Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Mar 24, Josh 9-11.

Today's readings are Josh 9-11. Tomorrow's are Josh 12-15. 

As we move in to Josh 9, we see the rather odd case of the Gibeonites and the way they deceived the Jews. Our reason tells us the Jews should not be held to their word becasue of the false pretenses the Gibeonites used in representing themselves as people from a land far away. Even so, the Jews make their vow then hold to it in spite of being deceived. 

What we see in this incident is the Jews successfully representing a God who is faithful and true to His word even when His people are not. With as many failings as the Jews have exhibited, they are, at times, sparkling examples of a godly people. They will not allow their God to be maligned by any action that could cause others to accuse Him (and them) of being "just like everyone else".

Josh 10 tells of the battle for the Southern region. God supernaturally intervenes by making the sun stand still and providing enough daylight to allow Joshua to secure the victory. Even the laws of physics are subject to the sovereign authority of God. 

We see more victories in Josh 11 including the defeat of Hazor, a major strategic battle in which Israel captures many chariots and horses. The Lord has Joshua hamstring the horses and burn the chariots lest the Jews think they win battle by their own might instead of by the power and presence of God.

One of the themes in these chapters of conquest that leaps out at the reader is the bloodshed involved in the victories. To those unfamiliar with the context leading up to these battles, it might seem somewhat barbaric and overly violent. But, bear in mind God's warnings about allowing pagan cultures to influence His people and how easily the Jews are distracted and drawn away from following God. Also keep in mind the teaching about leaven in Ex 12. In order to guarantee that no leaven comes into contact with their food, the Hebrews are commanded to ruthlessly search out any leaven in their homes and eliminate it prior to preparing the Passover meal. Leaven is a metaphor for sin in the Scriptures. God commands His people to ruthlessly eliminate sin from among them prior to enjoying the fullness of His fellowship and grace. It is the same for the Promised Land. All traces of sin and corruption are to be cleansed from the land before His people live there. 

Take notice of this as we move forward in Joshua. Particularly, note what happens when the Hebrews fail to heed God's command to eliminate the people living there. God will not tolerate sinful behavior in His people. He will not tolerate unholy people living among His people. There are always consequences for both.  

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