JOSHUA ~ Dipping Our Toes into the Book of Joshua

JOSHUA - Dip your toes into the book of Joshua. A Super-Short Summary and Less-Than-Super-Short Summary (Welcome to the Bible series) via www.JeanWilund.com

JOSHUA ~ Book #6

“Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” ~ Joshua 21:45

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY:

In Joshua, God gives Israel the long-awaited Promised Land through a spectacular series of battles and miracles. Joshua reveals that salvation is a gift from God by His grace, not as a result of a person’s worthiness or efforts.


LESS-THAN-SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: 

A Little Background

Ever since Genesis 15, God’s promise of a land for His chosen people dangled in some distant future like an engagement with no wedding date. In the book of Joshua, we finally see God fulfill the promise. Israel moved into the Promised Land.

Unfortunately, the move wasn’t as simple as hiring Two Men and a Truck to transfer their belongings out of their tents and into their new homes.

Fortunately, however, God was their Mover — and their salvation.

Israel Gets a New Leader

When the book of Joshua opens, God is speaking to Joshua, Israel’s new leader.

“Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan [River], you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel” (Joshua 1:2 ESV).

With great encouragement from God to be strong and courageous because He was with Joshua and would never leave him, Joshua assumed command.

FUN FACT: It’s not hard to see how Joshua gives us a picture of our Savior Jesus since the name Joshua means Yahweh is salvation. (Yahweh is God’s Hebrew name.)

ANOTHER FUN FACT: Jesus spoke Aramaic. His Aramaic name is Yeshu’a, which comes from the Hebrew name Joshua, which means God is salvation.

Rahab’s Red Thread

Sending spies into the walled city of Jericho was Joshua’s first act as leader.

The two spies snuck into Jericho where they met Rahab, a woman of the night.

Rahab hid the spies from the king and told them, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you” (Joshua 2:9 NASB).

She begged the spies to save her and her family because she believed in the Israelites’ God.

The spies told her to hang a red cord out of her window in the city’s wall, bring all her family into her home, and stay there when they come. They escaped out her window and reported back to Joshua.

Rahab and the red cord (or as I like to call it, the red thread) make a stunning picture of Jesus’ salvation offered to sinners by grace through faith, not personal merit or works.

Through the Jordan and Into the Land

Ready to take the Promised Land, Joshua marched Israel right through the middle of the Jordan River and into the land.

At the very moment the priest stepped into the flood-stage waters of the Jordan carrying the Ark of the Covenant, God heaped up the water on either side and made a straight path through the river.

The Ark of the Covenant was a holy box made of gold that contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s blooming rod, and manna. The ark’s cover was the Mercy Seat where God forgave their sin and His presence dwelled.

Joshua Meets the Commander of the LORD’s Army

In the Promised Land, Joshua met the Commander of the Lord’s Army—the Lord Jesus Himself (Joshua 5:13-15).

Most Bible scholars believe the Commander was Jesus because God’s angels never accept worship. But this Commander did. Worship belongs to the Lord alone.

Plus, the Commander told Joshua to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. This reminds us of when God spoke to Moses from within the burning bush and told Moses to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground (Exodus 3:4-5).

The Fall of Jericho—But Not Rahab

After Joshua talked with the Commander, the dramatic events of the fall of Jericho unfolded (Joshua 6).

Israel marched around Jericho once a day for six days.

On the seventh day, they blew their trumpets and marched around the city seven times.

And the walls came tumbling down – every one of them – except Rahab’s tower.

God saved Rahab and her family and continued the beautiful picture of Jesus’ salvation by faith, not works.

From Stunning Victory to Shocking Defeat

After this stunning victory, Israel suffered a shocking defeat at the city of Ai (Joshua 7:1-9).

It was Achan’s fault (Joshua 7:10-26).

Achan stole items from Jericho that God had commanded they dedicate to destruction – gold, silver, and fancy clothing. They weren’t to conquer the Promised Land to build their wealth.

But Jericho’s shiny stuff dazzled Achan. He stole it and buried it in the ground in his tent when no one was looking. Except for God. Duh.

