Spiritual Rants: April 12 “Being Coiny” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Joshua 5:1-7:15 Luke 15:1-32 Psalm 81:1-16 Proverbs 13:1

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Old Testament:  Joshua 5:1-7:15

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Joshua’s men encircled Jericho’s wall and then they watched them fall.

Joshua 5:1-15   Rolling On

Ask General Patton or General Sherman if they’d like to have their enemies be circumcised right before a battle.  What do you think the answer would be?  Remember the incident in Genesis 34:15-31 when Jacob’s sons wiped out the sons of Shechem?  Jacob’s sons used that strategy.  It was cruel.

What is the first thing that Joshua commands the Israelite men right after they cross the Jordan?  Their enemies are already afraid of them because of the tales of their exploits, or rather Yahweh’s exploits.  Now the Israelites have crossed the Jordan when it parted for them.  He has his enemies right where he wants them.  So he . . .  wait for it . . .  has all their guys circumcised.  Talk about faith.

Joshua had all the men wait in the camp till they were healed.  He said now “the reproach of Egypt is rolled” off us (v. 9).  What he meant was that they couldn’t enact the sign of the covenant while they were in Egypt and now they could enforce it.  BTW, Gigal means “rolling.”

Joshua looked up after this and saw a man opposing him with his sword drawn.  Joshua asked the man if he was for the Israelites or their enemies.  The man said he was the captain of the host of the Lord.  Joshua fell at his feet and the man told him to take his shoes off just like Yahweh had commanded Moses at the burning bush (Exod. 3:2, 5)!

Joshua was learning what King Jehosophat would learn years later, “‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s (2 Chron. 20:15).  Joshua was not first in charge.  He was second.

So, who was the man?  More properly I should have written, “The Man.”  Is was Jesus, Joshua’s namesake,”God saves.”  Notice Joshua dropped to worship the man and the man accepted it.  Angels always refuse worship.  God only can be worshipped (Deut. 6:13; 10:20).

Joshua 6:1-27   Joshua Fought The Battle of Jericho And The Walls Came Tumblin’ Down

Joshua Fought The Battle of Jericho And The Walls Came Tumblin’ Down.  But they spared Rahab and her family.  Joshua said they could keep all the booty.  They burnt the city, killed everyone in it and no one was allowed to rebuild it.

The way they did all this was circle the city for six days.  On the seventh day, they circled seven times, then blew trumpets and then shouted.  Then the walls fell down.  Don’t try this in a normal battle.  The reason it worked was because of the faith of the people.  The destruction of Jericho represents the destruction of the things of the world in our lives (cf. 1 John 2:15-16).

Joshua 7:1-15   Ai Yi Yi

If Israel could defeat Ai, since they already had Jericho, they would have the high ground in the new land.  If you’ve seen the movie Gettysburg, you know how important it is militarily to have the high ground.  The Israelites were in good spirits, having batted a thousand so far in their campaigns.  So they attacked.  Then they retreated.  They lost 36 men.  (v. 5).

Joshua fell on his face before the Lord and pled for an answer for their defeat.  Yahweh told him that someone had broken the ban on the booty so the whole nation was being held responsible.  The tribe responsible would be known by lot and then narrowed down by the Lord to expose the troublemaker.  The “perp,” as they say on CSI, would be burned to death.

This is a figure of our struggle with the flesh after we’re saved.  Although we have a new nature (2 Cor. 5:17) we still have our old sinful nature (Rom. 7).  There will be a struggle between our new nature and the old until the day we die.  The way to deal with this problem is to kill our old nature.  Unfortunately, it has to be done repeatedly.  The old fashioned word for this was “mortification” from the King James Version translation of Romans 8:13 (“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live”) and Colossians 3:5 (“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry”).  Mortify means “kill.”  Churches used to preach mortification  When was the last time you heard of it?  

