Monday, May 30, 2011

Joshua 10

It's been a whirlwind of late! Major changes are happening, moved out of my apartment, waiting to close on my new house. Emotional roller coaster ride as well, most having nothing to do with the moving thing. I know that my enemy has been at work and too often I have been focusing on him and not on my Savior. It is so easy to do. His voice is loud and sounds a lot like my own at times. I think that is why it so easy for him to deceive, because sometimes he repeats things we have said ourselves. God's still small voice sounds different! It sounds quiet yet powerful, but I know most times I don't listen. That's just an aside, there's Joshua 10. I actually read this quite awhile ago but haven't had time to post.

In chapter 9 the people of Gibeon deceive the Israelites into a treaty with them. Now, five kings from some powerful nations decide to attack Gibeon because they are alarmed by the treaty. It's in this chapter that we learn that the men of Gibeon are strong, seasoned warriors. I find that interesting. That even the strong must come to the realization of the extraordinary might and power of God and His people who listen and obey Him. Reminds me of "every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess" Philippians 2:5.

So these five kings join together and set out to attack Gibeon. Gibeon sends word to the Israelites and they have to come to their defense. This reminds me of Abraham and Ishmael. He had this child in his own strength and then had to deal with the ramifications it had with Sarah, Isaac, and of course Ishmael. The Israelites made a decision based on their own judgement and now they have to take care of it. That said, I am no better than Abraham or Joshua, I have made plenty of decisions based on my own understanding, my own limited knowledge and have had to deal with the consequences, sometimes over and over again. Maybe because when I have the enemy's neck under my feet I don't finish him off. You'll see what I mean later.

God tells Joshua that He has given him the victory! They march out to Gibeon, capture the enemy by surprise and the warriors are thrown into total confusion. The men ran and the Israelites chased them and killed them and God rained hailstones down on them and killed even more. Even when He gives us the battle plan and we are gaining the victory He shows up and proves who really is the Victor.

The five kings are found hiding in a cave and the Israelites roll a stone in front of the cave. They opened the cave and brought the kings out. Joshua had the field commanders come and place their feet on their necks. Then Joshua says something interesting, "don't hold back. Don't be timid. Be strong! Be confident! This is what God will do to all your enemies when you fight them." Then he kills them.

It is interesting to me because they are captured, having their necks squished and he is telling them to be strong, um this seems like a place of strength doesn't it? But then I think about how many times it seems like victory is right there and fear sets in? Then I shrink back and take my foot off the enemy's neck and he is up and running again. I don't take the finally kill shot.

This begins an attack on more people of the land. Joshua doesn't simply go home and revel in  the victory. He goes on and takes five cities and destroys them and for good measure one king who comes out to help and he gets wiped out as well. Then they go back to camp.

Here's the big thing I learned from this chapter, and there really is a lot, is that God uses every thing, even our bad decisions, to accomplish His will. They made a bad deal with Gibeon, but then when Gibeon needs rescuing God gives them the land of eleven cities, the five who came against Gibeon, the five they attack afterwards, and the one that comes out to help. A major victory! God can't be put in a box just because we back ourselves into a corner. He is God! His Will will be accomplished. In our weakness, our bad choices, quite frankly our sin, He will have the victory! He will be glorified!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Joshua 9

It has been almost a month since I last blogged! Life has been busy, crazy, and wonderful. I went house hunting, am under contract, packing to move out of the apartment but have to wait a few weeks to close, school, and soon getting seriously ready for Haiti! I have missed Joshua and started reading it again a few days ago. I had finished reading through the New Testament and decided to jump back into Joshua as my daily reading as well as for the blog.

The Israelites have destroyed Ai and everyone around them is scared of them, with good reason. So these neighbors of theirs, the people of Gibeon, decide they don't want to be wiped out by the Israelites. They come up with this plan, obviously a good one, to pretend that they are from far away and have traveled along way to make a covenant with them. They dress in rags, get out wine skins, and dry, old bread and set out for the 3 day journey to Gilgal where the Israelites are camping.

They come to Joshua and tell them they are from far away and want to be their servants. He asks them how he can know they aren't neighbors. So he was suspicious of them. They go through their whole story of their old, worn out stuff and Joshua and the leaders believe them. Here's the kicker, they don't ask God about it! They make a covenant with them!

As it turns out they find out that they've been lied to and the men go up against Gibeon and Joshua has to stay true to his word and delivers them from the Israelites. He does say they must be servants, woodcutters and water carriers for them.

So what does the chapter mean for me? I guess the first thing is that satan will do anything to deceive me, even look harmless. He wants to derail me from the plans and promises of God. The Israelites are supposed to possess all the land, that's God plan and promise, but they make this decision that means they don't get all of it.

Also, Joshua was suspicious of them. I need to be aware of when the Holy Spirit is telling me something isn't right, something is deceptive. I need to listen! And even if I think it sounds okay I NEED to ask God. I need to ask and listen!

Making decisions, good or bad ones, have long term affects. In the next chapter the Israelites have to come to Gibeon's rescue.