he fought for you

Joshua - 1

he fought for you

Joshua 23:1-3 (JDV)

Joshua 23:1 A long time after Yahveh had given Israel rest from all the enemies around them, Joshua was old, advanced in days.
Joshua 23:2 So Joshua summoned all Israel, including its elders, leaders, judges, and officers, and said to them, “I am old, advanced in days,
Joshua 23:3 and you have seen for yourselves everything Yahveh your God did to all these nations in front of you, because it was Yahveh your God who was fighting for you.

he fought for you

Joshua just wanted to remind the victorious Israelites that they didn’t accomplish everything by themselves. They had help. The future generations would need to rely on God as well, because there were no guarantees of sucess or even survival without him.

Lord, thank you for fighting for us. May we always give you a reason to fight on our side.

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different path, same God

different path, same God

Joshua 22:30-34 (JDV)

Joshua 22:30 When the priest Phinehas and the community leaders, the heads of Israel’s clans who were with him, heard what the descendants of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh had to say, they were pleased.
Joshua 22:31 Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest said to the descendants of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, “Today we know that Yahveh is among us, because you have not committed this betrayal against him. As a result, you have rescued the Israelites from Yahveh’s power.”
Joshua 22:32 Then the priest Phinehas son of Eleazar and the leaders returned from the Reubenites and Gadites in the land of Gilead to the Israelites in the land of Canaan and brought back a report to them.
Joshua 22:33 The Israelites were pleased with the report, and they blessed God. They spoke no more about going to war against them to ravage the land where the Reubenites and Gadites lived.
Joshua 22:34 So the Reubenites and Gadites named the altar: It is a witness between us that Yahveh is God.

different path, same God

What a relief it was to find that the Eastern tribes were not enemies; they were just different. They had taken a different path in their walk with God, but they worshipped the same God.

Perhaps you and I ought to come to anyone who is different from us with that attitude at the outset. Others who trust Christ as we do are not our enemies. They are just different. Their differences are not enough to warrant our going to war with them. They are brothers, since we have the same Father.

Lord, thank you for those who have taken different paths to Christ. Their differences from us are just a sign of God’s greatness.

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bridges, not barriers.

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bridges, not barriers.

Joshua 22:20-29 (JDV)

Joshua 22:20 Wasn’t Achan son of Zerah unfaithful regarding what was set apart for destruction, bringing wrath on the entire community of Israel? He was not the only one who was destroyed because of his iniquity.'”
Joshua 22:21 The Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh answered the heads of the Israelite clans,
Joshua 22:22 “The Mighty One, God, Yahveh! The Mighty One, God, Yahveh! He knows, and may Israel also know. Do not spare us today, if it was in rebellion or treachery against Yahveh
Joshua 22:23 that we have built for ourselves an altar to turn away from him. May Yahveh himself hold us accountable if we intended to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings on it, or to sacrifice fellowship offerings on it.
Joshua 22:24 We actually did this from a specific concern that in the future your descendants might say to our descendants, ‘What relationship do you have with Yahveh, the God of Israel?
Joshua 22:25 You see, Yahveh has made the Jordan a border between us and you descendants of Reuben and Gad. You have no share in Yahveh! ‘ So your descendants may cause our descendants to stop fearing Yahveh.
Joshua 22:26 “Therefore we said: Let us take action and build an altar for ourselves, but not for burnt offering or sacrifice.
Joshua 22:27 Instead, it is to be a witness between us and you, and between the generations after us, so that we may carry out the worship of Yahveh in his presence with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and fellowship offerings. Then in the future, your descendants will not be able to say to our descendants, ‘You have no share in Yahveh! ‘
Joshua 22:28 We thought that if they said this to us or to our generations in the future, we would reply: Notice at the replica of Yahveh’s altar that our fathers made, not for burnt offering or sacrifice, but as a witness between us and you.
Joshua 22:29 We would never ever rebel against Yahveh or turn away from him today by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of Yahveh our God, which is in front of his tabernacle.”

bridges, not barriers.

The altar for the Eastern tribes was intended as a bridge to keep the connection between the tribes strong, not as a barrier to it.

