Monday, January 18, Joshua 20
- 3 –The “Cities of Refuge” were for those who had accidentally killed someone. In such cities the accused was protected from “the avenger of blood,” usually a family member of the victim. Verses 5-6 detail the person’s release and freedom. Numbers 35:13-15 record that three cities were to be on each side of the Jordan River. We Christians also have a totally safe and secure refuge we can turn to. Read about it in Ps. 46.
Tuesday, January 19, Joshua 21
- 3 — In this chapter the Lord describes the towns that were given to the Levites throughout the land (48 of them). Perhaps that was done so they would be interspersed among the people they were to serve. Supported by the people, their function was to direct Israel’s worship and to maintain the temple. Their work is beautifully described in II Chronicles 5.
Wednesday, January 20, Joshua 22
- 10 — When the warriors from Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh living east of the Jordan returned home, they set up an altar along the way. Their intention was misinterpreted by the other tribes, assuming that they were planning to worship at a place the Lord didn’t choose. Instead, when the truth came out, it was a reminder and pledge that those tribes would worship only the true God and only at the place the Lord had chosen. (vv. 26-29)
Thursday, January 21, Joshua 23
- 8 — A necessary encouragement for the people considering the temptations that would come their way.
Isn’t it an encouragement we need, too? Temptations abound in our lives. It’s not something that will just happen. We need to “be very careful to love the Lord our God.” (v. 11)
- 14 — Joshua knew his death was coming. While many people are captured with fear at the thought of death, we find no trace of that in Joshua. Why? He knew the Lord kept His promises. We know that, too, and find peace in the knowledge that Jesus has taken away the sting of death. He paid for our sin–his resurrection proves it (I Cor. 15:55-57). While we might fear the process of death, we know and believe Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, and whoever lives and believes in Jesus will never die.
Friday, January 22, Joshua 24
- 15 — “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” The family that makes this their motto will have a happy, blessed home. As God’s Word promises, “Blessed (Happy) are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.”
Vv. 19-23 — Joshua is warning Israel against over-confidence. They would stay faithful to the Lord only by humbly relying upon the Lord for help and finding the strength to do it in His Word.
Saturday, January 23 Psalm 23
These are the Psalms for this Sunday. They are found on page 115 of our hymnal and are fitting psalms to end the book of Joshua. The Psalmist, as Joshua did, urges us to live in unity and to build that unity on Zion, a reference to the temple where God’s Word was taught. For us, we also are to build our unity on the Gospel, found in the Word and Sacraments.