1704.) Joshua 24

November 12, 2015


Joshua 24   (NRSV)

The Tribes Renew the Covenant

Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God.

“Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem.” — by Israeli artist Nurit Tzarfati

2And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors—Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor—lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods. 3Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac; 4and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I gave Esau the hill country of Seir to possess, but Jacob and his children went down to Egypt.

5“Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt with what I did in its midst; and afterwards I brought you out. 6When I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, you came to the sea; and the Egyptians pursued your ancestors with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea.

Crossing the Red Sea — a Coptic icon

7When they cried out to the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and made the sea come upon them and cover them; and your eyes saw what I did to Egypt. Afterwards you lived in the wilderness a long time.

8“Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, who lived on the other side of the Jordan; they fought with you, and I handed them over to you, and you took possession of their land, and I destroyed them before you. 9Then King Balak son of Zippor of Moab, set out to fight against Israel. He sent and invited Balaam son of Beor to curse you, 10but I would not listen to Balaam; therefore he blessed you; so I rescued you out of his hand.

11“When you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho,

the citizens of Jericho fought against you, and also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I handed them over to you. 12I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove out before you the two kings of the Amorites; it was not by your sword or by your bow. 13I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and towns that you had not built, and you live in them; you eat the fruit of vineyards and oliveyards that you did not plant.

14“Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua commands them to choose whom you will serve, not if you will serve. We will all serve someone — either the devil (intentionally or not), or the Lord. We really are not left the option of not serving anyone. Joshua answers on behalf of his family. Inherent in Joshua’s declaration is that he would serve the Lord alone. He would not serve the Lord and someone or something else. There was one God in his life, and that God was the Lord.

–David Guzik

art by Kathleen Wilson

16Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; 18and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”

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Music:

HERE  is the perfect song for this chapter! “Today I Choose (As for Me and my House)”  by Brian Doerksen.

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19But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.”

21And the people said to Joshua, “No, we will serve the Lord!”

22Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.”

And they said, “We are witnesses.”

23He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”

24The people said to Joshua, “The Lord our God we will serve, and him we will obey.”

25So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem. 26Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak in the sanctuary of the Lord.

“Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak tree.” — by Israeli artist Nurit Tzarfati

27Joshua said to all the people, “See, this stone shall be a witness against us; for it has heard all the words of the Lord that he spoke to us; therefore it shall be a witness against you, if you deal falsely with your God.” 28So Joshua sent the people away to their inheritances.

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

The closing chapters of the book of Joshua are Joshua’s final words to the people of Israel.  Israel is in the promised land, and Joshua wishes to renew the covenant between Israel and Yahweh before he dies.  He reviews the history of the covenant and speaks about God’s faithfulness to his people.  He calls them to choose whether or not they will serve Yahweh.  Joshua is very aware that after his death the temptation to compromise with the Canaanites will be strong, and a compromise would mean death for Israel’s culture and faith.  Joshua is anxious for the people of God to reaffirm their loyalty to the God of Abraham, Moses, Sinai, and the conquest, and so he calls them to do so.  The people acknowledge God’s actions for them, and they pledge their allegiance to Yahweh.

Joshua’s appeal to the people is based on God’s actions for Israel and not on Israel’s actions for God.  God has chosen and blessed Israel, and their motive for serving him must be his great mercy and grace to them.  The same is true today.  The important thing is not what we have done for God but what God has done for us.  The deliverance from Egypt, the provision in the wilderness, the crossing of the Jordan, and the conquest of the land are historical pictures of redemption provided for us in Christ.  He will provide for those who trust in him and will give them grace to overcome all foes.

The effectiveness of Joshua’s plea is indicated in the closing verses of his book.  “Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel” (verse 31).  It is necessary for every individual in every successive generation to see the work of God personally.  Each of us must come to a meeting with God in which we enter into a covenant relationship with Yahweh.  Therefore the word to us is still:  “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.”

Death of Joshua and Eleazar

Thank you for everything, Joshua!

29After these things Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being one hundred ten years old. 30They buried him in his own inheritance at Timnath-serah, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 31Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel.

This was the greatest legacy of Joshua. His godly influence was effectively communicated to and through the whole nation.

We will never forget you, Joseph!

32The bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem, in the portion of ground that Jacob had bought from the children of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for one hundred pieces of money; it became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph.

This may seem like an inconsequential point, but it fulfills Genesis 50:25. This is also mentioned in Hebrews 11:22 as an example of Joseph’s faith.

Enjoy your eternal life, Eleazar!

33Eleazar son of Aaron died; and they buried him at Gibeah, the town of his son Phinehas, which had been given him in the hill country of Ephraim.

Eleazar’s death meant that another link with the wilderness generation had passed. Now Phinehas was High Priest.

The END of the book of Joshua.

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THE END OF THE BOOK OF JOSHUA

What did you learn?

Or what encouraged you?

Or what do you want to remember always?

