Monday, April 30, 2012

get the government out of marriage?

Three strong essays from Jennifer Roback Morse on the futility of trying to "privatize marriage". I have been too cavalier in using this phrase and will be more careful going forward. 

She argues on practical and ethical grounds that a.) it is impossible; b.) it will (perversely) cause an increase in the State; c.) it would be unjust to children.

The opening line in the first essay sums up that effort: We cannot escape the fact that marriage is an intrinsically public institution. We can’t avoid making collective decisions about its meaning and purpose. If we don’t do it explicitly, we will end up doing it implicitly.

While provocative and convincing on the impossibility of full separation of "marriage" and state, I don't think she gives sufficient attention to a possible distinction between sacred marriages within the Church and secular civil unions within the State.  

In the second essay, she mentions adoption but then fails to deal with it, strongly, as a counter to her general case. 

The third essay is instructive in critiquing the implicit/explicit worship of adult freedom, even when it comes at the expense of children. 

Overall, good and provocative stuff; check them out!

A really bad piece from John Krull in today's C-J...

Krull heads up the school of journalism at Franklin College. And one hopes that this, somehow, does not reflect on his ideas of how to do good journalism.

Indiana has a bad case of school voucher fever right now.

Oooh, a clever opening. Later, he throws in a reference to "delirium".

Many sensible people have embraced the idea of vouchers as a cure-all for what ails education...

Cure-all? Hello, Mr. Strawman. 

Those folks managed to ram the most sweeping voucher law in the country through the Indiana General Assembly last year.


Advocates for vouchers speak of “education reform” — their chosen euphemism...

Yo, John, the education establishment has used the same term in obviously worthless ways for a long time. But I understand, from what follows, that you don't like competition much (at least in some arenas).

Voucher advocates say that giving parents choices about where to send their children to school will improve education by introducing market forces — mostly, competition — into the process...things will get easier for individuals if they are allowed to fend in the marketplace for themselves without government intervention. That would have been a fascinating notion for the people who lived a century ago.

John, the economist, goes on to compare competition in 21st century America in education to "what the slaughterhouse did to cattle" and the economy of the 19th century.

That is why people turned to government to shelter them from the worst excesses of market forces...

So, if people ask for the govt's monopoly power to be reduced, why is that a big deal to John?

To his credit, he recommends vouchers to be tried as an experiment-- because he is convinced they will be a failure!

I look forward to John's next essay when he recommends that poor people be given government-produced food from the govt-run grocery store closest to their home.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

my notes for The Story, chapter 9 (Ruth)

-style: "a series of intimate glimpses" vs. (mostly) historical accounts in Judges
-Goethe's "the loveliest work on a small scale"; "best of all mother-in-law stories"
-in the period of the Judges
-Bible not always chronological, but here-- a nice fit
-1:1 begins Ruth with "in the days when the judges ruled" and 4:22 ends Ruth with "David" (I Sam 16)-- period of the Kings
-"a period marked by weak faith and irresponsible conduct"
--> God as always faithful....the Q: what about his people?? here-- yes: "a bright spot in a sea of degeneracy"; "faithfulness amid infidelity"; "like a beautiful pearl against a jet-black background"
-GCM's "God has never left himself without witness"; even in the darkest hours, God is still at work
-to show how three people remained faithful and true to God even when the society around them was falling apart
-other themes
-three excellent examples of the self-giving love that fulfills God's word: Ruth --> Naomi, Boaz --> Ruth; God --> Naomi/Ruth/Boaz
-"a story of love thriving in suffering, of hope in difficult circumstances"
-"hesed" (Hebrew) (3x-- 1:8, 2:20, 3:10's "kindness"): loyalty born out of love and kindness toward those to whom a person is "responsible"
-redemption and protection (various forms used 20x); Boaz as a Christ-figure
-suffering and “happy endings” (here and ultimately, in Job) vs. not so much (in Hab)
--> not about wars, victories, idolatry, etc. (as with Judges)-- but the affliction and comfort of Naomi, the conversion and trust/obedience of Ruth, the love and grace of Boaz, the providence of God and the ancestry of Christ

