Today’s reading is Joshua 5-8, Psalm 14, and Luke 15.
Despite the fact that I like to think that I’m a “good person” (and I have to believe most are like me and think they are), I know I sin if not through actions or word, through thought, probably ever hour of every day. Sin is not in God’s nature whatsoever. It is exactly the opposite of His being and who He is. Today’s readings are a humbling reminder of what God thinks about sin, and yet also a reminder of his grace and love. It is also a reminder of how pleasing it is to Him when we show faith and trust in Him and turn back to Him after we fall away. Obeying Him does not mean immediate gratification like a dog shaking and getting a treat, but a continued path living a life of filled with intentional sin and disobeying Him will surely lead to destruction. And turning back to Him will lead to grace, forgiveness, and ultimate victory through eternal life no matter how far we have fallen away.
Early on in today’s readings we are reminded that God freed the Israelites from slavery and kept His word to lead them to the Promised Land. But, we also learn in Joshua 5:6 He let them wander in the desert for 40 years and did not let the generation He freed go into the Promised Land (including Moses who God thought highly enough to have attend Jesus’ transfiguration in Matthew 17) because “they did not obey the voice of the Lord.” Yet, we see it is pleasing to the Lord and He “rolled away the reproach of Egypt” when the next generation obeys His instructions to Joshua that all the men be circumcised (Joshua 5:9). They keep the Passover, God sends a commander of His army to speak to Joshua (Joshua 5:14), and God instructs Joshua in Joshua 6 how he and his army are to march around Jericho for 6 days quietly and on the 7th day they are to march around the city 7 times. On the 7th time of the 7th day, they are to blow the horns and shout and the walls of Jericho would fall down before God would give them victory in battle. The Israelites could have said to Joshua, “yeah right…these walls are just going to fall when we blow our horn and yell…give me a break?!” However, this time they obeyed, and God gave them victory. What great faith and belief they showed! As promised in Joshua 6, the only family God protects in Jericho is Rahab’s because she helped the Israelite spies in Joshua 2.
As we read on in Joshua 7, we see going against God’s word leads to a path of destruction. God gave specific instructions in the conquering of Jericho that the gold and devoted things be given to the Lord (Joshua 6:18-19). But Achan took some for himself and hid it which was displeasing to God resulting in him being stoned and thus the Lord let Israel first be defeated at Ai before later giving them victory (Joshua 8). We read later in Joshua 8 where Israel turns back to God by building an altar to Him on Mount Ebal just as Moses commanded be done. Joshua honored God by also writing the law of Moses on the stones (Joshua 8:32) and by reading all the words of the law, every single one, to all the people of Israel (Joshua 8:35) which was no doubt pleasing to God.
I love the parallels of our verses each day from the Old Testament, including the Psalms, and the New Testament. Psalm 14 speaks of the corruption of man God sees as He looks down and sin which displeases Him (Psalm 14:2-3), yet promises Jesus’ coming to give salvation in Psalm 14:7. Then, we read in Luke 15 where Jesus tells how God seeks out sinners to give them a chance to repent and turn to Him through the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and of course the amazing story of grace in the story of the prodigal son.
Think of some of your favorite movies and books. What is a common theme in most all of them, especially the ones that really tug on your heart strings? Most all have a story of redemption from someone who has either done wrong in the past or just didn’t have things go their way for a while. Why do you think those stories get to us, and why do we love them so much? Maybe that’s because it’s our story. It’s the story God has laid on all of our hearts because we are all part of God’s story and plan to save us from our sin (Romans 5:8) when we turn to Him. And while we read today how much God hates sin, we see in Luke 15 how much more joy He has when a sinner turns to Him for grace and forgiveness. Do you remember Rahab, the prostitute we mentioned earlier who decided to turn from her sinful ways and help the Israelites? She was not only spared in the destruction of Jericho, but ultimately became part of the bloodline of Jesus (Matthew 1:5)!
Please watch this short video from Spread Truth and pray for God to lay on your heart someone who needs to hear it and know God’s love and that they are part of His greater Story.
Here is the children’s version as well.