June 29, 2009

These Days - Part 1

A month back or so Elizabeth and I were reading the story of Jericho in her kids Bible. I was reminded how familiar I used to be with the stories of the Old Testament, and decided it was time to do some study there. It was very opportune, because we had just finished up our yearly women's Bible study, the latest of which had involved daily readings and questions. So I needed new devotional material. I wasn't sure where to begin, but "something" - Holy Spirit be thanked and praised! - prompted me to start reading the book of Joshua, from whence comes the story of the "battle" of Jericho.

I started reading.

Over the course of several days, I made my way through all 24 chapters. Since there was a lot of history and geography with which I wasn't familiar, I decided to read through it again, this time reading a chapter from Joshua and the accompanying commentary from the New Bible Commentary. I also printed a map of the promised land and how it was divided among the tribes, so I had some clue as to where they were talking about! In true OT style, there are many lists of cities, towns, and other landmarks mentioned as the tribes are settling into their new territories.

I'm now quite close to the end of this second phase of study. I cannot express how immensely important it has been for me to be in the book of Joshua. (Again, Holy Spirit be thanked and praised!) I had a little extra birthday cash and purchased another, more thorough commentary as well as this study. I'm anticipating - at my pace - a couple more months of reading and learning. The motivation and the perseverance I owe only to the Lord. I'm not sure how I got here, why I'm eating this up so much, or where it will take me. But for now I will stay in this book.

Some thoughts thus far
In Joshua, the Israelites FINALLY enter and possess the land God promised them as far back as Abraham. It is beautiful. It is profound. After hundreds of years of waiting, there is rest in the land. After decades of manna, there is fresh food from the land. After longing, there is fulfillment. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to be there, to have waited, and then to have seen God fulfill every one of his promises in my generation! Wow. The story can take your breath away.

But there's way more to it than that. The most emphatic truth that hits your heart and jars your senses is this: God is God and He is Holy. He must be dealt with and related to on His terms. He is good. He's slow to anger and abounding in love. But first and foremost, He is Holy....

More reflections to follow. How's that for leaving you hanging?!

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