Category Archives: B90X

B90X- How Joshua points to the New Testament 2013.01.19

strong and courageousIn kind of a short look back at the week, a point struck me regarding the person of Joshua, some of the theological ideas in that story and how they point to a future Messiah and Kingdom of God.

We are so fortunate to live in history when we have the cannon.  We are able to read back and make connections that men like Joshua or the disciples only had bits and pieces of information in putting together their worldviews.  The way we can read Israel’s story and the thread of redemption woven through it, is grace to us.  How much more revelation do any of us need to comprehend and grasp the love Father has for us?

Here are a few things found in Joshua which point to events and ideas found when and after Jesus came:

  1. The Name of Joshua and Jesus.  The name of Joshua  means “the Lord is our salvation.”  Interestingly enough the English Jesus is a derivation of the Greek which is a derivation of the Hebrew.  So etymologically, their names mean the same thing and their roles and nature line up dramatically.
  2. The Promises Rest-  Josh was leading Israel into their inheritance, into their rest (Deut 3:20; 12:10; 25:19; Josh. 1:13, 15; 21:44; 22:4; 23:1).  But at best a temporary rest from enemies, for Israel would have many more foes in the centuries ahead.  From the vantage point of the NT, Joshua’s successes were only partial at best, and therefore they pointed beyond themselves to a time when Joshua’s greater namesake, Jesus, would bring God’s people into an inheritance that could not be taken away from them (1 Peter 1:3-5).  Jesus would provide the rest Joshua had not attained (Heb 3:11, 18; 4:1-11).
  3. Models of Faith- The people of Israel at the battle of Jericho and Rahab the prostitute are presented as models of faith, examples of those who were looking for a country (Heb 11:30-31; 11:14-16), but who did not attain what was promised (11:39_40), because God had planned something better.
  4. God’s Warrior- According to the NT, Jesus is not only Joshua’s greater namesake, but he is also the Divine Warrior, the captain of the Lord’s Army who fights in behalf of his people and achieves victory for them (Josh. 5:13-15; Rev. 19:11-16).  The inheritance he gives is not a stretch of rocky land in the eastern Mediterranean, but rather renewed heavens and earth and a heavenly city (Rev. 1-2).
  5. The Conquest- Many have made comparisons between Joshua and the book of Acts.  After redemption from Egypt in the Exodus, Israel began the conquest of her inheritance; after the redemptive work of Jesus at the cross, his people move forward to conquer the world in his name.  Israel enjoyed an earthly inheritance and an earthly kingdom but the kingdom of which the church is a part is spiritual and heavenly.

Sidenote- for some of you struggling to rearrange your daily schedule to get the hour or so reading done everyday, I ran across this article that gives a few pointers on how it  can be done.  Stay after it!!  Reading all of God’s words in this rapid fashion is so worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

B90X- End of Deutoronomy 2013.01.15

As the end of the Torah rolled around a bit of sadness overcame me.  The end of a forty year era was done.  The end of Moses ministry to the people was done.  The end of his event-filled 120 years was complete.  There has been, nor ever will be a man like Moses.  One can see now why is so revered in the Jewish Faith.  “Moses and the Prophets,” they say.  He embodied many attributes of Father.  He was patient with the people, though at times wondered why he had to lead this group of rebellious and stiff-necked people.  He interceded on their behalf for Father not to wipe them off the face of the earth.  Moses stayed faithful to the wandering Hebrews, he never quit or left them on the side of the road.  Yet in the end, even Father’s most favored man on the planet at the time had to deal with the result of his decisions and disobedience.  Moses was not allowed to enter the place he vowed to lead the people towards.  His forty years of education and training– lead to forty years of training with Father–  which lead to his forty years of service–  ending with looking at the place of promise.

Did any of you stop to ponder the choices for why which tribes were chosen to be on Mt. Gerazim and Mt. Ebal during the recitation of the blessings and curses? The two tribes from which the two positive spies surfaced, the priests, “Praise,” the youngest son from whom the first king came, the favored one of Jacob, and the laboring servant were all on the Mt. of Blessing.  There are many reasons why the others on the Mt. of Curses side.  See if you can come up with more than what I have listed.

deut 28When you read through the blessings and cursed in chapter 28, was there any evidence of which category events of your life fell in? Did you see any evidence of your obedience or disobedience and the results of said decisions?

In the end, I think the most poignant words to date are found in Deut. 32:47, “They are not just idle words for you– they are your life.”  As we are reading all of these words and believe me, I know we have read a lot of words in the past two weeks, they are our life.

They are our sustenance,

they are our eternity,

they are our success,

they are our prosperity,

they are a key,

they are our nourishment,

they are our warfare,

they are a door to understanding Father,

they are victory,

they are a gift,

they are grace and mercy,

they are all we need for a life of faith and godliness.

B90X- Enjoy Father’s Story

silver amulet of priestly blessingNumbers may as well have been entitled “Rebellion and Grumblings.”

Over and over again, the contrast between Father’s faithfulness and Israel’s faithlessness erupt.

Think of all the stories where the people’s rebellion brought difficulty and  discipline to the newly emancipated slaves:
*Mariam and Aaron’s defiance of Moses leadership.  Mariam’s ensuing leprosy.
*Fussing about Moses and Aaron being in charge and the staff that budded.
*Mannah provided every morning. Because of complaining.
*Quail coming out their noses. See above reason.
*Unbelieving spies not trusting God and 40 years of needless wandering.
*Not having water to drink and Moses struggle with people, caused Moses to sin against God.
*Korahs rebellion.
*Phinehas running a spear through a man and foreign woman for having sex in the camp.  Incidently, a plague did stop after that.
*Balaks hiring of Balaam to curse the Israelites and not able to.

