You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Book of Joshua’ tag.

Below are the readings for the Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity, November 8, 2020.

These are for Year A in the three-year Lectionary used in public worship.

There are two options for the first reading and Psalm.

Emphases below are mine.

First reading and Psalm — Option One

Last week’s reading was about the beginning of Joshua’s leadership of the Israelites. Today’s is about his recollections of that leadership during his final meeting with the heads of the congregation of Israel. He died shortly thereafter.

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25

24:1 Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God.

24:2 And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors–Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor–lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods.

24:3a Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan and made his offspring many.

24:14 “Now therefore revere the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.

24:15 Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

24:16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods;

24:17 for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed;

24:18 and the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

24:19 But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.

24:20 If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.”

24:21 And the people said to Joshua, “No, we will serve the LORD!”

24:22 Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.”

24:23 He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”

24:24 The people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and him we will obey.”

24:25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem.

The Psalm ties in well with Joshua’s entreaties to the Israelites to love and obey the Lord.

Psalm 78:1-7

78:1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,

78:3 things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us.

78:4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.

78:5 He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children;

78:6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children,

78:7 so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.

First reading and Psalm — Option Two

One of the following four may be read. The Wisdom of Solomon is a book in the Catholic canon of the Bible.

Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-16

6:12 Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her.

6:13 She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her.

6:14 One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for she will be found sitting at the gate.

6:15 To fix one’s thought on her is perfect understanding, and one who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care,

6:16 because she goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every thought.

Amos delivers the word of the Lord: His people must put away their idols along with their insincere worship and devote themselves to Him alone. Incidentally, James Comey used to have verse 24 posted on his Twitter feed; it was an anti-Trump message.

Amos 5:18-24

5:18 Alas for you who desire the day of the LORD! Why do you want the day of the LORD? It is darkness, not light;

5:19 as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake.

5:20 Is not the day of the LORD darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?

5:21 I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.

5:22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon.

5:23 Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps.

5:24 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.

The next verses from the Wisdom of Solomon continue from the first.

Wisdom of Solomon 6:17-20

6:17 The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction, and concern for instruction is love of her,

6:18 and love of her is the keeping of her laws, and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality,

6:19 and immortality brings one near to God;

6:20 so the desire for wisdom leads to a kingdom.

This short Psalm of David’s is one we can pray in times of trouble or affliction.

Psalm 70

70:1 Be pleased, O God, to deliver me. O LORD, make haste to help me!

70:2 Let those be put to shame and confusion who seek my life. Let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who desire to hurt me.

70:3 Let those who say, “Aha, Aha!” turn back because of their shame.

70:4 Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you. Let those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”

70:5 But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!

Epistle

Readings from 1 Thessalonians continue. Paul discusses the afterlife and our Lord’s Second Coming.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

4:14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.

4:15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died.

4:16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

4:17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever.

4:18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Gospel

Readings from Matthew’s Gospel continue. Jesus taught the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids — also known as the Parable of the Ten Virgins or the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins — in the final days before the Crucifixion.

Matthew 25:1-13

25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.

25:2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.

25:3 When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them;

25:4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.

25:5 As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept.

25:6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’

25:7 Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps.

25:8 The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’

25:9 But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’

25:10 And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut.

25:11 Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’

25:12 But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’

25:13 Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

The virgins, or bridesmaids, are allegories for the followers of Christ. The foolish ones have fallen away into spiritual weakness and sin. The wise have been prepared all along, expecting and waiting for the Bridegroom — Jesus — to appear.

Matthew Henry has an excellent commentary on this parable. He says the heart is the vessel; grace is the oil we must have in our vessel. We must use our time in this life profitably, to His honour and glory, so that we may be ready to meet Him one day.

Below are the readings for the Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity, November 1, 2020, which also happens to be All Saints Day.

These are for Year A in the three-year Lectionary used in public worship.

There are two options for the first reading and Psalm.

Emphases below are mine.

First reading and Psalm — Option One

Last week’s reading documented the death of Moses. The Lord confers blessings upon Joshua, Moses’s successor.

Joshua 3:7-17

3:7 The LORD said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses.

3:8 You are the one who shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.'”

3:9 Joshua then said to the Israelites, “Draw near and hear the words of the LORD your God.”

3:10 Joshua said, “By this you shall know that among you is the living God who without fail will drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites:

3:11 the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan.

3:12 So now select twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe.

3:13 When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.”

3:14 When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people.