Or for what specifically can you praise God on account of the book of Joshua?

Please leave a reply!

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
“As for me and my household”    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3212/2995484697_9c24bb722f.jpg
Tzarfati.    http://www.biblical-art.com/artist_artwork.asp?id_artist=2096&alt=2&pagenum=1
crossing the Red Sea, a Coptic icon.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/24-red-sea-crossing.jpg
Jericho walls falling.     http://www.reformation.org/en-walls-of-jericho.jpg
Wilson.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/24-jsw_as-for-me-and-my-house.jpg
“Choose YOU this day”    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/24-v15-leaves.jpg
R.I.P.    http://thor.he.net/~gludlow/rip.gif
Think.    http://myzone.greenvinemarketi.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/think_idea.jpg

1703.) Joshua 23

November 11, 2015

— believing God’s promises are true for you!

Joshua 23   (NRSV)

Joshua Exhorts the People

A long time afterward, when the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their enemies all around, and Joshua was old and well advanced in years, 2Joshua summoned all Israel, their elders and heads, their judges and officers, and said to them, “I am now old and well advanced in years;

“I am old and well advanced in years.” — by Israeli artist Nurit Tzarfati

3and you have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is the Lord your God who has fought for you.

Joshua begins his farewell address by praising the Lord.

4I have allotted to you as an inheritance for your tribes those nations that remain, along with all the nations that I have already cut off, from the Jordan to the Great Sea in the west. 5The Lord your God will push them back before you, and drive them out of your sight;

He describes the challenges still ahead for the Israelites.

and you shall possess their land, as the Lord your God promised you.


2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV)

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

6“Therefore be very steadfast to observe and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right nor to the left, 7so that you may not be mixed with these nations left here among you, or make mention of the names of their gods, or swear by them, or serve them, or bow yourselves down to them, 8but hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day.

He reminds them to be obedient in every way to the word of the Lord and thereby follow God.

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord,
lead me home.

9For the Lord has driven out before you great and strong nations; and as for you, no one has been able to withstand you to this day. 10One of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God who fights for you, as he promised you.

“God never made a promise
that was too good to be true.”
–Dwight L. Moody

11“Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God. 12For if you turn back, and join the survivors of these nations left here among you, and intermarry with them, so that you marry their women and they yours, 13know assuredly that the Lord your God will not continue to drive out these nations before you; but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a scourge on your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land that the Lord your God has given you.

Joshua tells them to keep themselves “in the love of God” (Jude 21), and “unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).

14“And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one thing has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you; all have come to pass for you, not one of them has failed.

Every promise in the Book is mine,
Every chapter, every verse, every line,
All the blessings of His love divine,
Every promise in the Book is mine.

_________________________

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

Near the end of his life, Joshua took time with the Israelites to review all that God had done for them since they first began following Him.  God had given them an impossible assignment:  to conquer a foreign and hostile land with fortified cities and armies more powerful than their own.  The Israelites were to go forward with nothing more than God’s promise that He would go with them and take care of them.  Now Joshua looked back over their experience and reminded the Israelites that God had kept every promise.  They had experienced numerous victories and had enjoyed God’s provision for every need.

Sometimes hindsight gives us a clear picture of how faithful God has been.  We are tempted during a crisis to wonder if God will be faithful to His promises.  We focus on our problems, and our trust in God begins to waver.  Twenty-four years after God promised Abraham and Sarah a son, they were still waiting on God to fulfill His promise.  But in the twenty-fifth year, Abraham and Sarah could look back and see that God had been faithful.  As David was fleeing for his life, he may have been uncertain how God would keep His promise to make him a king.  But at the end of his long and prosperous reign, David could review how God had kept every promise.

You, too, can rely on God’s faithfulness.  Are you in a crisis?  Hold to the promises of the your Lord!  He will not forget His promises to you.  Look back over your Christian life and recount the many ways in which God has been faithful to His word.

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Music:

HERE  is “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,”  sung by Fernando Ortega in an unusual and lovely musical setting.

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15But just as all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the Lord will bring upon you all the bad things, until he has destroyed you from this good land that the Lord your God has given you. 16If you transgress the covenant of the Lord your God, which he enjoined on you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from the good land that he has given to you.”

He emphasizes that God will be just as faithful to judge as He has been to bless.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Tzarfati.    http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/tanach/albom/pictures/54.htm
yes.    http://www.boston.com/ae/music/blog/yeslogo.jpg
holding hands, holding fast.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/father-and-child-holding-hands_full.jpg
Bible.    http://images.clipartpanda.com/wont-clipart-2142861.gif
“Great is thy faithfulness” plate.    http://www.eden.co.uk/images/300/P1872.jpg

1702.) Joshua 22

November 10, 2015

Perspective can be tricky! Sometimes we cannot trust our eyes — or our first impressions!  The Israelites have some issues with perspective today.  (By the way, the two trees are actually the same size.)