Israel and Achan learned a tragic lesson.

After they dealt with the sin, they dealt with Ai and God gave them the victory in dramatic fashion (Joshua 8). Imagine that.

Sneaky Gibeon

Joshua renewed God’s great covenant with Israel, and then they blew it. Again. Israel fell for a clever scheme set by men from Gibeon (Joshua 9).

The Gibeonites didn’t want Israel to destroy them, so they pretended to come from a far away country—a country outside the Promised Land. (Remember, God said they were to extend mercy to nations outside the Promised Land.)

They asked Joshua to make a treaty of peace with them. Their sneaky plan worked because Joshua failed to check with God.

Taking the Land

At this point, the conquest of the Promised Land marched forward in full force and many battles took place.

The sun stood still (Joshua 10:1-15), five enemy kings got trapped in a cave (Joshua 10:16-28), and Joshua and his army defeated the giants Israel had so feared before (Joshua 11:21-22).

Despite the many victories Israel enjoyed, they didn’t conquer all the land.

God promised to give them all the land, but they didn’t trust Him and take it all. God’s promises didn’t fail. Israel did.

And just as God warned, the remaining nations proved to be a stumbling block to Israel. Over time they drew Israel into the worship of false gods and other terrible sins.

Dividing the Land and A Civil War?

The book of Joshua then records Joshua dividing the conquered land among the tribes of Israel, including pastureland for the Levite priests.

As soon as the eastern tribes set out to take possession of their allotted land, trouble arose when they stopped along the way to build an altar.

The western tribes mistakenly believed the eastern tribes were making an idol for themselves rather than worship at the true altar (Joshua 22).

But cool heads and wise words averted a war.

Side Note: If the eastern tribes had chosen to settle inside the borders of the Promised Land rather than outside, none of this would have happened. (Kind of like when we Christians think we can live with one toe in “the world” outside of godly standards and think no harm could come of it. Hmmmm.)

Joshua’s Final Words

Before the end of the book of Joshua and the end of his life, Joshua presented a final charge to Israel’s leaders:

“Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them, but you shall cling to the LORD your God just as you have done to this day” (Joshua 23:6-8).

(That was one long sentence – 83 words – and an important charge.)

Joshua then renewed God’s covenant with Israel once again and commanded them to choose whom they would serve:

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-16

About 25 years had passed since Israel first crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. It was now time for Joshua to join the Lord with his forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

After these things Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being 110 years old” (Joshua 24:29).

Stay tuned for what comes next: The book of Judges, where every man did what was right in his own eyes.

Oh boy.




DEUTERONOMY ~ Dipping Our Toes into the Book of Deuteronomy

DEUTERONOMY - Dip your toes into the book of Deuteronomy. A Super-Short Summary and Less-Than-Super-Short Summary (Welcome to the Bible series) via www.JeanWilund.com

Book #5 ~ DEUTERONOMY

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV


Super Short Summary:

In Deuteronomy, God prepares Israel for entering the Promised Land and, through Moses’ final words, gives a picture of what the Christian life should look like.

Less Than Super Short Summary:

The curtain opens on Deuteronomy at the end of Moses’ life and the beginning of Israel’s new life in the Promised Land, the land of Canaan.

In Exodus, God had brought Israel out of slavery to Egypt, which gave us a picture of Jesus setting sinners free from slavery to sin.

In Numbers, Israel wandered the wilderness because of their unbelief. Even though God had promised to give them a land and His blessings to enjoy, they’d refused to believe Him.

Through Israel’s unbelief, God gave us a picture of Christians who’ve trusted Jesus to save them from sin and give them eternal life but refuse to trust Him for today’s challenges. Their fears and selfish pride keep them in a barren, wilderness-type life.

They never enjoy the full freedom Jesus promises to Christians who walk by His Spirit rather than by human effort. Bondage to fear and unbelief (often expressed by the less convicting word “doubt”) send them stumbling into sin and discouragement.

God provided for Israel in the wilderness, but He didn’t design the wilderness to be their permanent residence.

