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17 May - Joshua 1; Isaiah 7; 1 Thessalonians 1; 2


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Posted 17 May 2008 - 11:51 AM

First Portion

Joshua 1


1:1 Now it happened after the death of Moses the servant of Yahweh, that Yahweh spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, 1:2 “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you, and all this people, to the land which I give to them, even to the children of Israel. 1:3 I have given you every place that the sole of your foot will tread on, as I told Moses. 1:4 From the wilderness, and this Lebanon, even to the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your border. 1:5 No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not fail you nor forsake you.

1:6 “Be strong and courageous; for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 1:7 Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded you. Don’t turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success. 1:9 Haven’t I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid, neither be dismayed: for Yahweh your God is with you wherever you go.”

1:10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 1:11 “Pass through the midst of the camp, and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare food; for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which Yahweh your God gives you to possess it.’”

1:12 Joshua spoke to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, saying, 1:13 “Remember the word which Moses the servant of Yahweh commanded you, saying, ‘Yahweh your God gives you rest, and will give you this land. 1:14 Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock, shall live in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan; but you shall pass over before your brothers armed, all the mighty men of valor, and shall help them 1:15 until Yahweh has given your brothers rest, as he has given you, and they have also possessed the land which Yahweh your God gives them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession, and possess it, which Moses the servant of Yahweh gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.’”

1:16 They answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 1:17 Just as we listened to Moses in all things, so will we listen to you. Only may Yahweh your God be with you, as he was with Moses. 1:18 Whoever rebels against your commandment, and doesn’t listen to your words in all that you command him, he shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 11:52 AM

Second Portion

Isaiah 7


7:1 It happened in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it. 7:2 It was told the house of David, saying, “Syria is allied with Ephraim.” His heart trembled, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the forest tremble with the wind. 7:3 Then Yahweh said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shearjashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway of the fuller’s field. 7:4 Tell him, ‘Be careful, and keep calm. Don’t be afraid, neither let your heart be faint because of these two tails of smoking torches, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. 7:5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have plotted evil against you, saying, 7:6 “Let’s go up against Judah, and tear it apart, and let’s divide it among ourselves, and set up a king in its midst, even the son of Tabeel.” 7:7 This is what the Lord Yahweh says: “It shall not stand, neither shall it happen.” 7:8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within sixty-five years Ephraim shall be broken in pieces, so that it shall not be a people; 7:9 and the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.’”

7:10 Yahweh spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 7:11 “Ask a sign of Yahweh your God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.”

7:12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, neither will I tempt Yahweh.”

7:13 He said, “Listen now, house of David. Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God also? 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin will conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 7:15 He shall eat butter and honey when he knows to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 7:16 For before the child knows to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land whose two kings you abhor shall be forsaken. 7:17 Yahweh will bring on you, on your people, and on your father’s house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria. 7:18 It will happen in that day that Yahweh will whistle for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 7:19 They shall come, and shall all rest in the desolate valleys, in the clefts of the rocks, on all thorn hedges, and on all pastures. 7:20 In that day the Lord will shave with a razor that is hired in the parts beyond the River, even with the king of Assyria, the head and the hair of the feet; and it shall also consume the beard. 7:21 It shall happen in that day that a man shall keep alive a young cow, and two sheep; 7:22 and it shall happen, that because of the abundance of milk which they shall give he shall eat butter: for everyone will eat butter and honey that is left in the midst of the land. 7:23 It will happen in that day that every place where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silver shekels, shall be for briers and thorns. 7:24 People will go there with arrows and with bow, because all the land will be briers and thorns. 7:25 All the hills that were cultivated with the hoe, you shall not come there for fear of briers and thorns; but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of sheep.”

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 11:53 AM

Third Portion

1 Thessalonians 1; 2


1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the assembly of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1:2 We always give thanks to God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers, 1:3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father. 1:4 We know, brothers loved by God, that you are chosen, 1:5 and that our Good News came to you not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. You know what kind of men we showed ourselves to be among you for your sake. 1:6 You became imitators of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 1:7 so that you became an example to all who believe in Macedonia and in Achaia. 1:8 For from you the word of the Lord has been declared, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone out; so that we need not to say anything. 1:9 For they themselves report concerning us what kind of a reception we had from you; and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 1:10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 11:54 AM

2:1 For you yourselves know, brothers, our visit to you wasn’t in vain, 2:2 but having suffered before and been shamefully treated, as you know, at Philippi, we grew bold in our God to tell you the Good News of God in much conflict. 2:3 For our exhortation is not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor in deception. 2:4 But even as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, who tests our hearts. 2:5 For neither were we at any time found using words of flattery, as you know, nor a cloak of covetousness (God is witness), 2:6 nor seeking glory from men (neither from you nor from others), when we might have claimed authority as apostles of Christ. 2:7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother cherishes her own children.

