Category Archives: 06 – Joshua

Needing Assurances


Daily Bible Reading – Judges 6,7; Psalm 52; 1 Corinthians 14

Today’s Key Passage – Judges 6:11-40

In today’s key passage, we read the story of Gideon, a simple farmer who was called by God to free the Israelites from the oppression of Midian.  One day, while Gideon was threshing wheat, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him that he was going to save Israel from the Midianites.  Gideon, being a farmer from a relatively weak clan, had serious doubts that he would be able to save Israel, but the Lord insisted that he was the right person for the job.  Despite God’s confidence in him, he still needed assurances from God and asked for a sign.  Gideon asked God to wait for him while he secured an offering to set before the Lord.  When Gideon returned with the offering, the angel touched the tip of his staff to the meat and the unleavened bread, and fire immediately flared from the rock it was sitting on and consumed the offering.  Gideon asked God for a sign, and God delivered!

Now, you would think that after seeing this miracle, Gideon would be satisfied that he really was the right man for the job of saving Israel.  However, once again, Gideon needed more assurances from God, and he asked for another sign.   In fact, three times Gideon asked God for assurances, and all three times God answered him in a big way.  Gideon would eventually believe what God was telling him, and he would eventually go to battle against the Midianites.  He would ultimately win the battle without ever lifting a sword against the Midianites and he would free the Israelites (for a time), but not before God did something truly amazing.  See, God knew that Gideon was still afraid.  He knew that Gideon was worried about this battle.  He was worried about whether he would be good enough to win and whether his people would be good enough to win.  God, however, knew that He was good enough to win any battle, so He made a little point to Gideon.  Gideon was ready to attack with 32,000 men, but God told him that he had too many soldiers.  God reduced the number of soldiers Gideon had to take into battle from 32,000 to 300, yet the 300 were still more than enough to triumph over the Midianites.

Reading this story today, I thought a lot about all of the people who need assurances in our present age.  There are so many who question whether God exists and need assurances of His existence.  There are others who feel so lost in the world and need assurances of His presence.  Some feel like they have heard a calling from God to action, but need assurances that the calling is legitimate, while others, though they have been saved and have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, still need assurances that they will really get to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  From time to time, all of us, no matter what our circumstances, still need assurances.  Fortunately, God’s assurances are all around us.  We find His assurances in the beauty and scope of His creation.  We find His assurances in the countless illustrations we find in His Word.  We find His assurances in the small voice we hear while we commune with God through prayer.  God’s assurances are literally everywhere.  Like Gideon, though, we each must decide for ourselves what we will choose to do with these assurances.  Will we accept God’s promises for us and have the faith and trust we need to move forward in our walk with Him, or will we continue to ask for even more assurances from Him as we make excuses to stand still.  My prayer today is that each of you reading this, regardless what you are walking through in your life will find the assurances you need from Him.  His assurances are there waiting for you.  All you have to do is look for them and hold onto them as you step out in faith.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Assuming the Worst


Daily Bible Reading – Joshua 21,22; Psalm 47; 1 Corinthians 10

Today’s Key Passage – Joshua 22:10-34

Is the glass half full or half empty?  Do you look for the best in people or the worst?  Do you imagine the best-case scenario, or the worst-case scenario?  Do you assume the best, or do you assume the worst?  In life, there are two types of people: optimists and pessimists.  When optimists look at a situation, they always assume the best.  When pessimists look at a situation, they always assume the worst.  In today’s key passage, we see two examples of assuming the worst.

Before entering the Promised Land, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh were all given land on the East side of the Jordan River.  Upon giving these two and a half tribes of Israel their land early, they had to promise to help the rest of Israel take over the promised land on the West side of the Jordan, which they did.  After all of the fighting was over on the West side of the Jordan, these two and a half tribes went back to their land on the East side.  On their way back, they decided to build for themselves an altar near the Jordan.  When the other tribes of Israel heard about this, they immediately assumed the worst.  They assumed that the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had decided to turn away from God, so they assembled an army to go to war against their brothers.  When they met up with the two and a half tribes, before going to war with them they asked them why they would turn from the Lord in this way.  At that point, Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh explained their actions.  They explained that they did not build the altar to offer sacrifices.  They insisted that they instead built the altar as a monument of their solidarity with the tribes on the Western sided of the Jordan.  They were worried that in generations to come, future Israelites on the West side of the Jordan would not recognize the tribes on the East side of the Jordan as brothers.  They assumed the worst-case scenario for the future, and based on that they tried to take action now to prevent that worst case from happening.

