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March 17, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: Joshua 22-24
Audio: Joshua 22-24

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Joshua 22 (ESV)

At that time Joshua summoned the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and said to them, “You have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you and have obeyed my voice in all that I have commanded you. You have not forsaken your brothers these many days, down to this day, but have been careful to keep the charge of the Lord your God. And now the Lord your God has given rest to your brothers, as he promised them. Therefore turn and go to your tents in the land where your possession lies, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents.

Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan, but to the other half Joshua had given a possession beside their brothers in the land west of the Jordan. And when Joshua sent them away to their homes and blessed them, he said to them, “Go back to your tents with much wealth and with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, and iron, and with much clothing. Divide the spoil of your enemies with your brothers.” So the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned home, parting from the people of Israel at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go to the land of Gilead, their own land of which they had possessed themselves by command of the Lord through Moses.

10 And when they came to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of imposing size. 11 And the people of Israel heard it said, “Behold, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built the altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel.” 12 And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh to make war against them.

13 Then the people of Israel sent to the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, 14 and with him ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel, every one of them the head of a family among the clans of Israel. 15 And they came to the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them, 16 “Thus says the whole congregation of the Lord, ‘What is this breach of faith that you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away this day from following the Lord by building yourselves an altar this day in rebellion against the Lord? 17 Have we not had enough of the sin at Peor from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves, and for which there came a plague upon the congregation of the Lord, 18 that you too must turn away this day from following the Lord? And if you too rebel against the Lord today then tomorrow he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel. 19 But now, if the land of your possession is unclean, pass over into the Lord‘s land where the Lord‘s tabernacle stands, and take for yourselves a possession among us. Only do not rebel against the Lord or make us as rebels by building for yourselves an altar other than the altar of the Lord our God. 20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah break faith in the matter of the devoted things, and wrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? And he did not perish alone for his iniquity.’”

21 Then the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh said in answer to the heads of the families of Israel, 22 “The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith against the Lord, do not spare us today 23 for building an altar to turn away from following the Lord. Or if we did so to offer burnt offerings or grain offerings or peace offerings on it, may the Lord himself take vengeance. 24 No, but we did it from fear that in time to come your children might say to our children, ‘What have you to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 For the Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you people of Reuben and people of Gad. You have no portion in the Lord.’ So your children might make our children cease to worship the Lord. 26 Therefore we said, ‘Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27 but to be a witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we do perform the service of the Lord in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings, so your children will not say to our children in time to come, “You have no portion in the Lord.”’ 28 And we thought, ‘If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we should say, “Behold, the copy of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you.”’ 29 Far be it from us that we should rebel against the Lord and turn away this day from following the Lord by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the Lordour God that stands before his tabernacle!”

30 When Phinehas the priest and the chiefs of the congregation, the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh spoke, it was good in their eyes. 31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh, “Today we know that the Lordis in our midst, because you have not committed this breach of faith against the Lord. Now you have delivered the people of Israel from the hand of the Lord.”

32 Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the chiefs, returned from the people of Reuben and the people of Gad in the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the people of Israel, and brought back word to them. 33 And the report was good in the eyes of the people of Israel. And the people of Israel blessed God and spoke no more of making war against them to destroy the land where the people of Reuben and the people of Gad were settled. 34 The people of Reuben and the people of Gad called the altar Witness, “For,” they said, “it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.”

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Next: Joshua 23

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This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. Joshua 22:5

    Keeping God's Commandments

    If you were to take a poll in many churches today and ask if keeping God's commandments is essential for salvation, many would say no. I’m sure the reasons would vary. For those who are biblically-minded, they might say we don’t need to keep God’s commandments because we are saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone apart from works (which would include our obeying God’s commands). 

    I wholeheartedly agree and affirm that we are saved through faith in Christ alone. This truth is THE essential truth for all time and should be in our minds (and hopefully coming out of our mouths) often. We need to remember this truth in good times and bad. We need to reflect on this truth when we have great success and times of failure. If we're going to be preoccupied with something, it's that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone – apart from works, apart from self-worth and only out of desperation for our souls do we believe and out our trust in Jesus for our salvation. 

    We do not bring anything to salvation except our need of it. But if someone's faith is an acknowledgment that Jesus died so sinners can be reconciled to God through faith, and someone believes this only as a matter of fact, many people think this saves them (and many pastors are quick to welcome these "fact-affirming" people into the body of Christ as blood-bought saints). 

    But the Bible tells a different story. Believing that Jesus died for the forgiveness of sins historically is not the same as Jesus dying for the forgiveness of your sins personally. Believing that over 2000 years ago a man named Jesus went to the cross so you can be reconciled to God does not mean you are reconciled to God. 

    A saving belief in Christ is a belief that changes our lives.

    A saving faith in Christ is a faith that bears fruit in our lives. 

    We must remember, the same chapter that says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16) ends with John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

    A belief that does not change us and a faith that does not bear fruit in us is a false faith and belief. The change in us and the fruit in us is one that orients our attitudes and actions towards God and away from our former rebellious attitudes and attitudes which were against God. We turn from living for ourselves and turn to Christ and follow Him out of love and adoration for all that He did for us. While it's true we may be oblivious to how monumental the change in us truly is (being brought from death to life), in the very least our attitude towards God and sin should be obvious.

    In setting the groundwork for today's sermon, here is a definition of regeneration from the New Dictionary of Theology:

    Regeneration’ or ‘new birth’ (Titus 3:5; John 3:3; 1 Peter 1:3) describes the inner renewal by the Spirit of God, which takes place when a person becomes a Christian. The decisive historical grounds for this renewal are the coming of Jesus Christ and his vicarious death (Titus 2:12; Titus 3:4, 6; John 3:16). A person receives forgiveness of sins through belief in Christ, and is born again to a life characterized by faith, love and hope.

    The biblical teaching on regeneration includes the following emphases: a. It is not the result of human endeavour, but a creative act of God’s Spirit (John 1:13). b. It is a once-for-all event, in which God substantially intervenes in a person’s life (Titus 3:5, ‘saved’; cf. the contrast between the past and the present in vv. 3–5). c. It involves being added to the family of God: the regenerated person becomes a child of God, and is also incorporated into the fellowship of the children of God."

    Ferguson, S. B., & Packer, J. I. (2000). In New dictionary of theology (electronic ed., p. 574). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

    For people who think they have faith but lack the change in attitude and behavior that marks genuine believers from false converts, one must go back to the beginning – back to when they "first believed" and ask themselves if their belief ever impacted their lives and changed them in any way. 

    It's possible that people who are not in the Word and fellowship and may have drifted back into sinful attitudes and behaviors may in fact be genuine believers; but the proof that their salvation is authentic will be their response to the reality that they have stayed and sinned against God. For many, they won't care and if they die not caring, they were never saved. But if they recognize their sin and repent, turning from their rebellious attitudes and sinful actions against God, He is "faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

    Believers are far from perfect but as I often say, we are being perfected. If you are not experiencing the perfecting work of God's Spirit in your life, "examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" (2 Corinthians 13:5).

    In closing, Joshua 22:2-3 says, “You have kept all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you and have obeyed my voice in all that I have commanded you. 3 You have not forsaken your brothers these many days, down to this day, but have been careful to keep the charge of the Lord your God." 

    Have you been careful to keep the charge of the Lord your God which is to put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and receive eternal life? 

    A follower of Christ may not be able to keep the commands of God perfectly but true Christians should desire to keep His commands. True Christians certainly would not reject the commandments of God!

    Romans 8:1-11 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

    9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

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