Do not fear…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Joshua 10:1-8

 

 

 As soon as Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured Ai and had devoted it to destruction, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them,

he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were warriors.

 So Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, to Piram king of Jarmuth, to Japhia king of Lachish, and to Debir king of Eglon, saying,

 “Come up to me and help me, and let us strike Gibeon. For it has made peace with Joshua and with the people of Israel.”

 Then the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered their forces and went up with all their armies and encamped against Gibeon and made war against it.

 And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, saying, “Do not relax your hand from your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the hill country are gathered against us.”

 So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor.

 And the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.”

 

The fruit of not going to God before making an alliance with Gibeon was now finding themselves in a much larger battle. We often find that what seemed small, insignificant and harmless was actually just the gateway to a much larger conflict. The enemy of our souls does not want us living a victorious life, abundant and free in the ‘promised land’ of spiritual health and strength. This is the life in our promised land of spiritual  victory and health that was promised by Jesus to the believer who follows his commands. Yet even when we face conflicts that are the result of our own rashness, God is faithful. He told Joshua in the very beginning of this conquest that He would be with Joshua. Joshua was told to not fear and be courageous for God would be with him. We can ask for the same. Jesus says you have not because you do not ask and you ask amiss. It was God’s will that Joshua be victorious. It is God’s will that we be victorious. Not through our own strength but through His and He gets the glory, not us. God has not changed. We can be sure that He will be faithful to help us in our battles and “hand them over to us.” We can walk in faith, believing God, taking Him at His word.

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Deception brings bondage…

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Joshua 9:17-27

 

And the people of Israel set out and reached their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim.

 But the people of Israel did not attack them, because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. Then all the congregation murmured against the leaders.

 But all the leaders said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel, and now we may not touch them.

 This we will do to them: let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath that we swore to them.”

 And the leaders said to them, “Let them live.” So they became cutters of wood and drawers of water for all the congregation, just as the leaders had said of them.

 Joshua summoned them, and he said to them, “Why did you deceive us, saying, ‘We are very far from you,’ when you dwell among us?

 Now therefore you are cursed, and some of you shall never be anything but servants, cutters of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.”

 They answered Joshua, “Because it was told to your servants for a certainty that the LORD your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you—so we feared greatly for our lives because of you and did this thing.

 And now, behold, we are in your hand. Whatever seems good and right in your sight to do to us, do it.”

So he did this to them and delivered them out of the hand of the people of Israel, and they did not kill them.

 But Joshua made them that day cutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the LORD, to this day, in the place that he should choose.

 

Deception brings bondage to those deceived. This is a biblical truth. It began with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and continues to this day. We are warned to watch out for deception; both from others and from ourselves. Deception will lead us into bondage and for the believer it often takes the form of legalism. Here the deceivers became bound. The children of Israel also wrestled with the influx of religious ideologies and practices contrary to that given to them by God. The enemy of the souls of humanity is skilled at deception. This highlights the importance of continuing daily in the Word and in communion with the Holy Spirit seeking the guidance of God continually. It is for our protection and spiritual health. May we determine to be found as the early believers were; daily in the Word, seeking God’s face, determined to follow His will not ours.

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

Making a covenant before inquiry…

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Joshua 9:1-16

 

 As soon as all the kings who were beyond the Jordan in the hill country and in the lowland all along the coast of the Great Sea toward Lebanon, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, heard of this,

 they gathered together as one to fight against Joshua and Israel.

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai,

 they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended,

 with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly.

 And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.”

 But the men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live among us; then how can we make a covenant with you?”

 They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” And Joshua said to them, “Who are you? And where do you come from?”

 They said to him, “From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the LORD your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt,

 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth.

 So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country said to us, ‘Take provisions in your hand for the journey and go to meet them and say to them, “We are your servants. Come now, make a covenant with us.”‘

 Here is our bread. It was still warm when we took it from our houses as our food for the journey on the day we set out to come to you, but now, behold, it is dry and crumbly.

 These wineskins were new when we filled them, and behold, they have burst. And these garments and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey.”

 So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD.

 And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.

At the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors and that they lived among them.

 

Israel did not inquire of God and it led to an agreement of peace with those they  were told to conquer. Because the agreement was entered into with an oath before God it could not be broken.  This would prove to be a constant source of beliefs and ideologies that would lead the people of Israel away from God time and time again.  This is like opening the door to sin. It gives sin a toehold in our lives. We enter into agreements without first consulting God and His Word. When we rely on what we see and what we are told, when we don’t seek the will of God, the direction of the Holy Spirit, we put ourselves in the position of making an agreement with our flesh, our selves and going in a direction that does not fit the will of God. This can simply be giving into impulsiveness. It may seem innocent and harmless. Anything done without first asking the Lord’s blessing is relying on our own judgment. Always it comes to this,

…[Mat 6:33 KJV] 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you….

 

It is upon us to know God, know Him so well we know His will. Even upon rising in the morning, we ask Lord guide our footsteps. Here are our plans but your will be done. Guide our footsteps. Then listen for His voice to say,

“…[Isa 30:21 KJV] 21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left….”

 

So often we barge ahead with our plans then get in a bind and cry out what shall I do! Better to have prayed first asking for wisdom and guidance.

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

all the words… the blessing and the curse

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Joshua 8:24-35

 

 When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it down with the edge of the sword.

