Thursday, March 15, 2012

Joshua 16-18

Daily Reading
Daily Thought

The tribes of Israel divide the land and draw boundaries (Joshua 16-18), and yes, reading about it can be tedious.  Weaving through these chapters, however, is a continuing thread of disobedience that merits attention.  Joshua 16:10, However, they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer.  Joshua 17:12-13, Yet the people of Manasseh could not take possession of those cities, but the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land. Now when the people of Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out.  Israel continued to permit the ungodly to live among them and share the land.  Initially, there seemed some advantage.  The Canaanites provided an additional labor force that served the Jewish nation.  Maybe it would be okay.

Maybe not, and here's why.  The Israelites discovered that the Jordan River could not be counted on for water and irrigation.  The cities were built on higher ground, and half the year, the Jordan slowed to a trickle.  Israel needed rain; life depended on it.  The Canaanite's number one god was Baal, the rain god.  Israel now had to choose: depend on the one true God or the false, but enticingly named, rain god.  Too often, Baal prevailed.  Thumb through the remainder of the Old Testament and the name of Baal never goes away, and eventually it leads Israel back into slavery.  God delivered Israel out of Egypt, out of slavery.  Baal put them back.  

As God is at work shaping us into his likeness, he is frustrated not so much by our great sins, but by our dragging feet.  Joshua said to the people of Israel, "How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?" ~Joshua 18:3

Daily Prayer

God Almighty, as I watch the world around me, my faith is strengthened daily. There are signs of You everywhere. The joys of spring as the world blossoms and new life emerges everywhere reminds me that You are the Author of all life, and I can trust fully in You.

My God, I pray that my life, as well, is a continual reminder of You. That I reflect You in my actions, my thoughts, my faith. That I trust my life to You and walk forward at once in courage and faith, knowing that You go before me.


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