Regular nibbles from the Bible. . .come for a bite, leave with an appetite

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. (Psalm 19:14, MSG)

Saturday, March 23, 2013


The best description of God's sovereignty I've heard says there is a signpost in heaven. The side facing heavenward reads "Chosen before the foundation of the world." The side facing us reads "Whosoever will may come."

The Christian faith has a lot of paradoxes like that. For instance, I live with an uneasy truce, by faith believing though not understanding how God is One and yet God is in Three Persons.

You may be thinking, Oh, no, she's getting all theological on us again. But not really. I only mention it because I discovered another one of those  two-sided explanation.

In Bible College, I was taught to look for words or phrases that are repeated for emphasis. One of the phrases I have noticed many times says something like, "The Levites will receive no inheritance among the people of Israel, for the Lord God is their inheritance." Talk about theological and spiritual!

Today I ran across a more prosaic explanation. One so practical, so downright human, that I wonder how I haven't noticed it before: Because the sons of Joseph had become two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, they gave no allotment to the Levites." (Joshua 14:3-4, MSG)

Oh. You can't divide twelve parcels of land among thirteen tribes. As simple as that.

I'm a little surprised that Joshua didn't say, "They gave no allotment to the Levites, as the Lord commanded, because the Lord God is their inheritance."  Maybe he thought we already knew that. Moses and Joshua repeated it often enough.

Instead, the leader Joshua offers a human reason. Maybe there were some Israelites who felt Joseph's double portion was unfair, and Joshua wanted to smooth over feelings. Maybe he had a light-bulb moment one day. So that's why God isn't giving the Levites a land inheritance. 

If we need proof that faith and reason don't contradict each other, we find an example here. When we have a decision to make, we seek God's will. Following God's will includes using the reason and mind that He has given to us.

Of course there are times God calls us to attempt the unreasonable (crossing a river at flood stage, on foot?).  But many others, He works within the natural order to bring His will about.

Turn your coin of decision over and consider both sides.


  1. Darlene.. you do cause a person to think.. :) I love the picture of the childs hands within the parents hands..

    For me it's those aha moments that either God points out or someone like "you" points out.
    About your subject.. I'm a thinking, that's also why He tells us to listen to and for that small still Voice.. :) so we don't reason ourselves out of faith. Thanks

  2. Jo: I also find it freeing to know that God expects us to use our reason. We don't have to wait for writing in the sky.