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Trip 236: The Altar of Witness concluded

Book CoverTHE TIME SEQUENCE BIBLE

1095 Devotional “Trips”!

Rix W. Tillman, D. Min.

Reading assignment:  __Joshua 22:21-34

Focal verse(s):  Joshua 22:34 (NIV):  “And the Reubenites and the Gadites gave the altar this name: A Witness Between Us–that the Lord is God”

The eastern tribes who had erected the altar on the west side of the Jordan solemnly repudiated the charges from their western counterparts that they were in rebellion against God.  They swore by the three Hebrew names for God (El, Elohim, and Yahweh) that they were innocent of rebellion.  They stated that the altar was not erected for sacrifices, but as a witness to all generations and that the Transjordanian tribes had a right to cross the Jordan and worship at Shiloh.  This explanation was fully accepted by the western tribal delegation, so a total reconciliation took place.  The lesson for Christians today from this story is that we too should be zealous in guarding the purity of the faith, but not judge people’s motives on the basis of circumstantial evidence.  It is important to get all the facts, remembering there are always two sides to every dispute.  An open dialogue between the two conflicting sides will then make it possible to avoid a confrontation and work towards reconciliation.  Remember, our God is the God of reconciliation!  Second Corinthians 5:20 (RSV) says, “So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ be reconciled to God.” Reconciliation is the way of the Christian, and that path should be our aim in everything we do. Someone once said, “Christians are the only army I know who shoot their wounded.”  May God help us to always work toward Christian harmony!

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Trip 235: The Altar of Witness continued

Book CoverTHE TIME SEQUENCE BIBLE

1095 Devotional “Trips”!

Rix W. Tillman, D. Min.

Reading assignment:  __Joshua 22:5-20

Focal verse(s):  Joshua 22:5:  “Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

The soldiers from the 2½ tribes from the eastern side of the Jordan (Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh) had been away from their homes for seven long years.  They returned with abundant amounts of spoil which they had accumulated through their many victories, and were instructed by Joshua to share it with their brothers who had remained at home and protected their families.  Joshua also gave the soldiers six parting commandments to remember: (1) Be very careful to keep the commandments and the Law; (2) Love the Lord your God; (3) Walk in all His ways; (4) Obey His commands; (5) Hold fast to Him; and (6) Serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.  Before crossing over to the east side of the Jordan, the 2½ tribes built a massive altar on the west side to symbolize their right to the original altar at the tabernacle.   They did this to show that the separation of the river would not separate them from their fellow countrymen.  However, this symbol was misinterpreted by the other tribes as an act of rebellion and they gathered to go to war against those on the east side of the Jordan.  Many times good acts are misunderstood.  Christians should always be ready to receive criticism from those who do not understand our motives, being sure to love them in spite of their misunderstanding.  People magazine reported that Lawrence Spivak, who moderated “Meet the Press” for 30 years, once got a telegram from a viewer reading, “Why don’t you smile? I’ll be watching today, so please smile.”  Spivak stated, “I made what I thought was a very fetching smile.  After that program I got another telegram, reading: “Don’t do it again. It was better the other way.” *

* Paul Lee Tan, “Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times” (Rockville, Maryland: Assurance Publishers, 1984), p. 292, #927:  “Don’t Do It Again!”

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Trip 234: The Levite Cities continued; The Altar of Witness

Book CoverTHE TIME SEQUENCE BIBLE

1095 Devotional “Trips”!

Rix W. Tillman, D. Min.

Reading assignment:  __Joshua 21:27-45    __Joshua 22:1-4

Focal verse(s):  Joshua 21:43:  “So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it.”

