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Category Archives: Joshua

Joshua 9:3-14

But when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to deception to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to Joshua, loading their donkeys with weathered saddlebags and old, patched wineskins. They put on worn-out, patched sandals and ragged clothes. And the bread they took with them was dry and moldy. When they arrived at the camp of Israel at Gilgal, they told Joshua and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant land to ask you to make a peace treaty with us.” The Israelites replied to these Hivites, “How do we know you don’t live nearby? For if you do, we cannot make a treaty with you.” They replied, “We are your servants.” “But who are you?” Joshua demanded. “Where do you come from?” They answered, “Your servants have come from a very distant country. We have heard of the might of the Lord your God and of all he did in Egypt. We have also heard what he did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River—King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan (who lived in Ashtaroth). So our elders and all our people instructed us, ‘Take supplies for a long journey. Go meet with the people of Israel and tell them, “We are your servants; please make a treaty with us.”’ “This bread was hot from the ovens when we left our homes. But now, as you can see, it is dry and moldy. These wineskins were new when we filled them, but now they are old and split open. And our clothing and sandals are worn out from our very long journey.” So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord.
Joshua 9:3-14

Dear God, I doubt Robert McNamara coined the phrase The Fog of War, but I pretty much link it to him. My wife and I grasped onto the phrase several years ago when we were going through some family struggles. It can be so easy to evaluate a situation and think about what you would do from the outside looking in, but it is so much harder when you are in the middle of it.

I was skimming through the Book of Joshua this morning looking for a biblical parent when I ran across this story. Verse 14 is the kicker. The Israelites, including Joshua, used their own wisdom, “but they did not consult [you].” I felt immediate conviction. I know I am guilty of this all of the time. And I will say that, in the midst of some of my wars I have consulted you and still found myself confused and unsure, but that is maybe, maybe 5% of the time. The rest of the time I try to use my own mind, “wisdom,” and intuition to solve the problem myself.

I was talking with my wife yesterday about a friend of hers that seems to be making some irrational decisions when it comes to some children from her husband’s first marriage. There is a lot of conflict with a teenaged daughter. Sitting from our perspective, not being in the middle of the fight every day it is easy to pass judgment on my wife’s friend’s actions. “Oh, she shouldn’t do this.” “Oh, she should let that go and just love her.” Yeah, easier said that done. The fog of war is murky at best and blinding at worst. Just within the last couple of months I allowed myself to be hurt by someone else’s actions and I almost, almost struck back. Thankfully, I waited. I waited on you. I prayed. And in my prayer you gave me a revelation of something that might have caused the person that hurt me to do the thing they did. I ended up doing nothing and ultimately just gave that person love. Thank you for that victory.

Father, there are so many decisions ahead of me. I have a lot at work. I have a lot with friends and family. I have a lot of decisions that need to be made just today. I’m sorry for when I’ve failed you. I’m sorry for not consulting you and waiting on your reply. Sometimes, much like Saul when he went ahead and did the sacrifice to you without waiting for Samuel, I get out ahead of you and do things my own way. Thank you for this reminder to wait on you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

P.S. Joshua was such an amazing man of faith, I feel bad pointing out what is one of the very few times he made a mistake, but I suppose we learn more from others’ and our own mistakes than we do from our successes.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2020 in Joshua

 

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Joshua 24:1-15

Then Joshua summoned all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, including their elders, leaders, judges, and officers. So they came and presented themselves to God. Joshua said to the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Long ago your ancestors, including Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River, and they worshiped other gods. But I took your ancestor Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him into the land of Canaan. I gave him many descendants through his son Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave the mountains of Seir, while Jacob and his children went down into Egypt. “Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I brought terrible plagues on Egypt; and afterward I brought you out as a free people. But when your ancestors arrived at the Red Sea, the Egyptians chased after you with chariots and charioteers. When your ancestors cried out to the Lord, I put darkness between you and the Egyptians. I brought the sea crashing down on the Egyptians, drowning them. With your very own eyes you saw what I did. Then you lived in the wilderness for many years. “Finally, I brought you into the land of the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I destroyed them before you. I gave you victory over them, and you took possession of their land. Then Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, started a war against Israel. He summoned Balaam son of Beor to curse you, but I would not listen to him. Instead, I made Balaam bless you, and so I rescued you from Balak. “When you crossed the Jordan River and came to Jericho, the men of Jericho fought against you, as did the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I gave you victory over them. And I sent terror ahead of you to drive out the two kings of the Amorites. It was not your swords or bows that brought you victory. I gave you land you had not worked on, and I gave you towns you did not build—the towns where you are now living. I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them. “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord .”
Joshua 24:1-15

