Thomas Constable A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament Readings (89-113)


[Comments on readings in A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament – chapter by Thomas Constable] Thomas Constable does an excellent job at summarizing Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, but from the outset there is one issue in particular I felt he did not completely address (p. 93).  That is the statement in Joshua 21:43 that, “the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it.” Thomas claims that the promises were not fully realized in Joshua’s lifetime citing 24:1-28, but I do not feel that this is such a simple issue.  Joshua does not only once state explicitly that the Lord had given them the land, but twice (Joshua 23:14), so this really is a big deal.  Covenantal theologians do not interpret the text the same way Thomas does, and so I am really surprised that he did not spend more time developing his reasoning.  He points to some studies done by scholars, backing up his claim that what is said in Joshua is false (p. 103 footnote 21), but did he realize he is using the claims of scholars against the Bible?  No, this must be resolved by the Text, and I did not feel that he did so.
Also, the idea that Judges was recorded to provide “apologetic justification for Israel’s monarchy” (p. 94), seems a little hard to grasp, being that God was angry when Israel, shall we say, “recognized” they needed a king.  Sure, it might not have been the right timing – but it seemed like great timing, if Judges were in fact showing their need for one.  God was their king, but Israel did not want him.  And it gets sticky when we deal with the fact that Israel’s sin led to the Messiah (for it did, but would God have appointed a king over Israel if they had not asked for one?  It is hard to know).
Constable’s point regarding Israel’s continued existence as a nation as a polemic for God’s choice is compelling (p. 95), and I believe one that has yet to be fully explored (at least in covenantal circles).  God truly has remained faithful.  This should help us interpret the difficulties in the conditional statements in the covenants, being that God always gave Israel chance to repent, to return, and experience His blessing once again (even later, once Israel was exiled).
In Constables observations about love being “a commitment to honor and glorify [God]” I think he fails to take man’s fallen state into account.  If men were perfect, would there ever be a time when we did not feel love towards God?  Is it not rather because of sin, or even sin, because we do not feel love towards God, but must do things out of duty because we know we should do them?  I think perfect love is a love of feeling, but it is because of sin that we must make a commitment to honor and glorify God, because we will fail otherwise.

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