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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

2019.02.13 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 15:1-12

Questions for Littles: Whose territory does this passage describe (Joshua 15:1)? What is their southern boundary? Where does it begin (Joshua 15:2)? What two other bodies of water mark it at the end (Joshua 15:4)? What is its east border (Joshua 15:5)? How far does that go? What land features tend to mark its northern border in Joshua 15:7-8? What topographical features in Joshua 15:9-11? What is its western border (Joshua 15:12)?
In this week’s Old Testament reading, we continue through one of the thickest, most tedious-to-read sections of Joshua.

With what is it so thick? With what is reading it so tedious? With the faithfulness and mercy of God! The faithfulness of God, because God is keeping His promises. In particular, in this section, Judah is the greatest of the tribes, as promised. We are preparing to hear that the scepter ends up in Judah, and that it will not be lost until Shiloh, God-with-us in the Person of Jesus, comes.

But this is also a lesson in the mercy of God, because this faithfulness on God’s part is so very good and wholly undeserved. We can see the goodness in all of the provision that is implied in all of these topographical features. The Salt Sea. The Nile. The Mediterranean. The Jordan. Each of these bodies of water have something unique to offer, whether salt, fish, papyrus, commerce, irrigation, and more.

Then there are the valleys—fertile places where rich soil has been deposited ever since the flood. And the mountains—more varied climates, with important wood and mineral resources, not to mention that excavating and clearing them produces natural strongholds for military purposes.

So, as we simply follow the border around Judah, to the uninitiated 21st century American it sounds like a bunch of irrelevant names for tripping over or slogging down in, as we dutifully plug away through the Bible. But, if we have a good doctrine of Scripture, we know that these words are God-breathed and profitable.

Paying careful attention quickly pays off. This is the tribe that Jesus comes from, and that alone is worth the cost of pushing through this passage. The King is coming! The Savior is on His way! And the immediate context piles up the riches for us. Not every location is one that we know Christ to have visited. But every location is both a reminder that He has been here for us, and a reminder that God’s mercy to His people in those locations extends two thousand years in each direction from Christ.
What are the current boundaries of God’s blessing to you? How does Judah enclose another kind of blessing for you altogether? When/how do you meditate on these goodnesses from God?
Suggested songs: ARP189 “Universal Praise” or TPH245 “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

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