Our friends test God at every level, even while God is providing for their needs.

How often is my ‘grumble-ometer’ totally pegged on overload and Father continues to show himself faithful?  Numbers 14:18-19 says, “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love, and forgiving sin.”

The words we use either bless folks or curse them.  We have learned that it is better to bless, to encourage, to pray for, to forgive, to love, to bring life, and to see success in our selves, relationships, families, and town.  The above picture shows some of our churches favorite scripture.  It is a small silver scroll found in 1979 in the desert of  Israel.  Marked as the most significant archaeological find ever, it dates back to the 7th century BCE.  The paleo-Hebrew scrawl says, “May the Lord bless you and keep you, May the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, May the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace”  Numbers 6:22-24 affectionately called the Priestly Blessing or Aaronic Blessing.

B90X Leviticus Explained

leviticus redrawnOne of the stubbornly enduring habits of the human race is to insist on domesticating God. We are determined to tame him. We figure out ways to harness God to our projects. We try to reduce God to a size that conveniently fits our plans and ambitions and tastes.

But our Scriptures are even more stubborn in telling us that we can’t do it. God cannot be fit into our plans, we must fit into his.  We can’t use God– God is not a tool or appliance or credit card.

“Holy” is the word that sets God apart and above our attempts to enlist him in our wish-fulfillment fantasies or our utopian schemes for making our mark in the world. Holy means that God is alive on God’s terms, alive in a way that exceeds our experience and imagination.  Holy refers to the life burning with an intense purity that transforms everything it touches into itself.

Because the core of all living is God, and God is a holy God, we require much teaching and long training for living in response to God as he is and not as we want him to be.  The book of Leviticus is a narrative pause in the story of our ancestors as they are on their way, saved out of Egypt, to settle in the land of Canaan.  It is a kind of extended time-out of instruction, a detailed and meticulous preparation for living ‘holy’ in a culture that doesn’t have the faintest idea what “holy” is. The moment these people enter Canaan they will be picking their way through a lethal minefield of gods and goddesses that are designed to appeal to our god-fantasies: “Give us what we want when we want it on our own terms.”  What these god-fantasies in fact do is cripple or kill us.  Leviticus is a start at the “much teaching and long training” that continues to be adapted and reworked in every country and culture where God is forming a saved people to live as he created them to live– holy as God is holy.

The first thing that strikes us as we read Leviticus in this light is that this holy God is actually present with us and virtually every detail of our lives is affected by the presence of this holy God; nothing in us, our relationships, or environment is left out. The second thing is that God provides a way (sacrifices and feasts and Sabbaths) to bring everything in and about us into his holy presence, transformed in the fiery blaze of the holy. It is an awesome thing to come into his presence, and we, like ancient Israel, stand in his presence at every moment (Psalm 139). Our Lord is not dwelling in a tent or house in our neighborhood. But he makes his habitation in us and among us as believers and says, “I am holy, you be holy” (1 Peter 1:16, citing Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7).

Once we realize this, the seemingly endless details and instructions of Leviticus become sign posts of good news to us: God cares that much about the details of our lives, willing everything in and about us into transformation that St. Paul later commended:

So her’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life– your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life– and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you in the best thing you can do for him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you (Romans 12:1-2).

The above is the introduction to Leviticus in the Message Bible.  How often have I ridiculed and made jokes of the book.  Too many to count.  Instead it is one of Father’s most important bits of instruction on how to live life and He leaves no stone unturned.  Blessings as you plow through.

B90X- Why such disdain for Leviticus?

LeviticusEven some pastors I know have said if they have trouble falling asleep they break out Leviticus.

I’ll admit left to itself, without any understanding of context, it can lack capturing our attention.  Hollywood has so destroyed our ability to read literature any more.

 

Here is what must be known to read Leviticus:
*God is holy.
*God expects his people to be holy.
*God desire to live among his people but has high standards that must be maintained.
*God is serious about holiness.

Look at the word cloud above for the book of Leviticus.  What word and whose name appears more than any other in the book?  The Lord.  He is the most important thing in the whole book.  Not us and not our ideas.

Because God does have a pretty good idea about what it looks like to live with people in harmony.  That lack of harmony is sin.  Sin has consequences.  The cost of those consequences is high and time consuming.  Look at all they had to do to fix the error of their ways.

We have Jesus now.  Our sins are forgiven at the mere awareness of our sin by the Holy Spirit and confession of that sin to Father.  However, we still may have to deal with the consequences of our sin.  Many times our decisions and sins get us in a real pickle.  It destroys a whole bunch of stuff.  That is why the saying, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, cost you more than you are willing to pay, and keep you longer than you are willing to stay” reverberates in my memory.  Sin is ugly. Sin stinks.  Sin is messy.  God hates sin and so should we.

Leviticus contains information given to the Israelites while they were camped in the wilderness by Mount Sinai: instructions regarding management of sacred space (the tabernacle), sacred status (God’s people), and sacred time (in the festivals). These were considered important for maintaining holiness for God’s presence, which was at the center of their lives.  Sacred times must be identified, maintained by the priests, and observed.  Sacred space must be guarded and its holiness preserved.  The status of priests and people must be regulated by specific guidelines so they don’t desecrate God’s presence.  God is holy, and Israel is expected to be holy so his presence can remain in their midst.

Walton, Strauss, Cooper. The Essential Bible Companion. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.