Archive for category Family
As Joshua turns to Judges we about the death of Joshua and the High Priest Eleazar. The book of Judges begins by telling us about the failures of the tribes to complete the conquest of their lands given to them by God.
When Joshua addresses Israel for the final time in his life, he reminds them of what God did for them and then challenges them to live up to that calling. It reminds me of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, where the first three chapters present all that God has done for Christians and the last three urge godly living because of the grace God has bestowed.
In Joshua’s final words we find one of the favorite verses to put on household decorations “But as for me, and my household, we will serve the LORD”.
I find the most interesting part of his final words to be the exhortation to put away the idols that their forefathers worshiped in Egypt and before. It tells us that in spite of the calling of Israel by God they never put away the worldly influence of idolatrous religion. This issue will be the main reason for the downfall of Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem approximately 800 years later.
As the division of the land concludes in Joshua 21:43-45 it states that God fulfilled all of the promises He swore to Abraham, Issac and Jacob. They were promised their descendants would possess the land and at this point in their history they do, unfortunately they were not wholeheartedly following God so the nations they should have destroyed will regain their strength and cause Israel distress and trouble for hundreds of years.
Chapter 13 starts by saying Joshua is old, by our standards he was old when Israel entered the land (above 80), but the reference is meant to let us know many years have passed since the previous chapter concluded. He is instructed to divide the land among the tribes that they may continue to possess the land and drive out the inhabitants of Canaan. It is important to remember that God is not only giving Israel the land of Canaan but also He is judging the people living in the land, He told Abraham that his descendants would inhabit Canaan 400 years later when the iniquity of those nations was full, meaning time for judgment.
Caleb requests the city of Hebron for his inheritance as he was promised by Moses when he was sent out as a spy 45 years earlier. The story of Caleb shows us what every tribe and family should have done with their allotted territory. He went and took the city, conquered the inhabitants and possessed the city for his offspring. We are told he did these things with a whole heart. It is the example Israel should have followed but did not.
I wonder if Deut 24:5 is the origin of the honeymoon period for newlyweds. It says a man cannot have any duties placed upon him, such as fighting in war, during the first year of his marriage. It says he must be free to stay at home and bring his wife happiness. I wonder in times of war if the number of marriages rose dramatically to try to get out of fighting? You know, kind of like the population of Canada rose dramatically during the Vietnam War.
As I read through the lists of sexual sins that Israel should not practice, I realized many of them were practiced by their own ancestors. Some examples off the top of my head:
- No sex with father or mother (Lot & his daughters)
- No sex with sister or half-sister. (Abraham)
- No sex with daughter-in-law (Judah & Tamar)
- No sex or marriage with sisters (Jacob with Leah & Rachel)
In Lev 18:24-30 we learn that these sexual sins God lists were being practiced by the nations around Israel as well as the nations of Canaan whom God was destroying by Israel’s hand. His warning for Israel was not to be like them. It is easy to get caught up doing things people around us are doing, but God’s commandments are given to guide our behavior and understand what pleases and upsets God. That’s why Psalms often refers to the law as a light to our path. and a guide to righteousness.
The law regarding escaped slaves caught my attention. Since slavery was part of their culture, I would have thought that Israel would be required to return runaway slaves. However God says that if a slave sought refuge from their master, that they were to let the slave live amongst them and not to oppress them. I had to think awhile about why God would not want them to return a slave. It seems to mirror Israel being slaves in Egypt who were oppressed, and God freed them from their bondage to show them the way of righteousness. If a runaway slave sought refuge in Israel, God would want that ex-slave to learn the way of righteousness also. Unfortunately Israel didn’t often walk in righteousness, even though the law taught them how.
I wish the US would understand why God told Israel not to borrow from other countries, but rather to lend. Because the borrow is a servant to the lender and you never know what kind of master another country might be.
The law regarding brothers marrying their brother’s wife if he died and they had no children was not a new practice God taught in the law of Moses. It was already a custom of the people as seen in Genesis chapter 38 with Judah and Tamar. This command reminds us that when a woman married a man she was leaving her family behind and becoming part of his extended family for the rest of her life.
The rules for the priest’s behavior, marriage, family, and wellness seem to contain the same level of detail that God required in the sacrifices and offerings. I wonder if this higher standard for the priests corresponds to the higher standard God had for teachers in the New Testament as James states in chapter 3. Both of these concepts seem to apply the idea that to whom more is given more is required.
The year of Jubilee would be an awesome concept for any nation to follow. If one’s parents or grandparents lost the family estate, they wouldn’t ruin the family forever. It appears to foreshadow the liberty and inheritance that one receives in Christ. But, I wonder if Israel ever practiced this wonderful command from God. I don’t know of any examples of this occurring in scriptures or history.
I didn’t remember the verses in Lev 25:23-24 that say the land is God’s and that Israel were but aliens and tenants in the land. That is why they couldn’t sell the land, it didn’t belong to them but God. This also appears to be foreshadowing the kingdom of God, where he will prepare a place for us to dwell.