3:15 Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest. So when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the water,

3:16 the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, while those flowing toward the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho.

3:17 While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.

The Psalm lists the many blessings that God bestowed upon His faithful people. It gives us cause to reflect on the many blessings He has given each of us. With regard to verse 8 and ‘humankind’, Matthew Henry’s commentary says that pagan societies prayed to an unknown god, a ‘supreme “Numen”‘. When they prayed to that unknown god, the Lord heard their prayers.

Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37

107:1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.

107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, those he redeemed from trouble

107:3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.

107:4 Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to an inhabited town;

107:5 hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.

107:6 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress;

107:7 he led them by a straight way, until they reached an inhabited town.

107:8 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.

107:9 For he satisfies the thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things.

107:33 He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground,

107:34 a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.

107:35 He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water.

107:36 And there he lets the hungry live, and they establish a town to live in;

107:37 they sow fields, and plant vineyards, and get a fruitful yield.

First reading and Psalm — Option Two

This is Micah’s stern warning to corrupt rulers of the house of Jacob and false prophets of the house of Israel.

Micah 3:5-12

3:5 Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry “Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against those who put nothing into their mouths.

3:6 Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without revelation. The sun shall go down upon the prophets, and the day shall be black over them;

3:7 the seers shall be disgraced, and the diviners put to shame; they shall all cover their lips, for there is no answer from God.

3:8 But as for me, I am filled with power, with the spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.

3:9 Hear this, you rulers of the house of Jacob and chiefs of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity,

3:10 who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with wrong!

3:11 Its rulers give judgment for a bribe, its priests teach for a price, its prophets give oracles for money; yet they lean upon the LORD and say, “Surely the LORD is with us! No harm shall come upon us.”

3:12 Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.

David appeals to the Lord for deliverance from his enemies. Matthew Henry says this is a good Psalm to pray in times of trouble.

Psalm 43

43:1 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; from those who are deceitful and unjust deliver me!

43:2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you cast me off? Why must I walk about mournfully because of the oppression of the enemy?

43:3 O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.

43:4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.

43:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.

Epistle

Readings from 1 Thessalonians continue. Paul praises the Thessalonians for willingly accepting the word of God. They were well known for their Christian devotion and holiness.

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13

2:9 You remember our labor and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

2:10 You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was toward you believers.

2:11 As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children,

2:12 urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

2:13 We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.

Gospel

Readings from Matthew continue. Jesus delivered this teaching a few days before the Crucifixion.

Matthew 23:1-12

23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,

23:2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat;

23:3 therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach.

23:4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.

23:5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long.

23:6 They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues,

23:7 and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi.

23:8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students.

23:9 And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father–the one in heaven.

23:10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah.

23:11 The greatest among you will be your servant.

23:12 All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Jesus berated the scribes and the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and grandstanding. They treated the Jews of His era woefully, binding them in continuous legalism. They remained spiritually blind until the end. One cannot imagine what Jesus must have thought, having had to put up with their harassment for the duration of His ministry and knowing all along they wanted to put Him to death.

March 30, 2019 is Laetare Sunday, which is Mothering Sunday here in the UK.

To all the British mums reading this, I wish you a very happy day with family. (Commiserations on the move to British Summer Time.)

Laetare Sunday was the day that Britons and others in Anglophone countries worshipped at their ‘mother’ church. Afterwards, the congregation gathered round the church and held hands to ‘clip’ it, showing their love for and solidarity with it.

Servants were given time to make a Simnel cake ahead of time to give to their mothers that day. Nowadays, Simnel cake is more often served at Easter. Its 12 marzipan balls symbolise Christ and his faithful 11 Apostles.

Celebrants in the Catholic and Anglican traditions often wore a pink vestment on Laetare Sunday, as it is the one joyful day of worship during Lent.

It is so called for the ancient Introit, which includes these words:

“Laetare Jerusalem” (“O be joyful, Jerusalem”)

Catholics have a longstanding tradition dating back to the Middle Ages of the Golden Rose, which the Pope can award at his discretion to worthy dignitaries for an exemplary life. The University of Notre Dame in Indiana awards its Laetare Medal on this day to a deserving recipient. The Golden Rose symbolises our Lord who sprang from the root of Jesse’s tree like a flower (Isaiah 11:1).

Laetare Sunday was known as ‘the Sunday of the Five Loaves’, as the Feeding of the Five Thousand was the original Gospel reading, prior to the incursion of the Lectionary.

