Learning From Joshua (Joshua 1-4)

Friday, September 23

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By Jill McClain

With the death of Moses, Joshua becomes the new leader of God’s chosen people.  The book of Joshua records Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land.  God quickly reminds Joshua that it is imperative that Joshua and his people remain faithful and then they will succeed in finally entering Canaan.  “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8)  God has lovingly given us a book that contains instructions for how we are to live our lives.  However, it is up to each of us to thoroughly study his word day and night, so that we will know how to do just as it says, not veering to the right or left of what has been written.  Hopefully, these devotions have encouraged you to read your Bible daily. Meditating on the Bible is an important first step, but that must be followed up with obedience to all that is taught in God’s word.

Leading God’s people out of the desert that they had been wandering in for 40 years was a challenging assignment.  Yet, Joshua bravely and with calm determination stepped up and became the strong leader that the Israelites needed.  Joshua was able to act courageously because for years he had witnessed God’s faithfulness and he knew that God would always be with him.  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)  What is something that you are facing that requires you to be strong and courageous?

In chapter two Rahab stepped out in faith to help the spies.  Rahab had heard how God had led his people out of Egypt and through the Red Sea.  She had heard stories of God’s protection of his people, and she knew that he must be the one, true God.  Because of Rahab’s faith, God was able to use her, a prostitute from Jericho, to help keep his people safe.  Think of a way that God may be calling you to step out in faith?

In the following chapter, God caused the Jordan River to stop flowing so that his people could walk across. He used this miracle to demonstrate once again that he was with his people.  Then in chapter four the people created a memorial from stones to serve as a reminder of God’s always present help.

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The Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32-34)

Thursday, September 22

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By Jill McClain

Moses lived an incredible life, but at 120 years of age he realizes that he is about to die. He names Joshua as the next leader of the Israelites.  Then Moses teaches the people a song.  The song reminds the people of their history with God. It tells of the people’s repeated failures to follow and trust God, despite his repeated faithfulness and protection.  The song tells again of the punishment that awaits people that do not follow the commands of their Heavenly Father, but it also tells of God’s grace when his people repent and return to him.

In Deuteronomy 32:48-52, Moses is told to climb Mount Nebo where he will be able to see the Promised Land that God is giving to his chosen people.  However, God reminds Moses that he is not going to enter Canaan because of a sin that he committed earlier.  God loved Moses throughout his entire life, even in the midst of his sins.  God never left Moses side, but there were still consequences for his sin.  The same is true for us.  God has offered us grace and forgiveness when we fail and sometimes when we make poor choices we are able to avoid all possible negative effects.  However, other times, like Moses, we may have to face the negative consequences of our errors, but God still loves us and will always be with us through it all.

In chapter 33 Moses blesses each of the tribes of Israel.  Then in chapter 34 Moses climbs Mount Nebo and after seeing the Promised Land he dies.  “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt – to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land.  For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12)

 

The Choice is Yours (Deuteronomy 30 & 31)

 

Wednesday, September 21

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By Jill McClain

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”  Deuteronomy 30:19-20

We have been given a simple choice.  Do we choose blessings and life or curses and death?  There are no other alternatives.  It seems like the choice should be an easy one, set up with a clear best answer.  And yet so often we lose our way, and make the wrong choice.  We may suggest that obedience is just too hard or that we cannot know how to obey because we do not understand what is expected of us.  However, that is certainly not the case.  God’s laws are clearly given to us in the Bible.  “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach…No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” (Deuteronomy 30:11 & 14)  God does not force us to act in accordance with his commands, because he wants us to freely choose to love and obey him.  He wants us to have a relationship with him that will in turn lead to a desire to please him.  In verse 16 we are commanded to not only obey, but also to love our Heavenly Father. “For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws.” (Deuteronomy 30:6) We offer our obedience to God, as an act of love.

The choice is yours to make.  Will you choose blessings and life or curses and death? It is a choice that everyone must make for themselves.  Furthermore, it is the most important choice you will ever make, with life or death consequences.  The good news is, if you have made the wrong choice in the past, God is abounding in mercy.  It is not too late, to start over and make the correct choice. What about you?  Have you chose blessings and life or curses and death?

Consequences (Deuteronomy 28 & 29)

Tuesday, September 20

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By Jill McClain

Moses had previously told the people all of God’s directions and commands.  He gave them very detailed instructions about what type of behavior God expects.  Next Moses lays out the consequences for either following or disobeying God’s rules.  God has created all humans with a free will.  We are free to walk in his ways or to defy his directions.  However, there are definite consequences for the choices we make.  Chapter 28 first lists a series of blessings that the people will receive if they observe God’s decrees.  There are blessings for individuals and the entire nation.  Crops, livestock and children will all flourish, enemies will be defeated, and the people will be granted “abundant prosperity” (verse 11).  Conversely, there is also a list of curses that the people will face if they are disobedient.  Diseases, plagues, famine, and the loss of their land are just some of the curses listed.  Ultimately, God’s people are always free to choose if they will follow in his ways, but there will be consequences for their actions.

