Saturday, January 6, 2024

January 6, 2024

Once God defeats your enemy, you must continue in righteousness. Now is not the time to return to your rebellion. Respond to him with a grateful heart, and never take credit for his mercy for allowing you to win. Yes, we put on the spiritual armor, call on him for his help, and do the part he assigns to us, but we must never become smug and accept the praise that only he deserves. 

Chapter 12 of Joshua accounts for the kings and lands conquered by Moses and Joshua when they came to possess the land of promise. It is an account of the victories! I noticed that Jerusalem was always that name and was never changed by the Israelites. Maybe most were not changed, but that’s one of the few I recognize from today’s maps. 

We are in a war of good versus evil and must stand our ground to hold the evil forces at bay. It’s hard because there is so much evil that discerning what’s right can be challenging unless you stay committed to doing what’s right in the eyes of the Lord. Stay unmovable, and God will reward you. 

And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel smote on this side Jordan on the west, from Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon even unto the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir; which Joshua gave unto the tribes of Israel for a possession according to their divisions; Joshua 12:7

Friday, January 5, 2024

January 5, 2024

Dust off your sword, polish your helmet, and get ready to don your spiritual armor! There is a fight we must engage because the enemy will not go away on his own. Even though we’ve been given a physical picture of what the armor looks like, it is not physical by any means; it is a battle against the spiritual forces of darkness, an evil empire trying its best to make us weak and take us down into darkness with them. If we could see into the spiritual realm, there wouldn’t be a day that we failed to seek God and acknowledge his power and help against the forces of evil. We are at war with the enemy and should never engage without the complete protection of the armor of God, and even then, you should never insult them and should only rebuke them as Jesus did when he encountered Satan. There is no need to be afraid of them when you have the power of our Almighty God going before you and standing behind you. However, if you leave home without your spiritual armor and you come home beaten and battered, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Several more countries had to be routed out by Joshua and the Israelites. They came together as one force against Israel, but God assured Joshua that he would take them all out, and that’s exactly what he did. Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod were the only areas where a few Anakims were left. So we see here that spiritual battles lead to physical victories! Armor up and fight the good fight of faith, which begins with the daily acknowledgment of God!

And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for to morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire. Joshua 11:6

Thursday, January 4, 2024

January 4, 2024

Though Gibeon lied to make a peace deal with Israel and became their servants, now Israel had power over them, so they became their protectors. Five kings got angry over Gibeon giving in to Israel because, according to them, they were a powerful royal city in Canaan, so they decided to destroy them. The Gibeonites sent word to Joshua that those kings had camped near them to make war. So Israel, now being an ally of Gibeon, didn’t sleep and traveled all night to come to their defense. They killed many of them at Gibeon, and the kings decided to flee. As they fled, God opened the sky and rained down hail and killed more by that means than were killed by the sword. Joshua wanted to finish the job, so he prayed that God would make the sun stand still and the moon stay in its place. God answered his prayer! That must have been weird.

There’s more to this story, but here is the takeaway: When you leave the world behind and become a servant of God, there are some things you can expect. 1) The enemy will get angry and pursue you; God will protect you like Israel did Gibeon. You must do your part and call on him, but God will avenge you. 2) It’s best not to be God’s enemy by worshipping objects or spiritual beings. He is jealous and will come against you by any means necessary. He used Israel to take them out because they didn’t worship him. 3) God is in control and can use the elements to his advantage! Hail raining down, and the sun standing still? Wow!

And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel. Joshua 10:13-14

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

January 3, 2024

Should you keep a promise when it was based on a lie? My first reaction is absolutely not! I would think that you could renege on that promise because of their deceitfulness, but it seems that we must consider the entire picture and the reason they felt compelled to tell the lie in the first place. 

The Gibeonites were a part of Canaan and had seen the destruction of many other countries around them and didn’t want to face annihilation at the hands of Israel. They sent a delegation who acted as ambassadors from a faraway land and played the part as if they had journeyed long, all the way down to worn-out clothes and moldy bread. They said they came because of the fame of Lord thy God and wanted a deal for peace. Obviously, the princes of Israel didn’t consult God over this deal and made a rash decision. A few days later, they found out that they lived close. The congregation got angry at the lie and the agreement that was made. However, they decided to keep their promise and not kill them, probably because they invoked the name of the Lord. However, they made them servants for the Levites, doing the most demanding work of cutting wood and drawing water for the service of the Tabernacle. 