You can read more about Laetare Sunday in the posts below:

Laetare Sunday, Mother’s Day and the Golden Rose

Laetare Sunday is Mothering Sunday

Now onto the readings for Year C in the three-year Lectionary used in public worship.

Emphases mine below.

First reading

This passage from Joshua is about the Lord’s gift of Gilgal to the Israelites. Once they could eat abundantly, He withdrew His merciful supply of manna. The Lord provides for His people.

Joshua 5:9-12

5:9 The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away from you the disgrace of Egypt.” And so that place is called Gilgal to this day.

5:10 While the Israelites were camped in Gilgal they kept the passover in the evening on the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho.

5:11 On the day after the passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain.

5:12 The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.

Psalm

The Lord is good, therefore, we should rejoice and be glad. He forgives the iniquities of those who repent. The righteous receive His many blessings. ‘Selah’, incidentally, means ‘heed these words’, ‘pay close attention’. Verse 8 is David’s message of instruction to his people. He took a long time, because of stubbornness, to repent of his sins (verses 3, 4). This Psalm is a maschil, a teaching Psalm.

Psalm 32

32:1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

32:2 Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

32:3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.

32:4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

32:6 Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.

32:7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah

32:8 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

32:9 Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.

32:10 Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.

32:11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

Epistle

Paul’s message to the Corinthians is an uplifting one. We are reconciled to God through His Son Christ Jesus. As such, all things become new for the faithful. Therefore, we must be ambassadors for Christ and live in righteousness.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

5:16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.

5:17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

5:18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;

5:19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

5:20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Gospel

This Sunday’s Gospel is the Parable of the Prodigal Son, most troublesome to many of us for various reasons. Although the Lectionary compilers include Luke’s introduction, it would have been welcome had they also included the Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin, which add to the context.

It says something about modern society that we cannot bear listening to Scripture! Seven extra verses! ‘Quick, I gotta get to the mall’ or ‘Johnny can’t be late for football practice’. Woe are we.

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

15:1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him.

15:2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

15:3 So he told them this parable:

15:11b “There was a man who had two sons.

15:12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them.

15:13 A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living.

15:14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need.

15:15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs.

15:16 He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything.

15:17 But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger!

15:18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you;

15:19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”‘

15:20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.

15:21 Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

15:22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe–the best one–and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

15:23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate;

15:24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.

15:25 “Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing.

15:26 He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on.

15:27 He replied, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.’

15:28 Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him.

15:29 But he answered his father, ‘Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends.

15:30 But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’

15:31 Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.

15:32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.'”

Here are the missing verses:

4 What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Or what woman, having ten silver coins,[a] if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

It took me many years to come to grips with this parable, often misused in family situations. I had to do a lot of research on it, because most of the sermons about it are what we’ve been hearing all these years.

Three lessons: one, it was intended for the Jewish hierarchy and, two, Jesus was referring to the lost tribes of Israel.

And, finally — most especially for Christians — it has to do with the last-minute repentant sinner, whom we should celebrate. As the father in the parable said, inspiring Amazing Grace, the brother was dead but came to life, was lost and now found.

I hope these posts help explain it (sources within):

Historical meaning of the Parable of the Prodigal Son

Everyone sees older brother as bad

The Prodigal Son, public policy and churchgoers

The Parable of the Prodigal Son and brothers in Genesis

The Parable of the Prodigal Son relates to the lost tribes of Israel

It’s a difficult parable but relatively simple when placed in context.

May everyone reading this enjoy a blessed Laetare Sunday.

What follows are the readings for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost — Twelfth Sunday after Trinity — August 26, 2018.

These are for Year B in the three-year Lectionary cycle.

There are two sets of first readings, each with an accompanying Psalm from which the celebrant can choose. I have given the second selection blue subheadings below. Emphases mine throughout.

First reading

Readings continue from 1 Kings and Solomon’s reign after succeeding his father David. God enabled Solomon to build the first temple, which lasted approximately 350 years until the Babylonians destroyed it. The destruction was a divine judgement on God’s chosen people. 2 Chronicles 7 — here and here — gives more information about the magnificence of the temple and God’s instruction to Solomon to remain faithful to Him.

1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11), 22-30, 41-43

8:1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.

8:6 Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim.

8:10 And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD,

8:11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.

8:22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven.

8:23 He said, “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart,

8:24 the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand.