Ruth 1
-1's famine
-prob. punishment from God; indicative of Judges (Lev 26:18-20; I Kings 17:1)
-1's move to Moab (origins in Gen 19:36-37, related to Lot)
-trying to escape (a provincial) God's judgment? (or just trying to get food?)
-w/ app. to trying to run away from problems
-took his family away from God (the Promised Land) as well-- leadership??
-concerned with physical over spiritual; not satisfied with leaner menu
-vs. calling out to God (no record here)
-Moabites had given the Israelites trouble before-- not let them pass through on their way thru Wilderness, on the way to Promised Land (Josh 24:9, Num 22-25)
-going to the wrong place to solve problems; us as well (Jer 2:13)
-went “for a while”—not so much (w/ app.)
-4's marriage to Moabite women
-not Canaanites, so not explicitly condemned but perhaps unwise/risky (1:15; II Cor 6:14's "unequally yoked"; Dt 23:3?!)
-5's picture of three widows-- how rough!
-1’s famine, but 21’s full; now, alienation, death/abandon (husband and in-laws, but then death and no grandchildren) à nothing and nobody
-8-9's wanting the best for them (she can’t provide for them physically), avoiding possible guilt-trips, offering a gracious exit without guilt—giving them a valid choice
-mention of God x 2 (apparently not out of the ordinary); pleasant (cultural) send-off; hope for husbands
-but Naomi's request despite that it would make faith in God more difficult &/or unlikely
-Elimelech's leadership/influence revisited; material vs. spiritual concerns
-her place on the spectrum of faith: faith in God in the midst of a spiritual valley vs. God is in control, but not for me vs. mere platitudes (see: 1:11-13)
-was embarrassment about them a factor?
-was embarrassment about God a factor? when experiencing grief within one’s walk, harder to recommend that to others! (Acts 26:29)
-w/ app. to handling trial, loneliness, etc. well
-11-13's Naomi as a bit insensitive, angry with God, and despairing of her future—despite her faith (1:8-9, 1:20-21, 2:20; Habakkuk/Job)
-13's Lord's hand as heavy on her (Job 2:10 vs. 13:21,19:21)
-accepting judgment and taking responsibility vs. big pity-party, blaming God
-still has hope for them and doesn’t want to drag them down; amazing focus despite her circumstances
à but she doesn't rip into others (see: Israelites grumbling and threatening to stone Moses)
à what was Naomi like before the 3 deaths? before Elimelech took her to Moab? prob. solid faith (by cultural standards), but largely untested until here (w/ app.)
-potentially losing both daughter-in-laws; Orpah returns, but Ruth remains (contrast)
-emphasis on choice; Orpah's presence as a foil for Ruth's decision
-Orpah loved her, but not enough to leave her country and family (“her people”), religion (“her gods”) or to lower probability of marriage and 9's rest
-and Orpah apparently feels little connection to Ruth (sisters-in-law)
-Orpah as a picture of bad seed (Mt 13:19,22)—excited as they begin the trip, but...

-Ruth's vow-- an emphatic reply-- puts an end to the debate
-despite Naomi's (previous) valid points and 15's use of peer pressure
-acknowledging God as her own
-Ruth makes the big decision-- in faith; God wants the best for her...and He delivers (later)
-in contrast to Moab's origins and its tradition of idolatry
-as a contrast to Israel's depravity
-understands (or hopes for) grace—seemingly no doubt that God will accept her
-despite expectation of no marriage/kids, decides to care for Naomi
-Ruth gives up her land, her religion/gods, her security; see: Abraham's break from culture/family and almost-sacrifice (Gen 12:1-4, 22:2)
-but here, without direct word from God or any promises, and despite strenuous discouragement --> tremendous faith
-Ruth and Naomi as unlikely friends
-applies to marriage but context is family by family and friendship
-a generation apart, mother-in-law?, different ethnicity
-on mothers-in-law, at least hope/pray for this type of relationship
-different religious backgrounds—apparently, before and ironically, now
-lost everything when their husbands died; only had each other and God—but grief can drive people apart
à Ruth's unconditional love for Naomi (more in 1:19-22)
à difficult circumstances and God's living presence in a relationship overcome differences that might otherwise create division; adversity and trial (here, mutual, repeated grief) can bring people close together as friends
-importance and availability of unity in Christ (w/ app.)
-Ruth’s friendship despite Naomi’s attitudes and problems; Ruth needed support as well, but found little in Naomi at that time (but perhaps previously)

