Set 5: The Law and the Land

The 10 Commandments are meant for individuals to follow to have a right relationship with God and with one another; however, it is important to remember that the commandments applied to Israel as a community as well! As the People of God, they were to love God and not worship any false idols. As a group, they were prohibited from coveting what the neighboring communities had because God would always provide what they needed. At times, their struggles came not only from an individual sin but from the community as a whole rejecting the promises of God. This often came as they were impatient with God's timing and fearful of their neighbors instead of trusting God.

Our readings shift on Wednesday from Exodus to the book of Joshua. Moses and the Israelites had wandered in the desert for 40 years and were about to cross over the Jordan River. The book of Joshua directly continues the narrative at the end of Deuteronomy. Moses appointed Joshua as his successor in Deuteronomy 31:1-8 (also see Deut 34:9), and the book begins with God addressing the Joshua as he assumes leadership.

Message from Sunday, October 1st 

Jewish Torah and Tanakh: In addition to Genesis and Exodus, Moses also wrote Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These books comprise the Torah, the first part of the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh). The Christian old testament mostly contains the same writings as the Tanakh, however the order is not the same. Additionally, some books that Christians split, such as 1st and 2nd Samuel, are kept as one book in the Tanakh.
The Name of Joshua: The Bible book is named after Joshua, the leader of Israel after Moses. Joshua in Hebrew is "Yehoshua," which means "God is deliverance" or "Yahweh Saves" and is related to the name and meaning of "Yeshua" (Jesus).
The Theme of Joshua: The theme of Joshua is the fulfillment of God's promise and the establishment of the Israelites in the Promised Land.
Important Locations: 
Mount Sinai - many scholars consider Mt. Horeb and Mt. Sinai to be the same, located in the south/central part of the Sinai peninsula
The Jordan River - runs between the Sea of Galilea in the north to the Dead Sea in the south, separating modern day Israel and the West Bank (west) from Jordan and Syria (East)
Jericho - now called Tell es-Sultan or Tel Jericho in Palestine, the city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage sight as the world's oldest fortified city
Canaan - the modern states of Israel, Jorden, Lebanon and the Western part of Syria, some scholars include Gaza and the West Bank

  1. What challenged you in these texts?
  2. What does this Biblical account invite you to do, think, or believe after reading it?
  3. Where do you see the church of today struggling to follow the commandments or to trust in the promises of God?
  4. Where do you see the church of today succeeding in following the commandments and in trusting in the promises of God?

Heavenly Father, maker and creator of all things, we confess that we often view the 10 commandments negatively instead of as one of your many gifts to us. We are quick to point out those times other people or groups do not follow You instead of reflecting on our own lives and our own church. We pray that just as you led the people of Israel through the wilderness, you would always walk with us regardless of our circumstances. Give us the patience to wait for the good things you have to give us, and provide us with faith and trust to follow where you are leading. Amen.

You can engage these readings and devotional times individually or as a group. If you want to send an email to Family of Christ with your thoughts and questions, you are invited to click the link below.