How often we misunderstand other believers because we don’t take the time to see things from their point of view.

Lord, help us to build bridges, not barriers.

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different, but still true

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different, but still true

Joshua 22:10-19 (JDV)

Joshua 22:10 When they came to the region of the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh built a large, impressive altar there by the Jordan.
Joshua 22:11 Then the Israelites heard it said, “Notice, the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh have built an altar on the frontier of the land of Canaan at the region of the Jordan, on the Israelite side.”
Joshua 22:12 When the Israelites heard this, the entire Israelite community gathered at Shiloh to go to war against them.
Joshua 22:13 The Israelites sent Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead.
Joshua 22:14 They sent ten leaders with him – one family leader for each tribe of Israel. All of them were heads of their ancestral families among the clans of Israel.
Joshua 22:15 They went to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and told them,
Joshua 22:16 “This is what Yahveh’s entire community says: ‘What is this betrayal you have committed today against the God of Israel by turning away from Yahveh and building an altar for yourselves, so that you are in rebellion against Yahveh today?
Joshua 22:17 Wasn’t the iniquity of Peor, which brought a plague on Yahveh’s community, enough for us? We have not rid ourselves of it even to this day,
Joshua 22:18 and now would you turn away from Yahveh? If you rebel against Yahveh today, tomorrow he will be angry with the entire community of Israel.
Joshua 22:19 But if the land you possess is defiled, cross over to the land Yahveh possesses where Yahveh’s tabernacle stands, and take possession of it among us. But don’t rebel against Yahveh or against us by building for yourselves an altar other than the altar of Yahveh our God.

different, but still true

The Western tribes’ concern will turn out to be premature, because the altar was not intended as an apostasy. But their concern was appropriate. We ought always to be on the alert for signs of apostasy among the brothers. It is a serious thing to seek to replace the true faith with another option.

Lord, make us diligent to preserve the true faith, but wise enough to recognize when differences are not signs of apostasy.

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return with great wealth

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return with great wealth

Joshua 22:7-9 (JDV)

Joshua 22:7 Moses had given territory to half the tribe of Manasseh in Bashan, but Joshua had given territory to the other half, with their brothers, on the west side of the Jordan. When Joshua sent them to their homes and blessed them,
Joshua 22:8 he said, “Return to your homes with great wealth: a huge number of cattle, and silver, gold, bronze, iron, and a large quantity of clothing. Share the spoil of your enemies with your brothers.”
Joshua 22:9 The Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh left the Israelites at Shiloh in the land of Canaan to return to their own land of Gilead, which they took possession of according to Yahveh’s command through Moses.

return with great wealth

Those who returned to the Eastern side of the Jordan went with great wealth. While in the process of helping their brothers, they acquired all they needed and then some. Such is the case in the Christian life. We are busy helping our brothers all around us, and we seldom stop to notice the great wealth we are accumulating for when the battles are over.

Some of us have to accept that reality by faith, because we are among those who have faith but have not yet received (Hebrews 11:35b-39). But our inheritance is just as sure as those who receive during this life.

Lord, thank you that when the battles are over, we will have accumulated far more that we can imagine.

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good advice for everyone

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good advice for everyone

Joshua 22:5-6 (JDV)

Joshua 22:5 Only carefully obey the command and instruction that Moses Yahveh’s servant gave you: to love Yahveh your God, walk in all his ways, keep his commands, be loyal to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your throat.”
Joshua 22:6 Joshua blessed them and sent them on their way, and they went to their homes.

good advice for everyone

Joshua dismissed the Eastern tribes with some good advice, and that advice is good for everyone.

  • Love your God. Don’t ignore him. He is worth your devotion and care.
  • Walk in the ways that your God has prescribed for you. He knows the direction your life should take much better than you do.
  • Keep his commands. Even if you do not understand why he commands it, obey it anyway.
  • Be loyal to God. Those false gods didn’t send their sons to die for you.
  • Serve God with all your being. Serve him with every beat of your heart and every breath coming from your throat.

Lord, give us the wisdom to follow Joshua’s good advice.

