Category Archives: Joshua

Where does our strength come from?

“I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you – also the two Amorite kings.  You did not do it with your own sword and bow.”  Joshua 24:12.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Joshua 23-24, Psalm 44, and 1 Corinthians 11.

This is God talking in today’s verse.

God doesn’t want the Israelites to get the impression that their victories in the Promised Land were of their own doing.  God made it happen.  He filled in the details that accomplished the action.

How dare we ever credit ourselves for anything.  God gives us the means to do things.

We know with certainty when our actions are done in opposition to His wishes.

I must be willing to be used by Him.  To be His instrument.  Under that arrangement my actions will please Him.

The Israelites had seen some remarkable things.  Sadly they, like us, fell into the habit of crediting themselves for the good and blaming God for the not so good.

If I understand how things work best: God is in charge and I must live accordingly, then the outcome is settled.

God wanted the Israelites to know that they had two choices; do it His way or their way.  Their history, and our history, should have made clear the consequences of either action.

We know the consequence of directly resisting God.  We will indeed gain separation from Him and earn where that takes us.

“Lord, Your Way is the best way.  Forgive me for choosing other paths.  For ignoring You.  For resisting You.  I love You.  I want to please You in everything I do.  Prick my conscience when I am off-course.  It is never where I want to be.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah, I beg.”

We are weaklings without God.

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God is consistent

“Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” Joshua 21:45.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Joshua 21-22, Psalm 47, and I Corinthians 10.

That’s a pretty good record, don’t you think!

That is the God I must trust in.  The one with the perfect performance.

He is almighty.  He does not run into obstacles that change what He promised to do.

President Donald Trump has run into obstacles and apparently won’t be able to repeal Obamacare.  God doesn’t have such a problem.

What He says, goes.

Living as a believer means that I must do what I say I will do, assuming it is what God wants.  My words must be true.  I must be reliable.

One myth about God is that if I do what He wants then I will be better off than those who disrespect God.  It doesn’t work that way.  It rains on the just and the unjust.  If I do what God wants then He will bless me IN HIS WAY.  It may not be what I expect.  It might be more than I could ask or expect.  God is remarkable.

Because I belong to Him, I can expect that He will prune away that which displeases Him.  It is good for me to have that happen.

I follow God because He knows best.  My task will always be to be chasing His Will so that I can please Him.

“Lord, Your consistency is remarkable.  You truly know best.  Forgive me for chasing other gods for comfort.  My ultimate comfort is in You.  I love You, Lord.”

God can be trusted to keep His promises.

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Don’t be intimidated by the enemy

“….though the Canaanites have chariots fitted with iron and though they are strong, you can drive them out.”  Joshua 17:18.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Joshua 15-17, and 1 Corinthians 8.

Fear of the enemy affects us all at times.

Why does this happen?  Our measuring system becomes faulty.  We enlarge the enemy and minimize God.

Joshua trusted God.  When God told him that He would go with the Israelites as they took over the Promised Land, Joshua believed Him.  Joshua has seen God in action (crossing the Jordan River, capturing Jericho) and was convinced that with God on their side there would be no defeats.

The Tribe of Joseph wasn’t as convinced.  To them the enemy was “strong” and they had the latest equipment (chariots fitted with iron).  “Things might not be easy,” they collectively thought.

Joshua would have none of that.  He told them that they could defeat their enemy.  Joshua probably added why.

I hear about Isis claiming to have done the violence at the House of Parliament yesterday and I fear.  Why?  Because, in my head, I oversize them and shouldn’t.

God is more powerful than Isis.  God is in charge.

My trust in Him must be strong enough to lessen my fear of the enemies of our times.  “I will fear no evil for thou art with me.”

“Lord, forgive me for minimizing Your influence on earth.  You are indeed in charge.  You are almighty.  No enemy can stand against You.  May I live in that Light this day.  I love You, Father.”

What enemy is intimidating you these days?

 

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How getting it wrong gets started

“The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.  Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.”  Joshua 9:14-15.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Joshua 9-11, and 1 Corinthians 6.

Leave God out and by doing so let confusion and trouble in.

That’s what happened with the Israelites.  They fell for the trickery of the Gibeonites and then had to live with the consequences.

A quick look at the verse 14 tells you where the Israelites went wrong: “but did not inquire of the Lord.”

Why do you suppose that the Israelites didn’t inquire of the Lord?  I am guessing that, like us, they assumed that they had the senses to figure this one out.  “I won’t bother God with this obvious one.”  Silly Israelites and silly us as well!