Like the tribes of Israel, we can all choose to life our lives assuming the best or assuming the worst.  We can worry, fret, and imagine all of the worst possible things that could happen, or we can have faith, trust in God, and imagine the best possible things that could happen.  It is important to remember that when we assume the worst, we are living in the flesh.  When we assume the worst, we are questioning God’s goodness and we are questioning whether He will take care of us.  When we assume the best, on the other hand, we are living in the spirit.  We are putting all of our faith and trust in God to do what He has said he will do, and to be who He said He is.  We can spend our lives always assuming the worst and having a negative outlook, but what will that bring us other than worry, strife, and misery?  God is looking for us to step out in faith.  He is looking for us to trust Him.  He is looking for us to assume the best.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Keeping Promises


Daily Bible Reading – Joshua 12-14; 1 Corinthians 7

Today’s Key Passage – Joshua 14:6-15

Have you ever noticed that in today’s world when someone keeps a promise it is a pretty big deal?  You read stories in newspapers, magazines, or on the Internet about a person keeping a promise, and it is written as if keeping the promise was an amazing thing.  In our society today, the fact is that most people do not expect others to keep their promises.  Politicians make promises to get elected that they do not intend to actually keep.  People promise they will show up for an event and then cancel at the last minute or fail to show up at all.  Couples make a promise in marriage and then quickly divorce at the first sign of trouble.  It seems that in our present age, most people do not take promises very seriously.  Because of this, most of us have learned through experience to guard our hearts to a certain degree.  There are times when we all almost expect someone else to fail us.  There are times when we expect others not to keep their promises.  The sad thing is that this distrust for humans sometimes spills over onto God.  Since we expect others not to keep their promises, it is easy for us to expect God not to keep His promises either.  The Bible, however, provides us with plenty of evidence that God keeps His promises, and today’s key passage is a great example.

When the Israelites were first led out of Egypt, Moses sent spies into the Promised Land to gauge the strength of the opposing forces.  Of the twelve spies that were sent, only two of them had a favorable report – Joshua and Caleb.  While all of the other spies believed that the forces were too strong to oppose, Joshua and Caleb believed that God would be with them and would help them conquer the land.  (To read more about this event in a related post entitled When Fear Overshadows FaithCLICK HERE)  Of course, we all know that at the time the Israelites chose not to listen to Joshua and Caleb and spent the next 40 years wandering around the desert.  Because of his faith in God, however, God made a promise to Caleb.  In Numbers 14:24, God said, “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.”  Now we fast-forward to a time 45 years later, after the Israelites conquered the promised land and were getting ready to divide the land amongst themselves.   In today’s key passage, we find out that the promise God made 45 years earlier was fulfilled.  In Joshua 14:13-14, we read, “Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.”  Obviously, God does not put a time limit on His promises.

God is completely faithful to us, and He keeps all of His promises.  Even if you have been hurt by others, God will never hurt you or forsake you.  Even if others have lied to you, God will never lie to you.  God made us many promises in the Bible, including the gift of salvation, and we can trust that His word is good.  One of those promises is in Ephesians 1:11-14 where we read, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”  Believe in God’s promises for you, and never doubt that He will be faithful to His word.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Victory Takes Time


Daily Bible Reading – Joshua 9-11; 1 Corinthians 6

Today’s Key Passage – Joshua 11:16-23

Today we read Joshua chapters 9, 10, and 11.  For the last couple of weeks, it seems that all of our readings have been leading up to these three chapters.  In these chapters, Joshua outlines all the rest of the battles that the Israelites won to take over the Promised Land.  We knew this was coming.  Moses talked about it.  Joshua talked about it.  While we read Deuteronomy, we knew that the entire time the Israelites were perched right on the edge of the Promised Land.  Then we got into Joshua, and in the last couple of days, we have seen key victories in Jericho and Ai.  Now, in these three chapters, the pace really picks up.  In a single reading, we get to see the Israelites take over the rest of Canaan.  Our key passage today provides us with a nice summary of the battles, and throughout the reading we are constantly reminded of one important point – every victory that the Israelites experienced was because God was on their side.  In addition, there is another important point that is not really spelled out in the text.  While it seems like the battles were won quickly and that the Israelites conquered the entire land over the course of a couple of days, a little research reveals that this is not the case.  Even though it only takes a couple of pages for Joshua to tell us about all of the victories the Israelites were given in the Promised Land, these victories that seem to come so quickly actually took about seven years or so.  You see, sometimes victory takes time.