New Testament:  Luke 15:1-32

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A man gave his inheritance to his son, he eventually came back after running out of fun.

Luke 15:1-7  Baa Baa

Jesus asked if a man had a hundred sheep and lost one, would he leave the 99 and go and find the lost one?  The implied answer is yes.  This illustrates the way God feels about everyone who is lost and hasn’t trusted Christ for salvation.  God does not want anyone to go to Hell (2Pet. 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance”).

Phil Keaggy did a song about v. 7 that the angels rejoice over every sinner who is saved more than those who already have made it into Heaven.

Luke 15:8-10   Being Coiny

Don’t you hate it when you lose something?  Especially, if you put it in a special place so you won’t lose it?  That’s a good time to pray!

Jesus told a story about a woman who lost a coin and when she found it she Facebooked all her friends.  Again, the angels partee!

Luke 15:11-32   The Parable Of The Loving Father aka The Prodigal Son

A man had two sons.  One was a snobby know-it-all brat and the other was a slacker.  The slacker wanted his inheritance early so he could leave home and live it up.  The father gave it to him.  The kid went out and had a really good time for a while but then the money ran out.  He ended up at a spam factory.  He hated it.  He figured it was better to throw himself at his father’s mercy and go back and work for him.  So he did.

The father saw his son from afar coming up the road back home and he was so happy to see his son again he went down the road to meet him.  The son fell down at his father’s feet and drooled all over his shoes, apologizing and begging for a job (slight exaggeration).  The father declared it feast time and ordered his servants to roast an entire cow.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the stuck-up perfect older brother who never did any wrong –  naa naa naa – heard the partying and got bent all out of shape.  When he found out what was going on, he was really jealous and complained to his father.  “You never even roasted a baby goat for me!” he whined.  This little weenie cavorted with ladies who were morally challenged and getting blasted while I got nothing!  What the heck?”

The father replied, “You got T-bones all the time and downed it with a Cabernet Sauvignon (I don’t know wines. Is that an expensive one?).  But I had to throw a party because your brother is now back from the dead!”

Jesus was trying to get through to the Pharisees who thought they were hot stuff because they thought they were so righteous.  This parable, and all the rest in this chapter, illustrate well the theme of the book, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10 NIV).

Jesus was trying to show the Pharisees how stuck up they were.  They were “older brothers.”  They should have been happy about all the poor down-and-outers who were following Jesus and trusting him for salvation.  They had had all the privileges of the kingdom but hadn’t appreciated them.  They were “working” to please God rather than just loving Him.

Psalm 81:1-16    A Song Of Zion By Asaph

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Open your mouth for Him and God will cause it to overflow to the brim.

Psalm 81:1-16   Open Your Big Mouth

I used to have a dentist in Newark, New Jersey.  Every time he examined me, he would begin with, “Open your big mouth, I mean, open your mouth big . . . .”  Every time.  It was funny every time.  Here the psalmist is not being funny.  He is exhorting Israel to open her big mouth and have it be filled by the Lord (v. 10).  We should do the same and it shouldn’t be like pulling teeth.

Asaph starts on a happy note.  He tells Israel to sing a song to the God who had been so good to their ancestor Jacob (v. 1).  They could use a variety of instruments, percussion like tambourines, stringed instruments like harps, and brass, like trumpets (vv. 2-3).  Any instrument can be used to praise the Lord!

The feast in view in verses 3-5 is most likely the Feast of Tabernacles (cf. Lev. 23:34-43).  It lasted a week during which time the Jews all lived in booths, huts made with boughs (cf. Neh. 8:14-18). It was a celebration of the autumn harvest of fruits and olives (cf. Ryrie).  It prefigured the rule of the Messiah in the thousand-year kingdom, the Millennium (cf. Zech. 14:16). (It is probably what Peter had in mind when he offered to set up a booth for the Lord in Matt. 17:4.  He thought Jesus had brought him and John into His kingdom.)   It had been established along with the Feast of Passover and Feast of Weeks after the Israelites had been rescued from Egypt (v. 5, cf. Deut. 16:16).  It was when they had heard God’s voice for the first time after their liberation.

