Wednesday, February 27, 2019

2019.02.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 16:1-17:18

Questions for Littles: Whose inheritances are described in this section (Joshua 16:1-4)? Which tribe, specifically, beginning in Joshua 16:5? Toward what did it go in Joshua 16:6? Where did it end in Joshua 16:7? Toward what did it go in Joshua 16:8? Where did it end? Whose inheritance was this? Where else did they have cities (Joshua 16:9)? What deficiency was there in their inheriting (Joshua 16:10)? Whose inheritance is described, beginning in Joshua 17:1? Who is mentioned first? Why? What did he receive? Who else receive a lot in Joshua 17:2? What problem did Zelophehad have (Joshua 17:3)? Whose descendant was he? Who come to Eleazar and Joshua in Joshua 17:4? Of what do they remind the high priest and the prophet? How many shares total does Manasseh receive (Joshua 17:5)? What had increased their total shares (Joshua 17:6)? What were their borders in Joshua 17:7-9? What tribes did they border (Joshua 17:10)? Where else did they have towns (Joshua 17:11)? What deficiency do we see again in Joshua 17:12-13? What complaint do Ephraim and Manasseh make in Joshua 17:14? On what grounds? What does Joshua say that they should do if these grounds are valid (Joshua 17:15)? How do they respond to that (Joshua 17:16)? And what is Joshua’s counter-response (Joshua 17:17-18)?
In this week’s Old Testament reading, we move from the inheritance of Judah to the inheritance of Joseph. This is a reminder that the Lord’s mercy and generosity are according to His undeserved grace, not according to human convention or tradition. Joseph was the second-youngest of the children. Even Judah was not the oldest. But inheritance of land and role in the Lord’s work are graces that are assigned by the Lord.

Furthermore, Ephraim is the greater of the two, even though he was the younger of the two. This continues a theme in Genesis that followed Seth, Isaac, Jacob, and now Ephraim. Over and over again throughout that book, and now here, God says “My goodness to you is all of grace.”

Yet, we see that God by His grace not only hands us things, but intends to sustain us in what we are called to do. In Joshua 17:16, Ephraim and Manasseh complain that it will be difficult to take the additional land that God is giving them, and the prophet’s response is, “yeah, but you’ll do it anyway.” How many children (and church members) could benefit from such a frank, loving response today?!

Of course, the fact that the Lord does things through us, sustaining us by grace, leaves us unsurprised when we see that sometimes we stumble and fall short in our part. Both Ephraim and Manasseh failed to drive out completely the Canaanites in their territories, and this would end up being a thorn in their side later on. The Lord is not surprised: in His providence, He permits us to see how faulty we are. Not so that we might blame Him (since the fault is entirely ours), but so that we might learn to be grateful for even the smallest successes in our duty (since the success is entirely from Him!).

Of course, this is setting us up to see that our ultimate inheritance must be earned, gained, and fulfilled by someone who does not fall short. The greater Joshua. Even Yeshua Himself. Praise Jesus!
Where have you fallen short? What are you going to do about that? Upon whom must you depend in this? What does that dependence look like? For what must you not even try to work, but only depend upon Him? How should we respond to His grace in either case?
Suggested songs: ARP130 “Lord, from the Depths” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace”

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