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Joshua 11

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

FRIDAY, JANUARY 4

 SCRIPTURE: Joshua 11

BY: Joe Ligon

When the Canaanite kings in the north heard about the crushing defeat of the Canaanite kings in the south, they panicked.  So, Jabin, king of Hazor, gathered up as many of the northern kingdoms as he could muster to attack Israel.  As was the case with the southern kingdoms, the northern kingdoms did not have a history of partnership.  In fact, they didn’t like each other and often fought each other.  But the fear and hatred of Israel was enough for them to set aside their differences and come together.

The amassed army is described as being like the sand of the seashore along with many horses and chariots.  Joseph, a Jewish historian in the first century, estimated this army consisted of 300,000 infantry, 10,000 cavalry troops, and 20,000 chariots.  By anyone’s estimation this was a huge military force.

Although the Scripture doesn’t say it, you might imagine that Joshua was at least a bit nervous about fighting against an enemy force of this magnitude.  The reason we believe that was the case is what God said to him in verse 6.  God promised a great victory.  In fact, God promised an annihilation. 

With that promise, Joshua did not wait for the enemy to attack his army.  Instead he marched his army to meet them and surprise them.  The result was just as God had promised.

You may be wondering why God instructed Joshua to hamstring all the horses and burn all the chariots.  It may have been because the Canaanites used horses in their pagan worship.  So the crippling of the horses may have accomplished two things.  One, it proved that Yahweh was more powerful than any of the Canaanite gods.  Two, it could have prevented the Israelites, at least at this particular time, from engaging in idol worship.

The burning of the chariots would have also prevented the Israelites from using those in future battles.  Later the Psalmist would write, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7)  Destroying the horses and chariots would have encouraged Israel’s trust in the one, true God instead of using them and misinterpreting the source of the victories to come.

Another interesting aspect of this chapter is found in verse 21.  Depending on what translation you are reading, we encounter the Anakites or Anakim here.  These were the “giants”.  You might remember when Moses sent the 12 spies into the Promised Land, ten of them returned with a bad report based upon the fact that there were giants in the land.  In fact, those ten men compared themselves to grasshoppers when they spoke of these giants.

Here we read where all of the giants in the north country were killed.  This race of giants was not wiped out.  There were some left in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod.  By the way, Goliath, who was one or the more infamous giants, was from Gath.

The last sentence of the chapter says that the land had rest from war.  Specifically this means that all of the “major” enemies had been destroyed which would mean that big military campaigns would be few and far between in the days ahead.  In other words, this is sort of an overarching statement that pointed not only to what had been done but what would also be accomplished.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Joshua 9

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2

                                                    

SCRIPTURE: Joshua 9

 AUTHOR:  Joe Ligon

 

The chapter opens with a statement about several of the tribes of people that lived in Canaan.  What we aren’t told here is that these tribes were often enemies and at war with one another.  What we are told is that these tribes set aside their differences and animosity to create a coalition to defeat and destroy Israel.  Their hatred of Israel was enough to make them allies.

 And then we encounter the story of Gibeon.  These folks came up with an incredibly crafty plan to trick Israel into not destroying them.  Put a more direct way, the Gibeonites just lied. 

 Interestingly enough, the leaders of Israel believed the lie.  There is no evidence in the Scripture that Israel’s leaders sought God on the matter.  Perhaps they thought the purported evidence was overwhelming.  Perhaps they thought the matter was too unimportant or routine to bother God with.  Regardless of what happened, it was a mistake for them to trust their own judgment and make their own plans.

 There is a difficult lesson here for us.  And that is simply there is nothing too trivial to pray about.  There is nothing so straightforward that we don’t need God’s direction on it.  We should always be in the mode of taking all things to God.  That is easy for me to type on this page.  But, admittedly, it is often difficult to accomplish.  Remember that God cares about every aspect of your life.  And He truly desires for you to talk with Him about everything. 

 Because you have read the chapter, you know what happens.  The Gibeonites are found out within three days.  Proverbs 12:19 says a “lying tongue lasts only a moment”.  Lies are never secrets forever.  They will always be found out.  Always.  Either on this earth or in front of the Father in heaven.  Lies will always be discovered.

 You might think that when the Israelites found out they had been lied to that they would have backed off their promise and destroyed the people of Gibeon.  But they didn’t.  There are two reasons they didn’t break their promise.  One, in verse 19, they had sworn to the Gibeonites in the name of Yahweh.  Breaking an oath that was made in His name was a sure way of experiencing the wrath of God.  The second reason is they were people of integrity.  They were people of their word.  God desires for us to be people whose word is our bond.

 The nation of Israel enslaved the Gibeonites.  They became the servants they talked about in verse 8.  But that is not the end of their story.  In the very next chapter, God will perform a great miracle in their behalf.  Later the tabernacle would be pitched in Gibeon.  And still later some Gibeonites would help Nehemiah rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. 

 The point of all of that is this.  It is true that they lied.  But God’s grace is greater than our sin.  And the people of Gibeon would become a part of the miraculous story of God.  That is really good news for a sinner like me.  Some of you might think it is good news for you as well.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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