Sunday, March 8, 2015

March 8 - Joshua 20

Today's reading in our daily plan is Joshua 20. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)

  • Now that most of the land has been divided, in today's reading God sets forth a basic principle to set the foundation for a barebones government. (These groups of people had never had to establish civilizations on this scale, so it was important for them to gain a basic understanding of how to deal with potentially problematic situations.)
  • God directs the Israelites to pick certain cities that can serve as "safe houses" for people who had accidentally killed someone. Prior to these cities of refuge, the person who accidentally took the life of another would be attacked or murdered by others in his group. This could grow to the point of bloody large-scale warfare.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • These "safe houses" were a revolutionary idea to the Israelites because they introduced the concept of grace. Previously, someone who killed another person -- even if accidentally -- would be treated terribly. With these cities of refuge, people could find forgiveness for what they did. 
  • There are similarities between this policy and the forgiveness Jesus offers. Jesus died to cover all of our sins, so we can run to him for refuge. In his refuge we find fulfilling life.
  • Once we've taken refuge in Jesus, we should extend that same grace to others -- even if they don't deserve it.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • You might not know a murderer, but do you know someone who has wronged you or done something they shouldn't have? Forgive them and start to look for ways you can show them compassion. It's easy to love someone when we perceive them as good, but our true commitment to God can shine when we show grace to someone who has been scorned by others.