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staying in mission

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staying in mission

Joshua 22:1-4 (JDV)

Joshua 22:1 Joshua summoned the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh
Joshua 22:2 and told them, “You have done everything Moses Yahveh’s servant commanded you and have obeyed me in everything I commanded you.
Joshua 22:3 You have not deserted your brothers even once this whole time but have carried out the requirement of the command of Yahveh your God.
Joshua 22:4 Now that he has given your brothers rest, just like he promised them, return to your homes in your own land that Moses Yahveh’s servant gave you across the Jordan.

staying in mission

Joshua commended the 2 1/2 tribes because they stayed in the mission long enough to ensure that the other tribes succeeded. They were thinking like a part of a kingdom, not like separate tribes.

Lord, give us the commitment to stay in mission long enough to ensure everyone’s success.

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the good promises

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the good promises

Joshua 21:43-45 (JDV)

Joshua 21:43 So Yahveh gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their fathers, and they took possession of it and settled there.
Joshua 21:44 Yahveh gave them rest on every side according to all he had sworn to their fathers. None of their enemies were able to stand against them, because Yahveh handed over all their enemies to them.
Joshua 21:45 None of the good promises Yahveh had made to the house of Israel failed. Everything was fulfilled.

the good promises

It took centuries before some of God’s promises that he had made to Abraham were fulfilled, as is recorded here. Our God still works this way. We should not be discouraged if everything does not work out as we expect. God is faithful to all his good promises, but his timing is not our timing. Our task is to trust him, and keep following him, whether it is in Egypt, in the open county, the battle of conquest, or the blessing of inheritance.

Lord, thank you for all of your good promises, and that you are faithful to keep them.

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ministry as mission

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ministry as mission

Joshua 21:4-42 (JDV)

