Trust and Pursue God’s Promises

Scripture Focus: Joshua 17.12-18
12 Yet the Manassites were not able to occupy these towns, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that region. 13 However, when the Israelites grew stronger, they subjected the Canaanites to forced labor but did not drive them out completely. 
14 The people of Joseph said to Joshua, “Why have you given us only one allotment and one portion for an inheritance? We are a numerous people, and the Lord has blessed us abundantly.” 
15 “If you are so numerous,” Joshua answered, “and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.” 
16 The people of Joseph replied, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have chariots fitted with iron, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the Valley of Jezreel.” 
17 But Joshua said to the tribes of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—“You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment 18 but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have chariots fitted with iron and though they are strong, you can drive them out.” 

Student Writers Month:

This month, The Park Forum welcomes college and seminary student writers pursuing ministry careers. For more info about our yearly Student Writer program, see our website.

Reflection: Trust and Pursue God’s Promises

By Morgan Fikkert 

At the beginning of The Lion King, Mufasa tells his son Simba, “Everything the light touches is our kingdom.” And when Simba hears this, he responds with a single exclamation of awe: “Whoa…” 

It seems a promise too big to be true. 

God’s covenant with the Israelites that they would inherit the entire land of Canaan was a grand promise.

God doesn’t fulfill his grandiose promises with a flick of a wand. Amazingly, God ordained that He would use His people, the Israelites, to obtain them. And, although they had claimed much of the land, the Israelites still had more to do. 

But the Israelites struggled to believe God’s promise was true. Even after all God had done, the land seemed impossible to fully obtain. Canaan was still inhabited by strong warriors with iron-clad weaponry. And the Canaanites didn’t get the memo from Yahweh that this land belonged to Israel, so they were doing everything they could to withstand the Israelites. 

As a result of their unbelief, the Israelites were quick to disobey God out of a desire for convenience and control. They did not drive the Canaanites out of the land, and this kept them from obtaining God’s promise. It also led to the oppressive forced labor of the Canaanites and, years later, the idolatry of the Israelites

In contrast, Zelophehad’s daughters faithfully sought the land promised to them. They knew God’s promise to them would be forgotten if they didn’t hold Joshua to it.

We, like the Israelites, struggle to believe God’s promises are true. So we sneak in ways to make our lives more comfortable, hoping God will keep his end of the bargain, but not really counting on Him. We hedge our bets. 

But fully trusting in God’s promises gives us the hope, strength, and courage to pursue those promises even when it’s uncomfortable or seemingly impossible. 

How do we fight sin in a culture that celebrates it? We trust in and pursue God’s promises.

How do we fight for justice in the midst of incessant injustice? We trust in and pursue God’s promises.

How do we share the gospel with friends and family who don’t believe? We trust in and pursue God’s promises.

How do we forgive our abusers and oppressors? We trust in and pursue God’s promises.

How do we maintain joy and peace in a world of darkness? We trust in and pursue God’s promises.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. — Psalm 19.14– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Joshua 16-17 (Listen – 5:13)
Psalm 148 (Listen – 1:28)

Read More about Readers’ Choice 2021
It is time to hear from you about the posts from the past eleven months (September 2020 – July 2021) that have challenged, comforted, and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

https://forms.gle/ozM13qvW9ouSWhJS7

Read more about Knowing Promises in Part
This promise we may know and fulfill now in part, but then, we will know fully and be fully known.


Bold Obedience

Scripture Focus: Joshua 18.1-3, 8-10
1 The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting there. The country was brought under their control, 2 but there were still seven Israelite tribes who had not yet received their inheritance. 
3 So Joshua said to the Israelites: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you?

8 As the men started on their way to map out the land, Joshua instructed them, “Go and make a survey of the land and write a description of it. Then return to me, and I will cast lots for you here at Shiloh in the presence of the Lord.” 9 So the men left and went through the land. They wrote its description on a scroll, town by town, in seven parts, and returned to Joshua in the camp at Shiloh. 10 Joshua then cast lots for them in Shiloh in the presence of the Lord, and there he distributed the land to the Israelites according to their tribal divisions.

Student Writers Month:
This month, The Park Forum welcomes college and seminary student writers pursuing ministry careers. For more info about our yearly Student Writer program, see our website.

Reflection: Bold Obedience
By Elizabeth Franklin 

“Free bookshelf: must pick up!” As a student, the words “free [anything]” immediately catch my eye. Unfortunately, the words that often follow—“must pick up”—immediately send me back to searching, because my mid-sized vehicle cannot accommodate most furniture. I’m willing to receive it, but I’m hesitant to go and get it!

Seven of the tribes of Israel encountered a similar dilemma as their people were in the process of entering the land that God had promised them. Their problem was not so much the ability to receive the land, but their willingness to go get it. God had accompanied the Israelites through generations of trouble and travel to arrive at this promised land, and now he had enabled them to take possession of it. However, these seven tribes needed some extra prompting to move forward in obedience.

Throughout the Israelites’ history, God had made one thing abundantly clear: “Obey what I have told you, and you will be blessed.” God was guiding them in their identity as his people, but he expected them to be obedient to his direction.

In this case, obedience meant bold action. God had secured the land for them, but they had to physically go and take possession of it. The biblical text does not tell us why these seven tribes hadn’t done so already—perhaps they were afraid, apathetic, or just not paying attention. Whatever the case, their leader had to prompt them to do what God had already instructed. Once they obeyed, though, the land was theirs. God was faithful to what he had promised.

God has secured abundant spiritual blessings for us in Christ. If we are willing to take bold steps forward in obedience, we will receive what he has promised. Just as I am hesitant to pick up furniture that my vehicle can’t accommodate, we can sometimes be hesitant to take hold of the blessings of obedience that God has promised us. If fear, apathy, or a distracted heart is keeping you from acting, perhaps finding encouragement in a trusted friend or leader like Joshua will help prompt you to action. How is God asking you to be obedient today? Does a relationship need to be mended in love and humility? Does a sin need to be confessed? When we seek God’s direction, he will show us the way forward.  

Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Jesus taught us, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off in his joy, sells everything he owns and buys the field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.” — Matthew 13.44-45

Today’s Readings
Joshua 18-19 (Listen – 9:59)
Psalm 149-150(Listen – 1:36)

Read More about Readers’ Choice 2021
It is time to hear from you about the posts from the past eleven months (September 2020 – July 2021) that have challenged, comforted, and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

https://forms.gle/ozM13qvW9ouSWhJS7

Read more about God of the Weak and Doubtful
If God placed examples of faith in the scripture, he also placed doubt in the scriptures. Stories of faith come from doubt.

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