Joshua 22   (NRSV)

The Eastern Tribes Return to Their Territory

Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, 2and said to them, “You have observed all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, and have obeyed me in all that I have commanded you; 3you have not forsaken your kindred these many days, down to this day, but have been careful to keep the charge of the Lord your God. 4And now the Lord your God has given rest to your kindred, as he promised them; therefore turn and go to your tents in the land where your possession lies, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan.

In the seven years they had been with Joshua, helping the tribes west of the Jordan to conquer their enemies, they had been completely obedient and helpful to Joshua. They had gone out and fought on behalf of their brethren, even though they already had their own inheritance. Now that the land was conquered and fully distributed to the tribes, they could go back to their families and lands on the eastern side of the Jordan.

“Return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you.” — by Israeli artist Nurit Tzarfati

5Take good care to observe the commandment and instruction that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to keep his commandments, and to hold fast to him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Josh22 5

1.  to LOVE the Lord your God
2.  to WALK in all his ways
3.  to KEEP his commandments
4.  to HOLD FAST to him
5.  to SERVE him with all your heart and with all your soul

6So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents. 7Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan; but to the other half Joshua had given a possession beside their fellow Israelites in the land west of the Jordan. And when Joshua sent them away to their tents and blessed them, 8he said to them, “Go back to your tents with much wealth, and with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, and iron, and with a great quantity of clothing; divide the spoil of your enemies with your kindred.”

9So the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned home, parting from the Israelites at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go to the land of Gilead, their own land of which they had taken possession by command of the Lord through Moses.

A Memorial Altar East of the Jordan

“The Reubenites built an imposing altar there by the Jordan.” — by Israeli artist Nurit Tzarfati

10When they came to the region near the Jordan that lies in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of great size. 11The Israelites heard that the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh had built an altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region near the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the Israelites. 12And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh, to make war against them.

This altar was significant not only because of its size, but because of the meaning of an altar. The other Israelites feared that this altar was a sign of allegiance to the pagan gods of the region.

–David Guzik

13Then the Israelites sent the priest Phinehas son of Eleazar to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, 14and with him ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel, every one of them the head of a family among the clans of Israel.

15They came to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them, 16“Thus says the whole congregation of the Lord, ‘What is this treachery that you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away today from following the Lord, by building yourselves an altar today in rebellion against the Lord? 17Have we not had enough of the sin at Peor from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves, and for which a plague came upon the congregation of the Lord, 18that you must turn away today from following the Lord!

If you rebel against the Lord today, he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel tomorrow. 19But now, if your land is unclean, cross over into the Lord’s land where the Lord’s tabernacle now stands, and take for yourselves a possession among us; only do not rebel against the Lord, or rebel against us by building yourselves an altar other than the altar of the Lord our God. 20Did not Achan son of Zerah break faith in the matter of the devoted things, and wrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? And he did not perish alone for his iniquity!’”

21Then the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh said in answer to the heads of the families of Israel, 22“The Lord, God of gods! The Lord, God of gods! He knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith toward the Lord, do not spare us today 23for building an altar to turn away from following the Lord; or if we did so to offer burnt offerings or grain offerings or offerings of well-being on it, may the Lord himself take vengeance.

24“No! We did it from fear that in time to come your children might say to our children, ‘What have you to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25For the Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you Reubenites and Gadites; you have no portion in the Lord.’ So your children might make our children cease to worship the Lord.

26“Therefore we said, ‘Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27but to be a witness between us and you, and between the generations after us, that we do perform the service of the Lord in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and offerings of well-being; so that your children may never say to our children in time to come, “You have no portion in the Lord.”’

28“And we thought, If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we could say, ‘Look at this copy of the altar of the Lord, which our ancestors made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you.’

29“Far be it from us that we should rebel against the Lord, and turn away this day from following the Lord by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle!”

30When the priest Phinehas and the chiefs of the congregation, the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the Reubenites and the Gadites and the Manassites spoke, they were satisfied.

31The priest Phinehas son of Eleazar said to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the Manassites, “Today we know that the Lord is among us, because you have not committed this treachery against the Lord; now you have saved the Israelites from the hand of the Lord.”

The matter is peacefully resolved.

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Music:

As the Israelites are now all settled and ready to dwell in their land, the prayer is that God will dwell with them.  HERE  is “Dwell” by Vineyard.  Lyrics follow.

Dwell in the midst of us
Come and dwell in this place
Dwell in the midst of us
Come and have Your way

Dwell in the midst of us
Wipe all the tears from our faces
Dwell in the midst of us
You can have Your way

Not our will, but Yours be done
Come and change us
Not our will, but Yours be done
Come sustain us

_________________________

32Then the priest Phinehas son of Eleazar and the chiefs returned from the Reubenites and the Gadites in the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the Israelites, and brought back word to them. 33The report pleased the Israelites; and the Israelites blessed God and spoke no more of making war against them, to destroy the land where the Reubenites and the Gadites were settled.

