Today’s reading: Josh 14:1–15:63, 2 Cor 11:16–23, Ps 54:1–7
Today’s theme: Wholly follow the Lord
The overarching theme of today’s readings is that we should wholly follow the Lord and so avoid the pitfalls of self deception, as we call upon God’s name to deliver us from the giants that want to defeat us. Wholly trusting in the Lord will cause us to see the armies of apparent giants coming to attack us, fall defeated, as we approach God with bold faith in prayer.
Wholly follow the Lord
But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the LORD my God. And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the LORD my God.’ Joshua 14:8–9 (ESV)
Caleb is a great example to all of us, showing us that we should boldly put our trust in God. His account should also encourage us that God rewards our courageous faith in His service.
The word translated as ‘wholly’ is worth meditating on. It is from the Hebrew word ‘Mille’ and in this sense means “to follow fully” which is a verb meaning; to accept and follow leadership or guidance to the fullest extent.
The word itself carries the meanings: be full, filled, fill, complete, finish, fulfil, perform, to satisfy and carry out. It also carries a subtle meaning in this context of “eagerness to engage in some activity or event” (eager desire).
When we consider the meaning and root of the word “wholly followed”, it should help us to reflect on our attitude and heart towards God and His work, remembering Jesus’ greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-38.
An army of giants defeated
Now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba. (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim.) And the land had rest from war. Joshua 14:15 (ESV)
To put this into context… the Anakim were a race of giants, but even giants are no match for God and His people! When we wholly follow the Lord, we can claim the victory over the greatest giants. See Matthew 17:20
Boldly ask in faith
She said to him, “Give me a blessing. Since you have given me the land of the Negeb, give me also springs of water.” And he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs. Joshua 15:19 (ESV)
Caleb’s daughter, like her father, is full of faith and zeal, she boldly approaches her father to ask for more than her original allotment and received a good response to her request for a blessing.
We can learn from Achsah’s example of bold asking, in faith, as Jesus affirms in Matthew 7:7-8.
This also shines a light on the fact that women had rights and were treated with dignity in Israelite culture, as opposed to the many Pagan nations where women did not enjoy these freedoms.
God’s heart for his daughters (and sons), is that they boldly come to Him directly in prayer and make their petitions clear, in faith. See James 1:6-8 and Matthew 21:22
The land of Israel
Ashdod, its towns and its villages; Gaza, its towns and its villages; to the Brook of Egypt, and the Great Sea with its coastline. Joshua 15:47 (ESV)
2 Corinthians 11:16–23
Self deception leads to further bondage
For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that! But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 2 Corinthians 11:20–21 (ESV)
Paul gives a reluctant summary of his ministry which he intends to shame his critics into silence. There is a note of irony running throughout this passage and it is well illustrated here. The sad truth is that bondage to sin will lead into further bondage under manipulative and evil leaders, in all areas of life including the church.
The church in Corinth were bound by pride in their supposed maturity, to such an extent that they had unfounded confidence in their ability to discern and so were squarely deceived and exploited by false, self seeking, charlatans who led them into further bondage, through bad teaching and practise.
We must stay on our guard that we do not unwittingly open ourselves up to this type of self imposed abuse and oppression through either, misplaced confidence in ourselves, or in laziness, allowing ourselves to be manipulated as we follow the crowd’s popular consensus, rather than the bible. We must wholly follow the Lord.
Call upon the Lord’s name
O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might. Psalm 54:1 (ESV)
Verse 1 and verse 6 mention God’s name as a means of salvation and as the one that thanks will be given to. The name of God is manifested in Jesus, the eternal Word.
Names have power throughout the scriptures and in the world today. When an ambassador or messenger speaks in the name of a king, the full force of the kingdom is with him, just like the full force of the law is behind every police officer calling out stop or pull over.
Peter used the name of the Lord Jesus in Acts 3:6, making the power of Jesus present for the man’s healing. We can call upon the name of the Lord today, knowing His power is made present to save, heal and to deliver. See Romans 10:13
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on 2 Corinthians 11