Where Are the Other Nine?

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JOSHUA 11:1-12:24 | LUKE 17:11-37 | PSALM 84:1-12 | PROVERBS 13:5-6

Joshua is evidently a fearless leader, and continues to do battle with the many native kingdoms in the land of Canaan.  There is great bloodshed and total decimation of kings, people, houses, and everything in it. 

The text reads:  16 So Joshua took this entire land: the hill country, all the Negev, the whole region of Goshen, the western foothills, the Arabah and the mountains of Israel with their foothills, 17 from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, to Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and put them to death. 18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time. 19 Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle. 20 For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses.

It appears things were going according to plan.  By the end of this chapter, it appears that we are more or less finished with the business of invasion and conquering of the natives, and a distribution of the “inheritance” of the land is made to the twelve tribes of Israel.

Turning next to our reading in the book of Luke we find the fascinating story of ten lepers who approach Jesus for healing.  Jesus simply tells them to go and show themselves to a priest, meaning to have themselves checked for whether or not they had the disease—the implication being that they would be pronounced “clean”.  It was the priests’ verdict that condemned or cleared you. 

And so, all ten promptly go to the priest and are evidently pronounced to be free from the leprosy, yet it is only one of the ten—and a Samaritan at that, i.e., from Samaria, an area in the north that was looked down upon by the people in the southern kingdom of Judah—that returns to seek out Jesus in order to tell him a big ‘thank you.’

One out of the ten!  Yes, all ten had the faith to believe that they would be healed when they heard Jesus instruct them to go to the priest, and yes, all ten followed Jesus’ instructions promptly, and possibly all ten praised the man they called Jesus to have done so great a miracle for them, and yes, they possibly all went on to live good and productive lives following their miraculous recovery to normalcy and good health, but it was only one of the ten who thought of immediately going back to seek out Jesus and tell him how grateful he was, and to thank him for what was done! 

Jesus says to this man:  “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Jesus goes on to speak about the Kingdom of God, and gives a new twist to the traditional understanding of the term:  this is not just Heaven or some far-off place, it is right here, right now, and within you, he says. 

Do you follow?  When the light of the world, i.e., Jesus enters your heart, that in a way, is the kingdom of God, and it is already within you!

Jesus then goes on to predict the end-times when there will be a second coming, but not before there is a death and a resurrection.  All these concepts are easy for us to comprehend because we have had the benefit of hindsight and know what to expect, but the people that Jesus was speaking to must surely been perplexed when they heard him speak about these things, and yet, Jesus tries to help them out by reminding them of their own history of similar sudden incidents and people of yore such as Noah and Lot.

Be on guard, be always prepared, be aware of your prophets who have come to you to tell you to repent, listen before it is too late is what Jesus is saying to them.

Turning next to the Psalms, we find David’s psalm for today is one of great praise.  He is utterly devoted to the God of his fathers, and spares no emotion in voicing his praise.  He says:

10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
12 LORD Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.

And finally, the two verses for the day from the book of Proverbs are worth reproducing here although one might think that the essence of the message they bear is an obvious one.  Yet, it is sometimes the obvious that we need reminding of:

5 The righteous hate what is false,
but the wicked make themselves a stench
and bring shame on themselves. 

6 Righteousness guards the person of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.  Amen.

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