Joshua 8, Psalm 139, Jeremiah 2, Matthew 16

DateVersionReading Plan
@July 6, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Joshua 8

Joshua 8:1–2 (ESV) 1 And the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land. 2 And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its livestock you shall take as plunder for yourselves. Lay an ambush against the city, behind it.”

Despite having previously attempted to take the city of Ai on their own (and failing due to their break of faith with the LORD), the LORD told Joshua to arise and take Ai. The combat tactics used in this campaign are also fascinating. An ambush was to be set so that the city would be left open after its soldiers pursued the Israelites. As it played out, when the men of the city went after Joshua and all Israel who feigned defeat, those waiting in the ambush overtook the city. As the CSB Notes states, “The use of an ambush is a strategy known in the ancient Near East and used more than once in Israel’s history (Judges 9; 20). Its deceptive nature recalls the ruse of Rahab in Jos 2:4–5.”

Psalm 139

Psalm 139:23–24 (ESV) 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

God can already search the heart and know our thoughts, but it is our pleading for Him to do so that reveals ours. We should be as the psalmist and earnestly desire that God root out every grievous way in order that we may be lead in the way everlasting. As I write this, I reflect on something significant that happened over the past day which has revealed my doubt and distrust of God: a fear of retaliation from being exposed and vulnerable. LORD, thank you for illuminating this sin. I pray you continue to search me and try me, removing all doubt of You within me and lead me on the path toward everlasting life with You.

Jeremiah 2

Jeremiah 2:26–28 (ESV) 26 “As a thief is shamed when caught, so the house of Israel shall be shamed: they, their kings, their officials, their priests, and their prophets, 27 who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’ and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’ For they have turned their back to me, and not their face. But in the time of their trouble they say, ‘Arise and save us!’ 28 But where are your gods that you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you, in your time of trouble; for as many as your cities are your gods, O Judah.

The people were worshiping idols and had turned their back to God, and yet in their time of trouble they pleaded with Him to save them. By rhetorical question, God demonstrates the inability of these false gods to arise and save them. Their idols were as many as the cities of Judah and yet were completely powerless. Even in high number, there is nothing manmade or among creation that can save, for any number times zero is still zero. Our faith must therefore rest on the only One who is can save; the One who came to shed His blood to be the worthy the sacrifice and pay our penalty to bring salvation to all.

Matthew 16

Matthew 16:7–11 (ESV) 7 And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” 8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? 9 Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11 How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Jesus rebuked the disciples for their little faith and for discussing among themselves that they had no bread. As the CSB Notes helpful states, “The disciples’ memory of Jesus’s feeding miracles should have been enough to sustain their faith. Their constant desire for miracles paralleled the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ demand for a ‘sign from heaven’ (v. 1) and demonstrated that they were people of little faith.” Our faith wanes in the very same way, forgetting God’s goodness, provision and ability to do great things. Again, I think of what has happened over the past 24 hours and how my faith in God was not as it should have been. Praise Him for His correction and for proving Himself true to every promise.