8:25 Therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant my father David that which you promised him, saying, ‘There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children look to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’

8:26 Therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant my father David.

8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built!

8:28 Regard your servant’s prayer and his plea, O LORD my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today;

8:29 that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place.

8:30 Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling place; heed and forgive.

8:41 “Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name

8:42 –for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm–when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house,

8:43 then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.

Psalm

The Psalm is about God’s pleasing dwelling place and the happiness of His faithful.

Psalm 84

84:1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!

84:2 My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.

84:3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.

84:4 Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise. Selah

84:5 Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

84:6 As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.

84:7 They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

84:8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah

84:9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed.

84:10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness.

84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly.

84:12 O LORD of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.

First reading

Joshua tells the Israelites to remain faithful to God, who mercifully watched over them from Abraham’s time to the deliverance from bondage in Egypt to the present. This was Joshua’s final message to the tribes of Israel. He died soon afterwards.

Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18

24:1 Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God.

24:2a And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors–Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor–lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods.

24:14 “Now therefore revere the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.

24:15 Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

24:16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods;

24:17 for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed;

24:18 and the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.

Psalm

The Psalm acknowledges the mercy God shows to His faithful.

Psalm 34:15-22

34:15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.

34:16 The face of the LORD is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

34:17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.

34:18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.

34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD rescues them from them all.

34:20 He keeps all their bones; not one of them will be broken.

34:21 Evil brings death to the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.

34:22 The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Epistle

This passage from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians contains many familiar and powerful verses about faith.

Ephesians 6:10-20

6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.

6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

6:12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

6:14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.

6:15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.

6:16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

6:17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

6:18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

6:19 Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,

6:20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

Gospel

This passage concludes Jesus’s words to the crowd in Capernaum whom He had fed the day before (the Feeding of the Five Thousand). I am happy to see that the 2005 version of the Lectionary that the Vanderbilt Divinity Library uses includes the difficult verse, John 6:66:

Some traditions use versions of the Revised Common Lectionary that differ slightly from the version on this RCL website. Differences between lectionary selections in your denomination’s published materials and what appears on this site may be a result of variations in adoption of the RCL by your denomination.

I have highlighted verse 66 in purple.

John 6:56-69

6:56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.

6:57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.

6:58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”

6:59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

6:60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?”

6:61 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you?

6:62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?

6:63 It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

6:64 But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him.

6:65 And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”

6:66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.

6:67 So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”

6:68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.

6:69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Sometimes we need reminding that a) Jesus always knew who the believers were during his earthly ministry, b) only God the Father can give people faith in Jesus and c) He lost many followers that day.

This chapter from the Book of Joshua is not included in the three-year Lectionary.  For this reason, it becomes part of the Churchmouse Campanologist Forbidden Bible Verses.

Whilst not every verse of the Bible can be included in the Lectionary, it behooves us to read what the rest of the Bible has to say.  The Pyromaniacs featured a post on Biblical literacy recently, asking how it is that we so readily read magazines, blogs and novels yet, when it comes to Holy Scripture, we lack the time and inclination.  A good question to ponder in the week ahead.  (And, yes, I am more than guilty of this sin.)

Today’s reading is from the King James Version.

Joshua 11

1And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph,

 2And to the kings that were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Chinneroth, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west,

 3And to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and to the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and to the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh.

 4And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many.

 5And when all these kings were met together, they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.

 6And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for to morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire.

 7So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly; and they fell upon them.

 8And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, and unto Misrephothmaim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left them none remaining.

 9And Joshua did unto them as the LORD bade him: he houghed their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire.

 10And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms.

 11And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire.

 12And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded.

 13But as for the cities that stood still in their strength, Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only; that did Joshua burn.

 14And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe.

 15As the LORD commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.

 16So Joshua took all that land, the hills, and all the south country, and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same;

 17Even from the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them.

 18Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.

 19There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle.

 20For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.

 21And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities.

 22There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained.

 23So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.

—————————————————

Joshua 11 reads like an epic poem, conjuring up mighty and powerful images in the mind’s eye.  It is a continuation of the story in Joshua 10, describing the conquest of the southernmost Canaan lands.  This chapter recounts the conquest of the northern territories.  Two things strike me about the Old Testament and this chapter in particular: war with one’s enemies never ends, yet the goodness of God’s will is always being accomplished.

