Palestine / land of Canaan / Holy Land

In Caleb’s Heart

Monday, May 8, 2017

Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart (Joshua 14:7 KJV).

What was really in Caleb’s heart?

Anyone familiar with Scripture knows of the 12 spies whom Moses sent to scout the Promised Land. The most well-known reconnoiterers were Joshua (Oshea/Jehoshua) and Caleb—the only two with favorable reports. See Numbers chapter 13 for details. Notice the highlights: “[30] And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. [31] But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.”

Originally, God had told Moses in verse 2: “Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel….” Here, and other places, God promised to give Israel the land of Canaan. There was no question that Israel could defeat the gigantic inhabitants: God would give them the victory. Alas, 10 spies discouraged Israel—“Those living in Canaan are just too big for us to overcome!” (In other words, they caused Israel to doubt God’s promise!)

As chapter 14 goes on to say, Israel spent the next 40 years wandering in the wilderness, until that evil, unbelieving generation of Jews died off. All those aged 20 and over perished, never entering the Promised Land (verse 29)—the two exceptions were Joshua and Caleb (verse 30). God comments in verse 24: “But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.”

Today’s Scripture is Caleb speaking, now age 85 (verse 10). What was in Caleb’s heart? Why, compare Scripture with Scripture! It was faith in God’s promise that He would give Israel the Promised Land. Caleb indeed went in, fought for, and received his inheritance in the land he knew God had given him and Israel (verses 11-15)! “…Thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God” (verse 9).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Was an apostle merely one who had seen Christ’s resurrection?

Rejoicing in God’s Goodness #5

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you (Deuteronomy 26:11 KJV).

Israel is to “rejoice in every good thing which the LORD [her] God hath given unto [her].” What are these “good things?”

The offering in the context of today’s Scripture (verses 1-11) is spoken as though the nation Israel has already defeated the inhabitants of the Promised Land. It assumes that the Israelites will go in, conquer all their enemies, and enjoy the fruits of the land God has given to the fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God through Moses presents Israel residing in the Promised Land as a fact, even though they will not actually enter it and fight those peoples until Joshua assumes leadership (after Moses dies). As before, God believes that He will give Israel the victory. He expects Israel to believe Him, and to worship Him by offering to Him that fruit when they do arrive in that land of Canaan.

Some 40 years prior, remember again, the Jews had complained that they were unable to enter the Promised Land and enjoy its plenteous food supply. The giants living in the land were just too powerful for them to overcome in war. (Of course, Israel overlooked the fact that God had just vanquished the mighty Egyptian armies, thousands of trained soldiers, using just the Red Sea!) With this new generation of Jews in today’s Scripture, they are to go into the land, dispossess it, and rejoice in God’s goodness. They did not deserve that harvest of enormous fruits, but God had simply given them because of His grace.

“And [JEHOVAH God] hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God: And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Jesus Christ God’s ‘one and only Son’ or ‘only begotten Son?’

Rejoicing in God’s Goodness #4

Monday, March 6, 2017

And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you (Deuteronomy 26:11 KJV).

Israel is to “rejoice in every good thing which the LORD [her] God hath given unto [her].” What are these “good things?”

Forty years earlier, just before entering the land of Canaan, the Jews’ ancestors had spied it out. Numbers chapter 13 explains those scouts actions’: “[23] And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs. [24] The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence. [25] And they returned from searching of the land after forty days. [26] And they … came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. [27] And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.”

Sadly, verses 28-33 say that 10 of the 12 scouts voiced fear: they doubted Almighty God would give Israel victory over the land’s gigantic residents! Disbelieving and discouraged Israel was thus banned from entering that wonderful land of God. Now, in the context of today’s Scripture, that unbelieving generation has died. A new generation of Israelites will go in and possess that land. That expression “floweth with milk and honey” (Numbers 13:27) appears with today’s Scripture—“And [God] hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey” (verse 9). Canaan is an agricultural paradise: its grape clusters require two men to carry them!

Now, with the firstfruits offering of today’s Scripture, God wants Israel to admit He gave them the military victory to enjoy that fruit of that land….

Rejoicing in God’s Goodness #3

Sunday, March 5, 2017

And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you (Deuteronomy 26:11 KJV).

