"God's Word is Living & Active!" ~ Hebrews 4:12
Joshua 15:1-63 ~ Luke 18:18-43 ~ Psalm 86:1-17 ~ Proverbs 13:9-10
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Old Testament – It is interesting to read about the allotment of land to the tribe of Judah today! It reminds me of how different these days are for the Israelites, compared to the 40 years of wandering in the desert – or the slavery in Egypt prior to that. Times have changed! God’s Promise is being fulfilled. I think this is important for us to remember in our lives as well. Maybe we’re in a “slavery” period in our own life where we are looking for a Savior to free us. Jesus is of course that Savior to free us from our slavery to sin. Or, maybe we’re in a desert period of our lives. We’ve decided to follow Jesus, but maybe we’re really trudging through some hard times. If we’re in this type of period, hopefully we can be encouraged by knowing that God’s Promises to us will not fail. God will bring us peace that surpasses all understanding. God will bring us to the true Promised Land for eternity. Let us be encouraged in our own lives by our past few months of readings about the Israelites and their journey from slavery to now the Promised Land. God’s Promises will not fail. They are eternal. And they are the only thing in this passing world that is eternal.
Interesting side note on Joshua chapter 15 verses 61 & 62 – “In the wilderness there were the towns of Beth-arabah, Middin, Secacah, Nibshan, the City of Salt, and En-gedi–six towns with their surrounding villages.” The NIV translates wilderness as “desert”, which is probably more accurate. Zondervan’s commentary on this verse today says, “The desert is the chalky dry region east and south of Jerusalem that borders the Dead Sea… Either Secacah or the City of Salt may have been the ancient name of the site of Qumran, where the scribes who produced the Dead Sea Scrolls lived.”
New Testament – Today we read the story of the Rich Man in Luke chapter 18! The verses that always speak to me the most are verses 29 & 30 where Jesus teaches – “I assure you, everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, as well as receiving eternal life in the world to come.” These are really some powerful verses for us to consider. Basically, I read – and I know from experience – that truly following Jesus comes with some costs. The costs may be loss of wealth, or worldliness, or power, or glamour, or friends, or even family perhaps. But, if we are accepting these costs for the sake of the Kingdom, then they are in my estimation our crosses that we must bear to truly follow Jesus. Following Jesus is not always easy. The world’s temptations will do everything they can for us to not follow Jesus. “It’s too hard to follow Jesus.” “Come have fun.” “It’s too much cost to follow Jesus.” But… we really need to stay in constant prayer and stay close to God to realize that following Jesus – along w/ all the costs that may be associated with following Jesus – is the only True way to live life. All other paths will lead to misery. Following Jesus and accepting the costs or our crosses ultimately leads to life in abundance. And life for eternity.
Psalms – Wow. Today in Psalm 86 we read an amazingly wise prayer of David to God in verse 11 – “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.”
I read an interesting commentary on this verse saying that David is wisely praying for God to save him from his frailty within himself. Oftentimes in the Psalms we will read about David praying for God to deliver him from his enemies. In this verse David is praying for deliverance from what is within. This is a critical point to consider. I think sometimes we always look toward “external” circumstances as the cause of all of our problems. When perhaps we need to look at some “internal” things going on inside of us as causes of some of our problems? And in realizing that there are some internal things that need to be fixed, perhaps we can humbly pray Psalm 86 verse 11 like David did thousands of years ago? “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.”
Proverbs – Another wow… Proverbs chapter 13 verse 9 is so beautiful to reflect upon – “The life of the godly is full of light and joy.” Ultimately, this is so true. As I posted above, yes, there will be times of trial and times of being in the desert. But, ultimately a godly life will bring light and joy – and if not in this life, then in eternity. There are of course martyrs who may not experience this light and joy externally in this life – but, my hunch is that they are experiencing the light and joy internally – and ultimately, they will experience light and joy forever in God’s Kingdom.
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” Luke 18:29-30 NIV
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