Do you ever feel like you are not progressing in Christ fast enough?  Do you ever wonder why you are not further along?  Do you ever wonder why you still struggle with certain things?  When we first give our lives to Christ, sometimes we think “the change” will happen for us instantaneously.  We wrongly believe that we will wake up the next day and we will never sin again.  We think that we will never have another evil thought or desire.  Then when we stumble – when we do have an evil thought or desire or when we do sin – we feel discouraged.  We wonder why we are not past all of this.  We want a complete victory over sin.  We want a complete victory over temptation.  We want to find ourselves living in the spirit 100% of the time and never slipping back into living in the flesh.  Basically, we want the quick fix.  We want the immediate victory.  We must realize, however, that victory is a process, and it takes time.  Never underestimate the changes God has made in you, and never discount those changes just because you are not perfect.  Sometimes we think of our walk with Christ as a journey with a finish line.  We believe that at some point, we will finally “get there” and we will no longer have to struggle with anything.  The fact is, though, there is no finish line – at least not here on earth.  While we are living here in our temporary home, we will constantly be evolving.  God will continually make changes in us and make us better.  Do not rush God and do not allow yourself to get discouraged.  Instead, praise God for the victories He has given you, pray expectantly for the victories He will hand you in the future, and always remember that complete victory takes time.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Facing a Setback


Daily Bible Reading – Joshua 7,8; Psalm 69; 1 Corinthians 5

Today’s Key Passage – Joshua 7:1-12

Yesterday we read about the Israelites battle with Jericho in which God handed them a victory.  In today’s key passage, we see a slightly different outcome.  After defeating the army at Jericho, the Israelites turned their sites on Ai.  As he did with Jericho, Joshua sent spies to see what Ai was like and to get a report about the opposing forces.  The spies returned and told Joshua that there were only a few fighting men in Ai and that the Israelites would not have to use all of their forces, so Joshua decided to only send about three thousand men to take Ai.  But according to Joshua 7:4-5, the Israelites “were routed by the men of Ai, who killed about thirty-six of them.”  So, what was different this time?  Why were the Israelites able to defeat the mighty forces at Jericho but were routed by the small forces in Ai?

There were two main problems that caused the Israelites to face a setback in Ai.  First, there was the sin of Achan.  When Israel was going to take Jericho, God demanded that all of the “devoted things” there (all of the plunder from Jericho) was to be destroyed.  God demanded that none of the items found in Jericho be kept by any of the Israelites, but Achan went against God’s directions and decided to keep a robe, two hundred shekels of silver, and fifty shekels of gold.  By Achan’s own admission in 7:21, he “coveted them and took them”.  Sometimes people tend to rationalize that a single sin is not all that damaging, but here we see that this single sin was disastrous.  Achan’s sin caused God’s anger to burn against the Israelites.  Because of this single sin, God was not with the Israelites when they attacked Ai.

The second problem was that Joshua decided to attack Ai without first consulting God.  The only reason the Israelites defeated Jericho was because God was on their side, but when they faced a much less intimidating opponent in Ai, Joshua relied on the strength of his own army.  Does this sound familiar to you?  For most people, we are quick to consult God when we are facing a difficult task.  We pray for His help and we pray for His protection.  When it comes to a relatively easy task, though, we have a tendency to try to go it alone.  We try to conquer the easy tasks by our own strength, almost as if we are trying to “save” the strength of God for more important issues.  God, however, wants us to seek Him in everything we do.  He wants us to seek His help and protection no matter how easy the task may seem.  Since Joshua did not do this, God was not with the Israelites when they attacked Ai.

Finally, we can learn a lot about dealing with setbacks by Joshua’s reaction to losing the battle in Ai.  After hearing about the defeat, “Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the LORD, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads.”  (Joshua 7:6)  (In those days, tearing of clothes and sprinkling dust on your head were signs of mourning.)  When we face a setback, we should immediately turn back to God.  We should seek him to find out what happened.  We should search ourselves to see if we have any hidden sin that might be the culprit, and if we find anything sinful within us, we should destroy it completely.  Then we should wait patiently for God to provide us with direction on what to do next.  This is what Joshua did following his setback in Ai, and it is what we should do when we face a setback.  Do not allow a setback to be your undoing.  When you fall, get back up again and seek God’s council.  He will help you get up, and He will help you move forward.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

