- Land allotments: Joshua 14-15 for the 9.5 tribes west of the Jordan. Joshua 16-17 for the 2.5 tribes east of the Jordan. Joshua 18-19 for miscellaneous land not yet assigned.
- Special cities: Joshua 20-21 assigns cities for the Levites and the cities of refuge.
- Near disaster: Joshua 22 accounts the 2.5 tribes returning to their land, and a misunderstanding almost leads to war.
- Closing: Joshua 22-24 accounts Joshua’s leadership in renewing the covenant, warning the people, and giving a power admonition before his death. Joshua 24:14-28 is his summary exhortation. Joshua 24:19 should sound like some of the words of Moses. If God knew before they even went into the land that the Israelites would eventually fail to serve Him, what is the point? What was God’s real goal in what He was doing with the nation Israel? Was this then truly failure? Romans 9-11 may be helpful to show that God had greater purposes than making a nice home for a single nation. Galatians 2 and following may help us better understand the law. And Hebrews 11 may help us see that not all was a failure.
- Context: Judges 1:1-2:10 is a review of some of the events of Joshua. Judges 2:10 gives a foreshadowing concerning a generation that does not know the Lord.
- Cycles: Judges 2:11-3:6 accounts a summary of the pattern.
- Sin (2:11-15)
- Outcry to God (2:18)
- Deliverance by a judge (2:16-18)
- Rinse and repeat…(2:18ff)
- Lessons: How does this cycle reveal our sinful human nature? Do the principles here have personal and individual application? Although other nations do not have a covenant with the Lord, is this cycle to some extent applicable to other nations? See Jonah and Nahum for the example of Nineveh/Assyria. Each account of a judge has its own peculiarities and lessons. Can you identify some lessons on your own? Notice the diversity of people God uses to deliver his people.
- The Judges: Othniel, Judges 3:7-11; Ehud, Judges 3:12-30; Shamgar, Judges 3:31; Deborah and Barak, Judges 4-5; Introduction to Gideon, Judges 6.
- Woe! This is not the last time Jesus will warn the leaders of the danger of leading someone astray.
- Forgiveness is a “baseline expectation” (JB) in the kingdom of God. How could we possibly have the continuous forgiving attitude that Jesus describes? Matthew 18:21-35 is helpful to answer that.
- Jesus’ sovereignty over the mind: In Luke 18:31-34, Jesus plainly tells the disciples what is going to happen to him, but it is “hidden” from the disciples. Compare this to Luke 24:32 in which it is Jesus who opens the scriptures to disciples. For understanding of His Word we must pray, and for understanding his Word we must praise!
- The coming of the Kingdom: Luke 17:20-37 reveals that the Kingdom will come gradually – that is life will go on much the same – until suddenly the Lord returns.
- Kingdom qualities: Jesus describes several qualities of Kingdom people. Forgiving, Luke 17:7-10; Thankful, Luke 17:11-19; Persistent prayer, Luke 18:1-8; Sincere worship, Luke 18:9-14, 21:1-4; Faith like children, Luke 17:5-6, 18:15-17; Giving anything for the kingdom, Luke 18:18-30; Recognition of Jesus and pursuit, Luke 18:35-43; Repentant and transformed, Luke 19:1-10; Faithful, Luke 19:11-26.
- Triumphal entry: This is Palm Sunday! Jesus sets up on purpose to fulfill Zechariah 9:9. See also 2 Kings 9:13. The crowd is quoting Psalm 118, 148. These are understood as Messianic Psalms, so the Pharisees are upset. For “The very stones would cry out,” see Joshua 4, 24:27. Notice that Jesus assigns as the reason for the destruction “because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Some scholars connect the prophecy found in Daniel 9:24-27 assigning the exact time for the appearance of “an anointed one, a prince.” It gives a starting point, and a number of years until the Messiah (7 plus 62 week/sevens of years, see KJV or NASB as ESV is not a clear translation on Daniel 9:25.). Some believe it was Palm Sunday, 32 AD, and some Palm Sunday, 33 AD. Either way, even without that prophecy, the faithful recognized Jesus, but the majority did not. Are we properly understanding Jesus to be adequately prepared for his second coming? Are we searching the scriptures so that we are found ready?
- End of an era: Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, Luke 19:40-44, and cleansing the temple, Luke 19:45-48, show clearly his judgment on the present religious system. Matthew and Mark also have the withering of the fig tree during this same week.
- Friction with the authorities: The leadership is clearly plotting against him, Luke 20:1-8. What is their real motivation? What about their tactics? Are they behaving like godly people? Any honest believer should see a little Pharisee in himself, and fight against it. Several challenges come, but Jesus answers each one perfectly. Luke 20:9-18 is clearly against the Jewish leaders, but they refuse to heed it. Their problem was not understanding Jesus, but their hardness of heart – suppressing the truth in their unrighteousness, Romans 1:18-21. Their hypocrisy and their false teaching will incur to them a greater condemnation, Luke 20:45-47, 17:1-4.
- End times: The disciples ask two questions which help us to understand what Jesus says next, Luke 21:7. Luke 21:8-38 is his answer. Look at Luke 21:19 as important, “By our endurance you will gain your lives.” His specific teaching about Jerusalem saved many Christians in 70 AD as the Romans surrounded Jerusalem. Based on this discourse, they fled the city. The other things described are things that are happening during our present age, but apparently will increase in frequency and intensity before the coming of Jesus. Here, pay more attention to the commands than to the description of events. Jesus does not tell us to try to crack the code, or determine the day, but his commands concern our faithfulness and endurance. The commands come in two categories.
- For everyone: “See that you are not led astray,” “Do not be terrified,” “Settle it in your minds,” “gain,” “straighten up,” “raise your heads,” “look,” “know,” “watch,” “stay awake,”
- For Jerusalem: “know,” “flee,” “depart,” “ enter.”
- Reflection: Meditate on Luke, then in your own words, answer these questions: How does one enter into the kingdom? How should one properly respond to coming into the kingdom?
- Psalm 15 – Who can dwell with the Lord? Pray for these attributes to become part of your identity. The promise is, “He who does these things shall never be moved.”
- Psalm 116 – The Lord has “loosed my bonds,” and therefore I am his servant. There is hardly any simpler way to describe our relationship with Him than here. We serve out of what He has done for us. The descriptions of Him in the Psalms remind us of the fact that He is worthy of all praise and all service.
- Psalm 16 – A reminder that the best part of God’s salvation plan is that we get to know Him. Look at the tremendous promises of verse 11. Pray for these things!