The Seine River running through Paris

The Seine River running through Paris

Monday, March 12, 2018

Daily Bread for Mar 13, Jos 9-11

Today's readings are Jos 9-11.

As we move into Jos 9:1-15, 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 because 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 (Jos 9:16-27).

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 like this, 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." Apparently, God approves of Israel’s treatment of the Gibeonites, as we will see in Jos 11:19, 23).

Furthermore, history will prove that honoring the Gibeonites was a wise thing to do. Rather than die in defeat, the Gibeonites submit themselves to God and His people. They are spared and will eventually be integrated with Israel and counted as brothers (Neh 3:7; 7:25). We also will learn that God honored Joshua’s decision to keep his vow when we see Saul’s descendants punished for violating Joshua’s promise (2 Sam 21:1-2).

Jos 10 tells of the battle for the middle and southern regions and Israel’s victories in both. 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 (Jos 10:12-14).

Jos 11 shows victories in the North including the defeat of Hazor (Jos 11:10-11), 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 the fight by their own might instead of by the power and presence of God.

One of the themes in these chapters 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 quickly the Jews are distracted and drawn away from following God.

Also, keep in mind the teaching about leaven in Ex 12:19-20. 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 before preparing the Passover meal. This is because any leaven that comes into contact with dough will permeate all the dough. It is the same principle for the Promised Land. All traces of sin and corruption are to be cleansed from the land before His people live there. Any sin allowed to remain among them will contaminate the entire nation. Israel is being called to set themselves apart from sin the same way they were to keep leaven and dough separated. Sin is to be searched out and eliminated.

Take notice of this as we move forward in Joshua. Particularly, note what happens when the Hebrews fail to heed God's command to vanquish 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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