 And all who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000, all the people of Ai.

But Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction.

Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of the LORD that he commanded Joshua.

 So Joshua burned Ai and made it forever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day.

 And he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. And at sunset Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city and raised over it a great heap of stones, which stands there to this day.

 At that time Joshua built an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal,

 just as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the people of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, “an altar of uncut stones, upon which no man has wielded an iron tool.” And they offered on it burnt offerings to the LORD and sacrificed peace offerings.

 And there, in the presence of the people of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written.

 And all Israel, sojourner as well as native born, with their elders and officers and their judges, stood on opposite sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, half of them in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded at the first, to bless the people of Israel.

 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law.

 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them.

 

This time Israel was careful to do exactly as they were told. It’s sad that we are so self-oriented it takes the extreme measure to bring us to obedience to the Word. We are privileged to have the grace of God through Christ’s sacrifice. A sacrifice was required, the ultimate sacrifice has been given. For this we have the promise of living in the ‘promised land’ of abundant life given through Christ. We still have personal life issues to battle and they often require a sacrifice but God gives the victory – he hands the city over to us.  At that point we must always give thanks and take the time to remember His Words, His goodness, His mercy, His love.

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Action required.

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Joshua 8:18-23

 

 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.” And Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city.

 And the men in the ambush rose quickly out of their place, and as soon as he had stretched out his hand, they ran and entered the city and captured it. And they hurried to set the city on fire.

 So when the men of Ai looked back, behold, the smoke of the city went up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that, for the people who fled to the wilderness turned back against the pursuers.

 And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city, and that the smoke of the city went up, then they turned back and struck down the men of Ai.

 And the others came out from the city against them, so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. And Israel struck them down, until there was left none that survived or escaped.

 But the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him near to Joshua.

 

God required an action of Joshua. “point the spear…” in one translation, “stretch the javelin…” in another. We are also give a command. Jesus says, “Let your light so shine…” When we obey as Joshua did the battle is given to us by the Lord. As He told Joshua, “I will give it into your hand…”. So Jesus tells us “…He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father…” We are overcomers in our personal battles and in the battle for mankind. This is possible because first we have received; secondly because we obey His command and trust in Him doing what He commands.

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

Where is our trust?

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Joshua 8:9-17

 

 So Joshua sent them out. And they went to the place of ambush and lay between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai, but Joshua spent that night among the people.

 Joshua arose early in the morning and mustered the people and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.

 And all the fighting men who were with him went up and drew near before the city and encamped on the north side of Ai, with a ravine between them and Ai.

He took about 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city.

So they stationed the forces, the main encampment that was north of the city and its rear guard west of the city. But Joshua spent that night in the valley.

And as soon as the king of Ai saw this, he and all his people, the men of the city, hurried and went out early to the appointed place toward the Arabah to meet Israel in battle. But he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city.

And Joshua and all Israel pretended to be beaten before them and fled in the direction of the wilderness.

So all the people who were in the city were called together to pursue them, and as they pursued Joshua they were drawn away from the city.

 Not a man was left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel. They left the city open and pursued Israel.

 

Sometimes we are so confident in our own abilities and in what we see that we too are guilty of ‘leaving the city open.’ We are susceptible to being led by what we see. God wants us to be led by Him; by the Holy Spirit which requires faith – believing in something you don’t see. The people of ‘Ai were not led by God’s Spirit but Israel was. How hard it must have been to overcome the natural fear of an enemy who had just tromped you and instead put your trust in God when you thought He, God, had left you. This is what Israel did. So we have one group trusting only in what they can see and in their own achievements running after a group trusting in God. At first glance it looks like they, Ai, are winning again. But they have left the city wide open.

 

We can practice the awareness of God’s presence; also an awareness of the lack of God’s leading. When we step over into self-confidence rather than God-confidence we are treading in the wrong direction and asking for defeat. We can practice moving in faith based upon God’s Word. This often is not as comfortable as relying on our own abilities. But by His Word we can be sure that placing our faith in Him will give us the victory and give God the glory. Praise be to the name of Jesus!

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

Do according to the Word of the Lord.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Joshua 8:1-8

 

 And the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land.

And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its livestock you shall take as plunder for yourselves. Lay an ambush against the city, behind it.”

 So Joshua and all the fighting men arose to go up to Ai. And Joshua chose 30,000 mighty men of valor and sent them out by night.

And he commanded them, “Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind it. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you remain ready.

 And I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. And when they come out against us just as before, we shall flee before them.

 And they will come out after us, until we have drawn them away from the city. For they will say, ‘They are fleeing from us, just as before.’ So we will flee before them.

 Then you shall rise up from the ambush and seize the city, for the LORD your God will give it into your hand.

 And as soon as you have taken the city, you shall set the city on fire. You shall do according to the word of the LORD. See, I have commanded you.”

 

A new set of orders is given along with assurance that this time God would be with them. They were to return to Ai and do what they attempted the first time. This time they were fresh and clean. It is interesting to note that they are given permission this time to take from the spoils. These are those who obeyed the first time. We can expect the same. The Biblical principle is when you give you receive. When you lose your life, give it up for His sake you gain life. Have we noticed that God’s ways are often opposite to our manner of thinking. This only makes a stronger case for the necessity to be in the Word, know God; who He is and what He does.

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie