JOSHUA 13:1-14:15 | LUKE 18:1-17 | PSALM 85:1-13 | PROVERBS 13:7-8
Joshua is getting to be old, and it has been forty-five years since he was first commissioned by Moses to scout out the territories of Canaan that he eventually led the children of Israel into. At the age of 85, Joshua says he is still just as strong as he was when he first came here, and he continues to serve as leader of the people.
The chapter starts out with God telling him that there are yet lands to be explored and taken, and it is to be seen if Joshua will carry this out in the days to come. In the meantime, he attends to some other unfinished business: some of the lands east and west of the river Jordan are further distributed and awarded to the various tribes of Israel.
Turning to our reading in Luke, we see Jesus continuing to teach with parables or stories with a deeper meaning. There is at first, the parable of the persistent widow who refuses to go away despite being denied. Finally, the judge she has been crying out to, out of a sheer sense of exasperation grants her plea. To this, Jesus says how much more would God do for his children who cry out to him day and night. There is certainly something to said for perseverance!
Then there is the parable of the pharisee and the tax-collector. The Pharisee being the upright and self-righteous pillar of society, and the tax-collector known for his cheating ways, both find themselves praying side-by-side in the Temple. And while the Pharisee is quick to praise himself for this circumspect behavior, the tax-collector simply prays for mercy and forgiveness.
Jesus says this of the two: 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Jesus’ love of children is also evident from this passage. While his disciples are quick to shoo away those who bring their children to seat on Jesus’ lap, Jesus himself welcomes them and tells his disciples not to turn them away.
He says: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Like little children full of faith and devoid of fear, we are to likewise accept the gift of God into our own hearts. Doing so will usher in the kingdom of God into our hearts and lives.
Next, in our Psalm for the day, David the consummate poet, sings the praises of the Lord. He says:
10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The LORD will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.
May it always be so!
And finally, a most suitable verse from the book of Proverbs just in time for Tax Day, April 15th!
7 One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.