The Gershonites received 13 cities located in the eastern region of Canaan in the midst of the tribes of Manasseh, Issachar, Asher, and Naphtali.  The Merarites descendants of Levi received 12 cities in Zebulun and in the Trans Jordanian tribes of Reuben and Gad, making 10 of the 48 Levite cities east of the Jordan.  This scattering of the tribe of Levi fulfilled Jacob’s curse on Levi and Simeon for their senseless murder of the Shechemites in Genesis chapter 34.  However, God intervened on the Levites’ behalf to preserve their tribal identity and make them a blessing to all Israel since the Levites had stood with Moses during times of crisis and because a Levite named Phinehas had vindicated God’s name in the plains of Moab (Numbers 25).  It has been estimated that not a single person in all Israel lived more than 10 miles from one of the Levite towns, so every citizen of the country had a Levite priest nearby who could interpret the Law and minister to them.  However, the Levites did not fulfill their mission of teaching the people to obey the law, because idolatry was ultimately their downfall.  Joshua called in the eastern tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh to commend them for keeping their word to God and helping conquer the land before going back to the east side of the Jordan to live.  These men had been separated from their families for 7 long years.   Joshua dismissed them with honor to go home and raise their families.  War is always terrible, but sometimes it’s a necessity to preserve our freedom!  It has been said that if you prorated the cost of World War II among the two billion people on earth at that time, each man, woman, and child would have had to pay $1708.00, not counting the loss of lives and property! *

* Paul Lee Tan, “Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times” (Rockville, Maryland: Assurance Publishers, 1984), #7187:  “The Value of Each World War”.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Trip 233: The Levite Cities

THE TIME SEQUENCE BIBLE

1095 Devotional “Trips”!

Rix W. Tillman, D. Min

Reading assignment:   __Joshua 21:1-26

Focal verse(s):  Joshua 21:3:  “So the sons of Israel gave the Levites from their inheritance these cities with their pasture lands, according to the command of the LORD.”

The last step in the allotment of territory was to give the Levites some cities with pastureland, since they did not receive any land.  The 48 towns with pasturelands were given to the Levites, which included 6 cities of refuge.  The towns were divided between the three main branches of the tribe of Levi, named after Levi’s three sons — Kohath, Gershon, and Merari.  The Kohathites and their branch families received a total of 23 towns, almost half of the entire allotment, because they were in the southern section of Judah (in the tribes of Ephraim, Dan and western Manasseh) where the temple would be built in its capital city of Jerusalem.  God always provides bountifully for those who love and obey Him.  The Levites were not concerned about material things, yet God provided them with 48 towns and pastureland.  We must remember God’s ways are not man’s ways (1 Samuel 16:7), because man’s natural tendency is, “Get all I can, can all I get, sit on the can, and poison the rest!”  Greed never has a part in God’s kingdom and He will always bless those who put Him first over the things of this world.  The following poem, “Blame Me Not”, sums up this thought:  “You call me Master and obey me not, You call me Light and see me not; You call me Way and walk not; You call me Life and desire me not; You call me Wise and follow me not; You call me Fair and love me not; You call me Rich and ask me not; You call me Eternal and seek me not; You call me Gracious and trust me not; You call me Noble and serve me not; You call me Mighty and honor me not; You call me Just and fear me not; If I condemn you Blame Me Not!*

* Paul Lee Tan, “Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times” (Rockville, Maryland: Assurance Publishers, 1984), 908, #3918:  “Blame Me Not”.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Trip 232: The Territory of Manasseh (Half-Tribe)

Book CoverTHE TIME SEQUENCE BIBLE

1095 Devotional “Trips”!

Rix W. Tillman, D. Min.

Reading assignment:  __Joshua 13:29-31    __Joshua 19:49-51    __Joshua 13:32-33

Focal verse(s):  Joshua 13:33:  “But to the tribe of Levi, Moses did not give an inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as He had promised to them.”

