OT: Joshua 21:1-22:20
Okay, I can't take it anymore! Must. have. visual. I did a little research online and found a couple of maps that, while not great, at least give a general idea of what we're working with here. You can find one here and another here. Oooh...and I just found a better one here that specifically shows the Levitical cities that we are reading about today.
Ummm...what on earth is up with Joshua 21: 43-45: "So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the Lord's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled"?
Okay, remember what I was talking about yesterday? Either these verses are a biblical example of complete historical revisionism, or I am missing something about God's promises (which is one of the possibilities I mentioned yesterday). See, when I read these verses, I think of the Ephraimites, who "did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer" (16:10), or the Manassites who "were not able to occupy [certain] towns, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that region" (17:12). NOW, I must say that the Ephraimites perhaps had the ability to dislodge the Canaanites, but they might have chosen not to. And though the Manassites were first unable to conquer their Canaanites, they did grow stronger and gain the ability to do so. And they apparently chose not to, as well. SO...the vast majority of God's promises did come true just like He said, and the very few exceptions were the result of the people's own choice, the result of their lack of willingness to do their part.
I find this interplay between God's promises and the people's actions to be fascinating. Like I said yesterday, I see a lot of possible insight and application to how He works in our lives today.
And, holy cow! I have read all this before, but I still did not see the abrupt change in tone coming when the 2 1/2 tribes built the altar on the way back home. They enjoyed such a warm, upbeat send-off, and I was shocked by the reaction to the altar. I just assumed that they had built an altar in praise to the Lord, but apparently not? Regardless, I did like the message that the others sent them, urging them to turn from their sin. And I'm glad that they seemed to learn a lot from Achan ("he was not the only one to die for his sin." Too true). I can't wait for tomorrow when I get to read the exciting conclusion!
NT: Luke 19: 28-48
Okay, seriously, I loved reading these stories again, but I just have nothing new to say to them. I'm sure that I have convinced you by now that I can ramble on about anything, but I am just genuinely out of things to say.
Except for this: I wonder what Jesus' real thoughts are on the "taxes to Caesar" issue. Luke makes clear that His response was based on his understanding of their nefarious intentions ("He saw through their duplicity and said to them..."). And I know that what He said was not dishonest or anything, but I would just like to hear an answer whose purpose was not to swat away enemies. Though I adore the succinctness of His response, another, more elaborate, discussion on the topic would be interesting, too.
Well, welcome, Ethan the Ezrahite! You wanna throw your hat in the ring, too, huh? Well, let's hear it!
I started to write an analysis of this psalm like it was just another poem, but everything I started to write sounded mildly blasphemous, and I don't want to detract from something written to praise my Creator. So...I will just say that verses 5 through 7 are interesting. Ethan is either talking about angels or other deities. I hope that they are angels!
"Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard." This sounds like a good verse to work into future "Choose Life" speeches. People don't want a hard life, you know? So then don't be unfaithful!