Ruth 2
-Ruth's humility, courage, industry (I Thess 4:11-12, II Thess 3:10-12), initiative, regard for mother-in-law, reliance on God's providence (3's “as it turned out...”); God’s P and her P
-4-5’s Boaz's character/faith and active in works: treatment of employees, concern for strangers, voluntary/charity
-knew his employees well enough to be able to pick out a plain-looking stranger among many other harvesters
-greetings, laudable behavior between employees and employers (Eph 6:5,9)
-10's Ruth's response: respect, humility, excitement, recognizes and accepts (extent of) grace
-as relationship begins—a picture of J
-13's “may I continue to find favor...”
-understanding and embracing grace—as relationship continues (S)
-Boaz concerned for her physical (16's help) and emotional (15's "embarrass") needs; subsidizing hard work with his sacrifice (not just gleaning-- what was required by the law)
-wage subsidy vs. minimum wage
-an individual and voluntary solution; MH's "the poor that are industrious and willing to take pains are fit to be encouraged"
-17's until evening—could have “called it a day” earlier; working while she can-- in favorable conditions (Pr 6:6-11; Mt 9:36-38, Jn 4:38's grace, Jn 9:4)
-20's kinsman-redeemer responsible for protecting needy members in extended family
-could marry brother's widow (Dt 25:5-10), redeem land or person (Lev 25:23-28,47-49) and avenge a death (Num 35:19-21; Josh 20)
à requirements: blood relative (Lev 25:48), able to fulfill all duties (Ruth 4:1-6), willing to fulfill all duties (Lev 25:47, Ruth 4:6)
-Christ as our k-r: goal-- to restore inheritance &/or redeem person; means-- blood relative willing and able to redeem (I Pet 1:18-19; Gal 4:4-5; Rev 5’s scroll representing land in contemporary Rome)
-Boaz as a picture of Christ
-with Boaz, hope awakens/enters for Naomi-- indirectly encouraged
-recognizes possibilities-- theoretical and practical, given Boaz's character and apparent interest in Ruth
-emerges from her self-pity
-vs. lack of gratitude for the gift
-focus on God (“the Lord bless him”)
-k-r could have been hers &/or Ruth/Boaz might change Ruth/Naomi
-comfortable in risking with Ruth who sought her best interests-- no need to be redeemed directly
-Naomi could have felt threatened/jealous vs. gives space and hopes the best for and rejoices with Ruth
--> the old Naomi?? is this what brought Ruth to saving faith?

Ruth 3
-4's bizarre instructions-- too forward??
-apparently not (3:11)
-in accordance with Israelite custom for servants
-Naomi trusting Ruth and Boaz's character
-a risky and aggressive strategy—esp. since threshing floor not usually a place for women (3:14) at night, and given festivity of harvest
-laying at the feet of the one who could redeem—as us, with Christ
-12's caveat; open to God's will; not pushing the timing—willing to do the right thing; God’s law and her interests come first for Boaz
-apparently, once a "k-r from a distance" is invoked, other closer potential k-r's must be given the opportunity
-literary device builds tension
--> redemption assured, but by whom?
-given 3’s wash/perfume, ironic that Ruth uses her feminine charms in a non-conservative manner!
-“Driving home this point, (Harold) Ellens cites the Old Testament stories where women, most notably Ruth and Esther, employ their feminine charms to seduce men for the furtherance of God's aims (and their own). Far from being condemned, these women earn nothing but praise from the biblical authors. It's ironic that Ruth is upheld as a role model for conservative Christian girls today. Instead of "waiting on God" for a husband, she spotted a good man, followed him home from a party, and jumped into bed with him—violating three "Biblical Rules for Dating" at once.”
à interesting, pro-active obedience!

Ruth 4
-Boaz's good reputation in 3:18-- a man of his word and of action in 4:1
-1’s fail to mention the other k-r's name
-divine justice; not wanting to risk = no reward
-3’s redeeming land (Lev 25:23-25, Jer 32:6-7)
-Naomi poor and forced to sell it-- mortgaged to buy food OR had been sold earlier by her husband
à literary tension; Boaz’s cleverness (on B and C)
à why not step up?
-too poor to maintain wife and land; the relative as a type of the (provisions of the) Law which cannot redeem!
-wives might fight (see other Biblical stories)
-feared marrying a Moabite (legalist); focus on externals vs. internals (Pr 31:10, 21:9,19; 19:13-14, 27:15-16, 12:4)
-worried about impact on his name
-stated reason: feared that his only son would be Ruth's and his inheritance would go to her family
-same risk as Boaz? Unlikely that he was or had been single his whole life; if so—again, the contrast highlights his grace
à in any case, 5-6's revealed motives: willing to take B’s, but not C’s

