Bible Society of South Africa
Gerhard Lindeque

Jesus in the Old Testament - Day 7

God is love

Bible text(s)

22Joshua then told the two men who had served as spies, “Go into the prostitute's house and bring her and her family out, as you promised her.” 23So they went and brought Rahab out, along with her father and mother, her brothers, and the rest of her family. They took them all, family and slaves, to safety near the Israelite camp. 24Then they set fire to the city and burnt it to the ground, along with everything in it, except the things made of gold, silver, bronze, and iron, which they took and put in the LORD's treasury. 25But Joshua spared the lives of the prostitute Rahab and all her relatives, because she had hidden the two spies that he had sent to Jericho. (Her descendants have lived in Israel to this day.)

Joshua 6:22-25GNBOpen in Bible reader

21Let them live, but they will have to cut wood and carry water for us.” This was what the leaders suggested.

22Joshua ordered the people of Gibeon to be brought to him, and he asked them, “Why did you deceive us and tell us that you were from far away, when you live right here? 23Because you did this, God has condemned you. Your people will always be slaves, cutting wood and carrying water for the sanctuary of my God.”

24They answered, “We did it, sir, because we learnt that it was really true that the LORD your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to kill the people living in it as you advanced. We did it because we were terrified of you; we were in fear of our lives. 25Now we are in your power; do with us what you think is right.” 26So this is what Joshua did: he protected them and did not allow the people of Israel to kill them. 27But at the same time he made them slaves, to cut wood and carry water for the people of Israel and for the LORD's altar. To this day they have continued to do this work in the place where the LORD has chosen to be worshipped.

Joshua 9:21-27GNBOpen in Bible reader

It is written on many pulpits in churches: God is love. But what does love look like? Jesus Christ demonstrated love practically. He does not condemn the woman caught in adultery. Jesus allows an unclean woman to touch him. He draws children closer and heals people so that they can participate in the temple service again. Jesus showed that God’s love makes it possible for people, who were excluded by some laws, to be able to experience God’s compassion with people again.

There is a remarkable similarity with Jesus’ actions and Joshua in the Old Testament. Although the command was to destroy the city and everything in it, Joshua spared the lives of the prostitute Rahab and everyone in her house. The same also happens with the Gibeonites. Although they were dishonest, Joshua not only spared their lives, but he even gave them the opportunity to serve in the temple. In both cases, Joshua’s actions are followed by great victories. This clearly conveys the message that God’s blessing is not only intended for those who fulfil the prescriptions of the law. God’s love makes room for our human weaknesses and shortcomings.

The implication is that the great commandment of love will also determine our actions towards other people. This means that we will have compassion for people’s need. Love is to do something. It is to provide people with food, clothing and housing, and make time for people who are sick, broken and lonely. Serving God is not just about following a list of instructions. We serve God by caring for other people. We demonstrate God’s love by being kind and patient.

Jesus came to teach us to look differently at people and their circumstances. We cannot approach people in a harsh way, because God is not like that. We must realise that other people see and experience something of God in us. Other people’s image of God is shaped by the image of God that you and I portray.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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