Todays readings… Joshua 14, Isaiah 19, Titus 1, 2 &3
“TEACH WHAT ACCORDS WITH SOUND DOCTRINE”
First, we read the words of Caleb to Joshua – in Joshua ch. 14. Caleb was the only other ‘good’ spy among the 12 Moses sent from the wilderness to spy out the promised land – see Numbers 13. Today, we read that Caleb said to Joshua who was now the leader of the people, “You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me”[v.6] And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the LORD my God.”[v.9]
What a comparison is in this – for us – may this be said of us – as we receive our inheritance.
Our Isaiah chapter 19 uses the phrase “In that day” 5 times! It is a day which is yet to happen! It is about Israel – and Egypt and Assyria. It says “there will be a highway” between them. [v.23] The chapter ends, “In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”
It is clear that in the era of God’s world-wide kingdom there will be individual people from these nations whom God will raise and count as “worthy” to be blessed in Egypt and Assyria – because of their personal reaction to the power they witnessed and the words they heard about the God of Israel. This leads us to ponder the picture ‘painted’ in the 11th chapter of Hebrews, of those who are to be counted as worthy – from Abel onwards. These, Hebrews tells us, were people “of whom the world was not worthy” [v.38] Those who seek to be “worthy” people in our world today – receive whatever honour they can now; they are unaware of “what accords with sound doctrine” which is what Paul told Titus to “teach” [ch. 2 v.1]. This was the main reason, Paul tells him, “why I left you in Crete” [1 v.5]
“Sound doctrine” refers to ways of living as well as ways of believing, Paul’s 2nd chapter makes this very clear. Titus is told to “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned” [v.2,8] The Cretans are to “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives … waiting for our blessed hope …” [v.12,13]
Our ways of living today are an essential part of “what accords with sound doctrine.” Let us “teach” this to each other – being fully aware of the need to “teach … sound doctrine” – and also – as we read 5 days ago in Paul’s first letter to Timothy, how he told him (and us) to “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” [4 v.12]