-Perez as Boaz's ancestor
-Judah/Tamar—another “levirate marriage” (Gen 38)
-Ruth's honorable approach and Boaz's response vs. Tamar's disguise and seduction in response to Judah's sin
--> but without both, line from Judah to David/Christ would have been broken (Mt 1:3,5)

-as with 1:1-5, compressed history in same number of words (71 in Hebrew)
-but here, fullness vs. earlier emptiness; death vs. life
-13's conceive as God's grace (1:6) and providence (no previous children within 1:4’s10-year marriage made this whole episode easier...and a son)
-Ruth had children when time was right (Gal 4:4)
-10 rough yrs in Moab vs. blessings begin immediately and here, culminate within a year
-Mt 1:5 tells us Rahab (from Joshua) was ancestress/mother of Boaz (James 2:25)
-Josh 2’s Rahab and scarlet cord; Ruth 4’s Ruth and kinsman-redeemer; Mt 1’s Mary

Closing themes:
à all this in contrast to faithlessness, impatience, etc. in Judges
à all relatively ordinary stuff—everyday life vs. miracles, revelation, apocalypse, except for God’s providence and his people’s faithfulness
-Boaz as a Christ-figure
-MH's "At a vast expense, he redeemed the heavenly inheritance for us, which by sin was mortgaged and forfeited into the hands of divine justice. Christ likewise purchased a peculiar people, whom he would espouse/marry to himself, though strangers and foreigners like Ruth, poor and despised (Rom 5:6-8)...He ventured the marring of his own inheritance (Phil 2:6-8, incl. Boaz taking the chance)...He put honor upon Ruth, showed that he was not ashamed of her, her parentage and her poverty."
-Ruth in comparison to Esther (other Biblical book with female in title)
-see also: comparison of Esther to Daniel
-both stories of faith amidst Israelite unbelief
-Gentile married to Jew vs. vice versa
-former used to perpetuate the line of the Messiah; latter used to preserve Israel
-God's name as very evident vs. MIA
-in Ruth, 8x God's activity, 3x prayer petitions, 5x blessing requests, 3x misc.
-Ruth goes from a poor Moabite widow to the lineage of David/Christ (Ps 113:7-9)
-see also: Tamar, Rahab/Ruth, Bathsheba (Mt 1:3,5a,5b,6)-- all Gentiles (Gal 3:28; Mt 3:9!)
-not a matter of birthright, but belief (Rom 1:5; Acts 10:34-35)
-faith of formerly "pagan" Gentiles
-foreshadowed full inclusion of Gentiles after Christ
-no different for us... (Is 54:1-5)
-"a picture of how we come to Christ. We begin with no hope and are rebellious aliens with no part in the kingdom of God. Then we risk everything by putting our faith in Christ. God saves us, forgives us, rebuilds our lives, and gives us blessings that will last through eternity"
-"...blessings that will last throughout eternity"; living lives of eternal consequence; see: obedience in the small things and participating in God's providence
-without (Ruth or us) knowing the consequences...
-"Just as Ruth was unaware of her larger purpose in life, we will not know the full importance of our lives until we are able to look back from the perspective of eternity. We must make our choices with God's eternal values in mind...Because of Ruth's faithful obedience, her life and legacy were significant, even though she couldn't see all the results."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Titanic and Taxes

April 15th is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. That date, of course, is more famous as the deadline for submitting our income tax forms. But it falls on a weekend this year, so procrastinators get a brief reprieve.

The Titanic was sunk by an iceberg, and every grade-school child learns that most of an iceberg (about 90 percent) is hidden below the water’s surface — part of what makes it so dangerous to ships.

Taxes and government spending have the same characteristic. They are often “hidden” to us.

Sometimes, it’s because the tax is subtle — for example, the various taxes on cell phones. (have you looked at your bill lately?)

Sometimes, it’s because we don’t pay much attention to politics, focusing on a few policies because we’re busy mowing our lawns and raising our children.

Maybe we get upset about a certain tax — for example, federal income taxes or local property taxes — but largely ignore other taxes.

Or maybe we get irritated with some aspect of government spending — for example, on the military or welfare programs — but miss the bigger picture.

What is important but overlooked with the icebergs of government spending and taxation?