There are three lessons in this story:

*Always consult God about your decisions.

*Don’t make a promise you can’t keep.

*Consider the reason someone would lie to you. In this case, it was out of self-preservation. 

And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do. And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not. Joshua 9:25-26

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

January 2, 2024

Victory tastes sweeter in the shadow of the discouragement of defeat. If you've ever failed, tried again, and won, you understand why victory is so sweet. The Israelites had to deal with losing to Ai because of Achan and his bringing on God's wrath because Jericho was the tithe dedicated to Him. However, they had rooted out the cause of Israel's sin and were now clean and ready to try again. Only this time, they were allowed to take that city's cattle and spoil. The king of Ai must have felt confident in defeating them again because they failed to consider that Joshua may have strategized a plan to set up an ambush for them, using Ai's previous victory for a purpose. He sent five thousand men to set up the ambush and laid in wait with twenty-five thousand, ensuring the annihilation of the entirety of Ai; there were only twelve thousand people in that city. They burned it to the ground! Don't feel sorry for them; these people were wicked. 

Afterward, they built an altar to the Lord and presented burnt sacrifices to Him. Then Joshua read the law and the blessing and curses to all of Israel, including women, children, and the sojourners that lived amongst them. God can take the mess you've made and turn it into a victory when you turn your life around and look toward Him. He is where our help comes from. 

I have summarized this story and left out so many details; if you have time, read it to fill in the gaps.

And the LORD said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city. Joshua 8:18

Monday, January 1, 2024

January 1, 2024

Through God’s guidance and their obedience, Israel conquered Jericho, but they were not done. Joshua sent a group of spies to check out Ai. When the spies returned, they reported that they thought they could conquer them with only a small battalion. However, unbeknownst to them, someone in one of the tribes had disobeyed God and had taken gold, silver, and a robe when they conquered Jericho. So when Jacob sent men to overtake Ai, thirty-six men were killed, and Ai chased them back home. Feeling defeated, Joshua and the elders tore their clothes and fell before the ark, crying to God to find out why. God told them about the accursed thing that was in their midst. After sorting through the people, God helped them determine that Achan was the culprit. He confessed what he had done, but that didn’t keep him from paying the consequences. Per God’s orders, they stoned him and burned his family and everything he owned. So, Achan’s one sin caused the entirety of Israel to fail. 

Imagine if you continue to excuse a sin or something you’ve failed to give up, or maybe it’s something you don’t realize you are doing or omitting. We must use Joshua’s example and ask God to help us identify the culprit of sin within us so we can deal with the issue, repent, and stop our disobedience. God does not play around! Today, especially since we are beginning a new year, start with a clean slate and pray for God to reveal any sin you may be holding onto that must be confessed and repented. When it’s revealed, ask God to forgive you. Jesus is faithful to forgive. 

And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: Joshua 7:19-20

Sunday, December 31, 2023

December 31, 2023

In all my years of hearing the story of Joshua and the city of Jericho, I thought that all of Israel went out and walked around the city once each day for six days, returning on the seventh day and walking around it seven times, but it was only the army, not the women and children. The procession started with the armed soldiers, then the trumpeters, followed by the priests carrying the ark, and the rest of the men prepared for battle. When the walls fell, they had to go in and kill all the people who were still alive, including women, children, and the elderly.

The army walked around Jericho daily without speaking so only the trumpets would be heard. On the seventh day, after the seventh round, they all shouted, and the walls fell. It's possible that only a portion of the wall fell because Rahab's home was on the wall, and she was rescued with all her family still secure in the home. 

Here is the comparison for today: Some of us in God's army are quietly praying and doing our part to sound the alarm about the pending trouble going on throughout the world with all the upheaval we are seeing. Those participating in these evil practices see our efforts in prayer as uneventful, sluggish, and passive, like the first thirteen marches around Jericho. They don't know God or how he works. At some point, he is going to let us shout, and the whole evil empire will be crushed under the weight of the wall, and anyone part of this evil faction who is left standing will be removed. I'm not sure what that will look like in today's society, but I think we are about to find out. Stay vigilant in prayer, and try to open the eyes of your friends and loved ones; stock up on food and provisions in case the grid goes down as most stores and the people running them will also be panicking, and because everything is connected to the internet, most businesses, if they wanted to open, may be unable to function without it. I hope everything I'm hearing is a big lie, and nothing happens, but if it is true, we must be ready. Keep praying and preparing.

So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. Joshua 6:20