april 11, 2021

Joshua 3:1-4:24

Just as Moses led the people through the Red Sea supernaturally divided, so Joshua would now lead the people through the Jordan River supernaturally divided by God.

I believe the Red Sea crossing symbolizes our salvation (redeemed from Egypt) and then getting water baptized. The Jordan crossing symbolizes us ending the life of wandering in the wilderness and getting baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4) and entering into the Promised Land – a life of victorious Christian living.

As the people crossed the Jordan, they were to be led by God, symbolized in the Ark of the Covenant, for they had “…not passed this way before.” We find ourselves there frequently don’t we? Venturing out into new territory, facing new challenges and struggle – no need to worry, just keep your eyes on the Lord.

One the reasons God divided the Jordan was to let the people know that just as He was with Moses, He would also be with Joshua; they could trust his leadership.

This would also be a faith-builder for the people:

Joshua 3:10 (NKJV) “And Joshua said, ‘By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Perizzites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jebusites.’”

I love those words, “without fail.” God will not fail us, He’s with us and can be completely trusted.

When Israel crossed over, God commanded the Israelites to gather 12 stones from the midst of the dry Jordan as a testimony to their children and future generations.

Joshua 4:6–7 (NKJV) “that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”

It’s good for us to set up some sort of reminders of those significant days, movements, and miracles of God in our lives, to tell (show) our children that they might tell their children.

It’s also good for us to see what God did for the nation of Israel – they’re a sign to the world.

Luke 14:7-35

Jesus noticed the way they all jockeyed for position and seats of prominence at dinner, so He gave them (and us) that wonderful principle found repeatedly in the Scriptures:

Luke 14:11 (NKJV) “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Another interesting lesson at dinner-time has to do with the people we invite. We usually invite our family and close friends, people who typically would return the favor. But Jesus challenges us to take our hospitality a step further – invite people who in all reality will not be able to do the same. Invite the poor, the handicapped, someone who can’t afford to “pay you back.” We don’t do it for the reward, but the truth is, we will be repaid by God at the resurrection of the just (the Bema Seat judgment).

One of the attendees at the dinner spoke up about how he looked forward to the heavenly feasts in the age to come, but Jesus responded with a parable that pointed out the overall Jewish rejection of Jesus. There are some Jews who have embraced Jesus as their Messiah, but generally speaking, they have rejected Him. And not just the Jews, what percentage of the population would you say is truly saved? Who are true-blue believers in the Lord Jesus Christ? Jesus said in Matthew 7:14 that there are few who enter through that narrow gate. So many excuses regarding relations, ambitions, and possessions. Many of those people who assume they’re set and on their way to heaven are not – often times they don’t even go to church service, or have a heart to pray, read the Word, or reach out. How can such people think they’re saved?

Of course, God’s heart is that all would be saved (2 Peter 3:9) so He tells the workers to go out into the highways and byways and do everything they can to bring people in, so God’s house would be full. This challenges me to reach out with much more of an urgency.

Jesus saw the crowds begin to grow, but did they understand the nature of the call. When Jesus bids us to follow Him, He bids us to come and die. Sometimes people think that being a Christian means my life is going to be everything I want it to be – but that’s not what Jesus said. There are to be no rival thrones – our love for Christ is to be so supreme, that there are no comparable loves – anywhere else. Do we know the cost of discipleship? Are we willing to pay the price? When we follow Jesus like this, our life will be radically different, our life will be like salt on the earth – working as a preservative from decay and creating a thirst for Jesus in the lives of others.

Psalm 80:1-19

This is another one of the Psalms of exile. The nation is being disciplined and the prayer is for God’s intervention.

The Psalmist prays for God’s restoration, for God’s favorable expression, for God’s salvation (Psalm 80:3).

It’s getting hard – it’s been a long time, and there have been many tears.

Psalm 80:4–5 (NKJV) “O LORD God of hosts, how long will You be angry against the prayer of Your people? 5 You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in great measure.”

The Psalmist identifies Israel as a vine (Psalm 80:8). We see similar comparisons in Isaiah 5, Matthew 20 and elsewhere in the Scriptures. God expected fruit, but there was none; so the day came when He disciplined His people. The church is also compared to a vine (John 15) am I bearing fruit?

The Psalmist pleads for mercy, “Revive us and we will call upon Your name.”

Psalm 80:19 (NKJV) “Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!”

Proverbs 12:27-28

V. 27 – Apparently this lazy man had fun hunting, but when it came time to cook what he’d caught, he couldn’t muster up the energy.  We’re reminded frequently in the book of Proverbs that careful and persistent work and effort (diligence) is wise to have, and will be rewarded.

V. 28 – In many way our entire existence is this battle between life and death. Once we place our faith in Jesus Christ we receive His righteousness and life, and in this pathway there is no death! God help us to experience the imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ!

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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