It is near the end of Joshua’s life and the people seem determined to follow their disobedient pattern.
V 1–6: DISOBEDIENCE Through his Angel, God tells the Israelites that their disobedience means that He will not drive out the nations. They will be thorns in Israel’s side. Their gods will ensnare the Israelites. The people weep, offer sacrifices, and return to their own possessions.
V 7–15: DEFEAT After the death of Joshua, and those who followed God under his leadership and example, the people serve other gods, forsake God, and suffer defeat from all their surrounding enemies.
V 16–19: DELIVERANCE God raises up successive judges to lead the Israelites to repentance and victory. But after the death of each judge, the people return to their former sinful ways and are defeated again. They are stubborn and bent upon sin.
V 20–33: DEMONSTRATION God says He will not drive out the nations but will allow them to remain. The Israelites’ attitude to them will demonstrate whether they have passed the test of following God or not.
The pattern was sadly a repetition of sin, judgement and suffering, crying out for help and deliverance for a time and then a reversion to previous practices. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? The nation seemed determined to go its own way, just as sinful people can and do. Pray today that this might not be so. Be thankful that we have in the words of scripture the warning set before us.
I Thessalonians 4
Paul’s teaching and instruction continues in 1 Thessalonians 4.
V 1–2: INCREASE AND INSTRUCTION Their spiritual lives should increase continually and abundantly. They should remember Christ’s commandments received through Paul and his Christian colleagues.
V 3–8: SANCTIFICATION AND SEX God’s will is to have a holy people in contrast to the unregenerate Gentiles. This means that sexual immorality has no place whatsoever in the life of any believer. Adultery and lustful passion is out. To reject this clean and holy teaching is to reject God and His Holy Spirit.
V 9–12: LOVE AND LIVING Heavenly love towards each other must predominate. As it increases, it will produce a quiet, industrious, ordered life. This will ensure that they have a good testimony to those outside and that their needs are met by their daily work.
V 13–18: COMFORT AND COMING Some suggested to the Thessalonians that Christians who had died had missed the blessing of Christ’s second coming. Paul teaches them that, when Christ comes, those who have died physically will be raised with a resurrection body first and be reunited with Christ in the air. Christ will bring their redeemed souls with Him, so there will also be another reunion—that of the body and soul of the believer. Then those who are alive physically will join that blessed reunion with their returned Lord of glory. This is, of course, a great comfort. The Christian who has died and the Christian who is alive both have their future gloriously secured in Jesus Christ. Those who died trusting Christ only fell ‘asleep’ in death, and awoke immediately in His eternal presence. Now they will be given a resurrection body also when Christ brings them back with Him.
Pray that we will not be tempted and that the warning of verses 3-8 will strengthen us. Let us look actively for opportunities to care for our brothers and sisters and also accept their ministry to us.
(Today’s post was thankfully sourced from Bible Panorama)