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Joshua 7

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

MONDAY, DECEMBER 31

                                                    

SCRIPTURE: Joshua 7

 Author:  Joe Ligon

 

Success can be a dangerous thing.  Succeeding at something very significant can often cause us to overestimate our skill set and our role in the success.  When we think more of ourselves than we ought to think, we set ourselves up for failure.

 In many ways that is what happens in this chapter.  The nation of Israel was fresh off of a huge victory at Jericho.  Their next obstacle was a relatively little place called Ai.  Joshua sent some men in to scout out the enemy.  Their report was that no more than 3,000 men were needed to take care of Ai.  Since you have read the chapter, you know that little Ai sent that Hebrew army running back to Joshua. 

 The nation of Israel and even their leader, Joshua, were shocked.  In verse 8, Joshua is worried about their reputation.  What is everyone going to say now that the Hebrew army turned a fled?  In verse 9, Joshua is worried about their safety.  What would keep all the Canaanites from being emboldened by this and gang up on Israel?  And at the end of verse 9, Joshua is worried about God’s reputation.  What about your great name, God?

 In verse 10, God was pretty short.  He says, “Get up.”  The failure at Ai was not God’s fault.  It was the result of sin in the camp.  Because God hates sin so much, He cannot tolerate even a little bit of it.  In this case He could not tolerate the fact that just one man sinned out of all of the thousands of other men in the Hebrew army.  Sin had to be dealt with.

 God gave Joshua a rather elaborate plan to identify the culprit.  Since God already knew who was guilty, why didn’t He just give Joshua the name?  There are a couple of possible reasons.  Perhaps it was to impress upon the entire nation the seriousness of what had happened.  The process undoubtedly gave them a lot of time to think.  The other possibility is maybe God was giving Achan a chance to confess and repent. 

As the process narrowed to identify the guilty man, it is important to notice that Achan did indeed confess.  But he never repented.  He admitted what he did but he never expressed sorrow that he did it.  It is one thing to admit that you have sinned.  It is another thing altogether for that sin to break your heart.

 The result of Achan’s sin was Achan’s death.  The wages of sin is death.  Always.  And Achan would be executed for his sin.  But so were his children.  And that causes us to stop and wonder.  I want you to notice that Achan’s wife is not mentioned.  Perhaps she was dead or perhaps she was not complicit in what was going on.  But his children are mentioned and are executed along with their dad. 

 There are a couple of things to consider here.  One, we must never doubt that our sin does not just affect us.  Our sin affects a lot of different people sometimes for a long time.  Two, Deuteronomy 24:16 says children are not to be executed for their father’s sins.  So, we must assume those kids were complicit in their dad’s sin.  They were guilty of sin as well.  And the wages of sin is death.  Always.

 One last thing I want to leave you with.  The Israelites covered Achan’s body with a great pile of stones.  This is the second pile of stones that Israel had left in the Promised Land.  The first one was a memorial to future generations about the miracle God performed as the nation crossed the flooded Jordan River on dry ground.  The second pile of stones was a stark reminder of God’s response to sin.  One pile was to mark a great victory.  The second pile was to provide a great reminder.  We need to remember both.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

Joshua 6

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28

                                                    

SCRIPTURE: Joshua 6

AUTHOR: Joe Ligon

 

For those who are familiar with the Bible, this chapter contains one of the best known stories of the Old Testament.  This Battle of Jericho, which was not actually much of a battle at all, stands as one of the favorites of many.

 

The Promised Land which by the way was also known as Canaan was inhabited by a bunch of interlopers.  Because all the land everywhere belongs to God, the Lord had promised to give this land to Abraham several hundred years before this event.  That’s part of why it was called the Promised Land.  But between the time God promised it and His people were ready to possess it, there were a lot of different tribes of people who had moved in and claimed the land.  By the way, none of those tribes of people were good people.

 

As Israel prepared to move in to the Promised Land, they knew they would have to fight for what was theirs.  The first fight they would have was with the walled city of Jericho.  This fortress stood as a first line of defense for all of Canaan.  Israel would have to defeat Jericho to start their claim on the land or they would have to find a way to get back across what was still the flooded Jordan River.

 

God gave Joshua very explicit instructions on what was to take place.  As a military leader, Joshua was probably not real keen on God’s plan.  After all they were to march around the city one time each day for six days.  They were to march around the city seven times on the seventh day.  And on the seventh day when they heard the trumpets blast, the people were to shout.  That was the God’s crazy plan.

 

God promised in verse 2 that Jericho would be defeated.  The verb tense in verse speaks of a future event as if it had already occurred.  One great thing we can learn from that is when God promises, it is done.  Consider it done.  Act like it is done.  And go on and get ready to do the next thing.

 

Another thing we can learn from this story is that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  I am sure that given the opportunity to do so, Joshua could have developed a very intricate battle plan for the nation of Israel to follow that would lead to the defeat of Jericho.  Instead God gave them a most unusual plan and a rock solid promise.

 

One of the reasons for such an unusual plan is it would point totally and completely to God.  This was going to be His victory.  Surely, after the Israelites witnessed God’s unparalleled victory at Jericho they would be quick to follow all of His other instructions to the letter.  At least you would think so.  But as many of you know that was simply not the case.

 

When the walls fell at Jericho, God sovereignly protected the section of the wall where Rahab and her family were staying.  They all survived just as was promised.  It is interesting in the portion of the chapter where Rahab is mentioned she is still referred to as a prostitute.  Verse 23 says she and her family were put outside of the camp of Israel.  They did that because there needed to be some ceremonial cleansing take place before they would be allowed into the camp.

 

But the day came that they were allowed in.  And Rahab would become a descendant not only in the lineage of David but also in the line of Jesus Himself.  We should rejoice that our past does not have to dictate our future.  When God intervenes, great change occurs.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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