Joshua 6:1-27 – Jericho Falls

Read Joshua 6:1-27

remnants of an ancient wall

What an event! This story sticks with me because as a child I learned a song in Sunday School about it. “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho. Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, and the walls came tumbling down.” Is that familiar to you, too? I remember we’d all dance around in a circle, and then fall down like the walls. I think that’s why I love teaching the Bible using songs. Here’s a cute version to watch.

This would be the first battle in the new land the Israelites were poised to conquer. I’m sure there were plenty of people who wondered if Joshua had lost his mind having them march around the city for six days in a row. But on the seventh day, that’s when the miracle would happen.

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Deuteronomy 32:48-52 – Moses’ Destiny

Read Deuteronomy 32:48-52

Moses plays a very big role in the Old Testament and in the history of the Israelite people. I remember thinking when I was a kid going through Confirmation classes that it was such a shame Moses died before entering the promised land. I hadn’t really understood the whole story. Even this time through the story, I dug a little deeper to understand what Moses did, if anything, to end his life before reaching the other side of the Jordan.

In today’s reading, God is predicting Moses’ death. He is allowing Moses to see the promised land from a distance. Bittersweet. But God had told Moses and Aaron that their mistake was going to cost them. The LORD said, “For both of you betrayed me with the Israelites at the waters of Meribah at Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin. You failed to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel there.” God is speaking of Moses and Aaron. The story in question is recalled in Exodus 17 and Numbers 20.

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Deuteronomy 3:1-20 – Here You Go

Read Deuteronomy 3:1-20

If you haven’t already looked at a map of the Palestine region, today may be the time. There is a map in my study Bible that actually shows the wanderings in the wilderness. Moses and the people are now on the east side of the Jordan River involved in the land conquests we’re reading about.

Today we hear of another battle much like that yesterday. God was with the people, and they destroyed another kingdom. The land and possessions of the fallen ones are now the property of the Israelites, just as God had intended, as if God said, “Here you go!” What thoughts go through your mind as you read of these battles and all the brutal killing? For me, I struggle with God sparing one life at the loss of another. If God created us all, how can he wipe out a whole kingdom to open up a way for others? That was some promise! Does God play favorites? How do I make sure I’m one of them?

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Luke 1:46-56 – Magnificat

Read Luke 1:46-56

It’s with a heart like Mary’s we should all praise the Lord. Such a beautiful tribute to her God.  When is the last time you truly found delight like that in your Lord?

This canticle (song) is one of four similar hymns found in the book of Luke. We will encounter the other three in other posts. Many churches over the ages have incorporated this song into their worship services, liturgy, etc., particularly during Advent.

What would your magnificat sound like? Grab a piece of paper, or open a computer file, and start praising God. You’ll notice the form here. Start with praise to God for what he has done for you. Mary was overcome with the fact he chose to use her to make history.

Next, declare God’s greatness above all things. What do you feel inside about God when you think about what he has done. Let those words spill out on paper.

Finally, bring to mind a remembrance of the great things God has done, and there are many examples in the Bible you can use. Which ones speak to you? Feel free to elaborate on his goodness.

Here’s a beautiful example of Mary’s Song. Listen HERE.

If you are having any difficulties in writing your own praise song today, that’s okay. Just spend some extra time in prayer thanking God for all of the blessings in your life, all of the great things he has done over the ages, and don’t forget to thank him for the wonderful future he is preparing for you!

Let’s pray. Lord you are great and worthy to be praised. My heart overflows with adoration and praise. I sing to you a new song and thank you for the voice you have given me. May I use it for your glory and shine with your Spirit. You have fed many with little, you have healed many with afflictions, you have rescued me over and over again. Your power is great and you reign on high, forever. Thank you for loving me. May my words and deeds be pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Zephaniah 2:12-15 – Whose Power?

Read Zephaniah 2:12-15

The prophecy of God’s wrath continues and includes Ethiopia and Assyria.  Ethiopia, also called Cush, was controlled by Egypt at the time. They were the large nation to the south, while Assyria was large on the north. You may recall Assyria was also a strong military force at that time.

For a little back story, Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria, and you can imagine that to be like Tokyo, Moscow, or even  New York City in today’s world. It was known for it’s beauty, technology, with vast irrigation for gardens. That city wall was 60 miles long, 100 feet high, fortified with 1500 towers. All that, reduced to rubble. God’s power, indeed.

These predictions were God’s plan revealed. I’m guessing the people of that time were a bit amazed by Zephaniah’s (God’s) words. It would seem almost an impossibility.

Even today, our culture has become complacent in trusting God’s messages to us, and the tendency is to exist on our own strength. Who are we in the scheme of things? We are God’s prized possession, but we should not become lazy in our faith.

This passage should clearly alert us that having pride in our own goodness shall surely be counterproductive. Our trust should be in God alone. He is in control, and we need to let him be. That can be easier said than done, especially for so many Type A personalities walking around. There must have been many in Bible times as well.

In what ways are you taking the lazy way out in your relationship with God? What can you do to up your game?

Let’s pray. Father, you have always meant business and your power surpasses our understanding. You have promised we can have access to that power when doing your will, and I thank you for that great privilege. Forgive me when I misuse the gifts you have given me, or don’t use them at all. Help me to be mindful of how I can help make a difference in this world. May I lead by your example to change the world. May I walk boldly and proclaim without hesitation that YOU are my God and YOU are the one I follow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.