Tag Archives: Joshua

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 6

Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.
For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree. -Zechariah 3:8-10

close up of fruits hanging on tree

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

close up of christmas tree

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

The great news of Zechariah is that the Branch of Jesse, the descendant of David, the Servant King of Israel, would be coming to His people, and in a single day He would manage to remove all the sins of His people.

Through this Branch, all people will be able to come together in peace and love, living by the fruit of the Spirit in all facets of life and relationships.

This is not simply some feel-good story, but the source of the peace we celebrate at this time of year.

It is also the hope that we will one day see this fulfilled completely. It will be fully realized when our Lord returns to reign on Earth for eternity.

Lord of hosts and Righteous Redeemer, thank You for taking our sin upon Yourself and reuniting humanity with You. Guide us in bringing Your Kingdom to this world.

Advertisements

Good Advice or God Advice?

Proverbs 24:5-6 

A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counselors there is safety.
The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger. So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers. (NLT)

P1080021I was born twelve years after the cessation of hostilities in Europe when World War 2 finally came to an end. My parents lived through things I have never experienced. Evacuation, bombing raids, nights spent in bomb shelters clutching gas masks, watching dog fights in the skies above, and food rationing all became part of their daily lives as they grew up. In contrast I grew up with the evidence of war around me, living as I did in the one part of the British Isles to suffer German occupation during the war (the Channel Islands). The coastal bunkers and forts with their gun emplacements were part of our playground as children, but we had no real understanding of the horrors of the war, or the suffering of the islanders during the Occupation.

P1080017Modern communications and media leave no excuse for this generation not to understand the effects of war on a population. Despite such widespread knowledge there seems to be no end to conflict, with soldiers and civilians continuing to suffer injury, torture and death in various parts of the world. Solomon gave sound advice when he said, “don’t go to war without wise guidance” (Proverbs 24:6 NLT). Sadly, it seems that Solomon’s advice is often ignored by presidents and prime ministers, perhaps because ulterior motives are the driving force.

On a personal level it is also good to challenge motives, and consider the effects of actions we might be considering. But where can we find wise guidance? And is it good to have many advisors, or might we receive conflicting advice, making a decision even harder. The answer, as ever, is in scripture. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land they were successful in the battles they fought when they sought guidance from God. On the occasions that they dived in without asking God they suffered defeat (Joshua 7 & 8). King David who was one of the greatest military tacticians also sought guidance from God. He probably had numerous human military advisors, but he rarely took action without coming first on his knees to ask God (1 Samuel 30:8). It is not a sign of weakness to ask for advice. In fact it is foolish not to. It is even more foolish to rely on human advice alone.


What Are Your Expectations?

Proverbs 11:23

“The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.”

Righteous People

When we think of the term “righteous,” think of someone who is fair and just, for that is what the word entails. We’re not necessarily talking about a pious saint, or something, but a decent, God-fearing man or woman.

What are the characteristics of this type of person? The proverb says they “desire…only good.”

Now, some interpret this verse in such a way as to say, “The godly can look forward to a reward,” as in the New Living Translation. The ESV says that the desire of the righteous “ends only in good.” But I think it is better to interpret this verse as saying, “The object of the desire of the righteous is good.”

Righteous people are good people; they want good things to happen. And usually, because of their desires, good is the result.

Wicked People

Wicked people, on the other hand, want no such thing; all they want is trouble. What is good for the wicked is bad for everyone else. Wrath is what they hope for.

Again, some interpreters want to convey the idea that what the wicked will receive in the end is wrath. In other words, wrath is what they should expect in the end. That may be so, but there is something here in this verse worth noting.

Hope and Desire

The word translated “expectation” is also the Hebrew word for “cord,” as in a “line” of scarlet thread. Yes, it can mean “hope,” but interestingly it was the same word used in Joshua 2:18 that is translated “line,” as in the scarlet thread that Rehab hung from her window.

The word translated “desire” has more to do with a strong passion for something. Literally, it is the good version of lust. Lust is the wanting of something bad. In this case, desire is the longing of one’s heart for good.

It may not be a huge difference, but this is what I see; these are my “thoughts.” The only hope that a wicked, sinful heart has is the hope of selfish gain, even at the expense of every one else.

The desire of the righteous is for good, and that selfless desire is a result of the Hope they have within.

Practically Speaking

Do you see all those people burning cars and beating people in the name of religion? Do you see them calling for the destruction of others in order to bring about their desires? As they rejoice over the death of innocents, they prove they are wicked.

Do you see those who walk into the fire to rescue the perishing? Do you see those who pray for peace? As others seek their destruction, they pray for the salvation of their souls. They are the righteous.

So the question is: what are your expectations?


Never Removed

Proverbs 10:30

“The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.”
It’s About Home

One of the hardest things a person can endure is the forced expulsion from one’s home. The pain and humiliation of being forced to leave the place where your ancestors lived, where your parents played, and where you planned for the future is a terrible thing. And it is especially hard when that home is not only taken away from you, but given to your enemies.