First, consider federal income taxes. With complaints that the wealthy do not pay enough taxes, many people want higher marginal tax rates on the rich. (Interestingly, our federal income tax system—with marginal tax rates ranging from 1-7 percent — debuted the year after the Titanic sank.) But the larger issue is tax loopholes — income deductions and tax credits — that lower taxes paid, independent of tax rates.

Second, consider state and local income taxes. At the federal level, families with children don’t pay much in income taxes until their earnings are in the upper-middle class. In many cases, though, their state and even local income taxes are higher. In fact, those with income at or below the poverty line still pay state income taxes in 15 states.

Third, federal “payroll” taxes on income (the Federal Insurance Contributions Act or FICA)) are far larger for most taxpayers than federal income taxes of the Form 1040 or April 15th variety. More than 80 percent of wage-earners pay more in federal payroll taxes on their income than they pay in federal income taxes. We don’t notice it since the money is quietly sucked out of our paychecks and we don’t fill out any forms for it.

How can this happen? FICA has no deductions and no exemptions. So, unlike income taxes, the 15.3 percent tax is applied to every dollar earned. And most people believe the fiction that the employer pays half of FICA. But the employer shifts most of the burden to employees, as surely as the local gas station shifts the burden of gas taxes to customers.

Fourth, debt amounts to future taxes. We’ve had a decade of impressive debt at the federal level. With Medicare and Social Security, we have huge entitlement programs and the baby-boomers retiring. And many states have unsustainable pension programs. Although it’s politically attractive to spend money now and to push taxes into the future, there is a limit to what can be done to delay.

What will it take to sink the American economy? How much debt is too much? No one knows. But the icebergs are getting larger and our ship is getting closer. Who will steer us away from doom?

my notes for The Story, chapter 7 (Joshua)

I forgot to post these earlier! OOPS!
If you want my outlines for this one-- or a copy of my book on Joshua-- drop me a line.


-review Genesis 1-11, 12-50; Exodus 1-18, 19-40; Numbers; Deuteronomy

1:1-5 (read 1:1-2)
-Why Not Moses?...a great leader (Num 12:3, Dt 34:10-12, Heb 11:24-28)
-...but disobedient/lacked faith
-cleaner transition of leadership: Num 27:15-20, Dt 31:1-8
-as a by-product, perhaps needed a break from Moses to trust God more fully (can’t trust new leader as much!)
-Why Joshua?
-great name: Hoshea --> Joshua (salvation --> the Lord saves; Num 13:8,16)
-other parallels: tries to bring them into the promised rest (Heb 4:8-9), enables the people to defeat their enemies (Rom 8:37)
-great training as Moses' aide: since youth (Num 11:28); involved in battle with the Amalekites (Ex 17:8-14), at Mt. Sinai (Ex 24:13), and at the tabernacle (Ex 33:11)
-w/ app. to great op to work under mentors
-J had also seen how God worked (Dt 3:21-22; w/ app.)
-great courage in daring to be different (10 vs. 2 spies)
-did not fear men (Num 14:9)
-indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Num 27:18, Dt 34:9)
à leadership emerged from a time of teaching and training (i.e., discipleship; empowerment and mentoring), and then trusting
--> the result: dependence on God, victory over enemies; J finishes what M couldn't complete (see also: Christ and Law)
-Neh 8:17's peak under Joshua

1:6-9's call to possession (God cont’d)
-"be strong & courageous" x 3 ("steadfast", "determined and confident" in some translations); 9b’s “do not be terrified [or] discouraged” (1:18; II Tim 1:7)
-given God's promises in 1:3-5 and Gods presence in 1:9b; resources then responsibilities (w/ app.; Eph 3:17b-18's power)
-God's P and their P (vs. God giving it to us)
-the need for this pre-invasion pep talk—unanticipated difficulties or more likely, given the mostly understood difficulty of the task ahead and given their (parents’) history
-the need for repetition (w/ app.)
-in mktg and advertising; "location" * 3
-in teaching, tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them; me say does not equal you know

1:12-15's The Call to Unity and Rest (not in The Story)
-14-15's UNITY (Jn 17's last prayer, Rom 15:5-6, Eph 4:1 --> 4:2-16)
-13,15's REST = secure borders, peace with neighbors, absence of threat to life and well-being (I Kings 5:4); fight and fruit...for us?
-Christ leads us to rest-- salvation/justification (Mt 11:28-30 incl. yoke-- the Law)
-Christ leads us to rest & victory-- within sanctification (Rom 5:10; Rom 5:17's "receive" and "reigning in life"; Is 14:3-4, Heb 4:1-3, 8-11 and refer back to 3:19)