There must be no juncture where I make a choice apart from Him.

I must have God in primary place in my life even before I get to a decision-making situation.

Therein is the struggle.  Too many times God is not in primary place.  I’ve gotten detached and have gotten into directing my own life.  That action is always regrettable.

As my life grows in God I will know that I am more dependent on Him than before.  I will realize the folly of independent actions.  I will know a history of blessings and unfortunate consequences all wrapped around choices made with or without Him.

“Lord, how obvious some of this is.  Apart from You I can make a mess of things.  It happened in the Old Testament and it happens to me.  Detaching from You is folly.  Forgive me for doing it.  I know better.  You must be guiding me.  Take over my life right not.  I love You, Father.”

Things fall apart when you mess up (with God) at the start!

 

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God sends in a play

“Set an ambush behind the city.” Joshua 8:2.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Joshua 7-8, Psalm 69, and 1 Corinthians 5.

The Israelites had just fought the folks in Ai and had lost badly.

How could that have happened?  One of the Israelites had not followed instructions in the previous battle.  God didn’t miss what had happened and punished accordingly.

Now God sends the Israelites back against Ai because the command-violator has been punished.  God was now back with the Israelites.

And what a difference it made!  God tells Joshua how to defeat Ai and naturally it works perfectly.  God knows what He’s doing in everything.

I must be wide open to God’s leading.  So often I get “ahead” of God.  I act and then ask Him to bless the action.  What could I possibly be thinking!

There is NO time when I should be acting independent of God.  My life must continually involve my seeking His Will.  A wonderful place to set the tone is when I wake up.  From Psalms: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I put my trust in you.  Show me the way to go, for to you I entrust my life.  Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in you.  Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.”

“Lord, I need You every second.  Forgive me for independent activities.  They are wastes of time.  I love You, Lord.  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah.”

God knows what we should be doing and not doing.  Will we live the way He wants us to live?

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This is how I’ll do it

“Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites.  No one went out and no one came in.  Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.  March around the city once with all the armed men.  Do this for six days.’” Joshua 6:1-3.

Verses chosen from today Bible reading: Joshua 3-6, and 1 Corinthians 4.

What could Joshua have been thinking?

He could see Jericho in the distance entirely closed in.

How easily he could have imagined that there would be a lengthy siege before the folks in Jericho gave up.

But God had other plans.

God did indeed give Joshua His “marching” orders!

Joshua’s acceptance of going along with God must have been influenced by the miraculous crossing of the suddenly dried-up Jordan River.

Whatever God wants to do has His almighty power involved.

This is the God that lives within each believer.  He knows best.  His Ways are the best ways.

Obstacles are opportunities for God.  There is nothing beyond his powers of influence.

At the end of John there is a verse that reveals that we know so very little of what Jesus did.  It is easy to imagine that we know very little, as well, of the workings of God.

I must remember that He is in charge.  My complete trust must be in Him no matter what is going on.

“Lord, You are great.  You are awesome.  You are never out of Your element.  Forgive me for minimizing You and maximizing my circumstances.  I love You, Father.”

In God we must trust.

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Fear Him and serve Him

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness.”  Joshua 24:14.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Joshua 23-24, Psalm 44, and 1 Corinthians 11.

This sums up what Joshua told the Israelites as he prepared for his death.

Forget the generalities, this gets right to the heart of it.

“Fearing God is not mere belief in Him.  It is to be so filled with joyful awe before the magnificence of God, that we tremble at the privilege of knowing, serving, and pleasing Him.”  That’s a Tim Keller quote.

There is a high level of belief that I must desire.  The casual relationship with Him is unacceptable.  I must see His handiwork in my midst and marvel at it.  I must hear that way as well.

Too often I take what I have for granted.  I make assumptions that they are my reward for being such a godly person.  What foolishness!

I must get away from trying to lead God to where I’m going.  Independent of God, there will be space for me to lead.  With Him there will not be.

I must frequently ask, “Lord, what do you want me to do.”  I must be willing to wait for Him.  There are so many things I can do in my midst while I wait.  Will I open my eyes to the opportunities?

“Lord, You are my God.  You love me and I love You.  You died for my heaven-separating sins.  As a sinner I accept my need for Your death and I believe that You died specifically for my sins.  I surrender to You.  Lead me, Father, I pray.”

You now know what God wants from you.

+6 steady

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