2:8 Even so, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you, not the Good News of God only, but also our own souls, because you had become very dear to us. 2:9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and travail; for working night and day, that we might not burden any of you, we preached to you the Good News of God. 2:10 You are witnesses with God, how holy, righteously, and blamelessly we behaved ourselves toward you who believe. 2:11 As you know, we exhorted, comforted, and implored every one of you, as a father does his own children, 2:12 to the end that you should walk worthily of God, who calls you into his own Kingdom and glory. 2:13 For this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that, when you received from us the word of the message of God, you accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also works in you who believe. 2:14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the assemblies of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus; for you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews; 2:15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and drove us out, and didn’t please God, and are contrary to all men; 2:16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved; to fill up their sins always. But wrath has come on them to the uttermost.

2:17 But we, brothers, being bereaved of you for a short season, in presence, not in heart, tried even harder to see your face with great desire, 2:18 because we wanted to come to you—indeed, I, Paul, once and again—but Satan hindered us. 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Isn’t it even you, before our Lord Jesus at his coming? 2:20 For you are our glory and our joy.

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 10:44 AM

17 May 2009

Joshua 1
Isaiah 7
1 Thessalonians 1; 2

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 03:46 AM

17 May 2010

Joshua 1
Isaiah 7
1 Thessalonians 1; 2

PEOPLE PLEASERS

Today the world is attracted to popularity polls, there is remarkable attention given to people’s opinions, politicians in particular are conscious of this. As a result they think a lot about how they might please people. When some matter is not very popular they try to put a “spin” on the situation when they are questioned and have to talk about it; genuine and honest comments are becoming rare.

Our reflections on this were triggered by the term “people pleasers” in yesterday’s readings in Colossians 3. It is linked with the phrase “eye service” which refers to doing your work diligently when the boss’s eye is on you! The context for these words is this, “obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord” [Colossians 3:22]. Notice that last phrase, “fearing the Lord” – fearing Him more than any earthly boss, knowing “the eyes of the LORD are in every place keeping watch on the evil and the good” [Proverbs 15:3].

In the context of Colossians, Paul is writing to those who were slaves, that is, servants - few believers were Masters. But the principles here apply to everyone who works for a living and receive a wage: that is really the great majority of us for the greater period of our life. So we note the final piece of Paul’s advice, “Work heartily as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward” [Colossians 3:24].

He continues his advice in the next chapter, “Conduct yourself wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” [Colossians 4:5, 6] Jesus told his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth” [Matthew 5:13], this means that their presence would be a valuable influence in society, but now people pleasers have come to the fore more than ever. The world does not realize how much the influence of true Bible believers is missing from society. “The salt has lost its taste … saltiness,” Jesus went on to say, “It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

But let us do our part, where-ever we are, we must not lose our saltiness, let us be God-pleasers and not people pleasers.
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Posted 17 May 2011 - 11:05 AM

17 May 2011

Joshua 1
Isaiah 7
1 Thessalonians 1; 2

"THE WORD OF GOD, WHICH IS AT WORK IN YOU BELIEVERS"

Paul used the above words in writing to the believers in Thessalonica. What did they understand by this? How can 'words' work? Well, "words" are sometimes described as "seed" that is planted. We know well the parable of Jesus about the scattering of seed – and the different kinds of soil into which it fell.

Paul had only been able to spend a few short weeks in Thessalonica compared to the 18 months or so in Corinth. In Acts 17 we read how, while in Thessalonica, "he reasoned with them from the Scriptures … this Jesus, whom I proclaim unto you is the Christ (the expected Messiah)" [Acts 17:2, 3 ] that, as a result, the jealous Jews, blind to the reality of his message, "formed a mob and set the city in an uproar" [Acts 17:5] so that "the brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night" [Acts 17:10].

So, as we read Paul's letter to the Thessalonians, we see the point of his words, "You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction" [1 Thessalonians 1:5, 6] He then writes of how news of their acceptance of the faith in much affliction had spread – that "your faith in God has gone forth everywhere" [1 Thessalonians 1:8]

In the 2nd chapter Paul writes "we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers" [1 Thessalonians 2:13] Words we hear – and today read - are either accepted or rejected as to whether they are of value to us, eternal value! Of the greatest value is "the word of God" – if we are ready to recognise it as such. The jealous Jews did not. The self obsessed people of the world today – do not.

The word that fell among thorns and thistles had no lasting effect – it could not complete its "work". But the Thessalonians "turned from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven … who delivers us from the wrath to come." [1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10] May God's word complete its work in us and achieve the same result and turn us from "the idols" this world worships.

We are aware of the affliction facing true believers today in many countries - but the word of God is at work in them! And us?
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Posted 17 May 2012 - 01:26 PM

17 May 2012

Joshua 1
Isaiah 7
1 Thessalonians 1; 2


"BOLDNESS IN OUR GOD"

Today we began reading the book of Joshua: also Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. Both recount the need for boldness and the need to be courageous ­ comparable in some ways to the thought that has been expressed in recent generations, ‘the power of positive thinking,’ but which lacks the ‘God-fearing’ ingredient.