Israel is to “rejoice in every good thing which the LORD [her] God hath given unto [her].” What are these “good things?”

The special offering delineated in today’s Scripture and its context serves to instruct Israel concerning a most basic principle. Notice: “[1] ….the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance… [2] …thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee,…. [3] …I am come unto the country which the LORD sware unto our fathers for to give us…. [8] And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders: [9] And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. [10] …I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me…. [11] …rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee….”

Friend, do you see the constant emphasis on what the LORD (JEHOVAH God) has done for Israel? By offering this sacrifice, the Jews are reminded of God’s provisions for them. They had not gained that land by their own efforts. Simply in His grace God had promised it to their father Abraham many centuries earlier (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 13:14-17; Genesis 15:1-21).

Additionally, their father Jacob and his family were ready to die of starvation in Canaan, but God had sent Joseph into Egypt ahead of time so Israel (a tribe of 70 souls) would migrate southward and survive (Genesis chapters 46-47). Eventually, they became Egyptian slaves. The Israelites could not deliver themselves from harsh Egyptian bondage. Forty years prior to today’s Scripture, Almighty God had given their ancestors victory over Egypt and Satan. They had refused to enter the Promised Land and died in the wilderness. However, now, in today’s Scripture, 40 years later, this new generation of Jews can enter God’s land, where Abraham had once lived, to now enjoy its bountiful harvests….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How is Joshua a high priest in Zechariah 3:8 if…?

Rejoicing in God’s Goodness #2

Saturday, March 4, 2017

And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you (Deuteronomy 26:11 KJV).

Israel is to “rejoice in every good thing which the LORD [her] God hath given unto [her].” What are these “good things?”

Once the nation Israel enters the Promised Land under Joshua’s headship, the Jews are to gather the firstfruits of the land. They are to place those fruits in a basket, and bring it to the priest as an offering to the LORD (verses 1-4).

Verses 5-10 continue: “[5] And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous: [6] And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage: [7] And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression: [8] And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders: [9] And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. [10] And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me….” (We will return to this confession shortly and analyze it.)

For now, we read the rest of verse 10 and today’s Scripture: “[10]…And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God: [11] And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.” Friend, are you starting to see a recurring phrase in this passage? What could God possibly be teaching Israel with this special offering? Take some time to think about it and we will proceed to dissect the verses….

Rejoicing in God’s Goodness #1

Friday, March 3, 2017

And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you (Deuteronomy 26:11 KJV).

Israel is to “rejoice in every good thing which the LORD [her] God hath given unto [her].” What are these “good things?”

Aged Moses will soon die, pass off the scene. Joshua will assume leadership of Israel. Today’s Scripture is part of Moses’ final instructions to his fellow Israelites. They are to observe those rules—yea, all of the Law—for one particular reason. After wandering throughout the Middle East, they will now enter the Promised Land under Joshua’s command. More specifically, they will inhabit God’s land, so He expects them to follow His rules. One of these orders is found in the context of today’s Scripture.

We read at the beginning of Deuteronomy chapter 26: “[1] And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein; [2] That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there. [3] And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the LORD thy God, that I am come unto the country which the LORD sware unto our fathers for to give us. [4] And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD thy God.”

In other words, every Jew is to gather the firstfruits of the land of Canaan, put those fruits in a basket, and take that basket to the Tabernacle to give it to the priest. This is to be done as a gesture of gratitude to JEHOVAH God, that He was faithful to His promise that He swore to their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They are to remind themselves of their “humble” beginnings….

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As Ye Have Spoken, So Will I Do

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

“Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you” (Numbers 14:28 KJV).

Dear friend, be careful what you wish for—God will give it you!

The 12 Jewish spies have returned from scouting the Promised Land (chapter 13). However, 10 spies offer an evil report, thereby disputing God’s Word: “[27] And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. [28] Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great….” Israel disheartened, doubting God will give them success, says, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we(verse 31).

Chapter 14 opens with Israel’s further complaints: “[1] And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. [2] And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!” They would rather die in the wilderness than enter God’s land! Not long after, they tempt the LORD the tenth time.

Today’s Scripture with its context: “[26] And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, [27] How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. [28] Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: [29] Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward which have murmured against me, [30] Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.” Indeed, dear friends, God gave them their wish!