He brought them (us) out of slavery to Egypt (sin) for the purpose of bringing them into the Promised Land. There they could enjoy the fruit of His blessings (victorious Christian living).

All who refused to trust Him suffered loss. And Christians do, too. They will be saved from an eternity in hell separated from God, but they’ll miss out on God’s blessings in this life – the blessings of unshakable peace, joy in Christ, and much more.

Moses’ Final Words

In Numbers, God had told Moses he wouldn’t enter the Promised Land with the Israelites because he didn’t honor the Lord before the Israelites at the life-giving rock (Numbers 20:10-13).

In Deuteronomy, Moses was now 120 years old, but his eyesight hadn’t weakened, nor had his strength given out (Deuteronomy 34:7). Regardless, Moses’ apprentice Joshua would lead Israel into the Promised Land, not Moses (Deuteronomy 31:1-3).

But first, Moses had some final words for Israel – words they must always remember and never forget.

(The Hebrew name for Deuteronomy, Debarim, means the words.)

Always Remember, Never Forget

Moses began by reviewing Israel’s past since the time they’d left Mt. Sinai 40 years earlier. He reminded them of their rebellion and the painful consequences.

The rebels, however, weren’t Moses’ audience. Their children were. Their defiant parents had died.

But God’s promises lived on. Faithful to His Word, God was going to give the Promised Land to the children.

Before they entered, Moses made sure they remembered, through vivid recollections, how easily and often their parents had made empty promises to trust and obey God.

He then commanded this generation to remain faithful and obedient to God rather than to idols – worthless scraps of metal or wood, or anything they’d place over God.

He reminded them of God’s rules, regulations, and commandments (Deuteronomy 5), which were designed to lead them into right living and allow them to dwell safely in God’s presence.

The Shema

God then gave a command that later became a daily prayer for Israelites known as the Shema.

The word shema means to hear and listen in such a way as to elicit a response.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV

The Shema is still prayed today by orthodox Jews.

Jesus quoted it when asked what was the greatest commandment.

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” ~ Mark 12:29-30 ESV

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” ~ Mark 12:29-30 ESV

Warfare

To further prepare Israel for entering the Promised Land, Moses taught Israel how they must handle warfare.

They were to treat the people of the Promised Land (Canaan) differently than those outside it. The hearts of the people in Canaan overflowed with sin, making them ripe for judgment. God commanded they be devoted to destruction (Deuteronomy 9:4).

But those outside the Promised Land were to be shown mercy.

It can be hard to understand how a loving God could order entire cities to be devoted to destruction until you understand the depth of those nation’s sin and the mercy they could’ve enjoyed had they bowed to the Lord rather than raising their swords against Israel.

God is a righteous judge. The wonder isn’t how God could order Canaan’s destruction, but rather how He could have offered anyone extravagant grace and mercy.

Guard Your Heart

Toward the end of Deuteronomy, Moses addressed the condition of the Israelites’ hearts and alerted them to the many ways they’d be tempted to sin.

And he warned them that God would test them.

God would allow prophecies made by false prophets to come to pass in order to expose the true condition of the Israelites’ hearts. They needed to see for themselves when they saw their signs and wonders that they’d run after the false prophets’ idols rather than stay true to the one true God.

Everyone would see they didn’t want a true King. They wanted a Burger King. (Have it your way! Have it your way!

Blessing and Curses, Life or Death

Moses detailed the blessings God would pour out on them if they obeyed Him.

Astounding blessings! Surely Israel would faithfully obey so they could enjoy the many undeserved blessings the rest of their lives. (They didn’t!)

Moses also detailed the curses God would reign down on them if they disobeyed.

Terrifying curses! Certainly, they’d never risk forfeiting the great blessings by disobeying God and thus suffering the horrific curses. (They did!)

Regrettably, we’re not much different – if different at all. Too often we’d rather be our own god than serve the one true God.

Moses stood before Israel and commanded they choose. Life or death. Blessings or curses. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Life and blessings were the obvious choices, but – Spoiler Alert – Israel often chose shocking sin over life-giving blessings. (Just wait until we get to the book of Judges! Oh my!)