34The Reubenites and the Gadites called the altar Witness; “For,” said they, “it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.”

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Joshua 22:34 (King James Version)
And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed: for it shall be a witness between us that the LORD is God.

When two people who love the Lord misunderstand each other and get into a tangle, there is generally a mistake which a few honest words will clear up.

Read Joshua 22.  A long time ago, two sets of people misunderstood each other.  Both had made a mistake, the Reubenites and Gadites by not consulting anybody before building a great altar beside the Jordan, and the Israelites by putting a wrong interpretation on it.

But a few words straightened things out.  The Reubenites, very much surprised that the Israelites could think anything so unkind and untrue, explained that they had acted “out of carefulness and of purpose.”  The Israelites accepted their explanation, and the matter ended with a word easy for us to remember, Ed.  The thing which had almost caused a furious quarrel was turned to Ed, which meant that God (who is the God of Peace) was  Witness.

If we have a misunderstanding with anyone, what about taking Ed as a little word of reminder to hurry up and make friends?

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As we saw in the story today — how different things can look when viewed from another perspective!

Isn’t it strange
how a 20 dollar bill seems like such a large amount
when you donate it to church,
but such a small amount when you go shopping?

Isn’t it strange
how 2 hours seem so long when you’re at church,
and so short when you’re watching a good movie?

Isn’t it strange
that you can’t find a word to say when you’re praying,
but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend?

Isn’t it strange
how difficult and boring it is to read one chapter of the Bible,
but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a popular novel?

Isn’t it strange
how everyone wants front-row-tickets to concerts or games,
but they always choose to sit at the last row in church?

Isn’t it strange
how we need to know about an event for church 2-3 weeks
before the day so we can include it in our agenda,
but we can easily adjust for other events at the last minute?

Isn’t it strange
how difficult it is to learn a fact about God to share it with others,
but how easy it is to learn and repeat gossip?

Isn’t it strange
how we believe what magazines and newspapers say,
but we question the words in the Bible?

Isn’t it strange
how everyone wants a place in heaven,
but they don’t want to do anything to get there?

(author unknown)

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
optical illusion.    http://www.visionjuice.com/resources/puzzles/illusion/ill007q.png
Tzarfati.     http://www.biblical-art.com/artist_artwork.asp?id_artist=2096&alt=2&pagenum=1
5.    https://ballymote.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/number5.jpg
how could you do this?     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/22-how-could-you-do-this1.jpg?w=450
that’s not what I meant.    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ABCYTN84L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg
OK.  Design by Steve Scott.    http://www.dhub.org/blog/wp-content/dhub/scott-ok.jpg
Witness.    https://preacherontheplaza.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/witness_newlogo.jpg
twenty dollar bill.    http://www.workathometruth.com/artwork/magslotpix/20dollarbill.jpg

1701.) Joshua 21

November 9, 2015

Josh21 settled there
Joshua 21   (NRSV)

Cities Allotted to the Levites

Then the heads of the families of the Levites came to the priest Eleazar and to Joshua son of Nun and to the heads of the families of the tribes of the Israelites; 2they said to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, “The Lord commanded through Moses that we be given towns to live in, along with their pasture lands for our livestock.” 3So by command of the Lord the Israelites gave to the Levites the following towns and pasture lands out of their inheritance.

As a farm girl, I believe that God loves seeing his animals eating contentedly!  To accompany the assignment of pasture lands to the Levites, we will see pasture lands from around the world.  Here:  pasture land in Tasmania, Australia.

4The lot came out for the families of the Kohathites. So those Levites who were descendants of Aaron the priest received by lot thirteen towns from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. 5The rest of the Kohathites received by lot ten towns from the families of the tribe of Ephraim, from the tribe of Dan, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

6The Gershonites received by lot thirteen towns from the families of the tribe of Issachar, from the tribe of Asher, from the tribe of Naphtali, and from the half-tribe of Manasseh in Bashan.

7The Merarites according to their families received twelve towns from the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad, and the tribe of Zebulun.

8These towns and their pasture lands the Israelites gave by lot to the Levites, as the Lord had commanded through Moses.

Pasture land on St. Agnes Island, the Isles of Scilly, England.

9Out of the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Simeon they gave the following towns mentioned by name, 10which went to the descendants of Aaron, one of the families of the Kohathites who belonged to the Levites, since the lot fell to them first.

11They gave them Kiriath-arba (Arba being the father of Anak), that is Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, along with the pasture lands around it. 12But the fields of the town and its villages had been given to Caleb son of Jephunneh as his holding.

13To the descendants of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron, the city of refuge for the slayer, with its pasture lands, Libnah with its pasture lands, 14Jattir with its pasture lands, Eshtemoa with its pasture lands, 15Holon with its pasture lands, Debir with its pasture lands, 16Ain with its pasture lands, Juttah with its pasture lands, and Beth-shemesh with its pasture lands—nine towns out of these two tribes.