2:1-3's Introduction; The Spies Go In
-1's "secretly", trying to avoid Moses' "spy problems" (Num 13-14), controlling info, Jericho only vs. Macro
-underlines 2's not great, but faithful spies; in weakness, God can be more glorified
-3's confrontation sets table for Gods hand and Rahabs faith and courage
-key: Rahab as 1's prostitute or innkeeper
-little difference; inns then of little repute-- dirty, expensive, connected to brothels
-if not the former, still known by that (Heb 13:31, Jas 2:25; see: Simon the Leper-- Mt 26:6)
-in any case, given the outcome, the story profoundly illustrates grace
-greatness of previous sin as no barrier to salvation-- or later, being great in God's kingdom (see also: Christ's ministry-- Lk 19:10, Mt 21:31-32)
-and as an illustration of presumed change of behavior that follows
-Rahab also dealt in 6's flax (Pr 31:13's flax!)
-in any case, God's providence directing the spies there
-practical: would be welcomed and wouldnt stand out as much

2:4-7 for Rahab's Response to Trial
-lying: not just omission or slight deceit, but sends them on a wild goose chase
-acting as a traitor-- disloyal, betrayed her country
--> Rahab's lies and treason are applauded (vs. condemned) as faith and works (Jas 2:25-26)—and she ends up in the lineage of Christ
-dealing with betrayal of country-- easy: submission to the State, but God > country (see: Mt 22:21's render unto man/God; Daniel praying illegally, etc.)
-vs. the difficulty of dealing with the lying; (weak) attempts to finesse the difficulty
-God judges her on what little she knows about God at this point (I Sam 16:2)—but why praise her specifically for her works?!
-good decision given the pressure
-differentiating lies as little or big; in any case, this one is a whopper!
-the Law?! in Josh 2…
-18’s scarlet cord
-24 for spies' confidence
-in contrast to first time (Num 13-14, esp. 13:31)
-their safe return as further encouragement-- and a tougher mission than the 1st 12 spies; God had provided the way!
--> figured it out when they talked to the natives, not just observed them (1's "the land, esp. Jericho")

à Ch. 1-5’s Preparation including 5:2-9's Circumcision and 5:10-12's Passover

Joshua 6: The Battle of Jericho; Supernatural Victory
-1's Jericho shut up-- beleaguered; no entrance/exit, hunkered down
-not enough faith to attack Israel (offense)
-but enough faith in its defenses to avoid surrender or terms of peace or flee
-2-5’s strategy??
-a bizarre plan follows Israel's bizarre preparation for battle
-imagine the look on Joshua's face and/or the military commanders and people/troops as the plan is explained to them
-not only impractical, but would make them look foolish
-required faith, humility, obedience, recognition that this could be accomplished only through God's power; what God wants to teach them
-10's silent except trumpets (Hab 2:20)
-builds anticipation
-focus, meditation for Israel; symbolizes reverence and peace (Ps 42:10)
-improve on silence? "should be silent when God is speaking"
-more eerie to Jericho; 8’s trumpets seem relatively loud—victory already declared
-amazing self-control/discipline; imagine trying to remain quiet that long
-as a model for just doing their thing --> live a quiet life, winning respect of outsiders
-might have responded inappropriately to jeers, complaining, expressing fears
-to quell usual desire to "battle cry"/"pump yourself up"; natural vs. supernatural
à as a test of faith of Joshua and the people
-a seemingly useless exercise vs. God's will and timing, His means to His ends
-orders may have been given daily; 4’s command didn't mention 7 days in 6:7,10,14
-patiently obedient (Heb 10:36, Gal 6:9)
-after going around seven times, still no indication that the walls would come tumblin down (see: Naamans 7-fold washing; see also: Berlin Wall)

