Becoming Part of the Promise

Scripture Focus: Joshua 2.8-11
8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. 

Reflection: Becoming Part of the Promise
By John Tillman

Those who feel powerless to stop sexual victimization will often attempt to profit from it and Rahab had carved a place for herself in the power structure of Jericho.
 
Her work filled a niche in the economy and her brothel filled a niche in the wall. Powerful men knew her well and came to her not only for sex but for intelligence.

Her brothel, situated strategically in the wall of the city and near the gate, was a natural place to search for unsavory, shifty spies in the land. The leaders knew that if there were trouble-makers, Rahab would have seen them. If there was trouble coming, Rahab would have heard of it. 

She had heard of trouble, probably from the bedside whispers of some of these same men. The rumors coming out of the desert told of a people whose God fought for them. A God so powerful that his people couldn’t be cursed. Armies fled before them. Canaanite gods were powerless.

Sending the leaders away with a plot of misdirection, Rahab plotted a new direction in life as she climbed up to the spies hiding on her roof.

I imagine her sitting on the roof with Abraham’s promised children, not yet equal in number to the stars they sit under. There, she delivers to their ears the pillow talk of her clients. The powerful kings of Jericho and surrounding towns were melting with fear. Rahab asks to be accepted by this powerful God who is not only in the heavens but active upon the Earth.

In this act, Rahab the Canaanite prostitute becomes a part of the Abrahamic promise. The promise itself would pass through her womb as one of the Canaanite grandmothers of Jesus. God who promised Abraham these children, numbered like stars, would fulfill to an infinite degree the promise he made to Abraham to bless the nations, through the fruit of Rahab’s womb.

No situation is hopeless and no person is doomed to destruction who turns to God. No matter what niche of the economy we feel trapped in or what political citadel demands our loyalty, like Rahab, we can climb on the roof, look to the stars, and join the children of the promise. We can help birth God’s promise on Earth to benefit others. 

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
The Lord has sworn an oath to David; in truth, he will not break it:
“A son, the fruit of your body will I set upon your throne.” — Psalm 132.11-12

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis TickleToday’s Readings
Joshua 2 (Listen – 3:49)
Psalm 123-125 (Listen – 1:52)

The Garden of Psalm 119

Psalm 119.174-176
I long for your salvation, Lord,
    and your law gives me delight.
Let me live that I may praise you,
    and may your laws sustain me.
I have strayed like a lost sheep.
    Seek your servant,
    for I have not forgotten your commands.

Reflection: The Garden of Psalm 119
By John Tillman

We finish Psalm 119 today and reflect on it with some words from Charles Spurgeon: 

“Those who have studied this divine hymn, and carefully noted each line of it, are amazed at the variety and profundity of the thought…The more you look into this mirror of a gracious heart the more you will see in it.”

Spurgeon is convinced that David wrote the Psalm and if not he, then some other writer who spent long years in its work and created it not over a short span, but through a lifetime of faithfulness.

“There is evident growth in the subject matter. The earlier verses are of such a character as to lend themselves to the hypothesis that the author was a young man, while many of the later passages could only have suggested themselves to age and wisdom.”

In the end, rather than rising in acclaim or celebration, the aged wisdom of the psalmist leads him to a humble and prostrate stance.

“The psalmist is approaching the end of the Psalm…he seems to break into the inner circle of divine fellowship, and to come even to the feet of the great God whose help he is imploring. This nearness creates the most lowly view of himself, and leads him to close the Psalm upon his face in deepest self-humiliation, begging to be sought out like a lost sheep…It is a very sweet thing to a suppliant when he knows of a surety that his prayer has obtained audience. It is to Jehovah that this prayer is expressed with trembling earnestness…we crave audience of none else, for we have confidence in none beside.”

Meditating on Psalm 119 daily has been a common spiritual practice over the centuries and many have reported its wealth of spiritual benefit.

“This sacred ode is a little Bible, the Scriptures condensed, a mass of Bibline, holy writ rewritten in holy emotions and actions. This Psalm, like the whole Scripture which it praises, is a pearl island, or, better still, a garden of sweet flowers.”

It is our hope in each cycle of our two-year-long tread through the garden of scripture to produce not pride, but humility. Not judgmental attitudes, but merciful gratitude. Not clamoring commands for others, but tender notes of correction in our own hearts.

*Quotations abridged from “A Treasury of David,” Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Prayer: The Morning Psalm
For he shall deliver the poor who cries out in distress, and the oppressed who has no helper.
He shall have pity on the lowly and the poor; he shall preserve the lives of the needy.
He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, and dear shall their blood be in his sight. — Psalm 72.12-14

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Deuteronomy 33-34 (Listen – 6:35)
Psalm 119:145-176 (Listen – 15:14) 

This Weekend’s Readings
Joshua 1 (Listen – 3:11), Psalm 120-122 (Listen – 2:12) 
Joshua 2 (Listen – 3:49), Psalm 123-125 (Listen – 1:52) 

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Read more about Quotations from the Desert
Connecting to God’s Word and relying on it for our sustenance, for our source of life, is a consistent theme of scripture and the purpose of spiritual disciplines.

Read more about Setting Aside the Scriptures
The reason that we cannot set aside the Scriptures that we don’t like, is that Scripture must be considered holistically. Each part is bound up with the others for a purpose.

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