Pasture land in Argentina.

17Out of the tribe of Benjamin: Gibeon with its pasture lands, Geba with its pasture lands, 18Anathoth with its pasture lands, and Almon with its pasture lands—four towns. 19The towns of the descendants of Aaron—the priests—were thirteen in all, with their pasture lands.

20As to the rest of the Kohathites belonging to the Kohathite families of the Levites, the towns allotted to them were out of the tribe of Ephraim.

21To them were given Shechem, the city of refuge for the slayer, with its pasture lands in the hill country of Ephraim, Gezer with its pasture lands, 22Kibzaim with its pasture lands, and Beth-horon with its pasture lands—four towns.

23Out of the tribe of Dan: Elteke with its pasture lands, Gibbethon with its pasture lands, 24Aijalon with its pasture lands, Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands—four towns.

25Out of the half-tribe of Manasseh: Taanach with its pasture lands, and Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands—two towns. 26The towns of the families of the rest of the Kohathites were ten in all, with their pasture lands.

Pasture land along the Nile River.

27To the Gershonites, one of the families of the Levites, were given out of the half-tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan with its pasture lands, the city of refuge for the slayer, and Beeshterah with its pasture lands—two towns.

28Out of the tribe of Issachar: Kishion with its pasture lands, Daberath with its pasture lands, 29Jarmuth with its pasture lands, En-gannim with its pasture lands—four towns;

30Out of the tribe of Asher: Mishal with its pasture lands, Abdon with its pasture lands, 31Helkath with its pasture lands, and Rehob with its pasture lands—four towns.

32Out of the tribe of Naphtali: Kedesh in Galilee with its pasture lands, the city of refuge for the slayer, Hammoth-dor with its pasture lands, and Kartan with its pasture lands—three towns. 33The towns of the several families of the Gershonites were in all thirteen, with their pasture lands.

High pasture near Tungnath, India.

34To the rest of the Levites—the Merarite families—were given out of the tribe of Zebulun: Jokneam with its pasture lands, Kartah with its pasture lands, 35Dimnah with its pasture lands, Nahalal with its pasture lands—four towns.

36Out of the tribe of Reuben: Bezer with its pasture lands, Jahzah with its pasture lands, 37Kedemoth with its pasture lands, and Mephaath with its pasture lands—four towns.

38Out of the tribe of Gad: Ramoth in Gilead with its pasture lands, the city of refuge for the slayer, Mahanaim with its pasture lands, 39Heshbon with its pasture lands, Jazer with its pasture lands—four towns in all.

Pasture land near Nanshan, China.

40As for the towns of the several Merarite families, that is, the remainder of the families of the Levites, those allotted to them were twelve in all.

41The towns of the Levites within the holdings of the Israelites were in all forty-eight towns with their pasture lands. 42Each of these towns had its pasture lands around it; so it was with all these towns.

43Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to their ancestors that he would give them; and having taken possession of it, they settled there. 44And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their ancestors; not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. 45Not one of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

Josh21 not one word failed

7 Promises Made and 7 Promises Fulfilled!

Exodus 6:6-8 (New International Version)

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.  I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.  And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’ “

Galatians 4:28 (New Living Translation)

You, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise.

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Music:

HERE is a Keith and Kristyn Getty song — “Every Promise of Your Word.” As you go about your activities today, I encourage you to think of all the promises that God has kept — throughout Scripture and in your own life — and praise God for his faithfulness! Such remembrances will help your heart be hopeful and joyful all day long!

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
settled there.   http://blog.biblia.com/files/2014/10/Joshua_21_43-3840×2160-1-660×371.png
Pasture — Tasmania.    http://www.planbooktravel.com.au/region-images/TAS/flinders-island/flinders-island-400×272/pasture-land-near-whitemark.jpg/image_preview
Pasture — Scilly.    http://www.planetware.com/i/photo/st-agnes-island-isles-of-scilly-gb734.jpg
Pasture — Argentina.    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3456/3199508520_04cbf04f75_b.jpg
Pasture — Nile River.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/landhasbeenconsolidatedandagriculturemodernisedinrwanda.jpg
Pasture — India.    http://www.sherwinbeach.com/india/india2/MtnPastureWebFull.jpg
Pasture — China.    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2600/3674894017_ee76b9fc4b.jpg
not a word failed.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/4f60e-joshua2b21_452bnot2bone2bword2bfailed.jpg

1700.) Joshua 20

November 6, 2015

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” –Psalm 46:1

Joshua 20   (NRSV)

The Cities of Refuge

Then the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, 2“Say to the Israelites, ‘Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, 3so that anyone who kills a person without intent or by mistake may flee there; they shall be for you a refuge from the avenger of blood.