God predicted Israel’s rebellion. He gave Moses a song to teach Israel which would stand as a witness against them that they’d been warned (Deuteronomy 32).

Moses then pronounced a blessing on each tribe of Israel (Deuteronomy 33). God’s grace in action.

Farewell, Moses

As the book of Deuteronomy closes we see Moses, the leader and prophet God called His friend, walking up to the top of Mount Pisgah. There the Lord showed him the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 34:1-4)

Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died (Deuteronomy 34:5). He entered his rest and reward.

Hello, Joshua

Israel’s leadership passed to Joshua, who may have penned the final verses in Deuteronomy and this beautiful testimony to Moses:

“And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12).

 

 

 




Well, I Reckon

Well, I Reckon! Whether you’re sailing in the bright light of day or through the thick pall of darkness, reckon yourself dead to sin, and God will bring you through. Romans 6:11 (JeanWilund.com)

If you use the word reckon, you may be from the South.

Well, I reckon I’ll win this time. (Bubba from South Georgia)

Or you may be the apostle Paul.

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Paul in Romans 6:11 NKJV).

Or, maybe you’re a ship’s captain.

The captain sailed through the dark night by dead reckoning. . . Read More at InspireAFire.com

 




How Long Does It Take to Read the Old and New Testaments? (Infographics)

How Long Does it Take To Read the Old and New Testaments? via www.JeanWilund.com


Know the Word! Know the Word! Know the Word!

I probably say that every time I teach.

Of course, we can’t know the Word unless we read the Word.

Knowing the Word is a lifetime journey — an exciting journey — but how long does it take to simply read the Word?

I stumbled upon a couple of infographics created by Reasonable Theology. Each graphic gives us an idea of how long it takes to read every book of the Bible.

How Long It Takes to Read Each Book in the Old Testament (Infographic)


How Long It Takes to Read Each Book in the New Testament (Infographic)

Enjoy!

You may be surprised how long it doesn't take to read the Bible. #Biblestudy #God #Jesus Click To Tweet

How Long Does it Take To Read the Old and New Testaments? via www.JeanWilund.com




NUMBERS ~ A Super-Short Summary (and a Less-Than-Super-Short Summary)

If you're new - or sort of new - to the book of NUMBERS - Dip your toes here in the Welcome to the Bible series via www.JeanWilund.com

Book #4 ~ NUMBERS

God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and not act? Does He promise and not fulfill? ~ Numbers 23:19 BSB


Super-Short Summary:

In NUMBERS, God reveals the stubbornness of man’s heart and the kindness of His own as they disobey Him despite His faithfulness. And He points forward to the cross, where His righteous anger over sin and His grace, mercy, and love toward sinners would meet in the death of His Son Jesus.


Less-Than-Super-Short Summary:

In Numbers, the action picks up after a slow opening – the account of a census (Numbers 1).

1, 2, 3, 4 .  . . zzzzzzz.

The first census counted 603,550 men able to fight (Numbers 2:32).

(The census gave the book of Numbers its English title. The Hebrew title is Bemidbar, which means In the Wilderness because the action takes place in the wilderness. I like the Hebrew title better.)

The census proved God was fulfilling His promise to make a large nation from Abraham. With God as their ruler, they’d grown to more than a million Israelites. This certainly qualified them to be a nation.

Bird’s Eye Cross

After the census, God mapped out where each tribe would set up their tents whenever they camped along the way to the Promised Land (Numbers 2).

(From a bird’s eye view, the tribe placement resembled a cross. Interesting.)

He then instructed the tribe of Levi how to serve the Lord in the tabernacle and detailed more rules and regulations for Israel (Numbers 3:1-10:10). Throughout these chapters, God reminded them of His holiness — and mankind’s struggle with it.

God’s Holiness: No analogy of God is perfect, but imagine God’s holiness is like the sun. We couldn’t live without it, but we’d better approach the sun properly. Even if we wear proper viewing glasses, the sun’s infrared heat can warm the tissue and liquid in our eyes. Boiled eyeballs?! 

