The Word to Everyone
Scripture: There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them. (Joshua 8:35 NKJV)
Observation: After the defeat at Ai, Joshua discovered and had to deal with Achan’s sin lest all of Israel would hear about it and learn to disregard God’s specific instructions concerning the people and the nations they were supposed to conquer and destroy.
In order to have a new beginning, Joshua read again the covenant God established with Israel. Today’s text makes it clear that these words were read before all, but it specifically mentions women, children (little ones) and foreigners. Passages like these should show us that God intended equal treatment to all.
Application: One of my favorite short stories, which eventually was made into a movie with Barbara Streisand, is Yentl, The yeshiva Boy, originally written by Issac Bashevis Singer. The story centers on a young girl who defies tradition by discussing and debating Jewish law and theology with her rabbi father. When he dies, she cuts her hair, dresses as a young man, and sets out to find a yeshiva where she can continue to study Talmud and live secretly as a male named Anshel. She has such hunger for learning that she sacrifices her female role, and even her love for her study partner, just so she can learn all she can from the wisdom of bible and other Jewish scholars.
I’m glad we have come such a long way from the days when women were relegated to a second place, some even farther back. I have had the privilege of meeting and learning from some very bright women and feel my life has been enriched by their knowledge, their wisdom, and their experience. Without those interactions, my life, my ministry, my future would have been cheated of many valuables treasures. I count my wife as one of the brightest, most talented, women and have seen how so many others, including me, have benefitted from her keen insights and talented guidance. I have worked with and known lady pastors whose ministry and learning has proved to be a great blessing to their husbands ministry and to their churches. I have sat in classrooms where lady teachers have shared true pearls of wisdom I have then shared with many others. What a shame, if all these ladies had had to be relegated to the role of servants, quietly going about menial tasks, never allowed to express their opinions or to teach or lead others, simply because society or culture dictated they had to or they couldn’t be as smart or learned as men!
Joshua taught the Bible (Moses’ words) to women, children, and foreigners, because before God we all are equal and must be treated thus. I pray for the day, soon I hope, when we will all learn to treat each other and give each other equal opportunities to learn and teach, follow and lead, listen and preach, serve and be served, as God intended; we all be the ones to be benefitted and blessed as a result.
A Prayer You May Say: Father, You are the God of equality and fairness, righteousness and justice. Father, may we set aside the societal and cultural barriers that keep us from enjoying Your gifts through men and women for the benefit of Your people. And may we achieve, with your help, the equality with which You created us as male and female for it will ultimately be for our benefit and for Your honor and glory.
Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.
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