The Defeated Enemy


Daily Bible Reading – Joshua 3-6; 1 Corinthians 4

Today’s Key Passage – Joshua 6:2-21

After 40 years of wandering around the desert, the Israelites finally crossed the Jordan and made it to the Promised Land.  They knew, however, that this was not the end of the story.  They knew that they were going to have to battle against the Amorites and the Canaanites (the two major groups living in Canaan at the time) to take over the land that God promised them.  The first city they would attack would be Jericho.  At the time, Jericho was to the Canaanites what Washington D.C. is for Americans today.  It represented all of the military power and strength of the Canaanites, and was heavily fortified.  At this point, you may be wondering why they would choose to fight the first battle against such a heavily fortified city, but the answer is really pretty simple.  The Israelites did not choose this battle – God did.  God chose to send the Israelites up against Jericho right off the bat and the Israelites merely followed His leading.  God knew that conquering the city of Jericho would instill fear in all of the other Canaanites, so He chose to show His power there first.

Joshua was preparing for the battle in Jericho.  He saw how fortified the city was, and he knew how powerful the army was, but Joshua was not afraid.  He knew that God – the almighty powerful God who created all of the heavens and the earth – was with him.  In Joshua 6:2 we read, “Then the LORD said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.'”  Please notice here that God did not say, “I will deliver”.  He said, “I have delivered”.  The battle had not even begun, but God was already telling Joshua that he had won.  Joshua was going into battle knowing that God had already defeated his enemy!

Imagine what it would be like to know that the enemy you were about to battle was already defeated.  Imagine knowing that no matter what you did or what your enemy did, your enemy was still going to lose.  Imagine knowing that in the end, you were going to be victorious no matter what.  How would that make you feel?  What kind of confidence would you have going into that battle?  You would feel invincible, right?  You can stop imagining now because I have some good news for you.  The reality is, you do not have to imagine what it feels like to know that your enemy has already been defeated because your enemy HAS already been defeated.  Your enemy and mine was defeated the day Jesus Christ died on the cross.  See, when that event took place, something amazing happened.  God demonstrated His power over death, and He demonstrated His power over Satan.  On that day, Satan’s destruction became a foregone conclusion.  On that day, God stopped saying “I will” and started saying “I have”.

No matter what you might be facing today, you can rest in the knowledge that your enemy has already been defeated.  Sometimes things can look pretty bleak.  We look around this world and we see so much evil.  We see evil people prospering and we see good people being persecuted, and it can be easy to have a negative outlook and disposition.  But the fact is, though evil might reign in the world for a time, that time will come to an end.  The ultimate battle of good versus evil has already been decided, and if you are a follower of Christ, you are on the winning side.  No matter what you do or what your enemy does, you cannot lose.  Your eternal salvation is secure by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  The next time you are going to battle against evil, do not be afraid.  The next time the temptation to sin is so strong you think you cannot hold out, stand firm.  Feel secure in the confidence that comes from knowing that you are battling a defeated enemy.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

The People God Uses


Daily Bible Reading – Joshua 1,2; Psalm 37; 1 Corinthians 3

Today’s Key Passage – Joshua 2:1-24

I heard a story the other day about two Christians who were talking about sharing their faith with others.  The first man asked the second about the last time he shared his faith with another person.  With a sigh and a slight chuckle, the second man said, “I don’t really know enough to share my faith with others.  I might say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing.  I leave all of that to the “professional believers” (meaning pastors, ministers, missionaries, etc.).”  When I heard this story, it really got me thinking – I believe there are many Christians that feel this way.  They feel they do not know enough.  They feel they are not strong enough.  They believe God is only looking to use “professional believers” to advance His Kingdom.  Of course, countless times in the Bible we find out that is simply not true.  For example, none of the twelve disciples Jesus chose was a “professional believer”.  Moses was not a “professional believer”.  In fact, many times in the Bible we find that God uses the people we might least expect to advance His kingdom.  Today’s key passage is a good example of God using an “amateur” to do His work.

Joshua had just taken over leading the Israelites following Moses death, and he decided to send two spies into Canaan to get some intelligence on what he would be facing when they entered the Promised Land.  When the two spies arrived, they stayed at the home of a prostitute named Rahab.  Is it just me, or does this seem like an unlikely choice?  Why would two Israelite spies, themselves children of God, choose to stay with a prostitute?  Knowing what we know about the Israelites at this time, you would think they would have avoided prostitutes, which leads us to the logical conclusion that God must have led them to Rahab’s house.  God knew that Rahab was willing to help and could fill a role that God needed, because she had faith in Him.  She was certainly not a “professional believer”, but instead of focusing on her past, God knew that her faith would make her useful.  In addition, she really did not know a lot about God.  She had heard stories about Him and knew about His almighty power, but that was about it.  Even given her limited knowledge of God, she still stepped out in faith, hid the spies, and protected them from the soldiers who were looking for them.  She later told the spies that she helped them because she knew that their God was the one true God.  Because of her faith, we will find out later in Joshua 6:22-23 that she was spared when the Israelites took the city.