The first five verses describe the aggressors — the Canaanites and their neighbouring allies — taking up arms against Joshua and his men.  God has turned their hearts and minds against the truth of His word so that the Israelites will be justified in vanquishing them.  In the previous chapter God assisted the Israelites with wonders enabling victory in the south.  This time, Joshua and his men must make full use of God’s grace and their weapons.  Matthew Henry positions this war for us:

Note, Sinners bring ruin upon their own heads, so that God will be justified when he speaks, and they alone shall bear the blame for ever. Judah had now couched as a lion gone up from the prey; if the northern kings rouse him up, it is at their peril.

The Canaanites and their allies formed a great army, stronger in number than Joshua’s.  For this reason, God counsels him in verse 6 not to be afraid;  Joshua will vanquish the enemy the very next day.  Joshua must have wondered, ‘How?  This looks impossible.’ God tells Joshua to think of his enemy’s chariots and horses as dispensable, easily destroyed. Israel will have what it needs in courage and fortitude.  This is the will of God at work.  Matthew Henry explains (emphasis in the original):

Fresh dangers and difficulties make it necessary to fetch in fresh supports and comforts from the word of God, which we have always nigh unto us, to be made use of in every time of need. Those that have God on their side need not be disturbed at the number and power of their enemies; more are those that are with us than those that are against us; those have the hosts of the Lord that have the Lord of hosts engaged for them.

No doubt Joshua reassured his people of what the Lord said.  It couldn’t have been easy.  Henry describes how the battle might have unfolded:

They first engage with five kings together, and now with many more. God proportions our trials to our strength and our strength to our trials.

Joshua took these opposing forces by surprise (verse 7), ‘suddenly’.  By catching them unawares, Joshua and his men were able to pursue them as they attempted to flee in various directions (verse 8).  This enabled Israel to defeat them, one troop at a time.  And so, in verse 9, they are able to destroy the enemy’s horses and burn their chariots.  Joshua does this out of obedience, out of self-denial (going against his better instincts to play it safe) and out of confidence instilled in him through God’s grace. 

The battle continues (verses 10 – 14) as Joshua reaches Jabin, King of Hazor, who has organised the Canaanites and their allies.  Jabin was able to escape home to Hazor, but not for long.  Yet, Joshua and the Israelites pursued him and his troops, killing them in swordfights and eventually burning Jabin to death (verses 10 – 11). They then went after the remaining Canaanite forces (verse 12).  The only city they plundered totally was Hazor (verse 14).  That was to prevent any Canaanites from waging future wars against Israel.  Matthew Henry explains:

As they were enriched with the spoil of their oppressors when they came out of Egypt, wherewith to defray the charges of their apprenticeship in the wilderness, so they were now enriched with the spoil of their enemies for a stock wherewith to set up in the land of Canaan. Thus is the wealth of the sinner laid up for the just.

Recall that Deuteronomy 6:10 instructed Israel to dwell in those goodly cities which they had not built themselves.  Verses 15 and 16 illustrate this for us.  Verses 17 and 18 describe lengthier battles in the same war, which probably lasted for the better part of a decade.  Note that only two groups of people wished to make peace with Israel (verse 19).  As for the others, verse 20 explains that God hardened the hearts of Joshua’s enemies that His will be done.  God intended these lands for His people, even though formidable and lengthy wars would need to be waged in order for His plan to prevail.  Verses 21 and 22 describe the final battles, which Joshua fought bravely until he was victorious and God’s plan had been accomplished.   

The chapter ends by saying that Joshua was able to conquer the whole of Canaan, in accordance with the Lord’s promise to Moses.  These lands now belonged to Israel.  The final line regarding a rest from war meant a time of peace, a respite from battle.  Matthew Henry concludes:

Our successes and enjoyments are then doubly sweet and comfortable to us when we see them flowing to us from the promise (this is according to what the Lord said), as our obedience is then acceptable to God when it has an eye to the precept. And, if we make conscience of our duty, we need not question the performance of the promise.

For further reading see:

Matthew Henry’s Commentary: Concise and Complete

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? If you wish to borrow, 1) please use the link from the post, 2) give credit to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 3) copy only selected paragraphs from the post — not all of it.
PLAGIARISERS will be named and shamed.
First case: June 2-3, 2011 — resolved

Creative Commons License
Churchmouse Campanologist by Churchmouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://churchmousec.wordpress.com/.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,533 other followers

Archive

Calendar of posts

September 2021
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

http://martinscriblerus.com/

Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory
Powered by WebRing.
This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

Blog Stats

  • 1,658,580 hits