Joshua’s Reading of the Law

Imagine that you are with the Israelites on Mount Ebal. Joshua has built an altar of very special stones. On the stones he has written the Law of God. The priests have offered sacrifices. Now everyone is ready for long sessions of listening to the reading of the Law.

Read Joshua 8:30-35. There was not word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to all the assembly… Did you notice that the children were also there?

For today’s story I imagined Elizabeth, as I would have been as a child. So she wouldn’t get bored while listening to the reading of the Law, she drew pictures in the sand.

There are different learning styles. Surely you have noticed that some kids cannot be still without doing something with their hands. That’s my style. I learn better when I’m doodling, most of the time palm trees. I wonder how many palm trees I’ve drawn in my lifetime? The reason I draw palm trees is because they remind me of the vision in which Jesus called me to minister to children. I have written my testimony in Spanish, now I realize I need to do it also in English. It will come!

Here is a short version:  A Vision Come True

See all my testimony stories here:

https://mx1414.wordpress.com/testimony-stories/

So, there were all the people listening to the reading of the Law. Later, when they wanted to read the Law, they had to climb to Mount Ebal and read what was written on the stones.

God had given Joshua commands regarding the Law, so that he would prosper, and everything would go well for him. There are three things I have emphasized for the children, things that are very important for everyone.

  • Think about the Book of the Law
  • Talk about the Book of the Law
  • Obey the Book of the Law

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8

What children and adults could not do at that time, is something we sometimes take for granted. We have the Bible and we can read it whenever we want! But even today there are those who don’t have access to it, because it has not been translated into their language or because they live someplace where the Word of God is forbidden. In some places they must copy the Bible by hand to be able to have it.

The Bible, the Word of God, is a great treasure. Let’s take advantage of today’s story to focus on the great privilege of having the Bible.

Welcome to read Story #6 in The Promised Land: An Altar on a Mountain

I’m sorry I had to make such a long pause in finishing these stories. Now we have two more to go. The next one will be about Caleb, and then a story of Joshua’s farewell.

Blessings!

 

 

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A Circle of Hope

To have a 15-year old boy text you to asking if he can have a sleep-over at your house is pure joy! I had that experience yesterday. My grandson David came after school to stay overnight. We went to McDonald’s for dinner, but what came over me when I got home was not so joyful. It seems like this winter season I’ve been coming down with a cold every other week.

I’m sorry I haven’t been able to start up again where I left off with the stories. It will be pure joy when I get the strength to get back on track.

There is something the Bible talks about as pure joy. James, the brother of our Lord Jesus, writes about it. And it’s not something we might think of as pure joy.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Pure joy when we are tested? Why should we be happy when we face all kinds of trials? Because the testing of our faith develops perseverance.

The man Job was tested beyond what anyone of us has gone through, I’m sure. He was stripped of everything—his children, his wealth, his health. He was so bad off his friends hardly recognized him. His wife told him he should just curse God and die!

The testing was to show Satan and his evil forces that Job’s love of God was genuine. Job stood the test. He recognized that it was a test. How could he consider it pure joy? Probably because he knew what the result would be.

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me,
will come forth as gold.”
Job 23:10

What a comforting assurance! After being tested, he would come forth as gold.

James, who starts his letter by telling us what pure joy is, reminds us that we are blessed if we persevere under trial. The testing of our faith develops perseverance.

In Romans 5:2-5, the apostle Paul reminds us that we should “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” But we should also rejoice in our sufferings. Why?

  • suffering produces perseverance
  • perseverance produces character
  • character produces hope

That is what I call the Circle of Hope.

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into
our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us”
(Romans 5:5).

Who is our Hope? Jesus is our hope of glory (see Colossians 1:27). That’s why we can consider any test with pure joy. Jesus is our hope!

There is so much to say about the subject of counting it pure joy when we are tested. Maybe this introduction to the subject will inspire you to do a study of your own. Look back on your life. I’m sure you will see how the trials and tests you have gone through have brought you closer to God.

Reflect on the Circle of Hope. Amid suffering you are encircled by hope. And hope will not disappoint you.

King David made a heartfelt prayer asking God to test him. Let’s make it our prayer. Maybe you’ve already prayed it.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23,24

Consider it pure joy when you are tested. Keep in mind that you will come forth as pure as gold!

(Scriptures correspond to New International Version)

 

Have a Blessed New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Now comes the excitement of opening a new “book” with 365 unwritten pages, the days of 2019 that only our Heavenly Father knows. May the New Year be your best to date.

We will soon pick up the story of Joshua and the conquest of the Promised Land.

My motto for this year is JOY. Psalm 16:11 tells us that in the presence of the Lord is fullness of joy. That is what will be my reminder daily. I wish the same for you. Live in God’s presence and have joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Nothing compares to the joy Jesus brings. Read Jesus’ final speech to his disciples in John 14-16 and see how important it was for Him that our joy should be complete.

May 2019 be full of joy!

The Punishment for Greed

Today’s story highlights a very sad incident and the consequence brought on because of greed. The punishment for the sinner and his family because of an act of greed and disobedience were devastating. God taught his people a hard lesson. Achan’s greed brought defeat to Israel, the death of 36 warriors, in addition to his own death and that of his entire family.

