Sunday, 1 June 2014

TFTD - 31 May 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

31 May 2014

Joshua 17
Isaiah 23
Hebrews 3; 4; 5

“THEY WERE NOT UNITED BY FAITH”

The 3 short chapters [Hebrews 3; 4; 5] we read today in Hebrews provide us with an abundance of thoughts.  Paul is reflecting back on the lessons of earlier days, such as we have been reading in Joshua when the people were “entering his (God’s) rest” [Hebrews 4:1] as they settled in the promised land.  We read. “for good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith …” [Hebrews 4:2]

A key lesson that is not very obvious in the book of Joshua, is the failure of many of them to properly settle in the land.  The generations, after the death of Joshua, as we will read in the book of Judges in coming weeks, “were not united in faith,” except briefly, when a good leader arose.  This is the lesson of all history ­ but the leaders are rarely ones, of whom it can be said, “they walked with God” ­ as was said of Enoch and Noah. [Genesis 5:22; 6:9]  Gods’ response to Solomon’s prayer about his sons, spells out the Divine attitude of giving blessings, “…if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me as you have walked ….” [1 Kings 8:25]

Returning to Hebrews we read, “For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God (the kingdom) … Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”  [Hebrews 4:8,9,11]

We need to highlight (in our minds) the words which immediately follow, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”

We must read God’s word prayerfully  so this happens with us, sensing how true it is that, as David expressed it in Psalm 139,  “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! … you discern my thoughts from afar. You … are acquainted with all my ways.” [Psalm 139:1-3]   Moses surely was strengthened by knowing this as he led the people through the wilderness, and now Joshua senses the same.  May we be “united by faith” in sensing the same as we complete our journey to the kingdom through today’s wilderness..
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- DC


Thought for the Day

31 May 2014

"Too great an emphasis cannot be laid upon the spirit of thankfulness in God’s saints. It betokens an attitude of mind sensitive to all God’s benefits and requirements and therefore ensures that what God has created intrinsically “good”, to be received by His people, is “good” to them because they use it aright. It is impossible to do otherwise if the thanksgiving be sincere, from the heart and out of a good conscience."

- Alfred Nicholls
Letters to Timothy and Titus
Are we determined?
We can be determined in many different things and at many different times.

Joshua 17:12
"Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites WOULD DWELL in that land"

"WOULD DWELL" has the idea of being determined to dwell/stay. Therefore, the Canaanites remained there because they were determined. Rotherhams emphasised Bible drawing out the emphasis of the Hebrew translates it "determined to remain", the Amplified Bible translates it "persisted". When we also look at the Hebrew for "dwell" it means to abide/sit down with/marry, it implies they were determined and persisted to be integrated.

The value we place on something has a great influence and bearing on what our attitude is to it, and how DETERMINED we will be towards it.

In this world which is DETERMINED to dwell with us, let us be DETERMINED to drive it out and keep ourselves and our families separate. Do we think we are strong? The children of Joseph THOUGHT they were strong, but their ACTIONS showed a DIFFERENT STORY.