Forty years earlier God and his people had made a covenant.  God promised to bless the Israelites, and they in turn, vowed to love and obey God.  In Chapter 29, Moses once again urges the people to honor their commitment.  The chapter concludes with verse 29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”  There are some secrets that God has not revealed to us.  However, he has shared with us all that we need to know to have eternal life. It is up to us to diligently study the Bible and apply all we have learned to our own lives.

 

How to Please God, The Promise Keeper (Deuteronomy 24-26)

Monday, September 19

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By Jill McClain

Moses gives more instructions to the Israelites about what they should and should not do to please God in Deuteronomy 24-25. He gives some clear directives about what should be done under some specific situations.  Then in chapter 26 the people are instructed to give a special tithe to the Lord when they enter into the Promised Land.  

Following many chapters of instructions and laws, the people are explicitly reminded that they must follow all of these laws.

 “The LORD your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.  You have declared this day that the LORD is your God and that you will walk in his ways, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws, and that you will obey him.  And the LORD has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands.  He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised.”  (Deuteronomy 2:16-19)  

When God had initially led his people out of Egypt he had set up a special covenant with them.  There were vows taken by both God and his people that must be kept by both sides.  The LORD promised that if he was their God and they walked in his ways, then they would be his special people. Now in this passage the next generation of God’s chosen people were again repeating the promises of their covenant relationship before they entered the Promised Land.  Humans are extremely forgetful. By nature we often forget about the important commitments that we make to others, even important commitments to those we care deeply about.  On occasion, married couples will choose to renew their marriage vows.  The renewal of vows by a married couple do not make them “more married”, but it can serve as an important reminder of their commitment to each other.  In Deuteronomy 26 God’s chosen people are remembering the special commitment they have to God.  God is a promise keeper.  He will always be true to the promises he has made.  Are you keeping your commitments to God?  Are you following his decrees and walking in his ways?

 

Be Part of the Solution (Deuteronomy 20-23)

Sunday, September 18 

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By Jill McClain

Deuteronomy continues with more instructions about how God’s people should live.  In chapter 20 regulations are given about how the Israelites were to prepare for and go to war.  Deuteronomy 20:3-4 says, “…Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies.  Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them.  For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”  How encouraging for us today, to know that the same God that delivered the Israelites from their enemies in battle will also be with us as we fight evil.  What battles are you facing?  Are you trying to stand up for what is right?  Are you fighting for righteousness at a worldly school campus?  Or are you struggling to lead someone to Christ?  Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will fight with you.  Be brave and courageous for you are fighting on the side that will ultimately be victorious!

Chapters 21-23 give additional guidelines about how society should function in a variety of different situations.   Deuteronomy 22:1-4 clearly instructs us to be concerned with and get involved in the problems of those around us.  It is so easy in our day and age, to look the other way and not get involved in the lives of those around us.  However, these verses repeatedly tell us to help others and not ignore our brother’s problems. “If you see your brother’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to him.” (Deuteronomy 22:1) The following verses go on to state that if the owner of the livestock lives too far away, or you do not know who the owner is, you are to take care of the animals until the owner can be reunited with the animals.  Then two more times the people are instructed to not ignore such problems, but to be part of the solution for those facing such troubles.  Your neighbor may not be losing any livestock today; but what other hardships are you aware of?  Fight the urge to live only for yourself, and look instead for others that could benefit from your assistance.  Is there someone you can help today?

 

Do Not Turn Away from GOD (Deuteronomy 16 – 18)

Saturday, September 17
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By Joseph Partain
I hope you are enjoying reading Deuteronomy. There are many great chapters left, especially ch.30 where a choice will be set before you. In today’s chapters God recalls to the people different feasts to observe and of course the Passover. God is telling his people to get together and celebrate what he had done in the past and what he will do for them in the future. It is sad that God has to remind us to worship him, we don’t have to remind him to bring out the sun in the morning or the moon and stars at night or any number of blessings he is faithful to provide every day. If only we were as faithful to God as he has been to us.
The next chapters deal with making sure we are following God’s word and as ch 17 v 11 states do not turn to the right or to the left. In this instance I’m afraid our country has left the road entirely. What God considered as bad is turned to good and this can not be. We need to make sure that regardless of our feelings we need to hold firm to what God says about any situation. He tells Joshua in later chapters to be strong and courageous and that God will be with him. Are we strong and courageous enough to stand with God and his word. There are blessings if we do as we have read.
God tells us in v 4 of Ch 18 to give the firstfruits to him. Thank you for giving your time and attention to reading God’s word. Keep up with spending time daily with God. In Gal 6 the word tells us not to grow weary in doing good for we will reap a harvest. Keep growing.