Wednesday, January 02, 2019

2019.01.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 11:16-23

Questions for Littles: What regions did Joshua take (v16)? What did he do with their kings (v17)? How quickly did this happen (v18)? Who made peace with Israel (v19)? What happened to all the others? Why would kings and peoples keep fighting Israel, even though they kept defeating everyone (v20)? Why would God harden their hearts? What did He decide that they would not receive? Whom else did Joshua utterly destroy with their cities (v21)? Where did some remain (v22)? How much of the land did Joshua take (v23)? And to whom did he give it? How was the dividing up of the land decided? According to Whose Word was all of this done?  
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we have a summary of Israel’s taking the land. There are several things that we see emphasized in these few verses.

vv16-19 emphasize how complete the possession of the land was. v20 explains why: because the Lord hardened their hearts. To many, that seems unfair. But that’s exactly the opposite of the message here. It’s not fairness that they fail to receive; rather, fairness is exactly what they get. Mercy is not fair. But mercy is what they receive.

Interestingly, the explanation for the entire Gibeonite situation is now exactly this: the Lord’s mercy! That’s the clear implication of v19 with v20. They serve as a reminder that they didn’t deserve to be there.

Even the Anakim (giants) are defeated, with the exception of the ancestors of Goliath (!!). So, while the Lord is keeping His promises to all of Israel (v23), there is still that reminder that final victory and inheritance have not yet come. It’s like when Hebrews 3-4 reminds us that Joshua did not bring them into the final and full rest of the Lord.

If mercy is what the Gibeonites have received, then how much more the Israelites have received! And yet, mercy is still what Israel continues to need.

Is this not the same with us, dear Christian? We have received the opposite of what we deserve. Instead of our destruction, the Lord has treated us as His own children and given us an inheritance! And yet, we’re not there yet… there’s plenty left to be delivered of to remind us that we are still, continuously in need of the Lord’s mercy and grace!
Where, in your life, do you take time to remember the mercy you have received, and the mercy you still need? What is a proper response to each of these?
Suggested songs: ARP32A-B “What Blessedness” or TPH429 “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

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