Have you ever shied away from sharing your faith because you are not a “professional believer”?  Have you ever wondered if you “know enough” about God to really witness to others?  Have you ever thought that if you did step out in faith that it might not go well?  If so, I pray that you will read and meditate on the story of Rahab.  God does not just want to use pastors, ministers, and missionaries to do His work on Earth.  He does not want the “amateurs” to just sit on the sidelines cheering on the “professionals”.  He wants you to get in the game!  He wants you to share your faith.  He wants you to share His Word.  He wants you to reach other people for Him.  He wants to use you to advance His Kingdom.  It does not matter what you have done in your past.  It does not matter if you are an “unlikely” candidate.  It does not matter how much you know, or how much you have studied.  If you have faith in God, he can use you.  All you have to do is take a step.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Needing Assurances


Daily Bible Reading – Judges 6,7; Psalm 52; 1 Corinthians 14

Today’s Key Passage – Judges 6:11-40

In today’s key passage, we read the story of Gideon, a simple farmer who was called by God to free the Israelites from the oppression of Midian.  One day, while Gideon was threshing wheat, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him that he was going to save Israel from the Midianites.  Gideon, being a farmer from a relatively weak clan, had serious doubts that he would be able to save Israel, but the Lord insisted that he was the right person for the job.  Despite God’s confidence in him, he still needed assurances from God and asked for a sign.  Gideon asked God to wait for him while he secured an offering to set before the Lord.  When Gideon returned with the offering, the angel touched the tip of his staff to the meat and the unleavened bread, and fire immediately flared from the rock it was sitting on and consumed the offering.  Gideon asked God for a sign, and God delivered!

Now, you would think that after seeing this miracle, Gideon would be satisfied that he really was the right man for the job of saving Israel.  However, once again, Gideon needed more assurances from God, and he asked for another sign.   In fact, three times Gideon asked God for assurances, and all three times God answered him in a big way.  Gideon would eventually believe what God was telling him, and he would eventually go to battle against the Midianites.  He would ultimately win the battle without ever lifting a sword against the Midianites and he would free the Israelites (for a time), but not before God did something truly amazing.  See, God knew that Gideon was still afraid.  He knew that Gideon was worried about this battle.  He was worried about whether he would be good enough to win and whether his people would be good enough to win.  God, however, knew that He was good enough to win any battle, so He made a little point to Gideon.  Gideon was ready to attack with 32,000 men, but God told him that he had too many soldiers.  God reduced the number of soldiers Gideon had to take into battle from 32,000 to 300, yet the 300 were still more than enough to triumph over the Midianites.

Reading this story today, I thought a lot about all of the people who need assurances in our present age.  There are so many who question whether God exists and need assurances of His existence.  There are others who feel so lost in the world and need assurances of His presence.  Some feel like they have heard a calling from God to action, but need assurances that the calling is legitimate, while others, though they have been saved and have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, still need assurances that they will really get to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  From time to time, all of us, no matter what our circumstances, still need assurances.  Fortunately, God’s assurances are all around us.  We find His assurances in the beauty and scope of His creation.  We find His assurances in the countless illustrations we find in His Word.  We find His assurances in the small voice we hear while we commune with God through prayer.  God’s assurances are literally everywhere.  Like Gideon, though, we each must decide for ourselves what we will choose to do with these assurances.  Will we accept God’s promises for us and have the faith and trust we need to move forward in our walk with Him, or will we continue to ask for even more assurances from Him as we make excuses to stand still.  My prayer today is that each of you reading this, regardless what you are walking through in your life will find the assurances you need from Him.  His assurances are there waiting for you.  All you have to do is look for them and hold onto them as you step out in faith.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

Assuming the Worst


Daily Bible Reading – Joshua 21,22; Psalm 47; 1 Corinthians 10

Today’s Key Passage – Joshua 22:10-34

Is the glass half full or half empty?  Do you look for the best in people or the worst?  Do you imagine the best-case scenario, or the worst-case scenario?  Do you assume the best, or do you assume the worst?  In life, there are two types of people: optimists and pessimists.  When optimists look at a situation, they always assume the best.  When pessimists look at a situation, they always assume the worst.  In today’s key passage, we see two examples of assuming the worst.

