President’s Day Reading Catch-up
Days 13-17 – Numbers 33 – Joshua 24
Nothing like a long weekend to help you catch up on some reading, eh? Or, in my case, nothing like a long weekend with your family at a waterpark to wreck havoc on your good intentions. I feel like there is some kind of parallel between this weekend and the Hebrew people’s journey in the wilderness. Hear me out – they want to do the right thing, the thing God has called them to do, but something always seems to get in their way and distract them. They assume it’s going to be easy and, predictably, it never is. We’re still reading some difficult passages and truth be told, I’m looking forward to the end of this section.
This is a big chunk of the OT and by the time we finish it we’ll be out of the Torah and onto Joshua. That’s gotta mean something, right?
- Numbers 33 feels like a sitcom “clips” show. You know the episode I’m talking about? One of those shows that claims to be all new but it’s really just a collection of clips from the previous episodes. That’s what we’re dealing with here. A recap of what we just read in the previous 32 chapters. Actually, it’s helpful for me to reread this whole section. Nice to remind yourself how everybody got to where they are.
- Numbers 35 – Cities of refuge for those seeking asylum. I love this concept. Where are the places of security, refuge and sanctuary in our world today? Where do we allow the accused, the frightened, and worrisome?
- Again, I’m concerned with this approach to reading scripture. I know there are some subtle differences between the similar events that are retold in Leviticus, Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, but for the life of me, I can’t pick them out while reading this much this fast. What I am discovering are the larger themes and ideas that permeate throughout the meta-narrative – God’s continual presence, call and response, the need for obedience, humanity’s shortcomings, and the ability to forgive – just to name a few.
- Moses is again reminded that he will not enter into Canaan. What must he have felt to know that his children and grandchildren would see the land he had longed for for so long? Is that a comfort to us? To know our children will experience great joy, even if we do not?
- Retelling the 10 commandments – Deuteronomy 5
- Best part of Deuteronomy – 6:4-9 – SHEMA!!! I may not remember much else from my seminary Hebrew classes than these wonderful verses. This sticks and it should stick. I want to remember these verses- To keep these words. To share these words.
- Big warning – Deut 8:19 If you forget the Lord your God and follow other gods to serve and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.
- Hooray! More food laws! I was wondering if I should eat roebuck or the buzzard. Guess not.
- Deuteronomy 15:10 – Give liberally and ungrudging when you do so
- And here come the sexuality laws…Deuteronomy 22…this deserves more attention…in another post…on another day…
- Fun new law I just learned? Deuteronomy 23:24 – If you go into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes, as many as you wish, but you shall not put any in a container.
- Laws usually develop because of the actions of a community. I’d like to know the origin of this particular law and want to know how many times it occurred to warrant recording it in Deuteronomy 25:11-12 – If men get into a fight with one another, and the wife of one intervenes by reaching out and seizing his genitals, you shall cut off her hand; show her no pity.
- Wrapping Deuteronomy up with another recap, this time set to a song. Way to go, Moses. I didn’t realize you had some music skills in addition to all the prophetic stuff!
- Moses’ eulogy is beautiful, fitting, and a nice conclusion to the Torah.
- It’s the turning point! We’re in Joshua!
- And let’s also welcome Rahab onto the scene. Her story is a pretty fantastic one – this foreign woman is responsible for giving the Israelites what they needed to come into the land and survive. She is one of many “women of questionable backgrounds” who proves to be part of the great story of all of God’s people. God chooses the most unlikely, even you and me. Her quick thinking and wise words make all the difference.
- Joshua 5:15 – Josh takes off his sandals in the presence of God’s holy messenger…very similar to Moses removing his shoes in front of the burning bush. Bottom line? Take off your shoes in the presence of the divine.
- Those sneaky Gibeonites tried to pull a fast one on Joshua. Didn’t seem to work out in their favor (Joshua 9).
- Joshua 12 is the list of kings defeated. That’s, um, a lot of war. A whole lot of war.
- Dividing up the conquered land – give it to the tribes, give the Levites their due, and make sure you set up cities of refuge. I think I got this section. Bring on Judges.