I begin my days in God’s Word. Though I retrieve the morning newspaper to read at some point ( I still prefer printed vs electronic versions), I no longer allow my eyes to glance the headlines before getting to a God’s Word. Through a God lens, the news of the world just reads differently. I find with God’s Word at the forefront of my brain, I am able to read the news of the world with less anxiousness.
But sometimes the headlines inform my reading of the Word, anxiously.
Today’s Old Testament passage from Joshua reports the prophet’s last commands to the Israelites; his summation of Israel’s triumphant occupation of the promised land, delivered to them by the Lord, God and the warning not to mingle with the conquered inhabitants, but to remain separate to ensure their salvation and survival in the occupied land.
23:11Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God.12For if you turn back, and join the survivors of these nations left here among you, and intermarry with them, so that you marry their women and they yours, 13know assuredly that the Lord your God will not continue to drive out these nations before you; but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a scourge on your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land that the Lord your God has given you.
There’s more to this than irony given the headlines. I turned to the newspaper for an update of what has taken place in the last week in God’s Holy Land. And I was troubled to see how Joshua’s word to the Israelites functions as a root cause for the war and divisiveness raging today.
Is there a time-date-context stamp on any of Scripture? I wonder how, if at all, the revelation in God’s Word is heard differently over time. Perhaps, like God’s revelation in Creation that God’s people perceive and come to know, Scripture, too, is heard and known, differently.
The created universe provides ongoing revelation to humanity through the ages. At any given time, new discoveries have pushed the horizons of our knowing how vast and connected all the dots of the universe really are. And yet, at any given time, the universe is comprehended differently. The Earth as the center of the universe and that Earth is flat are just two examples of the misconceptions.
So, I wonder about God’s Holy Land and its inhabitants, today. Was the Word Joshua proclaimed to the people meant for those living there, today? What does a Palestinian Christian hear the Spirit saying in today’s Old Testament reading? What does the Christian church in Jerusalem glean from Joshua’s account?
I only wonder today. I have no answers to my own questions. Only this. For me, the headlines trump the Word from Joshua and I join all the inhabitants of God’s holy land in prayer for peace. May the Lord, God deliver us all to His peace, which passes my feeble attempt at understanding.
Lectionary Readings: Psalm 55; PM Psalm 138,139:1-17(18-23)
Joshua 23:1-16; Rom. 15:25-33; Matt. 27:11-23