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May 3, Day #124 – “As for Me, I Trust in You”

Once again, all of today’s readings are filled with great truths that we need to apply to our hearts and lives. In Joshua 21:20-22:34, we read about the continued division of the land inheritances. Yesterday, we saw how the Levites (the Kohathites, Gershonites, and the Merarites) received towns from within various other Israelite tribes. Part of God’s purpose in distributing the Levites throughout the land was that they might teach, exemplify, and strongly influence the rest of the Israelites to observe the laws of God. Here, the “rest of the Kohathite clans received towns from the tribe of Ephraim” (verse 20). At the end of chapter 21, we read, “So the LORD gave Israel all the land He had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The LORD gave them rest on every side … not one of all the LORD’s good promises failed; every one was fulfilled” (verses 43-45). Here is the testimony that God keeps His Word; “not one of His promises failed.” This testimony should elicit our praise, for God is faithful. In Joshua 22, we see that now, Joshua grants the eastern tribes release to return to their home across the Jordan. “They carried out the mission the LORD gave them” (verse 3). On the way home, they “built an imposing altar by the Jordan” (verse 10). Personally, I wonder about their motives in setting up a separate altar; it seems to me that those tribes were selfish, unsupportive, and divisive from the very beginning - by insisting on possessing lands east of the Jordan - removed from their brother Israelites. They actually admit that they built the altar out of “fear” (verse 24). And to say that it represents “a witness between us” (verse 27) also demonstrates a lack of trust. In my view, this whole scene pictures an ugly foreshadowing of the future division of Israel into two kingdoms - Israel and Judah - which actually happened - later under Rehoboam, Solomon’s son (cf., 2 Chronicles 10:16). I find their actions and their excuses to be unacceptable. Although Phinehas the priest was “pleased about their response” (verse 30), we wonder what God thought about it.

In Psalm 55, we see that, whenever our “thoughts trouble us and we are distraught,” (verse 1), the appropriate course of action for us to follow is to “call upon the LORD” (verse 16). God is interested in us and in our thoughts. David tells us, “Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall” (verse 22). We should reflect the same action that David voiced: “As for me, I trust in You” (verse 23).

In John 3, we see that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night with honest and legitimate questions. Jesus was not disturbed by the darkness of the setting or its implications, and He compassionately but truthfully honored and answered the Pharisee’s questions - bringing light to Nicodemus - in one of the Bible’s most well-known passages. This chapter is such an important chapter because it brings to light the answers to so many of our questions. What is the Spirit like? Why did Jesus need to come? Why and how must we be born again? Jesus directly gives us God’s answers to these prototypical questions, and He distinguishes between the two worlds – heaven and earth; good and evil; light and darkness. Although these matters are invisible unknowns to us, Jesus reveals that a proper knowledge and understanding of heavenly things requires faith in Him, which John then explains clearly. John 3:16 sums up concisely what we need to know.

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