Camping With God

For a year, Israel had been camped at Mt. Sinai as God prepared them for their journey to the Promised Land.

His presence would now lead Israel from a cloud by day and from a pillar of fire by night. That must have been an intimidating sight. (Numbers 9:15-23.)

Now organized by God, Israel left Mt. Sinai and headed into the wilderness by tribes for the first time following the cloud (Numbers 10).

You might expect the priests to be the first to head out after God, but the tribe of Judah led the way. How fitting since Jesus descended from the tribe of Judah.

No sooner had Israel headed out, than it began again. They showed their true colors, and it wasn’t pretty.

Incessant Whining and Mutinous Plots

Incessant whining and mutinous plots fill the book of Numbers. Each time, God responded in dramatic fashion.

Israel’s worst offense came when they rebelled against God and refused to enter the Promised Land. (Numbers 13-14). (God wasn’t just saving them from slavery. He’d promised them a new life in a land of their own.)

Moses sent twelve spies into the land. Ten came out with their knees knocking because they saw giants. Two (Joshua and Caleb) came out itching for battle.

But the ten spies melted the hearts of the people, and the Israelites refused to budge.

Their unbelief fueled their rebellion and turned an 11-day hike into a 40-year wandering because they chose to fear men rather than trust God.

You’d think Israel would’ve learned their lesson by now. JustBelieve. God.

Mutiny in the Wilderness

As the Israelites wandered, they continued their mutinous ways, even worshipping worthless idols.

Israel’s sins cost them. And God answered in jaw-dropping ways.

The ground swallowed some (Numbers 16), Aaron’s staff grew flowers and almonds (Numbers 17), and a plague ravished those who worshipped the false god Baal (Numbers 25).

A donkey even talked. (Yes, really – Numbers 22.)

An evil king had hired a certain prophet to curse Israel, but it didn’t work out well for the king. After the donkey and the Angel of the Lord talked sense into the greedy prophet, God used him to bless Israel and prophecy about King David and Jesus.

The prophet later met his doom at the end of a sword when he battled against Israel – Numbers 31:8. More proof that mankind’s heart is stubborn and slow to learn. Who forgets what a talking donkey taught you?

(Questioning whether to believe a donkey talked? God gave mankind the ability. And parrots. And apparently a Siberian Huskey. He can give it to a donkey, too. Nothing is hard for the God who created the heavens and the earth.)

Correcting God

Sin played Israel, but even faithful Moses wasn’t exempt from its traps.

Moses heard God’s instructions to speak to a specific rock and God would bring water from it. But he had a better plan. He chose to alter God’s instructions and struck it instead – twice (Numbers 20:2-13).

Even though Moses sinned, God brought life-giving water from the rock and displayed for Israel how Jesus, the Messiah, would one day give them living water. (Numbers 20:11; John 4:10)

Living water is a metaphor of the type of life Jesus gives.

“Correcting” God cost Moses dearly. God banned him from entering the Promised Land.

Tip #1: If you ever find yourself disagreeing with God, stop and consider which one of you is most likely wrong. In case you’re wondering, it’s you. It’s always us. Never God.

Tip #2: Sin always costs. And it never affects just you.

In another display of Israel’s true heart, they “loathed” God’s miraculous care of bread (manna) He sent each morning from heaven (Numbers 21:5 NASB).

So He gave them serpents. (Remind anyone else of the first sin in the garden?)

He also gave them a powerful picture of Jesus lifted up on the cross. Jesus Himself referred to it (Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:14-15).

Poised for Victory

As God led Israel throughout the wilderness for 40 years, we see a mixture of battles, sin, mercy, consequences, and victory.

By the end of their wandering, everyone who’d refused to trust and obey God and enter the Promised Land had died.

But their children were ready. They’d grown in wisdom and faith through God’s training.

Numbers comes to a close with another census (601,730 fighting men—Numbers 26:51) and Israel standing poised on the border of the Promised Land.

What's the big deal about the book of Numbers? Dip your toes in and find out. #Biblestudy #Godsword #Jesus Click To Tweet