OLD TESTAMENT READING: JOSHUA 15:1-63
Chapter 15 starts with clear boundaries being given to define the land allotted to the tribe of Judah. This is the tribe from which Boaz, King David and Jesus would come. This land will eventually be the chief area of the Southern Kingdom. Judah’s land allotment encompasses a major portion of the land where the central event in the drama of redemption will take place. We will eventually see the birth, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ played out in the land allotted to Judah. Jesus will also return there at his second coming.
The land allotted to Judah includes the fields where Boaz will harvest barley and meet the Moabitess, Ruth (in the Book of Ruth). The land includes the rocky grazing fields of Bethlehem where the shepherd boy David will tend his father’s sheep. Here are the mountains of Moriah with the threshing floor of Araunah, the piece of land where the temple would be built. This is where eventually David, and then his son Solomon, would have a united kingdom with Jerusalem as the capital city. The border of Judah’s inheritance extends to the mouth of the Jordan River where John the Baptist will one day baptize Jesus of Nazareth.
Are you satisfied with your lot in life? David, a descendent of Judah, wrote a prophetic psalm in which he rejoices over the territory assigned to him in the plan of God. He is content with the borders the Lord has established for him. The border lines have defined his inheritance as one who has been placed in a gift from God, prefiguring our being placed “in Christ”.
Psalm 16:5-6 5 The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. 6 The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
Are you satisfied with where God has placed you? Remember, you are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:3).
Beginning with Joshua 15:13, Caleb’s inheritance is spelled out. He asked for the hill country and God gave it to him. He received the city of Arba, named after the giant Anak’s father. Once Caleb drives out the enemy, ‘Arba’ was named ‘Hebron’, meaning ‘place of association’ or ‘fellowship’. Caleb saw that he had an opportunity to glorify God by defeating the giants. He turned the enemy’s territory into a place of godly fellowship. He turned a place once renown for an enemy giant’s glory to a place where God alone would get the glory for fulfilling His promise.
Caleb’s daughter, Achsah, was the sought-after prize that motivated Othniel to conquer Kiriathsepher. Achsah wins her as a bride. She then asks her father, Caleb, to give her an extra field for a wedding present, one that was more suitable for cultivation and had access to the upper springs. It was Caleb’s to give, so he granted her request.
Caleb’s name means ‘whole hearted’. Some ‘name books’ say that it means, ‘dog’. But ‘dog’ in Hebrew is not ‘caleb’ but ‘celeb’. Yet this man who ‘wholly followed the Lord’ had a ‘dogged determination’ to fully possess all of what he had been given of an inheritance. It seems that his daughter had some of the same chutzpah. She was not afraid to ‘ask big’. And her request was granted.
As we read of the land being set apart for the tribes of Israel, we will notice that most all of them failed to fully possess their territory by driving out the enemy.
What about you? Are you taking full advantage of what is yours in Christ, or are you allowing the forces of the world, the flesh and the devil to keep you from experiencing what God has allotted to you?
Our reading concludes with this sad news about the tribe of Judah. They never realized the freedom and victory that God had intended for them.
Joshua 15:63 63 But the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the people of Judah could not drive out, so the Jebusites dwell with the people of Judah at Jerusalem to this day.
TODAY’S READING OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: LUKE 18:18-43
Jesus is making his final journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. He goes directly south to Jericho where he will turn west and travel the Jericho road to his purposed destination- to give his life as a ransom for many, to be crucified as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
He meets a rich Jewish religious leader on the road who certainly appears sincere as he asks the question “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus knows that this man has not yet come to see his need for salvation. He still thinks that there is something that he can do to inherit eternal life. He does not duly recognize the fact that God is so holy that He cannot look upon sin. It is already too late for him to meet God’s standards. He has already missed the mark. If you break the law at one point you are guilty as having broken them all. One would have to be perfect, as Jesus is perfect, to inherit eternal life.
Jesus tests this man’s assumed righteousness to see if it matches the high and holy standards of the law.
“Only God is truly good”, Jesus says. Mankind was made in the image of God. He was created to discharge his responsibility of mirroring the moral character of God to all creation. In God’s book, something is only considered ‘good’ if it functions as its Creator intended it to. Jesus could be called a ‘good’ man, because He was fulfilling the purpose for which He, as God, made man – to mirror God’s moral nature of God, to put God’s glory on display, exhibiting His grace and truth.
