"How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?"
Reading this verse caused me to ask myself, as a child of God, the same question. The more I learn of all God has given and promised me as His child, the more I realize I am living like these Israelites. For example, He promised His love, joy, peace, and those things for which I ask in Jesus name, yet, I live as though I have not received them. They were given a great inheritance and possession and yet they were living in a small part of it. Considering what Peter says in 2 Peter 1:3, "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence," causes me to be angry at myself. Since by His divine power God has granted me everything necessary for life and godliness, why am I living in such a small portion of my inheritance?
Do I settle for less than my Father provides because the world satisfies with things insignificant in comparison to my real possession? Like the Israelites, have I not put to death what is earthly in me? Am I allowing those things to crowd out the plans my Father has for me?
Father, forgive me for settling for less than the complete gift for which Jesus Christ my Lord has paid. Holy Spirit, please remind me when I allow the things of the world to lull me into an easy acceptance of all my Savior endured to provide me with full sonship.
As I read of the division of the Promised Land, I got out the maps to examine the division of the land between the various tribes. Comparing the land originally given to the nation of Israel and present-day Israel, several things struck me. First, much of the territory God originally designated is not in Israel's possession. Second, how small Israel is. Third, of all His creation I wonder why God chose Jerusalem and this land uniquely for Himself. I can't think of any other reason for there to be so much interest in this small territory. Fourth, the Bible says world history will end in this place. Remember Psalm 122:6, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem," since Israel's neighbors stated intention is her destruction.
Several things jumped out at me as I read this chapter. What an indictment of the Jewish religious leaders. Jesus' repeated description of these men as blind guides, fools and hypocrites is shocking. Verse three tells us why they are hypocrites, "For they preach, but do not practice." Jesus, forgive me for doing the same. May my words be matched by my actions.
Jesus uses the word "woe" to describe the position of these leaders. The definition of woe is a state of intense hardship, distress, disaster or horror. Obviously, woe is the opposite of blessed.
In verse 23, Jesus endorses tithing. The NLT says, "You are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things."
Jesus plainly says, in verse 34, "I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers of religious law." Jesus is declaring Himself as the One who sent prophets, wise men, and scribes. The people of that day were without excuse because Jesus repeatedly said and did things to declare Himself God in the flesh. He was no hypocrite; His words matched His action.