Lessons from the book of Joshua
Joshua 20:6 – Assylum
… until the death of the one who is high priest in those days (NKJV)
The penitent had somewhere to run in order to find refuge from his accuser who sought to rightly destroy him for the offence he committed. The elders of the city would sit in council and judge him and take custody of him in the city and as long as the incumbent high priest was alive, the accuser would not be allowed to enter that city to exact vengeance. He could, however, mount his watch on the city waiting for the offender to step foolishly out so that he can exact his vengeance.
Now, the offender could live in the city of refuge and have a thriving life and he must remain in that city if he wants to escape punishment. He didn’t run there to escape judgment because he knew the elders of the city would judge him. But, he could escape the punishment as long as he remained in the city during the life time of the incumbent high priest.
Anytime we offend, our accuser, the devil, seizes that occasion to seek our destruction. But we have a city to run to, and our high priest is alive forever. It doesn’t excuse what we have done, wrong will never be right, but the penitent offender can receive the pardon of the high priest and live free forever.
Jesus died the Lamb of God, but was raised our high priest who lives and abides forever. Proverbs 18:10, Romans 8:34, Hebrews 6:20; 7:24-25.
Praise God for this eternal city of refuge.
Lessons from the book of Joshua
Joshua 20:1-2 – Kintsukuroi
“The Lord said, … I spoke to you by the hand of Moses”
As at the point in time I wrote this down, I have noticed that it has become almost a favourite pass time to analyse and criticize men of God, pick out their errors and flaws and call them out on it and at the end of the day label them as anything but men of God.
We have created, for ourselves, the impression that a man must be perfect and flawless in order to qualify to speak for God. We have created the situation where the words of the man mean more to us than the message that the man is passing across and more importantly, whose message the man is passing across.
Hardly does a preacher preach today that the world around him doesn’t take his message apart and look for where he messed up and said it wrongly, used the wrong words or some other things like that. It’s as if we were waiting for just the errors in his sermon so we can have something to tweet about.
It used to be that one would listen to the message, receive the light that God was passing across to us, and leave the errors with the preacher. We used to get blessed by our men of God, but now, it seems we listen to the sermon, pick out where he missed it, and leave the light with him. It’s as if what we focus on now is scoring the preacher. He stands no more before a congregation of worshippers, rather he stands before a panel of judges. And I wonder who amongst us would not mis-say one or two things when we stand before a panel. Many times, folks can’t even get their names right when they stand on the same altar to share testimonies.
We used to leave God to judge men of God but now, it seems we want to do that for God, as He is too slow. We let their human errors cloud the goodness of God in them so badly, that hardly is there a man of God that is “holy” enough to qualify to bring God’s word to us.
And the irony of it is this, when we are given the opportunity to do what these men of God do “for a living”, we turn it down because we know how tough it is to get it right when all eyes are on us. We know the pressure and tension and we are aware of the immensity of the responsibility that even our private lives will have on our public service and vice versa. Yet these men have stepped out there but we refuse to receive them because they are not doing it exactly right.
I think it’s a dangerous place to be.
Take Moses for example, literally with a skeleton in his closet, God called him. And after his supernatural transformation and call to the ministry, he still messed up. I wonder if you know that Aaron and Miriam’s allegation against Moses marrying an Ethiopian was actually based on the laws that Moses himself had given them in God’s name. Yet, God was angry with them because they thought they were equal with Moses and so could talk to and about him as they saw fit (Numbers 12, Exodus 30:12-16). Sometime later, Moses messed up again by striking the rock rather than speaking to it as he was instructed and God judged him, and ultimately Moses died before entering the promised land, yet here is God saying, “I spoke to you through Moses”(Numbers 20:7-12, Joshua 20:1-2).
Did God forget that he fired Moses for going out of line? I think one of the reasons Joshua was afraid to take over from Moses was because it was on record why Moses was fired and Joshua knew exactly how strict God was and probably wondered if he could meet up. Joshua did make his own set of mistakes but here is the thing, it is not our flawlessness that validates our calling, it is God’s faithfulness (1 Thessalonians 5:24, Acts 3:12, 16).