Read the story in Joshua chapter 7.

There are some dramatic stories in the Bible, when unacceptable behavior was punished to show what it means to disobey the Lord.

  • The sad fate of Adam and Eve, a consequence that we pay for even today. Their relationship with God was broken, and life in the beautiful garden of Eden came to an end. (Genesis 3)
  • The flood, punishment for the evil of men, but “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6 to 9; 6:5-7)
  • The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham interceded for these cities; but not even ten righteous were found there. (Genesis 18:16 to 19:19)
  • The death of the firstborn in Egypt because of the hardened heart of Pharaoh, who did not let the people of Israel go. (Exodus 11 & 12:29-36)
  • Miriam came down with leprosy. She and her brother Aaron murmured against Moses and that displeased the Lord. (Numbers 12)
  • Israel had to wander 40 years in the desert for murmuring and not trusting the Lord to take them triumphant to the Promised Land. (Numbers 14:26-38)
  • The rebellion of Korah. Because he revolted against Moses and Aaron the earth swallowed him and his family alive. 250 men who were burning incense were consumed by fire. There was a plague and 14,700 died. (Numbers 16)
  • Achan’s sin was greed. God said to destroy everything in Jericho. By keeping something for himself, he and his family paid with their lives the sin of greed. (Joshua 7)
  • Saul disobeys and does not fulfill the Lord’s command to destroy Amalek. He was rejected as king. (1 Samuel 15)

    Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22,23).

  • Uzziah was punished with leprosy for burning incense on the altar, something that was the priest’s responsibility. (2 Chronicles 26:16-21)
  • Ananias and Sapphira fell down dead because of lying to the Holy Spirit. I believe that in the early days of the church God wanted to set a precedent. (Acts 5:1-11)

“It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” (Hebrews 10:31). God is holy, and seeks for himself a holy people, jealous of good works. If it is a horrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God, it is wonderful to feel the arms of love of our heavenly Father when we are faithful to Him and His Word.

In the midst of these sad realities, a redeeming light shines. Jesus came to undo the works of the devil. Greed and disobedience are works of Satan. We fall prey to his temptations, but it does not have to be so. That is what we should teach the children. Jesus came to give us victory over sin. He came to save us. Never tire of proclaiming that glorious truth.

Are you going through a difficult time. Let me encourage you with a word that has been a great comfort to me.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:4,5

Welcome to read story #5, Achan and the Punishment for Greed, in The Promised Land.

 

Have a Blessed December and Christmas Season!

Victory in Jericho

Blessings to you and yours!

If you live in a country that celebrates Thanksgiving, I hope you had a good celebration. There is so much to thank God for. His blessings and mercies are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness!

Date of the Passover celebration

Today’s story highlights the victory in Jericho. Joshua and the brave warriors conquered the city because they followed God’s instructions to the letter. Rahab was saved together with her family because she followed the instructions of the spies.

In the story we mention the Passover celebration. An interesting fact has to do with the date of the celebration. After crossing the Jordan, and before conquering Jericho, the people of God celebrated the Passover. Forty years before, on the first month of the year and the 14th day, they celebrated their first Passover. It was a hasty celebration before leaving Egypt.

After forty years of wandering in the desert the people of Israel arrived in the Promised Land. They celebrated the Passover in the first month and the 14th day. How interesting with God’s timing! The dates coincided perfectly!

Then the manna ceased. Read about it in Joshua 5:10-12.

The command not to kill

Let’s talk about a matter that may arise when studying the book of Joshua. Today’s story and some of the following are about conquering Canaan. It’s a bit conflictive, because while God gave the Israelites (and us) the command not to kill, they had to conquer entire cities and destroy everyone. I can only speculate about the reason, because only God knows why at that point in time they had to kill and destroy.

The only way for them to receive their land, which had been promised to Abraham and his offspring, was for them to conquer it. I think the main reason they had to destroy the inhabitants was for it to be a land that worshiped God. It was important that the people not get into the pagan practices of worshiping false gods. The Canaanites were very idolatrous. What do you think? Questions may arise from the children and you need to be prepared to answer them.

The Ten Commandments still rule. Jesus gave us a new commandment, that we should love one another as He has loved us (John 13:34,35). The two great commandments are that we should love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40).

The events of the Old Testament do not justify breaking God’s laws. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Joshua to carry out the conquest. The Lord encouraged him several times to be strong and courageous and told him not to fear.

Joshua’s ” job” of conquering the land began with the successful conquest of Jericho. Read about it in Joshua 6. That’s the story for today.

Eleazar and Eliab

I have placed Eleazar and Eliab amid the march around Jericho, to show the beauty of different generations doing the work of God together. To those who are grandparents, I encourage you to spend as much time as possible with your grandchildren. Your love and presence is the best legacy you can leave them. I imagine some little boy at the time of the conquest, who with pride and joy marched around Jericho holding hands with his grandfather. I know what I’m talking about, because I’m a grandmother. Nothing brings me more pleasure than to do something together with a grandchild.

To parents, grandparents and teachers, may the lessons in the book of Joshua bless you and the children in your life.

Welcome to read the story. Promised Land # 4. Conquering a City.