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May 1, Day #122 – Which Would You Rather Possess?

One of the main themes for our readings today focuses on possessions – especially possessing what is already ours or what we already own. In our western culture, most of us own far more than we actually realize - unless we maintain a current inventory - we barely remember all that is ours. Moreover, we also own more than we really possess. Ever attracted by life’s newest gadget, we become distracted from the sum of the whole to the point that we focus on a few things, while our whole “treasure house” becomes an increasingly heavy but useless burden to us. Our little trinkets cause us to forget how broadly blessed we truly are. Here in Joshua 17 and 18, the land apportionment continues. In chapter 17, we see first that Zelophehad’s daughters received what Moses promised them – revealing that God honored their requests and His promises. Moreover, we see that Manasseh received portions on both sides of the Jordan - “yet they were not able to occupy their towns” because of the Canaanites. They also complained about what they received – “It’s not enough for us,” they said; and further - they whined about the Canaanite “iron chariots” (verses 12-16). This is pure selfishness. Joshua indicates that they have basically allowed their fear of the Canaanites to take their eyes off the Lord and His ability to do what Joshua said they should do – “drive them out” (verse 18). In chapter 18, we see that the tabernacle is set up at Shiloh, “but there were still seven tribes that had not yet received their inheritance” (verses 1-2). Joshua asks them, “How long will you wait?” (verse 3). This indicates the truth of what we asserted earlier – the land was already theirs to possess … why didn’t they?

In Proverbs 10:31-11:8, the writer contrasts the results of righteousness with those of wickedness. At the end of chapter 11, the text says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life” (verse 30). Thinking about the first eight verses of chapter 11, we find that this chapter contains several examples of the fruit of the spirit embedded in its verses … “humility” in verse 2 relates to gentleness; “integrity” in verse 3 relates to faithfulness; and in verse 8, “rescued from trouble” relates to peace. Several others can be found in the rest of the chapter. Verse 3 points out that “wealth” (i.e., possessions) is “worthless in the day of wrath.” We recall what we learned in Luke 18, when Jesus reminded the rich young ruler of the “one thing” he lacked - following Christ (cf., verse 22). In the end, nothing else matters. In Christ, we possess every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3), but our insatiable desire to have the mundane, the material, and the meaningless toys of this world often prevents us from making effective use of what is already ours in Christ.

In John 1:29-51, we see John’s testimony about the Lamb of God. This is followed by Jesus’ calling His first disciples, of whom Andrew was one of the first. Christ’s call to “follow Me” (cf., verse 43), relates strongly to today’s theme of possessions. Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist (verses 36-40), and his call to become a disciple of Jesus Christ reveals his desire to exchange the good for something better, to focus on eternity over time, and to place his faith in that which really matters. Andrew was following John, but when John proclaimed Jesus to be the “Lamb of God,” Andrew “followed Jesus” (verse 37). In a very real sense, we could say that Andrew’s choice reflected the difference between eating locusts and wild honey in exchange for eating the Bread of Life – which is available and probably more palatable to all of us. Which would you rather possess?

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