Israel’s land survey

I purchased a house last year, and the seller split his larger property into two lots, selling me the smaller of the two. To make this happen, the property had to be surveyed, and a description had to be drawn up specifying the exact locations of the borders. I could describe the borders in one sentence, but the surveyors have to be much more precise. The document they created describes in very technical language the latitude, longitude, angles, curves, etc. from corner to corner of the property, and is quite lengthy. The precision is a result not only of the desire to establish a clear understanding between buyer and seller, but to prevent future disagreements about the exact locations of the border.

When the children of Israel conquered the land of Canaan, there were twelve tribes. The conquered land had to be divvied up between them. I used to read Joshua 13-21 with dread, trudging through the city names and border descriptions with only the purpose of getting through it. Not so anymore. As I struggle to pronounce dozens and dozens (if not hundreds) of city and village names, I think of the towns, cities, suburbs, metropolises, counties, and states in my own country and the different climates, accents, histories, cultures, landscapes, laws, traditions, products, arts, disciplines, stereotypes, etc. peculiar to each one. I imagine what conversations may have sounded like in ancient Israel. Did the young Issacharians in Tabor ever complain about how there was nothing to do in their town? Did they long for the day when their parents considered them big enough to go with big brother and his friends to Shahazumah where they could fish or swim in the Jordan River (I may be misrepresenting the geography here). Which one of the cities on the Great Sea did people vacation to the most (think of Myrtle Beach or Gulf Shores)? Were Manassehites arrogant like Texans because of the size of their inheritance? Was there trash talk among the tribes about whose land was, as we sometimes say, “God’s country”?

These 9 chapters are a testimony of the Israelites’ desire for accuracy, understanding, and peace between the tribes. We are given the bare details, but they open up speculation about what life was like as they settled into their new territories. God’s current people have not yet crossed their Jordan. We, too, will settle a new territory one day, but I don’t think we’ll be as concerned about borderlines as they were.

#book-of-joshua, #borderlines, #children-of-israel, #christianity, #heaven, #jordan-river, #land-of-canaan, #land-survey, #old-testament, #promised-land, #tribes-of-israel

the whole counsel of God

Joshua 8 records the battle the children of Israel fought against the people of Ai. It is an interesting study in military strategy, but more importantly, the end of the chapter provides a lesson for us regarding our spiritual lives. After the victory, Joshua built an altar, wrote a new copy of the law of Moses, and the nation held a ceremony in which the law was read to the people. According to the last verse of the chapter, “There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them.” It was not enough to know some of the law. The people needed to know ALL of the law. As the Lord told Moses, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

Lord, make us hungry to glean everything we can from the pages of Scripture, for we do not live by some of Your words, but by all of them.

#battle-of-ai, #bible-study, #book-of-joshua, #children-of-israel, #christianity, #joshua, #land-of-canaan, #old-testament


Psalm 114

Vs. 1-8 look back at what God had done to make Israel a nation.

It is always beneficial for a people to look back to their origins, unless they continue to live in the past and not appreciate their present. Israelites needed to meditate upon the God whose works delivered their “fathers” from slavery in Egypt, and made them a nation, with a covenant law with God, and a land from God. It’s pathetic to see people with slavery in their people’s history, who are blind to their advantages since then. In America’s history, there have been slaves brought across its shores (for example, Irish indentured servants or Africans as household or plantation slaves), but to live with the present blessings, while complaining about the past, refuses to acknowledge the blessings that have come from God with the passing of time. Nothing in Psalm 114 was designed to inflame the Israelites against the Egyptians because of their enslavement in the past. Christians look back at their past, grateful for their deliverance from their sins, and their perseverance toward their heavenly goal (Hebrews 10:32-35).

Verses 1-2: Jacob and Esau were twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 25:26-28). Esau, also named, “Edom” (Genesis 25:30), and then Jacob, whom God renamed “Israel,” (Genesis 32:24-32), were the beginning of God’s covenant people, “the children of Israel,” and “Edomites” represented Gentiles in prophecy. Jacob fathered “Judah,” and along with his other sons, the Children of Israel were thus divided into the 12 tribes of the Children of Israel. Thus, [The Children of] “Israel went out of Egypt” (Exodus 1-14), also known as “the house of Jacob,” with special emphasis on the tribe of “Judah” (through whom Jesus Christ would be born, Hebrews 7:14). The “people of strange language” were the Egyptians, because their language was different from the Hebrew spoken by the Israelites.

Verses 3-6: “The sea” was the Red Sea that God divided (Exodus 14:15-31) to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt, and “Jordan” River was also divided (Joshua 3:14-17) to permit the Israelites to cross over its flooded bed on dry land into their Promised Land. “The mountains skipped” when God’s presence was represented on Mount Sinai at the giving of the Law to Moses (Exodus 19:16-20), and other parts of the mountains (“little hills”) participated, as well. “What ails you” calls attention to the fact that these disturbances could not have been caused by anyone, except God!

Verses 7-8: Since “God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 11:3), and God destroyed all life on the dry land of the earth with a universal flood (Genesis 7:21-23), then the “earth” and all people on it, should “tremble” (quake in awe) “at the presence of the Lord,” “the God of Jacob.” If the children of Israel were in awe when Moses received their Law at Mt. Sinai, how much more should all people respect “Him who speaks from Heaven,” that is, Jesus Christ and His Law, the New Testament (Hebrews 12:18-29)?

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #children-of-israel, #daily-bible-reading, #faith, #god, #jesus-christ