“On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess. Distribute the land by lot, according to your clans. To a larger group give a larger inheritance, and to a smaller group a smaller one. Whatever falls to them by lot will be theirs. Distribute it according to your ancestral tribes.’ ‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.’” (Psalm 92:4- God Gives and Limits Freedom)
God’s history of deliverance calls His people to cooperate with Him and with one another to achieve His purposes. God showed Israel clearly His plan for their life in the Promised Land. He spelled out the consequences of failure to cooperate in His plan. History is not a preset course people have to follow. History is a conversation between God and His people as He seeks to lead us to achieve His perfect purposes.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Dear Abba, these verses remind us that we are to be obedient to Your Word, that punishment similar to that which would happen to those the Israelites were displacing, but also to them if they disobey. Today we continue to pray our troops serving in faraway lands and those in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“No time for Christ? He has an eternity for you!”
“Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.” (Joshua 15:63 –God Gives and Limits Freedom)
God’s historical act of giving the land involved the possibility of human failure. Dan could not gain control of the western inheritance and retreated to the northeast to gain a territory. God’s history is not a continuous series of successes for His people. Rather, He allows freedom to fail but remains present to direct through and beyond failure. Beloved, even when the promised property was lost or not gained, God was able to fulfill His promise to provide His people with an inheritance. When Dan could not possess its original lot, God replaced it with a placed call Leshem, which was renamed Dan. God always points to divine faithfulness, not guaranteed human achievement.
“When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: ‘Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who know but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this/’ Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘God, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go the the king, even thought I it against the law. And if I perish,I perish.’” (Esther 4:12-16 – God Gives and Limits Freedom)
Humans face decisions to be available for God’s use or not. God leads people to places in life where they they can be useful in His purposes. He forces no one to be so used. He can always accomplish His saving purposes through someone else.
Fasting is usually associated with prayer. Fasting in the sumptuous luxury of the palace was an indication of unusual earnestness. Esther needed dedicated prayer as she prepared to risk her life for her people.
SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.” (Acts 4:27-28– God Gives and Limits Freedom)
God’s plan for saving a people for Himself included Christ’s death. Herod, Pilate and many other people conspired to cause Christ’s physical death. Their historical actions were not forced upon them. They acted in freedom and had to bear the weight of responsibility for their sinful acts. God works ou His plans in time and history without robbing humans of freedom to act.