4“The slayer shall flee to one of these cities and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city, and explain the case to the elders of that city; then the fugitive shall be taken into the city, and given a place, and shall remain with them. 5And if the avenger of blood is in pursuit, they shall not give up the slayer, because the neighbor was killed by mistake, there having been no enmity between them before. 6The slayer shall remain in that city until there is a trial before the congregation, until the death of the one who is high priest at the time: then the slayer may return home, to the town in which the deed was done.’”

7So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. 8And beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they appointed Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland, from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead, from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan, from the tribe of Manasseh. 9These were the cities designated for all the Israelites, and for the aliens residing among them, that anyone who killed a person without intent could flee there, so as not to die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until there was a trial before the congregation.

Note the even geographical distribution:  three cities east of the Jordan, and three west of the Jordan.  In both cases the cities were located in the northern, central, and southern regions.  The cities were places of refuge for those who had killed another person under such circumstances that the killing was not considered a capital crime (like modern day third degree murder, or manslaughter), to protect them from revenge by the victim’s relatives.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “You Are My Refuge.”

The Maranatha! Singers is a 50-person-strong choir comprised mostly of University of Florida and Santa Fe Community College students.  Originally founded in 1970, the group is part of the University Methodist Church and Student Center, Gainesville, FL.

_________________________

The cities of refuge as a picture of Jesus.

The Bible applies this picture of the city of refuge to the believer finding refuge in God on more than one occasion:

Psalm 46:1: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. More than 15 other times, the Psalms speak of God as our refuge.

Hebrews 6:18: That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are within easy reach of the needy person; they were of no use unless someone could get to the place of refuge.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are open to all, not just the Israelite; no one needs to fear that they would be turned away from their place of refuge in their time of need.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge became a place where the one in need would live; you didn’t come to a city of refuge in time of need just to look around.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are the only alternative for the one in need; without this specific protection, they will be destroyed.
  • Both Jesus and the cities of refuge provide protection only within their boundaries; to go outside means death.
  • With both Jesus and the cities of refuge, full freedom comes with the death of the High Priest.
  • The cities of refuge only helped the innocent, but the guilty can come to Jesus and find refuge.

–David Guzik

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
safety at a city of refuge (first published in 1901).    http://thebiblerevival.com/clipart/1902/joshua20.jpg
cities of refuge map.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/refuge.gif

1699.) Joshua 19

November 5, 2015

Josh19 be strong
Joshua 19   (NRSV)

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Music:

Beautiful music today!  As the Israelites move into their new land, we listen to Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, known as the New World Symphony, the first part of Movement 2, Largo.  His most popular symphony, it was composed in 1893 during his visit to the United States.  Played  HERE  by the Dublin Philharmonic.

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The Territory of Simeon

Simeon’s land is in the dry and rocky Negev desert.

The second lot came out for Simeon, for the tribe of Simeon, according to its families; its inheritance lay within the inheritance of the tribe of Judah. 2It had for its inheritance Beer-sheba, Sheba, Moladah, 3Hazar-shual, Balah, Ezem, 4Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah, 5Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susah, 6Beth-lebaoth, and Sharuhen—thirteen towns with their villages; 7Ain, Rimmon, Ether, and Ashan—four towns with their villages; 8together with all the villages all around these towns as far as Baalath-beer, Ramah of the Negeb. This was the inheritance of the tribe of Simeon according to its families. 9The inheritance of the tribe of Simeon formed part of the territory of Judah; because the portion of the tribe of Judah was too large for them, the tribe of Simeon obtained an inheritance within their inheritance.

The Territory of Zebulun

Not this Bethlehem!  No, the birthday town is within the territory of Judah.

10The third lot came up for the tribe of Zebulun, according to its families. The boundary of its inheritance reached as far as Sarid; 11then its boundary goes up westward, and on to Maralah, and touches Dabbesheth, then the wadi that is east of Jokneam; 12from Sarid it goes in the other direction eastward toward the sunrise to the boundary of Chisloth-tabor; from there it goes to Daberath, then up to Japhia; 13from there it passes along on the east toward the sunrise to Gath-hepher, to Eth-kazin, and going on to Rimmon it bends toward Neah; 14then on the north the boundary makes a turn to Hannathon, and it ends at the valley of Iphtah-el; 15and Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah, and Bethlehem—twelve towns with their villages.

16This is the inheritance of the tribe of Zebulun, according to its families—these towns with their villages.

The Territory of Issachar

Mt. Tabor rises abruptly some 1,600 feet above the surrounding plains, with no other mountains nearby.  It is a limestone mountain.

17The fourth lot came out for Issachar, for the tribe of Issachar, according to its families. 18Its territory included Jezreel, Chesulloth, Shunem, 19Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, 20Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez, 21Remeth, En-gannim, En-haddah, Beth-pazzez; 22the boundary also touches Tabor, Shahazumah, and Beth-shemesh, and its boundary ends at the Jordan—sixteen towns with their villages.