There is a light that is making its rounds in the body of Christ today, indicating that every child of God is called to ministry, not just preachers; that everything we do is ministry as long as it is what God wants us to do, be it in church or in our business places. I agree totally. Now, how many of us are flawless on our jobs? How many of us don’t make mistakes, some very costly? Some of us deserve to be fired for some of the stuff we’ve done on the job, and we know it, yet we run to God for help. We ask for His mercy and He helps us. Since it is true that we are in ministry just like our pastors are, how about we cut them some slack too and show them some mercy? We are learning that our righteousness is not based on our actions but on our nature; it’s not what we do but who we are. How about we extend the same to our pastors?
Am I saying it’s okay for a man of God, whose job description involves the pulpit, to be messing around? Of course not. He is expected to have a high moral standard because of the uniqueness of his job, although, we are all expected to have that same high moral standard. What I am saying is what Paul said, let the one who called the man be the one to call him out for his misdeeds (Romans 14:4, 10-12). If you see your brother going astray and you have the opportunity, the scriptures teach us to talk to him, not talk about him (Galatians 6:1-2, Matthew 18:15-17).
God said to me some years back and I’ve said it severally, “If you’re looking for people, you may not find God but if you’re looking for God, you will find people because God lives in people.” If we reject men because they are not flawless, we would end up rejecting God. We’re all vessels of clay, cracked, scarred, some are even broken … but God lives in us all the same, holding all our fragile pieces together; for Him, that’s part of the appeal … that the credit would be clearly not due to the vessel but to Him.
2Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
PS: Kintsukuroi (“golden repair”), also known as Kintsugi (“golden joinery”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
Thanks to a brother 2.0 for bringing the term to my attention.
Lessons from the book of Joshua
Joshua 19:51 – Mobile Home
Joshua 19:51 These [are] the inheritances, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, divided for an inheritance by lot in Shiloh before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. So they made an end of dividing the country.
At first glance, it would appear that the leaders of the nation simply held their council at the tabernacle for sake of convenience since it was a central location and that the Lord was there merely as a silent and passive witness but on closer look at the words translated “before the Lord” one gets a different insight.
The venue of the meeting was chosen deliberately, not just to honour God, but to get Him involved. In their time, the presence of God was restricted to the tabernacle, and later the temple, to keep God from “breaking out” against them for their many and frequent transgressions. So if anyone wished to talk to God, or get God involved in anything, he would have to go to God’s house … just as in this situation.
Now, the inheritance was apportioned by casting lot and they expected the Lord to guide the lot in order to guide them. Though it doesn’t say specifically here, but I believe that since Eleazar the high priest was present, the stones used in casting the lots must have been the sacred Urim and Thummim carried by the high priest for purposes of divine guidance. But whether or not that is the case, the fact that they brought it to God’s place so He could influence the results is enough. Look at these translations:
These are the heritages which Eleazar the priest and Joshua, the son of Nun, and the heads of families of the tribes of the children of Israel gave out at Shiloh, by the decision of the Lord, at the door of the Tent of meeting. So the distribution of the land was complete. (Bible in Basic English 1965)
Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders of the families of the tribes of Israel assigned these parts of the land by drawing lots to consult the LORD at Shiloh, at the entrance of the Tent of the LORD’s presence. In this way they finished dividing the land. (Good News Bible)
The point is, sharing landed property was as far away from spiritual matters as a matter can be, yet God got involved… because it was brought to Him and the results were acceptable to everyone and that was the end of the matter. There were no border disputes to settle after that.
How many times do we leave God out of such matters of state in our time? I think too often. I believe God wants to be involved in everything we are involved in. This should be quite obvious when one thinks that God moved out of the temple building and moved in to human temples so that He could be everywhere we are in a very personal and involved way.
Please, take full advantage of this arrangement so that your life can be free of the fallouts of the inadequacy of human insight and foresight.
You are the temple of God … God’s mobile home; everywhere you go, He goes.
God is good.
He is so good that he is too good to be called just good … but then what else can you call him but good?
Faith is the raw material out of which the object of our hope is constructed. Hebrews 11:1