Thursday, February 25, 2016

The irrepressible Dale Ralph Davis

A few extracts from Dale Ralph Davis' commentary on Joshua: No Falling Words. 

I do not want to get caught in soupy spiritualization here. However, it may be proper to point out that this remains one of God's patterns with his people. God's power still works among us (cf. Phil 2:13), not necessarily in quick flashes but over a long time, which calls for simple, durable fidelity over such time. Even though God is at work, many days still consist of washing your face, brushing your teeth, taking out garbage, and attending class. That is why 'you have need of endurance.' (Heb 10:36) Page 100. 

In verses 10-11 [of chapter 14] Caleb reveals the perspective of faith: 'And now, look how Yahweh has kept me alive, as he promises, these forty-five years...and now look how I am today eighty-five years old, yet I remain as strong today as the day when Moses sent me off; my strength is the same now as then for war and for going out and coming in.' This is the way of biblical faith - it remembers what Yahweh has done, and remembers in gratitude. So Caleb, as he builds to his punchline in verse
12, remembers Yahweh's goodness to date. Yahweh had kept him alive through the last forty-five years, (cf. Psalm 33:18-19). This was no small bounty, since it was through war and wilderness. And Yahweh was still blessing him with strength and stamina, old as he was. This is the way faith looks at things: faith is always looking into the past, seeing God's goodness there, dragging it into the present, pondering it, praising for it, and so going on from strength to strength. The perspective of faith takes in God's goodness, responds in gratitude, and finds grace for God's next call. Pages 118-9

The God of the Bible tends to be concrete, his gifts tangible and visible. The inheritance he bequeaths is not an idea but boundaries, not thoughts but towns; in a word, real estate. Yahweh has always been this way - and his enfleshment is the great witness to the fact (John 1: 1, 14). We western Christians probably need to get a hard grip on this; we need to rediscover the earthiness of God. We must realize that even enjoying the grand act of the kingdom of God will not mean floating as a beeping soul in some sort of spiritual ether but walking around with a resurrection body in new heavens and a new earth (cf. Isaiah 65-66, Rev 21-22).
So perhaps we can say that Israel's concrete and tangible inheritance in Canaan is a foreshadowing of our own. Our full possession is in new heavens and a new earth, not in some earthless, fleshless void. Our full expectation ought not to be in dying and going to heaven, as the usual cliche has it. The New Testament language is that believers, when they die, are 'with the Lord'. But the New Testament always lifts our eyes and fixes our minds upon the fullness of our hope, the redemption of our bodies on resurrection day at the return of our Lord. Pages 125-7

Post a Comment