This verse is really all about having a home. It is about staying where one’s planted. It’s about security and peace. It’s about having a place where you belong.

It’s About a Promise

This verse also has to do with a promise that was made to the children of Israel. When Solomon penned (or quilled) these words, he was familiar with the promises and warnings God had given his forefathers. I am sure he knew of the final warnings of Joshua as the Israelites settled down in Canaan…

When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you. – Joshua 23:16

The promise was that if they kept the commandments of the Lord, they could stay in their homeland. But if they decided to act like the heathen and forget who brought them there, they would be evicted. That was a promise.

It’s an Awesome Truth

But stop and think about something. Notice what is said about the righteous: they shall “never be removed.” Never being removed from somewhere tells me that you’re already there. How is that possible? It only possible through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ by grace through faith.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ … But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” – Ephesians 1:3; 2:4-6

The ESV translates Proverbs 10:30 this way: “The righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not dwell in the land.” If we are in Christ, then we are as good as there. But those without His righteousness will never have a place to call their own. They will always be strangers without a home.


Good Advice or God Advice?

Proverbs 24:5-6 

A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counselors there is safety.
The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger. So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers. (NLT)

P1080021I was born twelve years after the cessation of hostilities in Europe when World War 2 finally came to an end. My parents lived through things I have never experienced. Evacuation, bombing raids, nights spent in bomb shelters clutching gas masks, watching dog fights in the skies above, and food rationing all became part of their daily lives as they grew up. In contrast I grew up with the evidence of war around me, living as I did in the one part of the British Isles to suffer German occupation during the war (the Channel Islands). The coastal bunkers and forts with their gun emplacements were part of our playground as children, but we had no real understanding of the horrors of the war, or the suffering of the islanders during the Occupation.

P1080017Modern communications and media leave no excuse for this generation not to understand the effects of war on a population. Despite such widespread knowledge there seems to be no end to conflict, with soldiers and civilians continuing to suffer injury, torture and death in various parts of the world. Solomon gave sound advice when he said, “don’t go to war without wise guidance” (Proverbs 24:6 NLT). Sadly, it seems that Solomon’s advice is often ignored by presidents and prime ministers, perhaps because ulterior motives are the driving force.

On a personal level it is also good to challenge motives, and consider the effects of actions we might be considering. But where can we find wise guidance? And is it good to have many advisors, or might we receive conflicting advice, making a decision even harder. The answer, as ever, is in scripture. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land they were successful in the battles they fought when they sought guidance from God. On the occasions that they dived in without asking God they suffered defeat (Joshua 7 & 8). King David who was one of the greatest military tacticians also sought guidance from God. He probably had numerous human military advisors, but he rarely took action without coming first on his knees to ask God (1 Samuel 30:8). It is not a sign of weakness to ask for advice. In fact it is foolish not to. It is even more foolish to rely on human advice alone.


What Are Your Expectations?

“The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.”

Righteous People

When we think of the term “righteous,” think of someone who is fair and just, for that is what the word entails. We’re not necessarily talking about a pious saint, or something, but a decent, God-fearing man or woman.

What are the characteristics of this type of person? The proverb says they “desire…only good.”

Now, some interpret this verse in such a way as to say, “The godly can look forward to a reward,” as in the New Living Translation. The ESV says that the desire of the righteous “ends only in good.” But I think it is better to interpret this verse as saying, “The object of the desire of the righteous is good.”

Righteous people are good people; they want good things to happen. And usually, because of their desires, good is the result.

Wicked People

Wicked people, on the other hand, want no such thing; all they want is trouble. What is good for the wicked is bad for everyone else. Wrath is what they hope for.

Again, some interpreters want to convey the idea that what the wicked will receive in the end is wrath. In other words, wrath is what they should expect in the end. That may be so, but there is something here in this verse worth noting.

Hope and Desire

The word translated “expectation” is also the Hebrew word for “cord,” as in a “line” of scarlet thread. Yes, it can mean “hope,” but interestingly it was the same word used in Joshua 2:18 that is translated “line,” as in the scarlet thread that Rehab hung from her window.

The word translated “desire” has more to do with a strong passion for something. Literally, it is the good version of lust. Lust is the wanting of something bad. In this case, desire is the longing of one’s heart for good.

It may not be a huge difference, but this is what I see; these are my “thoughts.” The only hope that a wicked, sinful heart has is the hope of selfish gain, even at the expense of every one else.

The desire of the righteous is for good, and that selfless desire is a result of the Hope they have within.

Practically Speaking

Do you see all those people burning cars and beating people in the name of religion? Do you see them calling for the destruction of others in order to bring about their desires? As they rejoice over the death of innocents, they prove they are wicked.

Do you see those who walk into the fire to rescue the perishing? Do you see those who pray for peace? As others seek their destruction, they pray for the salvation of their souls. They are the righteous.

So the question is: what are your expectations?