23This is the inheritance of the tribe of Issachar, according to its families—the towns with their villages.

The Territory of Asher

Tyre is one of the world’s oldest cities, home to Phoenicians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans — above is the reconstructed ancient Roman Triumphal Arch — and is today a UNESCO World Heritage site in Lebanon.

24The fifth lot came out for the tribe of Asher according to its families. 25Its boundary included Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph, 26Allammelech, Amad, and Mishal; on the west it touches Carmel and Shihor-libnath, 27then it turns eastward, goes to Beth-dagon, and touches Zebulun and the valley of Iphtah-el northward to Beth-emek and Neiel; then it continues in the north to Cabul, 28Ebron, Rehob, Hammon, Kanah, as far as Sidon the Great; 29then the boundary turns to Ramah, reaching to the fortified city of Tyre; then the boundary turns to Hosah, and it ends at the sea; Mahalab, Achzib, 30Ummah, Aphek, and Rehob—twenty-two towns with their villages.

31This is the inheritance of the tribe of Asher according to its families—these towns with their villages.

The Territory of Naphtali

The archaeological findings at Tel Hazor are among the richest in all Israel.  Joshua burned Hazor to the ground (see chapter 11), but later it was rebuilt and became a significant city under Solomon.

32The sixth lot came out for the tribe of Naphtali, for the tribe of Naphtali, according to its families. 33And its boundary ran from Heleph, from the oak in Zaanannim, and Adami-nekeb, and Jabneel, as far as Lakkum; and it ended at the Jordan; 34then the boundary turns westward to Aznoth-tabor, and goes from there to Hukkok, touching Zebulun at the south, and Asher on the west, and Judah on the east at the Jordan. 35The fortified towns are Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Chinnereth, 36Adamah, Ramah, Hazor, 37Kedesh, Edrei, En-hazor, 38Iron, Migdal-el, Horem, Beth-anath, and Beth-shemesh—nineteen towns with their villages.

39This is the inheritance of the tribe of Naphtali according to its families—the towns with their villages.

The Territory of Dan

Looking from the old city of Joppa to the modern city of Tel Aviv. Jonah sailed from Joppa, and Peter raised Dorcas from the dead here.

40The seventh lot came out for the tribe of Dan, according to its families. 41The territory of its inheritance included Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir-shemesh, 42Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah, 43Elon, Timnah, Ekron, 44Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, 45Jehud, Bene-berak, Gath-rimmon, 46Me-jarkon, and Rakkon at the border opposite Joppa. 47When the territory of the Danites was lost to them, the Danites went up and fought against Leshem, and after capturing it and putting it to the sword, they took possession of it and settled in it, calling Leshem, Dan, after their ancestor Dan.

48This is the inheritance of the tribe of Dan, according to their families—these towns with their villages.

Joshua’s Inheritance

Joshua received what was promised to him by God, but in remarkable humility, he receives his portion last. This is the kind of humble service and concern for others that makes Joshua such a wonderful picture of Jesus Christ.

–David Guzik

49When they had finished distributing the several territories of the land as inheritances, the Israelites gave an inheritance among them to Joshua son of Nun. 50By command of the Lord they gave him the town that he asked for, Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim; he rebuilt the town, and settled in it.

51These are the inheritances that the priest Eleazar and Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the families of the tribes of the Israelites distributed by lot at Shiloh before the Lord, at the entrance of the tent of meeting.

Proverbs 16:33 (New American Standard Bible)

The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the LORD.

So they finished dividing the land.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
be strong.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/26/60/1b/26601b833721f838a7a77c5b350a11a6.jpg
sign for Beer-sheba.    http://www.snydertalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Sign-in-the-Arava-to-Beersheba-Beer-Sheva.jpg
Bethlehem.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/bethlehem.gif
Mt. Tabor.    http://www.shawnthebaptist.org/images/2006/12/MtTabor.jpg
Arch in Tyre.    http://z.about.com/d/atheism/1/0/V/y/2/TyreTriumphalArch.jpg
Hazor.    http://israelapu08.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/hazor-37.jpg
Joppa and Tel Aviv.     http://ferrelljenkins.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/joppa_telaviv_sm1.jpg
Thy will be done.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/thywillbedone-sunsetcopy28web29.jpg

1698.) Joshua 18

November 4, 2015

The “Promised Land” is now reality! With the close of these chapters, all the tribes know which part of the Promised Land is theirs. Alongside ownership comes responsibility and privilege — how will it go for them?

Joshua 18   (NRSV)

The Territories of the Remaining Tribes

Then the whole congregation of the Israelites assembled at Shiloh, and set up the tent of meeting there. The land lay subdued before them.

2There remained among the Israelites seven tribes whose inheritance had not yet been apportioned. 3So Joshua said to the Israelites, “How long will you be slack about going in and taking possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you?