Before entering the Promised Land, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh were all given land on the East side of the Jordan River.  Upon giving these two and a half tribes of Israel their land early, they had to promise to help the rest of Israel take over the promised land on the West side of the Jordan, which they did.  After all of the fighting was over on the West side of the Jordan, these two and a half tribes went back to their land on the East side.  On their way back, they decided to build for themselves an altar near the Jordan.  When the other tribes of Israel heard about this, they immediately assumed the worst.  They assumed that the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had decided to turn away from God, so they assembled an army to go to war against their brothers.  When they met up with the two and a half tribes, before going to war with them they asked them why they would turn from the Lord in this way.  At that point, Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh explained their actions.  They explained that they did not build the altar to offer sacrifices.  They insisted that they instead built the altar as a monument of their solidarity with the tribes on the Western sided of the Jordan.  They were worried that in generations to come, future Israelites on the West side of the Jordan would not recognize the tribes on the East side of the Jordan as brothers.  They assumed the worst-case scenario for the future, and based on that they tried to take action now to prevent that worst case from happening.

Like the tribes of Israel, we can all choose to life our lives assuming the best or assuming the worst.  We can worry, fret, and imagine all of the worst possible things that could happen, or we can have faith, trust in God, and imagine the best possible things that could happen.  It is important to remember that when we assume the worst, we are living in the flesh.  When we assume the worst, we are questioning God’s goodness and we are questioning whether He will take care of us.  When we assume the best, on the other hand, we are living in the spirit.  We are putting all of our faith and trust in God to do what He has said he will do, and to be who He said He is.  We can spend our lives always assuming the worst and having a negative outlook, but what will that bring us other than worry, strife, and misery?  God is looking for us to step out in faith.  He is looking for us to trust Him.  He is looking for us to assume the best.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Keeping Promises


Daily Bible Reading – Joshua 12-14; 1 Corinthians 7

Today’s Key Passage – Joshua 14:6-15

Have you ever noticed that in today’s world when someone keeps a promise it is a pretty big deal?  You read stories in newspapers, magazines, or on the Internet about a person keeping a promise, and it is written as if keeping the promise was an amazing thing.  In our society today, the fact is that most people do not expect others to keep their promises.  Politicians make promises to get elected that they do not intend to actually keep.  People promise they will show up for an event and then cancel at the last minute or fail to show up at all.  Couples make a promise in marriage and then quickly divorce at the first sign of trouble.  It seems that in our present age, most people do not take promises very seriously.  Because of this, most of us have learned through experience to guard our hearts to a certain degree.  There are times when we all almost expect someone else to fail us.  There are times when we expect others not to keep their promises.  The sad thing is that this distrust for humans sometimes spills over onto God.  Since we expect others not to keep their promises, it is easy for us to expect God not to keep His promises either.  The Bible, however, provides us with plenty of evidence that God keeps His promises, and today’s key passage is a great example.

When the Israelites were first led out of Egypt, Moses sent spies into the Promised Land to gauge the strength of the opposing forces.  Of the twelve spies that were sent, only two of them had a favorable report – Joshua and Caleb.  While all of the other spies believed that the forces were too strong to oppose, Joshua and Caleb believed that God would be with them and would help them conquer the land.  (To read more about this event in a related post entitled When Fear Overshadows FaithCLICK HERE)  Of course, we all know that at the time the Israelites chose not to listen to Joshua and Caleb and spent the next 40 years wandering around the desert.  Because of his faith in God, however, God made a promise to Caleb.  In Numbers 14:24, God said, “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.”  Now we fast-forward to a time 45 years later, after the Israelites conquered the promised land and were getting ready to divide the land amongst themselves.   In today’s key passage, we find out that the promise God made 45 years earlier was fulfilled.  In Joshua 14:13-14, we read, “Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.”  Obviously, God does not put a time limit on His promises.

God is completely faithful to us, and He keeps all of His promises.  Even if you have been hurt by others, God will never hurt you or forsake you.  Even if others have lied to you, God will never lie to you.  God made us many promises in the Bible, including the gift of salvation, and we can trust that His word is good.  One of those promises is in Ephesians 1:11-14 where we read, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”  Believe in God’s promises for you, and never doubt that He will be faithful to His word.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

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