OLD TESTAMENT READING: JOSHUA 19:1-20:9
The dividing of the land into different portions with well-defined boundaries gave each tribe a sense of ownership and responsibility. Each tribe was encouraged to promote the maintenance care, stewardship, loyalty and unity in their territory to rise to their unique challenges.
The boundaries also reduced tensions, or jealousies as each one recognized their portion was allotted to them in the will of God.
The first lot of the seven tribes remaining to receive their inheritance was the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:11-26), the second lot was for the Simeonites (Joshua 19:1-9). Judah was allotted more territory than they needed so they shared their territory with the tribe of Simeon. Their territory was located within the territory of Judah.
The third lot fell to the tribe of Zebulun (19:10-16), then Issachar (19:11-23), followed by Asher (19:24-30), Naphtali (19:32-39), and finally, Dan (19:40-48).
When the land was divided into the twelve portions, the Israelites give Joshua the town that he asked for- Timnath Serah where he settled.
THE CITIES OF REFUGE
The six Cities of Refuge are established according to God-given instruction through Moses, three cities on each side of the river Jordan, spaced in such a way as to be accessible from anywhere within the nation, and visible upon approach. The elders of each of the appointed cities are to assure the protection of those who have accidentally or unintentionally killed a neighbor. This protection from any possible avenger of blood is guaranteed until he or she has stood trial before the assembly and until the death of the high priest who is serving at that time. After that the refugee can return to the hometown from which they fled.
The Triumphal Entry of Christ is a declaration of Jesus’ Messiahship. Jesus intentionally fulfills the prophesy of Zechariah 9:9. Jesus has demonstrated his credentials as King, proving His authority over nature, rebuking the wind and the waves, His authority over sickness, disease and death, His authority to forgive sin, and His authority over the Sabbath as the Author of the Sabbath.
Rather than coming into Jerusalem with the pomp and majesty of a proud conqueror, Jesus comes in humility, not riding on a donkey, but the foal of a donkey, a colt.
He is not accompanied by the rich and famous. The religious rulers were not in the crowd singing the Hallel Psalms, Psalm 113 to 118 proclaiming, “Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord”. The temple priests are not joining the chorus started by the healed blind man, praising Jesus as “The Son of David”, the Promised Messiah, the Anointed King, Priest and Prophet. They are not looking to Jesus with their shouts of ‘Hosanna’, (meaning “Save us now!” Matthew 21:9).
The Pharisees in the crowd told Jesus to rebuke his disciples for claiming that He is the Messiah. Jesus said that if these did not cry out, the very stones would cry out.
But even among those who were calling Jesus, the Son of David, the Messiah (the fulfillment of the prophecy of 2 Samuel 7:12), the majority saw their need as being primarily salvation from Roman oppression, rather than the fatal disease of sin. Their enthusiasm was unenlightened. Their faith was misplaced. There were no “Hosannas!” or “Long live the King!” when Pilate asked what he should do with Jesus of Nazareth a few days later.
Jesus was most likely arriving outside the city gates of Jerusalem on the 10th of Nisan, the day when the fathers of Israel would be selecting a spotless lamb to bring to the temple to be sacrificed on the Passover (Exodus 12:3-5). Were the people of Israel looking for the Lamb who would deliver them from their sin? No, they were looking for their Lion who would deliver them from the Romans. They wanted Jesus to overthrow the foreign authorities. Instead Jesus would go to Jerusalem to overthrow the tables of the moneychangers (Luke 19:45-46).
Jesus wept over the unrepentant hearts in the city.
Jesus’ prophecy concerning Jerusalem would come true 40 years after it was given. Speaking of Jerusalem, he said,
‘Luke 19:42-44 … For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, 44 and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
Roman troops, under the leadership of Titus, son of the Emperor Vespasian, attacked the city of Jerusalem, to put an end to a Jewish revolt that began in 66 AD. They broke through the northern wall but could not take the city until they laid siege to it. Then, in 70 AD they were able to enter the city, burn, it and completely demolish the temple. The Romans wanted to extract the gold that melted and fell between the cracks of the stones, so they were ordered to not leave one stone left upon another.
TODAY’S READING IN THE PSALMS: PSALM 88:1-18
This Psalm is one that evokes great sympathy from the reader. This person is having a tough time. While most psalms of complaint have a resolve, this one doesn’t. Prayers seem to go unanswered. Friends turn their back. The author senses God’s wrath. As I read it, I think of the cup that Jesus took for me. It was a bitter cup, but His acceptance of it, and His bearing of it, has made it possible for me to drink from the well of salvation!
THE PROVERB FOR THE DAY
Proverbs 13:12-14 12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life. 13 The one who despises the word will be in debt to it, But the one who fears the commandment will be rewarded. 14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn aside from the snares of death.
This is a group of proverbs that spells out the struggle that we have with disappointment and disobedience.
We must persevere in faith, even when the fulfillment of a promise has been delayed, or not according to our expectation. The tree of life has a lot of deep roots underground. Don’t fret what you cannot yet see of a fulfilled desire. If you fear the commandment(s) and give heed to it, you WILL be rewarded.
PRAYER: O LORD, You are our Tree of Life, our Source, our Savior and King. You are our city of Refuge. We hail You, Lord Jesus, the Son of David, the Son of God, and thank You for putting away our sin at Calvary and overturning the tables of anything that would cheat You of Your deserved worship. We ask for the needed wisdom and strength to turn from all evil and live in a way that is pleasing to You, Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.