Josh18 baseball
Joshua has had five other tribes step up to the plate, so to speak, and get going with the work that needed to be done to possess their portion of the land.  But these guys are just sitting on the bench!  What do they think will happen while they just wait around?!

Was the task too large?  Were they tired?  Was their vision clouded?  Was their enthusiasm dimmed?

And I cannot evade the next question:  What of God’s gifts to me am I reluctant, for any reason, to pursue?  Oh, Lord, let me not be slack in these things, but rather confident in Your grace, for “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

4Provide three men from each tribe, and I will send them out that they may begin to go throughout the land, writing a description of it with a view to their inheritances. Then come back to me. 5They shall divide it into seven portions, Judah continuing in its territory on the south, and the house of Joseph in their territory on the north. 6You shall describe the land in seven divisions and bring the description here to me; and I will cast lots for you here before the Lord our God. 7The Levites have no portion among you, for the priesthood of the Lord is their heritage; and Gad and Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance beyond the Jordan eastward, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave them.”

8So the men started on their way; and Joshua charged those who went to write the description of the land, saying, “Go throughout the land and write a description of it, and come back to me; and I will cast lots for you here before the Lord in Shiloh.” 9So the men went and traversed the land and set down in a book a description of it by towns in seven divisions; then they came back to Joshua in the camp at Shiloh, 10and Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord; and there Joshua apportioned the land to the Israelites, to each a portion.

The Territory of Benjamin

The city of Jerusalem is located in the territory that was allotted to Benjamin.  This is a picture of a street in the Old City.

11The lot of the tribe of Benjamin according to its families came up, and the territory allotted to it fell between the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Joseph.

12On the north side their boundary began at the Jordan; then the boundary goes up to the slope of Jericho on the north, then up through the hill country westward; and it ends at the wilderness of Beth-aven. 13From there the boundary passes along southward in the direction of Luz, to the slope of Luz (that is, Bethel), then the boundary goes down to Ataroth-addar, on the mountain that lies south of Lower Beth-horon.

14Then the boundary goes in another direction, turning on the western side southward from the mountain that lies to the south, opposite Beth-horon, and it ends at Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim), a town belonging to the tribe of Judah. This forms the western side.

15The southern side begins at the outskirts of Kiriath-jearim; and the boundary goes from there to Ephron, to the spring of the Waters of Nephtoah; 16then the boundary goes down to the border of the mountain that overlooks the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is at the north end of the valley of Rephaim; and it then goes down the valley of Hinnom, south of the slope of the Jebusites, and downward to En-rogel; 17then it bends in a northerly direction going on to En-shemesh, and from there goes to Geliloth, which is opposite the ascent of Adummim; then it goes down to the Stone of Bohan, Reuben’s son; 18and passing on to the north of the slope of Beth-arabah it goes down to the Arabah; 19then the boundary passes on to the north of the slope of Beth-hoglah; and the boundary ends at the northern bay of the Dead Sea, at the south end of the Jordan: this is the southern border.

20The Jordan forms its boundary on the eastern side. This is the inheritance of the tribe of Benjamin, according to its families, boundary by boundary all around.

21Now the towns of the tribe of Benjamin according to their families were Jericho, Beth-hoglah, Emek-keziz, 22Beth-arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, 23Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, 24Chephar-ammoni, Ophni, and Geba—twelve towns with their villages: 25Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, 26Mizpeh, Chephirah, Mozah, 27Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, 28Zela, Haeleph, Jebus (that is, Jerusalem), Gibeah and Kiriath-jearim—fourteen towns with their villages.

This is the inheritance of the tribe of Benjamin according to its families.

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Music:

HERE  is a hymn to Jerusalem. Little did the tribe of Benjamin understand, as they were taking the territory, how important it would be — that one city in their tribal allotment would become known for centuries as the center of the earth, that it would see the Lord of the universe give his life for the world, that it would become a synonym for Heaven.

1 Jerusalem the golden,
descending from above,
the city of God’s presence,
the vision of God’s love –
I know not, oh, I know not
What joys await us there,
What radiancy of glory,
What bliss beyond compare!

2 They stand, those halls of Zion,
all jubilant with song,
so bright with many an angel,
And all the martyr throng.
The Prince is ever in them,
the daylight is serene;
the tree of life and healing
has leaves of richest green.

3 There is the throne of David,
And there, from pain released,
the shout of those who triumph,
The song of those who feast.
And all who with their leader
Have conquered in the fight,
Forever and forever
Are robed in purest white.

4 How lovely is that city,
the home of God’s elect!
How beautiful the country
that eager hearts expect!
O Christ, in mercy bring us
to that eternal shore
where Father, Son, and Spirit
are worshiped evermore.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
map.    http://www.jesuswalk.com/gideon/images/12tribes_map250x389.gif
baseball players on the bench.     http://www.marietta.edu/175/175_essentials/images/baseball_back_1024.jpg
Jerusalem.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/18-jlem.jpg