in Judah. Wonderful. I did note that Jerusalem was in Judah's territory.
NT: Luke 18:18-43
Since I've already discussed my take on the rich young ruler twice, today I will merely share the outside interpretations that swirl in my head as I read it. One is that when Jesus says that "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle," He wasn't referring to a sewing needle. Instead, there was a gate into Jerusalem (?) that was called the "Eye of the Needle" or "Needle's Eye" or something, and it was very difficult for a camel to get through. The camel would have to crouch down or something. And so...Jesus was saying that it is difficult but not impossible. I tend to swat that interpretation away b/c I just don't believe it. "Eye of a needle" is not capitalized, for one thing. For another, the disciples seem to think that it is impossible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, judging by their response ("Who then can be saved?").
The second memory that always accompanies this story is of my childhood preacher's interpretation. He highlighted Jesus' response that, "What is impossible with man is possible with God" (27). And thus, Jesus is not saying that the rich will not enter heaven. It is impossible, after all, for any of us to enter heaven without God. This explanation makes sense to me, and I do think that there will be rich people in heaven (after all, wouldn't I be considered rich?), but I still hesitate to embrace that interpretation. When you take this story in conjunction with all of Jesus' teachings on wealth up to this point, you still get some really stark and challenging messages about wealth. I don't want to sell them short. I do think the rich have a special challenge in this life.
I didn't read who wrote this poem until I got started and thought, "This sounds different." I don't know why, exactly, it sounded different to me, but it just didn't seem like Asaph or the sons of Korah. I think it was all the first person singular. And sure enough, it was David! Yea!
I loved our highlighted verse: "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name" (11). As a perpetual student, I love the idea of God teaching me, and I also love the image of walking IN, being immersed in, God's truth. Furthermore, I rejoice in the idea that an undivided heart is something that I receive from God. I cannot mold it or conjure it up on my own. I find the idea of resting in God's provision--even his spiritual provision--to be very calming and peaceful.
Verse 10 says, "Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice." I hate quarrels and drama of all kinds, so that is a compelling reason for me to seek humility.