à ch. 7’s defeat at Ai, due to Achan’s sin and God’s judgment…

Joshua 8: Pilgrim's Progress
8:1-2's Moving On: God's Encouragement
à entering Chapter 8, how would Joshua and the people felt? how discouraged? probably a little jumpy, humbled
-here, encourages them; restores promise; gloom/despair replaced with hope
-and they get to keep the loot this time!
-see: Achan's impatience with God's timing-- and could have been enjoyed more fully
--> moving on: God returns as quickly as He left
1.) when we have put away known sin, God responds and provides direction; strength of wrath but quick to return
2.) follows Genuine Repentance (by Israel)-- the pathway to renewed spiritual vitality
3.) "victorious Christian living" does not = "all victory"
-Lewis' "pleased with our stumbles"; Pr 24:16's "righteous fall 7x…get up"; I Tim 4:15's "let your progress be known"
à here, normal/shrewd military strategy (vs. Jericho): ambush, deceit (!), surprise, surround using superior numbers (30K and the rest of the army vs. 25's 12K)
-God works in many different ways; God uses very diverse means to accomplish his work...but both result in routs of the enemy
-Joshua gets general plan and fills in details, provides leadership (8:5)
-people vs. Joshua; Joshua vs. God (stretching both-- for ownership, developing creativity, faith, etc.
-God often allows us freedom within His will to plan strategy

Joshua 10: Five Kings in One
10:1-5's Plan of Attack (omit)
-coalition in response to outcomes at Jericho, Ai and Gibeon (9:1-2)
-9-11's Ambush and Hailstorm: would have won naturally (God willing), but God intervenes for quicker and more complete victory
-MH's "Israel did what they could, but God did all"; combination of methods: Ai and Jericho; God's provision (evident here) and our participation

10:12-13's "I Need More Time"
-what else could he have requested?? more hail (not much creativity), etc.; quick/easy victory as lazy vs. passion to serve, etc.
-Joshua's request shows vigor and passion for doing God's will/work

Joshua 23-24: A Call to Renewal/Revival/Relationship
-Joshua's final sermons/addresses: Ch. 23 to leaders, Ch. 24 to people
-24:15's Responsibilities/Choice for them, for Joshua
-what other decision could there be (24:2-13)??
-for us, in light of God's provisions for you, give yourself unreservedly for the worship and service for the Lord (Rom 12:1)
-you've seen the Lord (act) move in lives, you've got all the information, Bible studies, doctrines you need; you need to make a choice
-Joshua's public commitment, witness/testimony
-but allows freedom; voluntary vs. coerced "worship"
-they’ll make a choice; all of us are worshipers; we all make a choice
-Kreeft: “The opposite of theism is not atheism but idolatry.”
-encourages them to make it explicit: gods or God—make your choice! (I Kings 18:21, Rev 3:16; fork in the road)

Joshua 11-12's "Road to (Spiritual) Victory"
-as Israel, we are called to conquer “the land”-- our souls; enemies/sins are trying to hold onto the land
-our 3 Battle Fronts:
 1.) “the World” (I Jn 2:15-17)-- vs. God
 2.) “the Flesh”/Sin Nature (Gal 5:16-17)-- vs. Spirit
 3.) Satan (I Pet 5:8)-- vs. Christ
 --> we fight all three; they have varying strengths over time, by individual and culture

for us and Israel, Victory is achieved through God's provision and our participation
-both are necessary, neither is sufficient
-not balance, but symmetry; not 50/50, but 100/100 (as ideal-- of course, God can use us even without 100%'s)

I. God's Provision for us (Josh 11:6,8a,20; Ps 44:1-3)
 A. The Blood of Christ (Rom 5:9, Eph 1:7, 2:13, Heb 9:7,11-12)
-takes care of sins (past, present and future)-- justification
-the need for blood (Heb 9:22) --> Gen 3's first recorded death, Passover, Rahab's scarlet cord, OT system of sacrifice as a type
 B. The Cross of Christ (Col 2:13-15, Rom 6:3-4,6-7,11)
-sanctification, not justification; “death to self” (Gal 5:24) and “dead to the world” (Gal 6:14)-- what we are in Adam has to die before who we are in Christ can come alive; putting sin nature to death-- vs. selfishness, people-pleasing, power of temptation, etc.
-cross' “what we are” vs. blood's “what we do”; Nee's “sin factory”
 C. The Spirit of God (Rom 8:8-11, II Cor 3:17-18, Gal 5:16-17; Jn 14:16-17,26, 16:7)
-empowers us to live the Christian life (the positives)
-see: tennis and glove analogies

(Cross and Spirit) together:
-breaks the power of sin / allows us to fulfill the requirements of the Law (Rom 8:3-4)
-united in his death/resurrection (Rom 8:10-11, II Cor 4:10)
-crucified with Christ / Christ lives in me (Gal 2:20)

