April 13: Victory!

April 13, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Judges 4-5, Psalm 83, Mark 5:21-43, 1 Corinthians 9:13-27 Judges 4-5: The story of Deborah has troubled the conscience of those who believe in a male pastorate or eldership for many years, but it need not do so. First of all, the New Testament describes the role of women in ministry with eminent examples of Phoebe as a deaconess (Romans 16:1-2), as well as Priscilla and Aquila who taught Apollos the Word of God more accurately (Acts 18:2, 24-26). These do not violate the norms of male eldership and preaching in 1 Timothy 2-3. Second, and more significantly, Deborah ascribes the leadership role to Barak, and it is only when (let us say it graciously) Barak wimps out of taking the initiative (4:8) that Deborah joins him and attests that by his action the honor of the attack would go to a woman. Whether that woman is Jael…

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April 12: Downward Spiral

April 12, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Judges 1-3, Psalm 82, Mark 5:1-20, 1 Corinthians 9:1-12 Judges 1-3: The Book of Judges is one of the most rewarding, as well as most surprising, studies in the Old Testament. It has a clear overall message and structure: God’s people—once the generation that knew Joshua had died out—failed to keep God’s covenant (Josh. 24:31; Judges 2:10-13). They did not completely drive out the inhabitants of the nations (1:19, 21, 27-36) and began to “whore” after the baals, the false gods (2:11-13, 17; 3:6-7). As a result, God gave them over to misery, enslavement (3:8, 12-14). They were being tested to see if they would “learn war” (2:20-3:4), that is, learn that their effectiveness and prosperity depended upon their fidelity to their covenant with God. When they were in distress they would call upon the Lord, and, moved by pity, he would send a “judge” (3:9, 15),…

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April 11: Covenant Renewal

April 11, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 24, Psalm 81, Mark 4:21-41, 1 Corinthians 8 Joshua 24: The covenant renewal at Shechem. A blessed day, long in the memory of Israel, and symbolic of our covenant with Christ and our call to commit to him. Joshua gathers the people (24:1), and then tells them what God says. “Thus says the Lord” (24:2). And in his description of God’s message to them he outlines what God has done for them: how he called Abraham and multiplied his offspring, how he rescued them from Egypt, how he defeated their enemies (24:2-13). He wants them to realize that this whole story means that “it was not by your sword or your bow” (24:12). In fact, God says, “I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards…

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April 10: Obedience

April 10, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 22-23, Psalm 80, Mark 4:1-2, 1 Corinthians 7:17-40 Joshua 22-23: We have different assemblies in these chapters, with different consequences and results. First Joshua summons the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh (22:1). He tells them that they have done their duty in helping their brothers subdue (though not yet totally conquer) the land (22:2-3), and therefore as Moses promised they can go back and take possession of the territory which had already been allotted to them “on the other side of the Jordan” (22:4). However, there is an apparent glitch. Soon the rest of Israel learn that these tribes have set up an altar (22:10). It appears that they are building an alternative altar to God—an action that both at Peor (22:17; Numbers 25:1-9) and with Achan (22:20; Joshua 7:10-26) had been shown to bring disaster, not only on the people who built the…

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April 9: Promises, Promises

April 09, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 20-21, Psalm 79, Mark 3:20-35, 1 Corinthians 7:1-16 Joshua 20-21: The arrangement of the land that has been subdued, though not yet totally conquered, continues. The cities of refuge—places where someone who has unintentionally killed another person might fly for refuge and be protected from vengeance from the relatives of the person unintentionally killed—are allocated (Joshua 20). The Levites receive their allotted cities, parceled out from the various tribes’ portions, so that they have places to live and places for their livestock to graze (Joshua 21). Perhaps the most significant part of these chapters, though, comes at the end of chapter 21: Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers.…

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April 8: Inheritance!

April 08, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 18-19, Psalm 78:40-72, Mark 3:1-19, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 Joshua 18-19: The land was subdued before the Israelites—in the sense of them being the dominant military presence, but not in the sense of entire and total conquest. For, there are still some whose lands have not even been apportioned (18:2), and they are encouraged to map out the land and bring back the description to Joshua, who will then apportion and allot the land as inheritance (18:3-10). The inheritance is therefore apportioned through these chapters (18:11-19:48), including the land for Joshua (19:49-51). As God has commanded, Joshua is given the city that he requested, and he rebuilds it and settles there. One of the great lies is that following God is not good for you, that God does not give us apportioned blessing and inheritance. But throughout the Bible, while following God does and can and will lead…

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Sermon Video: How Faith in Jesus Can Give You New Life

April 07, 2016:

Below, on March 27, 2016, Josh Moody preached an Easter message on “How Faith in Jesus Can Give You New Life” in the sermon series “Four Steps to New Life.” Taken from John 20:24-31, this message’s aim is to get you to doubt your doubts and only put faith in what is really true and can give you life to the full—the Risen Christ. The sermon looks first at Thomas and then at us. Discussion questions about this sermon can be found here.

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April 7: Courage!

April 07, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 15-17, Psalm 78:1-39, Mark 2:18-28, 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 Joshua 15-17: The “allotments” continue—boundary lines specified with great detail indicating which parcels of land have been allotted to whom so that the record is kept for future generations, and so the tribes are motivated to “subdue” the land (18:1) and make it theirs. In the middle of this account there are some fascinating details. Caleb was obviously quite the character! Remember his great age (85 years old, 14:10) yet he successfully drives out the enemies without apparent difficulty or qualm (15:14). What is more, he is not above a little competitive motivation! Offering his daughter as a trophy for the warrior who completed a particular victory (15:16) may seem a little… non-politically correct… but we read on to find that in all likelihood his daughter colluded in this good-humored challenge. She was certainly not above going toe-to-toe with…

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April 6: Octogenarian Warrior

April 06, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 13-14, Psalm 77, Mark 2:13-17, 1 Corinthians 5 Joshua 13-14: Joshua himself is getting old (13:1), so God gives him instructions fitting the need to pass on a legacy. “There remains very much land to possess” (13:1). This reality is reiterated later again in verse 13, and refutes an academic critical position that the Book of Judges cannot fit with the Book of Joshua because Judges assumes there is still land to conquer whereas Joshua thinks there is nothing left to conquer. But the Book of Joshua has no such picture of final conquest. True, there is (for a while) “rest from war,” mercifully (14:15), but not all the land is taken yet. Joshua is to allot the land, dividing  it as Moses had done, so there can be no squabbles regarding who gets what, and he is to do so even for the land that is…

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April 5: If God Is for Us, Who Can Be Against Us?

April 05, 2016:

by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Joshua 10-12, Psalm 76, Mark 2:1-12, 1 Corinthians 4 Joshua 10-12: Now the conquest begins to speed up, lessons having been learned and positions taken. Adoni-Zedek, king of Jerusalem, sees which way the wind is blowing and decides to fight against it—he gathers an army to attack Gibeon, recent allies with Israel (10:1-5). The Gibeonites come and ask for Joshua’s help (10:6), and Joshua goes with the strong confidence that he need not fear for God is with them (10:7-8). Hailstones kill many of the enemies (10:11). I have heard reliable stories from a wizened war vet of massive hailstones, so the story does not strike me as impossible. More stretching to modern mindsets is that we are also told the sun stood still (10:12-13). Physicists will tell us that the sun standing still is not only impossible, it would have had serious cosmological impact on the…

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