August 12, 2009

Back to Joshua

A while ago, I posted some of my thoughts on my recent study of the book of Joshua. I left you hanging with the truth that God is holy. I have not contemplated it enough myself, but the Lord is gently working this reality into my thinking. For that, I am grateful. And I apologize for taking so long to follow up, this post has been long in the making.

Some comments on how I've been studying Joshua: I've now finished reading through Joshua section by section using the commentary I purchased by James Mongtomery Boice. It is excellent. (Made only slightly more excellent by the fact that I learned today that he grew up in McKeesport, outside Pittsburgh! But I digress....)

So this has been my method of study:
  1. read through a book of the Bible chapter by chapter
  2. read through it again with a companion commentary
  3. work through a Bible study on the book
Currently I'm into #3, using a Life Changes study guide. It's got lots of questions, plenty of additional questions you can read/think about, definitions of Bible terms, and many helpful Bible study tips throughout. I've gotten through a few studies and appreciate it's thoroughness and desire to lead the reader to understand the text, learn about who God is, and apply the Word to life.

Now, where did we leave off last?

Ah yes, God is holy.

He is holy, holy, holy. And this is serious business. This holy God calls people to Himself, guides them, protects them, and keeps them. God made promises to Abraham that he kept and fulfilled in the days of Joshua. But in the process, He also called them to obedience. This holy God cannot be in the presence of sin, He is too holy.

This brings me to the second major thing that has been impressed upon my heart, soul, and mind through the book of Joshua: God's Word is of utmost importance to the believer. The "B-I-B-L-E" really does need to be "the book for me." All of life needs to be lived out of and in response to the Word of God. I don't understand how to do this, but I think that's because I make it too complicated. I want to live on some ethereal, super-spiritual plane that doesn't have much connection with reality. The bottom line is that to live by faith, the Christian must live in obedience to to Word of God. Through the hearing and doing of the Word, we are transformed.

My shortcomings with respect to the Scriptures are many. I don't think about them or treat them as living and active (Hebrews 4:12), therefore I rarely go to the Bible when life is good, to praise and thank God, or when life is tough, to seek His counsel and lean on Him. I don't meditate on it day and night (Psalm 1:1-2), therefore when I do find myself in need of wisdom, there's not much Scripture in my heart for the Spirit to use to instruct, comfort, guide or give me hope. I often let my mind wander during Scripture readings on Sunday mornings ... or give a silent cheer in my heart when the passage is short. (Seriously people, if there is a woman in need of God's grace, I'm she!)

Being in Joshua has encouraged me not to take The Good Book so lightly. In conjunction with teaching about 10 Commandments to Kindergarten and First Graders this summer, I'm so very thankful to have been forced to think about the place of God's Word in my life, and in the life of all believers. When Jesus sums up the commandments, He puts them in two categories, and I'll leave you with these verses on which to meditate until next time.
Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it; love your neighbor as yourself." - Matthew 22:37-39
Today, by God's grace, because of the blood of Jesus, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, may you too find some time to get into God's Word and consider its place in your life. And may you be surprised at the good that comes of it!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your insights. God really used to your little blurb to continue to teach me in the following three areas:
    1. Reflecting on last Sundays sermon on that the most defining characteristic of God is "holy."

    2. We just began the accounts from Joshua with our boys. We teach using a feltboard and people with an eye to what are we learning about God through this. Now I know what to teach about God from the battle of Ai, the severe judgemnet of Achen, etc.

    3. Im in a women's Bible study on hearing the voice of God. While everyone else is into listiening for his voice, I've been hearing him say "you're making this way to complicated. Obey and have faith and read my words." Thanks for your confirmation that God is saying the same thing to you.

    I'd love to hear naything else you've been learning from Joshua. Thanks again.

  2. when do you find the time...seriously?? you are a super mom! i feel encouraged just reading your blog and not take the good book so lightly, and to love God in a truer deeper sense. thanks for sharing your thoughts and not just leaving us hanging :)

  3. Hey ladies, I'm encouraged by your comments.

    Jenny, as you said, it's so good to find confirmation through other believers. Thanks for your comments about what you've been learning and teaching the boys! It's great to know how God is growing and teaching you; even when we're not together, we're bound by the Spirit.

    Sarah, don't be too impressed. I might read 15-30 min a day, and not 7 days a week. I've been in Joshua for 3 or 4 months! But I figured if I want to learn the Bible to be equipped to teach it, I've just got to get in it as much as I can right now....and (for better for for worse) I read, study, pray while my children watch tv in the morning! :)