We often fail to see that our problem is much bigger than not being ‘good enough’ for God. Our problem is that we are not functioning as God created us to function. We were created to be full of God’s life and reflecting God’s nature so all creation looking at us can see what God is like. Instead we are full of sin. Full of ourselves. Full of our fears and insecurities.
Jesus reminds this religious leader of the ten commandments, pointing out that they communicate something of the kind of behavior that is required to be right with God and qualified to inherit eternal life. He deliberately omits the command, “Thou shall not covet”. This man was unaware of his own covetousness. He is blinded to His self-righteousness and greed. His unwillingness to follow Christ gives evidence to the effects of the Fall within this man’s heart. He was dead in his trespasses and sins and did not know it.
Jesus tells him, “There is one thing you lack.” What is that thing? It is not that he failed in just one command. He lacks the life of the Creator in the creature, the Life of the Lawgiver living as the Law-keeper in the heart. “Sell all you have and give the money to the poor.” Just as this rich young ruler was blinded to his own covetousness, we are blinded from birth to the depth of our depravity, where we are ‘alienated from the life of God’ (Ephesians 4:18). The Life of God knows that the real treasure is in heaven. So, Jesus says, “Come, follow me.” “I am come that you may have life.” (John 10:10b)
Jesus was giving this man an opportunity to repent (the word ‘repent’ literally means ‘to change your way of thinking’). The self-righteous ruler did not recognize he was a lost sinner in need of a Savior. He could not turn from his earthly treasures to follow Heaven’s treasure, Jesus Christ. If he followed Him he would soon be on the Jericho road to Jerusalem where he could find that Jesus was offering to God a perfect sacrifice so this man could receive the very life that he needs to inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus once again predicts his pending death in Jerusalem. Each time He does, He adds more details (Luke 18:32). The ancient prophecies of the Suffering Servant will be fulfilled as He is handed over for a violent and shameful death. “And on the third day I will rise again” (Luke 18:33).
At Jericho Jesus meets blind Bartimaeus. What is significant here is that Jesus does not silence this man when he cries out “Son of David have mercy on me.” This blind man is announcing publicly that Jesus is the Christ! The fact that Jesus was not discouraging him from doing so in such a vociferous way was a sign that Jesus’ hour was now arriving.
When Jesus asks the man what he wants, the blind man says, “I want to see.” Jesus says, “Alright. Begin seeing. Your faith has made you whole.”
It is ironic that it is this healed blind man who joins Jesus on His way to Jerusalem and not the rich religious leader. This blind man shouting “Son of David” will get the crowd doing the same. He follows Jesus from Jericho to Jerusalem, praising God. When Jesus gets to Jerusalem, the crowd has grown to a throng shouting, “Hosanna, Son of David!” “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!”
TODAY’S PSALM- PSALM 86:1-17
This man knows what to do when he is in trouble:
Psalm 86:7 7 In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You, for You will answer me.
He describes his plight more fully in verse 14.
Psalm 86:14 14 O God, arrogant men have risen up against me, and a band of violent men have sought my life, and they have not set You before them.
He knows that the God who has made Himself known to him through the Scriptures is like no other. Therefore, he devotes his heart and mind to Him.
So, the Psalmist makes his plea based on what He knows about God’s character:
Psalm 86:15-16 15 But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. 16 Turn to me, and be gracious to me; Oh grant Your strength to Your servant, and save the son of Your handmaid.
Proverbs 13:9-10 9 The light of the righteous rejoices, But the lamp of the wicked goes out. 10 Through insolence comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel.
Let us receive the counsel of His Word today!
PRAYER: Father, teach us what we need to know, give us what we need to have, lead us where we need to go, and empower us to do what we need to do. We don’t want to fall short of receiving what has been allotted to us as our inheritance in Christ. Thank You for the amazing grace that humbles us to a recognition of our need for Jesus to be our ‘rightness’ before You. Thank you for hearing our plea for mercy. Before we called, You answered in Christ. Holy Spirit thank You for illuminating the truth as it is in Christ through the Holy Scriptures. Triune God we give you all the glory, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about him, so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ. (Colossians 1:28, J.B. Phillips paraphrase)
New Life Community Church, Concord, MA 10742
Meeting Sundays at 10:30 AM at the New Life Ministry Center, 221 Baker Avenue, Concord, MA 01742
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