II. Our Participation-- in Obedience and Dependence (Josh 11:7,8b-19,21-23)
A. The Balance (I Cor 15:10, Phil 2:12b-13, 4:13, Col 1:29, I Thess 5:24, II Tim 2:1, I Pet 4:10-11)
-God’s provision as necessary (Jn 5:19,30, 15:4-5)
-our participation as necessary (see: Schaefer”s “Active Passivity”-- not action without spirit and not laying in a hammock; balancing action with control; see: effective physical therapy requiring the outsider and the person recovering!)
B. The Task (Eph 4:22-24's slay the old man and put on the new man; Eph 4:25-32, Rom 6:13)
-putting away sin and putting on righteousness; not doing wrong vs. doing right; pulling weeds and planting flowers
-moralism vs. righteousness/Godliness; M w/o G “ Pharisees; G w/ M “ Christ

On "victory"...
 A. There is much to be won-- and it takes time (11:18's 7 yrs; I Cor 3:18, I Tim 4:15, II Pet 3:18)
B. Battles are usually confronted one at a time (Dt 7:22, Is 6:5 vs. Zech 3)
C. We are to conquer in a Supernatural Manner (Ps 44:4-8, II Cor 4:6-7)
 D. But the combinations of God's Provision & Man's Participation come in varying degrees
-see: victories at Jericho and Ai; victories over Southern and Northern kings
 E. God keeps a detailed records of victories (Josh 12; I Cor 3:12-15)

THE BELIEVER'S (N.T.) INHERITANCE: What does God promise us?

à why this is important...
-take care not to blame God for things that he has not promised
-all other things equal, God wants these things for us and living life by God’s rules often ends up this way
-BUT...all other things are not equal: God’s other agendas

2.) WHAT IT IS: The Believer's Inheritance
A. Eternally Splendid Home (Gen 2; Jn 14:2-3, Heb 11:9-10,13-16; Rev 21:1-4,10-11,18-23)
B. Eternally Splendid Body (Phil 3:20-21, I Cor 15:39-40,51-54; Dan 12:3)
C. Eternally Splendid Rewards (II Cor 5:10; Ecc 12:14; I Cor 3:11-15, 4:5)
--> Mt 25:21’s special name, possessions, position, happiness for faithful servants
1.) Special Name (Rev 2:17, 3:12)

2.) Special Possessions (Mt 6:19-21, Heb 10:34-36, I Cor 9:24-25; II Tim 4:8, Jas 1:12, Rev 2:10, I Thess 2:19-20, Phil 4:1, I Pet 5:2-4)
3.) Special Position (Adam’s job in Gen 2; Mt 5:19, Lk 19:17, 22:28-30, I Cor 6:1-3, Rev 2:26-27, 3:21; II Tim 2:12a)
4.) Special Happiness/Intimacy (Jas 1:12's blessed; Rev 2:17, 3:12)
--> Basis of Reward for the "Good and Faithful Servant" (Mt 25:21)
1.) Depth of Character: "Good" (I Cor 3:13's quality of each man's work, II Cor 5:10's judged for the things done in the body, II Pet 1:5-11)
-in Mt, bad servant is described as wicked and lazy/slothful
2.) Degree of Consistency: "Faithful" (Lk 22:28-30, II Tim 4:7 --> 4:8; Heb 10:32-36, 11:25-27, 12:1-3; Rev 2-3's overcomers)
-despite trials; the need for perseverance

                                                    back to the "here and now"...
A.)       Clothed by Christ's Righteousness (Josh 2; Is 61:10 for Christ; Rev 7:14)-- getting us to heaven
B.)       Indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:16-17, 16:7; II Cor 3:3, Gal 4:6-7)-- empowering us to live the Christian life

1.) A New Security (Jn 5:24, Rom 5:1, Eph 2:8-9, I Jn 5:11-13)
2.) A New Perspective/Priorities (I Pet 1:3-9, Heb 11:24-26, 12:1-3)
3.) A New Identity (Gal 2:20, II Cor 5:17,21, Col 3:1-3; Eph 1-3)

4.) A New Prosperity (Eph 1:3, 3:8)—blessed with all spiritual blessings
--> close with Phil 1:20-21 for both NOW "to live is Christ" and LATER "to die is gain"...