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Today's Readings: Joshua 16 | Isaiah 22 | Hebrew 1, 2

Reading 1 - Jos 16

"The record continues the listing of inheritances, as Joshua sets out the landmarks that constitute the gift of Yahweh to His people. This chapter sets out the inheritance of Joseph who has two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and consequently stood as recipient of the divine firstborn, receiving a double portion of inheritance. Joseph was elevated to the firstborn instead of Reuben (1Ch 5:1). So Joshua sets out: [1] The general borders: vv 1-4. [2] Ephraim's border: vv 5-9. [3] Ephraim's failure: v 10. The rest of the inheritance of Joseph's sons continues in Jos 17.

"As with the other tribes, so with Ephraim: they failed to fulfil the instruction of their commander: see Jos 16:10. It seems that although Joshua ejected the main power of the Canaanites, they returned to their former cities, whilst he completed the campaign elsewhere. This required that each tribe make its own effort to obtain its individual holding, although the land as a whole had been won for Israel. In like manner Christ has opened the way to life eternal, but we each must conquer our individual inheritance" (GE Mansfield).

Reading 2 - Isa 22:7-11

"And you looked in that day to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest; you saw that the City of David had many breaches in its defenses; you stored up water in the Lower Pool. You counted the buildings in Jerusalem and tore down houses to strengthen the wall. You built a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the Old Pool..." --

Now here comes the key point, the "punch line", so to speak... --

"...but you did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago" (Isa 22:7-11).

At the threatened attack of the Assyrian enemy, Judah -- and Jerusalem -- began to strengthen every conceivable defense, and take every conceivable precaution. They looked to their weapons, and their walls, and their water. They looked to everything they possible could... EXCEPT the God of Israel!

At other times, the Israelites trusted in altars (Isa 17:7), in defensed cities (Isa 37:26), in Egypt (Isa 31:1), or in Syria (2Ch 16:7-9).

But they did not, or could not, or refused to, trust in the God of Israel (Isa 8:17; Jer 33:2,3; Mic 7:7).

"Men cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful. But no one says, 'Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, who teaches more to us than to the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the air?' " (Job 35:9-11).

In the midst of all the preparations for the defense of the ultimately defenseless city of Jerusalem; in the midst of the crying and hand-wringing and desperate, foolish planning; in the midst of the silly, midnight-hour frenzy to "eat and drink... for tomorrow we die!" (v 13), it remained for two men -- the king and the prophet -- to ask the nation the only question it had not asked itself: "Where is our God?"

Reading 3 - Heb 1:8

"But about the Son he says, 'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom' " (Heb 1:8).

Jesus comes in the glory of the Father (Mat 16:27), and he sits on a throne appointed him by the Father (Psa 110:1), which therefore could be called God's throne. Also, one who acts on behalf of God may be called "God", as a title: this is true of:

  • angels: Gen 16:13; 18:13; Exo 23:20,21; Hos 12:3,5;

  • and men: Exo 22:28; Exo 22:6 and 21:8 (elohim); Psa 138:1; Joh 10:34 (quoting Psa 82:1,6).


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