Joshua 21:4 The lot came out for the Kohathite clans: The Levites who were the descendants of the priest Aaron received thirteen cities by lot from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin.
Joshua 21:5 The remaining descendants of Kohath received ten cities by lot from the clans of the tribes of Ephraim, Dan, and half the tribe of Manasseh.
Joshua 21:6 Gershon’s descendants received thirteen cities by lot from the clans of the tribes of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and half the tribe of Manasseh in Bashan.
Joshua 21:7 Merari’s descendants received twelve cities for their clans from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.
Joshua 21:8 The Israelites gave these cities with their pasture-lands around them to the Levites by lot, as Yahveh had commanded through Moses.
Joshua 21:9 The Israelites gave these cities by name from the tribes of the descendants of Judah and Simeon
Joshua 21:10 to the descendants of Aaron from the Kohathite clans of the Levites, because they received the first lot.
Joshua 21:11 They gave them Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron; Arba was the father of Anak) with its surrounding pasture-lands in the hill country of Judah.
Joshua 21:12 But they gave the fields and settlements of the city to Caleb son of Jephunneh as his possession.
Joshua 21:13 They gave to the descendants of the priest Aaron: Hebron, the city of refuge for the one who commits manslaughter, with its pasture-lands, Libnah with its pasture-lands,
Joshua 21:14 Jattir with its pasture-lands, Eshtemoa with its pasture-lands,
Joshua 21:15 Holon with its pasture-lands, Debir with its pasture-lands,
Joshua 21:16 Ain with its pasture-lands, Juttah with its pasture-lands, and Beth-shemesh with its pasture-lands – nine cities from these two tribes.
Joshua 21:17 From the tribe of Benjamin they gave: Gibeon with its pasture-lands, Geba with its pasture-lands,
Joshua 21:18 Anathoth with its pasture-lands, and Almon with its pasture-lands – four cities.
Joshua 21:19 All thirteen cities with their pasture-lands were for the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
Joshua 21:20 The allotted cities to the remaining clans of Kohath’s descendants, who were Levites, came from the tribe of Ephraim.
Joshua 21:21 The Israelites gave them: Shechem, the city of refuge for the one who commits manslaughter, with its pasture-lands in the hill country of Ephraim, Gezer with its pasture-lands,
Joshua 21:22 Kibzaim with its pasture-lands, and Beth-horon with its pasture-lands– four cities.
Joshua 21:23 From the tribe of Dan they gave: Elteke with its pasture-lands, Gibbethon with its pasture-lands,
Joshua 21:24 Aijalon with its pasture-lands, and Gath-rimmon with its pasture-lands – four cities.
Joshua 21:25 From half the tribe of Manasseh they gave: Taanach with its pasture-lands and Gath-rimmon with its pasture-lands – two cities.
Joshua 21:26 All ten cities with their pasture-lands were for the clans of Kohath’s other descendants.
Joshua 21:27 From half the tribe of Manasseh, they gave to the descendants of Gershon, who were one of the Levite clans: Golan, the city of refuge for the one who commits manslaughter, with its pasture-lands in Bashan, and Beeshterah with its pasture-lands – two cities.
Joshua 21:28 From the tribe of Issachar they gave: Kishion with its pasture-lands, Daberath with its pasture-lands,
Joshua 21:29 Jarmuth with its pasture-lands, and En-gannim with its pasture-lands – four cities.
Joshua 21:30 From the tribe of Asher they gave: Mishal with its pasture-lands, Abdon with its pasture-lands,
Joshua 21:31 Helkath with its pasture-lands, and Rehob with its pasture-lands – four cities.
Joshua 21:32 From the tribe of Naphtali they gave: Kedesh in Galilee, the city of refuge for the one who commits manslaughter, with its pasture-lands, Hammoth-dor with its pasture-lands, and Kartan with its pasture-lands– three cities.
Joshua 21:33 All thirteen cities with their pasture-lands were for the Gershonites by their clans.
Joshua 21:34 From the tribe of Zebulun, they gave to the clans of the descendants of Merari, who were the remaining Levites: Jokneam with its pasture-lands, Kartah with its pasture-lands,
Joshua 21:35 Dimnah with its pasture-lands, and Nahalal with its pasture-lands – four cities.
Joshua 21:36 From the tribe of Reuben they gave: Bezer with its pasture-lands, Jahzah with its pasture-lands,
Joshua 21:37 Kedemoth with its pasture-lands, and Mephaath with its pasture-lands– four cities.
Joshua 21:38 From the tribe of Gad they gave: Ramoth in Gilead, the city of refuge for the one who commits manslaughter, with its pasture-lands, Mahanaim with its pasture-lands,
Joshua 21:39 Heshbon with its pasture-lands, and Jazer with its pasture-lands– four cities in all.
Joshua 21:40 All twelve cities were allotted to the clans of Merari’s descendants, the remaining Levite clans.
Joshua 21:41 Within the Israelite possession there were forty-eight cities in all with their pasture-lands for the Levites.
Joshua 21:42 Each of these cities had its own surrounding pasture-lands; this was the case for all the cities.

ministry as mission

The ESV Study Bible notes “The effect of taking cities and their pasturelands from each of the tribes would be to scatter the Levites throughout the whole of Israel. This distribution would facilitate the Levites fulfilling their duties” (p. 425).

These servants of God had to be where the people of God lived, so that they could minister to God’s people. Their holiness was defined by their not engaging in conquest. Rather, they focused on ministry. Each was important to God. Each is part of God’s mission.

Lord, show us how we can fulfill your mission.

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appealing for justice

Joshua - 1

appealing for justice

Joshua 21:1-3 (JDV)

Joshua 21:1 The Levite family heads approached the priest Eleazar, Joshua son of Nun, and the family heads of the Israelite tribes.
Joshua 21:2 At Shiloh, in the land of Canaan, they told them, “Yahveh commanded through Moses that we be given cities to live in, with their pasture-lands for our livestock.”
Joshua 21:3 So the Israelites, by Yahveh’s command, gave the Levites these cities with their pasture-lands from their inheritance.

appealing for justice

Certainly Joshua and the leaders of Israel wanted to do what God had commanded. So, it was right for the Levites to speak up and make sure that their inheritance was not forgotten.

There are times when injustice is possible because those who should speak up to prevent it have remained silent. Let that not be the case in your family, church, and community.

Lord, give us the wisdom to appeal for justice on behalf of those who might be forgotten.

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