They were to celebrate that God had relieved their burden of slavery (vv. 6-7).  God’s voice exhorted them to put away false gods (vv. 8-10).  He was the One Who wanted to bless them.  He would give them an enormous bounty if they would just open their mouths big (v. 10c).

God will fill us if we will let Him.  But He will fill us with what He wants not what we want (cf. John 7:17).  The result will be an abundant life (cf. John 10:10).  We may want a Lamborghini and a mansion the size of the Vanderbilt’s.  God gives us spiritual blessings like His Word, His voice, and a character like Christ’s.  Which would you rather have?  Which has everlasting value?

Israel didn’t want what God wanted (v. 11).  So Yahweh let them have what they wanted (v. 12).  It broke God’s heart (v. 13, cf. Matt. 23:37 ).  Yahweh wanted to conquer Israel’s enemies forcing them to pay obeisance to them (vv. 14-15).  God wanted to give them the finest of everything materially as well as spiritually (v. 16).

This prayer will be fulfilled when Christ reigns as King in the Millennium.  Are you hoping the right person will be elected and bring prosperity to our nation?  Utopia will not arrive on earth until the Messiah brings it in the Thousand Year Kingdom (cf. Rev. 20:4).

Proverbs 13:1   A Wise Guy

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Your kids should finish till done, not just to others make fun.

I’m from New Jersey.  Therefore, I am naturally a wise guy.  But if you really want to be wise, you will accept your Father’s correction.  If you are younger, you will listen to your Dad.  Most likely, he loves you and wants the best for you.  More than that, you have a Heavenly Father who cares for you even more than your own earthly father (cf. Heb. 12:5-10).  We need to know His Word and listen to whatever He says.

An idiot, by contrast, doesn’t listen to anybody.

Choose Life: Scripture:   Luke  15:32   NASB    “Lost And Found”

“‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.”   Luke 15: 32

In this chapter, Luke is emphasizing that God loves to find sinners.  It begins with the parable of the lost sheep and proceeds to the parable of the lost coin.  It climaxes with the parable of the prodigal son.  He is a sinner extraordinaire.  He doesn’t just sin, he offends his father and even his brother.  He asks for his inheritance while his father is still alive, quite an offense.  Then he goes off and blows it on wine, women, and song (v. 13, lit. “squandered his estate on loose living” NASB; “wasted all his money on parties and prostitutes,” Living Bible).  What a guy!  Don’t you love him?  Probably not.

But his father loved him.  The prodigal finally had to humble himself and pull himself out of the pig pens where he worked.  He would have gladly ingratiated himself to the pigs to be able to share their food but he was not allowed to (v. 15).  So he dragged his sorry self back to his father and begged for mercy.

The end of the story is the father kicked him and told him he was a disgrace to his family and to mankind in general.  OK, we all know that his father took him back and his older brother told him he was a disgrace to his family and to mankind in general (v. 29-30).

Of course, this is a picture of our Father in Heaven who does not wish that any perish (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9).

Have you done anything in your life worse than the prodigal son?  Probably not.  Can you accept your Father’s forgiveness?

If you can, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:   

This same chapter includes a verse about angels that is very interesting.  I wonder if you knew it is there.  When anyone trusts Christ, all the angels in Heaven rejoice (cf. v. 10).

Can you imagine the angels rejoicing over you when you trusted Christ?   Is there any sin now that you think God cannot forgive because it is too big?  1 John 1:9 would seem to indicate that there is no sin so large that God can’t forgive it.  Jesus died for all sins (Titus 2:14, “Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds”).

If there is a sin you don’t think God can forgive, trust Him to forgive you anyway.  Because there is no sin too large for God.

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:  Ai Yi Yi

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