Forty Years in a Minivan
Week 12 in the Word – March 19, 2021
Are we there yet?
The cry goes out from the backseat of the minivan as kids from toddlers to teens endure the long trip to our vacation destination. Even us adults grow weary and irritable as we long to get to the place where life will be all good for a few days.
The Israelites had a forty-year trip to the Promised Land. No wonder they often cried out, “How long?” and “Are we there yet?”
But there came a day when their leader, Joshua, announced “prepare to enter the land! Three more days!” It must have been music to their ears.
At first, everything seemed wonderful. There was a rumor that the people in the land were terrified of them. Conquest would be a breeze. They proceeded toward the Jordan River. As the leaders, stepped into the flowing water suddenly the river stopped flowing. Over they went on dry ground. Twelve husky fellows took huge stones from the middle of the riverbed and carried them to the bank. Up went a monument to this unforgettable event. Soon there would be a celebration of the Passover.
But not yet. First, all the males needed to have surgery. That was to mark them as part of the covenant people of God. Not fun.
Maybe the mass circumcision was the first indication that the long-awaited arrival in the land would not be all fun and games. What happened next would be a mixed bag of great, exciting victories (Jericho) and shocking defeats with losses of life (Ai). There would be mistakes by the leaders who proved to be gullible to some tricky enemies.
It had been like 40 years in a minivan, and they were still not there. Centuries later, when the long-expected Messiah arrived something similar happened. He amazed some people (Simeon, Anna, the teachers in the temple and people in Capernaum), but He threatened and infuriated others (His neighbors in Nazareth who tried to throw Him off a cliff.)
Christ had come, but all was still not perfect.
They were not there yet. Neither are we. We still must walk by faith (or ride in the back of the minivan for another 40 years by faith.)
Christ has come. He has offered Himself for the sins of His people, all who believe in Him. Now He is preparing a place for us and we are not there yet. But we will be. Trust Him. The trip is long, but He has promised that where He is there we will be also (John 14:3). No longer in the minivan.
Home. With. Him. At. Last.
This coming week we will finish Deuteronomy (33-34) and begin Joshua (1-15). Moses passes away and the Israelites under Joshua’s leadership cross over the Jordan on dry ground. They will set up a monument to the event, put the special mark of the covenant on all the males, and celebrate the Passover for the first time in the Promised Land.
The news of God’s power and blessing of Israel has impacted the peoples of Canaan. But a key figure in the first victory at the city of Jericho is not a member of Israel at all. That key figure is a most unlikely person—a woman known for being a prostitute among the pagan people will surprise us by her faith and courage.
There will be problems in the new land as one man succumbs to greed and commits a sin that brings defeat and fear on the people. Joshua will be duped by a group of strangers who trick him into a treaty he would regret. In the end, God would be merciful and faithful to grant Israel significant victories in the land and perform for them a miracle none of them would ever forget.
Our readings in Luke’s gospel (Luke 1:24-4:44) will take us through the life and ministry of John the Baptist, the birth of Jesus, a few details about His childhood and on to His baptism by John and a special time of testing by Satan. We will see the widely mixed response to Jesus’ teaching in places like Nazareth and Capernaum.
Tip of the week
Some passages in the Bible have long lists of names or of places (Joshua 15 and Luke 3). Why do you think the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible authors to include such lists in the Word of God? Try making a list of possible reasons. If you like, post your list in the comments section of this blog page.
Week of March 19-25, 2021
March 19 /Day 78 The Everlasting Arms (Deuteronomy 33-34; Luke 1:24-56) Audio here. March 20/Day 79 Fear: is it good or bad? (Joshua 1-3; Luke 1:57-80) Audio here. March 21/Day 80 Whose Side Is God on? (Joshua 4-6; Luke 2:1-24) Audio here. March 22/Day 81 Two Men Who Saw the Light (Joshua 7-8; Luke 2:25-52) Audio here. March 23/Day 82 God’s Intervention in Human History (Joshua 9-10; Luke 3) Audio here. March 24/Day 83 The Kingdoms vs. The Kingdom (Joshua 11-13; Luke 4:1-32) Audio here. March 25/Day 84 God’s Authority against Formidable Forces (Joshua 14-15; Luke 4:33-44) Audio here. If you do not have a copy of my book you may want to order one here. However, you may also access the daily audio recordings generously provided by my friend and pastor Charlie Evans Above.