Attitudes of thinking in the minds of those with a true faith in God, minds that are ‘fed’ by daily ‘feeding’ on God’s word, grow stronger and stronger. Paul told the Thessalonians how he, with Silvanus and Timothy, were “constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Thessalonians 1:2,3]

They had “received the word in much affliction” [1 Thessalonians 1:6] and had “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven … who delivers us from the wrath to come.” [1 Thessalonians 1:9,10] There are increasing indications that the final period of God’s wrath must be very near on a world that has become almost totally godless, therefore we need, more than ever “steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” [1 Thessalonians 1:3] and “boldness in our God to declare … the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.” [1 Thessalonians 2:2]

We compare this situation with the boldness of Joshua who had been thrust into the leadership after the death of Moses. God says to him, “Just as I was with Moses, I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous” [Joshua 1:5] God then repeats this and adds, “The book of the Law … 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 …. Be strong and courageous … for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” [Joshua 1:8,9]

What words of encouragement ­ and what an example in Moses he had to follow (just as Christians have Christ and the apostles) ­ and we have just been reading Moses’ final messages in the book of Deuteronomy, words which Joshua would have very much in mind.

But today we have the whole Bible! Let us develop a spirit of dedication, being committed to read his word and develop “boldness in our God.”
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Posted 17 May 2013 - 05:32 AM

17 May 2013

Joshua 1
Isaiah 7
1 Thessalonians 1; 2

“WHICH IS AT WORK IN YOU”

We have 3 stirring portions of Scripture to challenge and encourage us today. Paul tells the Thessalonians how they have been “entrusted with the gospel … not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery” [1 Thessalonians 2:4-5]. Our sense of God’s all-knowing presence is an essential, indeed the main ingredient, in all our deepest thoughts.

And that original gospel, which includes the ‘good news’ of God’s presence and work in us and in the world – needs to be an increasingly central part of our thinking and doing. Paul tells them you “accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God which is at work in you believers.” [1 Thessalonians 2:13] It cannot “work in” those who rarely make the time to read and reflect on what they read.

God’s word through Moses was the essential foundation in the formation of the nation as they entered the promised land. Moses bequeathed Joshua and all the nation the inspired record of the work and presence of God from the beginning of creation. As this record is completed Moses dies and God tells Joshua, “This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night … be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous … Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you …” [Joshua 1:8-9]

The ultimate promised land and these words of God to Joshua (the name Joshua is ‘Jesus’ in the Gk language) should echo in the hearts of believers today. Our reading in Isaiah has a parallel message for us. The prophet is told to go out and challenge the fearful king in Jerusalem – Ahaz – for his “heart … and the heart of the people shook as trees of the forest shake before the wind” [Isaiah 7:2]. The prophet is to tell the king, “Be careful, be quiet, do not fear ….if you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all” [Isaiah 7:4,9] That is also a message for today.

Finally we can link God’s words through Isaiah with some more of Paul’s that we read.. In encouraging the Thessalonians he told them he was “constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope …” [1 Thessalonians 1:2-3] If there was a Paul here today – could he write to us in the same terms? How wonderful if he could stress that God’s word “which is at work in you” is completing that work, because we are “strong and courageous” as we are about to enter the ultimate promised land, God’s kingdom under Christ.
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Posted 17 May 2014 - 03:05 AM

17 May 2014

Joshua 1
Isaiah 7
1 Thessalonians 1; 2

“IF YOU ARE NOT FIRM IN FAITH”

All 3 of our readings today provoke serious meditation about human reactions to God. We started reading Joshua and saw God’s challenge to him to take his people over the Jordan. He is told, “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land … [Joshua 1:5-6]

In Isaiah 7 the prophet is told to “Go and meet (king) Asa” [Isaiah 7:3] and encourage him to face the threats from the north. He is to tell him, “Be careful, do not fear, and do not let your heart in faint …” [Isaiah 7:4] Then the king is bluntly warned, “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.” [Isaiah 7:9] It is not possible to have a sort of half-faith!

Ahaz feels he is putting God to the test if he asks with a full expectation God will preserve him, he says, “I will not ask, I will not put the Lord to the test” [Isaiah 7:12] Because of his lack of faith the LORD then gives, through Isaiah, messages to him of bad times to come when, among other things, “all the land will be briers and thorns” [Isaiah 7:24]

In the New Testament we started to read Paul’s 1st letter to the Thessalonians and saw how he is commending them on “how you turned … to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” [1 Thessalonians 1:9-10]

These words as so meaningful for us today; let us be “firm in faith” that God means what he caused his servants such as Paul to write. May we, with full conviction in the word of God, “wait for his son from heaven’ sensing that “wrath” will soon be coming on our world because it has reached the stage of near total godlessness. Let us not neglect our regular Bible reading as it lays the foundation to being “firm in faith” and to “be strong and courageous” both now – and even more – when the promised “wrath to come” actually happens and the dramas we will read of tomorrow in Paul’s words actually takes place.
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