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The Bible In A Year: Day 99

Joshua 22-24
Psalm 99
Luke 17

Joshua 22-24

Remember back when the tribes of Rueben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh asked Moses to give them the land they’d conquered on the eastern side of the Jordan before the conquest of Canaan had begun? This was around the mid point of Deuteronomy and was granted on the condition that the men of those tribes go across the river and fight with the rest of Israel until they were given leave to return to their lands. They agreed to this condition and have been fighting alongside Joshua and the other tribes for probably a few years now.

This brings us to the beginning of chapter 22 where Joshua calls these tribes, thanks them for their service and honoring their promises, and then dismisses them to return to their lands. But on the way back they stop and build an altar on the west side of the Jordan river, and when the rest of Israel hears this they make ready for war.

But it was all a major misunderstanding. The altar wasn’t built in defiance of God where only the Levites where allowed to make the sacrifices on the altar that traveled with the tabernacle, and it also wasn’t made for the worship of other gods. They made the altar as a memorial between so that future generations wouldn’t treat them as foreigners.

Joshua warned the people that they must obey the commands of God, because just like all the promises he’s made have so far come true because they’ve followed the commandments, also the curses will come true if they turn their backs on him. They’re warned not to marry the local women or to serve their gods, two things that will become all too common in the years to come. They’re told to essentially maintain their separateness from the other nations so that they remain a holy and righteous people.

Joshua gathers all the people and recounts the history of the Hebrews from Abraham to the present, and he gives them a binary choice of serving the God of their ancestors or the gods of the nations around them, but they can’t choose both. When they insist on serving the God of their forefathers, Joshua tells them if that’s they case then they must throw away the idols they have in their homes, so this means that there were some pagans still among them, and even they were promising to serve God, so I bet it was a shock when they heard Joshua say this because they probably thought they had everybody fooled. But God sees all.

Joshua and Eleazar both die, and are buried in their newly inherited cities.

Luke 17

Jesus is going to Jerusalem and comes through a town with ten lepers, and because of the contagiousness of their disease and the ceremonial uncleanliness associated with it, they remain at a distance and call out to Jesus. He tells them to go see the priests for the inspection that is needed after the leprosy disappears according to Leviticus, and they’re healed before they even get there. But nine of the ten go on their merry way, with only a single one of them coming back to Jesus to express gratitude. May we never be as ungrateful as the nine lepers were that day.

Some of the Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God was coming, and he tells them it’s already at hand. He then tells the disciples in a cryptic manner about the coming of the days of the son of man, and in mark and Matthew this is references used during the Olivet Discourse. He tells them in more ways than one that the coming judgment on Jerusalem will be swift and severe. It will sweep people away like a flood, and then he gives a couple of examples.

These last few verses are often used by evangelicals as a proof text for an event called “the rapture” where one will be taken and the other left, and in the belief of those who hold to this idea, the one taken goes to heaven while the one left has to endure the end of the world. But that’s not what Jesus is saying here at all. He says that just like in the days of Noah, ones will be taken away; two people in a bed, there’s no question about the one that is left because they’re still in bed. But the one that is taken away, like the people carried away in the flood, there is a question of where he’s gone to. And so the disciples ask where these people are taken to, and Jesus tells them where the bodies are gathered the eagles will too.

That’s not a good thing. To be “taken” in the context of Luke 17 is not a good thing, it’s not taken to heaven, it’s taken to destruction.

Judges 1-2
Psalm 100

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