Bible reading for weekend July 11.
"I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities." (Joshua 14:11-12)
DIVIDING THE LAND. These chapters record the land allotments by tribe. Inheritance is a major theme in the Bible, and ultimately applies to that which the Lord Jesus has won for us in redemption, which he then gives to us in the new creation. Some get less, others get more, and yet, it is all fair (Ps 16:6). It should be noted that boundaries are not bad. The Bible does not paint eternity as a kind of absorption into a celestial commune. We will maintain our identities and serve within our allotted spheres (Luke 19:16-19; Rev 2:17; 21:24-26). We see the land allotment again come up in Ezekiel 47 and 48, regarding the future glory of Israel. Is it future and literal, regarding redeemed ethnic Israel during the millennium? Or is it more symbolic of the eternal state of all the redeemed? Bible scholars, like the land, are divided on that topic. A final note: the land of Israel then was more forested than now (17:18).
LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER (15:13-19). Caleb had a "different spirit" about him (Num 14:24), namely, he was a man of faith and courage. He requests the hill country around Hebron, which had been promised to him forty-some years before (Deut 1:36). He's 85 years old -- which means the occupation of Canaan that we read about took around five years -- and he's ready to tackle the Anakim still entrenched there (see previous post). He offers his daughter Achsah in marriage to whomever can lead the capture of Kiriath-sepher. To those unfamiliar with Jewish literature this sounds like a patriarchal treatment of a woman as a possession or prize. Nothing could be further from the truth. The more you read the OT the more you see what's between the lines and how strong and influential Israelite women were. (We'll see more of this when we get to the book of Ruth.) Here's a more likely backstory: Achsah, like her father, is a person who knows her mind, as seen in her bold approach to her father (vv 17-19). She and Othniel, who certainly knew each other well (they were cousins), had perhaps planned marriage together, and now realized this was the price for Caleb's approval for Othniel to marry his daughter. Caleb's challenge likely was not a random invitation to any and every guy, but a time for Othniel to step up and be the man (read v 18 carefully) worthy of Caleb's daughter. Achsah was not the type of woman who was going to be married to just any guy!
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names." (Psalm 147:3-4)
SONGS OF PRAISE! We are drawing to a conclusion in the book of Psalms and we are called -- all of us, every creature -- to sing praise God. Psalm 146 tells us not to trust in princes, that is, in political leaders and rulers who boast of great things, and promise much, but cannot even guarantee that they will be alive tomorrow! (146:3-4) The Lord is not impressed with powerful rulers, but he loves justice and desires it to prevail in the land. Psalm 147 tells us that God has created and named the stars (147:4), which number our minds cannot comprehend. The Lord is not impressed with creaturely strength (=military strength, 147:10), but he lifts up the humble and heals the brokenhearted (Isa 57:15). In grace he has granted to his people the knowledge of his will through verbal revelation, namely, the Scriptures (147:19-20). Psalm 148 calls on all of creation to worship and praise God. All three of these psalms are cosmic, magnifying the Lord as Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe. We owe him our love and adoration!
READ THEM ALOUD. These are wonderful psalms to read aloud, and to one another after the family dinner. Try it!
Image credit: the limits of Israelite control from The MacMillan Bible Atlas (1968, 1977). Note location of Hebron and Caleb's inheritance in the south.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The NET Bible is a free, online resource, and a ministry of bible.org.