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Week 28 October 7, 2020

What we are reading this week (beginning Wednesday, October 7, 2020):


• Joshua 3-9

• Hosea 7-13

• 2 Thessalonians 3 ~ 1 Timothy 1-6

Notes on Joshua


Not as dramatic as the incident at the Red Sea, but the Lord parted the waters of the Jordan, and used this as a way to establish his connection with Joshua and lead the people to see him as God’s duly established leader following the death of Moses (3.7).

This time, priests carrying the ark of the covenant went first. As soon as their feet touched the edge of the water, it receded, and they went and stood in the middle on dry ground (just like the Red Sea experience), and then all of Israel passed by.

Following the crossing, twelve leaders, one from each tribe, took a large stone from the middle of the Jordan, and an altar was constructed in remembrance of this amazing event.

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God’s intention to exalt Joshua in the eyes of the people was successful (4.14).

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The place where they crossed over the Jordan River is very likely is the exact place where John the Baptist would baptize Jesus— and many others— hundreds of years later.

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I wonder how, but word of this crossing got out fast, and Joshua and people of Israel were greatly feared by the surrounding nations and people groups from the start (5.1).

Joshua and the Israelites were now preparing for their first conquest, the city of Jericho. But before they begin, Joshua is given a wake-up call. He meets the Command of the Army of the Lord (which is actually a theophany—it’s Jesus himself!). Joshua is reminded that God doesn’t choose sides. We choose whether or not we are on his side.

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The very unusual strategy for the fall of Jericho is given to Joshua at the beginning of chapter 6. The people will carry out his instructions and see a mighty victory. Right from the get-go, Israel and all of her enemies could see that the Lord works in unlikely ways. He was faithful to his promise, and delivered their first of very many victories.

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After the battle, Joshua pronounces a curse on any that would rebuild the city of Jericho. Many years later, during the time of King Ahab, a man named Hiel of Bethel would do so, and indeed would inherit the working out of the curse. See 1 Kings 16:34.

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And right from the get-go, compromise in the people of God is evident as we read in chapter seven about the sin of Achan. However, early on here God makes a stark example of him, but only after the Israelites are defeated in their second campaign, against a much weaker team.

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In chapter eight, after Achan’s sin is dealt with, the second city on the attack-and-conquer agenda, Ai, goes down hard.

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The Gibeonites are smart enough to see what is coming, and deceive Joshua, in a moment of weakness, into sparing their own lives. So there are two failures early on in the conquest of the Promised Land.

I still think it’s funny that Joshua is accusing them of deception, and demands to know why (see 9.22). Pretty obvious, big guy. Either that or total annihilation by you.


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Notes on Hosea

The rebukes to an apostate nation continue. We find the original adage, “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind” in 8.7.

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Punishment is promised in chapter nine, particularly in verse seven. This was not a vain threat. Assyria would soon come and take them all away. The northern kingdom was in its very last days.

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The prosperity that the Lord had lavished on Israel seemed to have increased the people’s idolatry (10.1). This is a common human error (think Egypt and the golden calf). It is no less a threat to our own spiritual condition today.

The people of Israel would even lament their own calf-idol being taken away into exile (10.5).

The law of sowing and reaping is played out here, as it is a fundamental spiritual principle. See 10.13.

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The prophecy in 11.1 (“Out of Egypt I called my son”) would be fulfilled in Jesus (see Matthew 2.15). But it was given originally to Israel as a people group.

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After chapters of rebuke, God can no longer hide his emotion, his love, his compassion for his people, impending judgment notwithstanding (11.8-9).

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The next two chapters, eleven and twelve, are mostly rebuke. Another allusion to the human problem of dealing with satisfaction by turning to pride and forgetting God is given in 13.6.

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An allusion to resurrection, a rare find in the Old Testament, is found in 13.14. Paul will quote this in 1 Corinthians 15.55, the so-called “resurrection chapter.”


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Notes on 2 Thessalonians

The so-called “Protestant work ethic” is based on 3.6-10. In closing out this short letter, Paul warns against lazy, unproductive people in the church. But the challenge is to warn them, not to make them an enemy (3.15).

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Notes on 1 Timothy


This should be an interesting read when we think of it as the mighty apostle speaking to his protegee/mentoree/disciple, and to see the things that would be discussed and how he would say them.

There is a list of things that Paul says are clearly contrary to sound doctrine. Some of these would be found in contemporary churches today. The list includes murderers, the sexually immoral, homosexuals, slave traders, and liars, among others.

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He gives instructions on worship in chapter two, including some instructions about women that are debated today without a really clear evangelical position emerging, at least as far as I know.

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Qualifications for church leadership are given in chapter three. The address to women in verse 11, in the middle of this, seems to suggest this is addressed to those women who are also leaders in the church.

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A number of times, Paul says things that appear to be creeds that were most likely recited regularly in the New Testament church, e.g., 3.16.

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End times issues are addressed in chapter four, but instead of speaking of the antichrist, Paul is focused more on the ungodly culture that will exist in that time. Like now.

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At the end of chapter four, Paul gets really personal with Timothy, his disciple. Verses 11-16 are wonderful words of encouragement and counsel to his young protegee.

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Much practical instruction for the church is given in chapter five. There is a lot instruction about widows, and then some about elders (including on how accusations are to be brought against them). There are some very practical life issues addressed, as well (e.g., see 5.23).

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