The half-tribe of Manasseh received the rich table-land of Bashan east of the Sea of Kinnereth. Unfortunately, these 2½ tribes chose their land on the east side of the Jordan on the basis of appearance and as mentioned in the previous trip’s devotion, they ultimately lost their inheritance.  The Levites, who served God for their living, were given an inheritance of lasting value because they were not trusting in the things of this world!  The importance of the cities of refuge is clear because they are mentioned in four books of the Old Testament!  God was obviously trying to impress on Israel the sanctity of human life.  To put an end to someone’s life, even if done unintentionally, is a serious matter in God’s eyes.  In the case of murder, the next of kin became the avenger of blood, killing the guilty party.  If the murder was accidental, then the guilty person had to hurry to a city of refuge to present his case to the elders of that city.  A decision would then be made whether or not to grant him asylum until a trial could be held.  If found innocent of pre-meditated murder, he could live in the city of refuge until the high priest died, then he was free to return to his home.  The six designated cities of refuge were located on both sides of the Jordan.  Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble“.  The cities of refuge seem to typify Christ, to whom sinners, pursued by the avenging Law of judgment and death, may flee for refuge.  When we say a person is “in Christ”, we are talking of the security of all believers.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Trip 231: The Territories of Rueben and Gad

Book CoverTHE TIME SEQUENCE BIBLE

1095 Devotional “Trips”!

Rix W. Tillman, D. Min

Reading assignment:  __Joshua 13:8-28

Focal verse(s): Joshua 13:14:  “Only to the tribe of Levi he did not give an inheritance; the offerings by fire to the LORD, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as He spoke to him.”

Joshua was asked to turn his attention to the east side of the Jordan River, where the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh resided.  The tribe of Levi had no specific territory, but instead received 48 towns with pastureland for their flocks and herds.  The tribe of Reuben received the land east of the Dead Sea which had been previously occupied by Moab.  The tribe of Dan was given the portion of land in the center of the region, previously known as Gilead.  The decision of these two and one-half tribes to reside in the Transjordan on the east side of the river proved in years to come to be a poor choice.  Because these territories had no natural borders, they were constantly exposed to attacking forces of Moabites, Canaanites, Arameans, Midianites, Amalekites, and others.  These three tribes were the first to be carried into captivity when Assyria conquered Israel in years to come.  This is a good lesson for Christians today: Things always aren’t what they appear to be on the surface, so make sure God is involved in all of your decision making!  In this devotional trip we finish looking at prophesies about the re-gathering of Israel as a nation: Hosea 1:10-11; Amos 9:15-15; Micah 4: 4-7; Zephaniah 3:18-20; 8:4-8.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Trip 230: The Territories of Asher, Naphtali, and Dan

Book CoverTHE TIME SEQUENCE BIBLE

1095 Devotional “Trips”!

Rix W. Tillman, D. Min

Reading assignment:  __Joshua 19:24-48

Focal verse(s):  Joshua 19:47:  “The territory of the sons of Dan proceeded beyond them; for the sons of Dan went up and fought with Leshem and captured it then they struck it with the edge of the sword and possessed it and settled in it; and they called Leshem Dan after the name of Dan their father.”

The tribe of Asher was assigned the Mediterranean coastal lands from Mount Carmel north to Sidon and Tyre, a militarily strategic position to protect Israel against any northern coastal enemies such as the Phoenicians.  By the time of King David’s reign, Asher had faded into insignificance, although her tribal identity was not lost.  When Jesus was born, Anna the prophetess and Simeon who gave thanks for his birth were both from the tribe of Asher (Luke 2: 36-38).  The tribe of Naphtali had the land adjacent to Asher on the east, bordered by the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee.  These lands were not significant during the Old Testament days, but became very important during the Galilean ministry of Jesus which was centered there.  The tribe of Dan received the least desirable portion of land, which included seventeen towns, surrounded by Ephraim and Benjamin on the north and east and by Judah on the south.  This original location was not only too small, but later the Amorites would attack and take most of this territory (Judges 1:34).  The majority of the tribe would move far to the north, attacking and settling in the city of Leshem opposite the northern sector of Naphta1i, renaming the city Dan (Judges 18; Genesis 49:17).   So the tribes were all provided land by the Lord, and were to allow their faith in God to sustain them just as believers are to do today.  On the previous devotional trip we read prophesies from Isaiah and Jeremiah about God’s promises to Israel to re-gather them as a nation.  Turn to Ezekiel and see what God said through this prophet about this same subject: Ezekiel 11:17; 20:34,41-42; 34:11-13; 36:24,28, 33-38; 37:1-14,21-22; 39:25-28.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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