Dear God, it’s always important to remember what you’ve done and who you are as we try to figure out what you might be asking of us next. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  1. The most important one is that it reminds us of your faithfulness to us. It will strengthen our faith to remember what you’ve done before.
  2. It might show us a pattern as to what direction you’ve pushed us in the past and how you might be directing us for the future.
  3. It will stir gratitude and worship within us.
  4. If we share it with others, it will testify to them and hopefully increase their faith.

That’s just off of the top of my head. There are probably many other reasons. In this case, Joshua didn’t just get up and say, “Choose today whom you will serve…” He laid out his case with evidence of not only your faithfulness, but also of your ability to deliver. You not only love us, but you are awesome in every way.

Father, help me to do this as I face different crossroads at home, in the community, and at work. Remind me of your faithfulness to me and the blessings you have put on the work I do. Guide me in your way. Love through me. Lead through me. And I can tell you, without reservation, as for my wife and me, we will serve you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2019 in Joshua

 

Joshua 5:9-12

Joshua 5:9-12
9 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt.” So that place has been called Gilgal to this day.
10 While the Israelites were camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they celebrated Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month. 11 The very next day they began to eat unleavened bread and roasted grain harvested from the land. 12 No manna appeared on the day they first ate from the crops of the land, and it was never seen again. So from that time on the Israelites ate from the crops of Canaan.
Dear God, to put this story into context, chapter 4 is about them passing through the Jordan and into the Promised Land. Then verse 1-8 (really 2-8) of this chapter tell about having all of the males who were born in route from Egypt over the previous 40 years circumcised and letting them heal from that (gotta say, that sounds barbaric and horrible). Now, you have a message for them: You’re here. Your baby food is over. It’s time to start treating this place like your home, and that means providing for yourselves here.

I’m going to be preaching at a church next Sunday, and this is the Old Testament reading. As I think about that church, I am thinking about some of the trials they have been through over the last several years. Perhaps the message you have for me to give them is that the time of sitting around and eating manna is over. They have their settlement of a legal action where a trusted staff member embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars behind them. They were fortunate enough to receive a gift from someone that helped to make them whole from that unfortunate situation. They have crossed through the Jordan. It is time to start planting crops and setting up shop. It is time to advance on the enemy around them. It’s time to reach out into the neighborhood around them and start bringing your light into the families and individuals within their reach. No more complaining. No more feeling sorry for themselves. No more fear. It’s time to go.

Father, prepare my heart this week for the words you have for me to share with them. Love them through me. Speak to them through me. Give them peace. Give them vision. Give them victory. Give them healing. And do all of this because they are worshipping you, bringing you glory, and then taking that glory into the world. And help me to live up to all of this in my personal life as well.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2019 in Joshua

 

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Joshua 1:6-11

“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

Joshua 1:6-11

Dear God, I e heard the phrase “be strong and courageous” before in relation to you and Joshua, but I don’t think I realized you said it three times. And then, when you said it, for Joshua, it was go time. Within three days, he started their new lives.

I have some friends who are on the precipice of big decisions. In fact, they are the three friends I’ve been praying for a lot lately. Of course, there are more than these three, but these three have been especially on my heart. But I can see this passage being for them as well. Daunting things are in front of them. I think it might be time for you to communicate to them, “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Father, first, help me to internalize this passage for myself. I have some things to deal with at work that I don’t like dealing with. It’s going to take some conflict, but not nearly as much conflict was Joshua was facing. But you are with me. I must have faith in that. I must be strong and courageous and not think about the potential downsides or difficulties from the conflict because you are with me wherever I go. And I pray this for my friends too. Help them to be strong and courageous so that they might each live the life you have for them and so that others might be touched by you through their lives and their stories of faith.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2018 in Joshua

 

Joshua 24:15

But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord .”Joshua 24:15 

Dear God, this is an oft quoted verse, but it’s often just the last sentence that people put up in their homes. What I’m noticing today is that Joshua is not letting them off easy. He’s challenging them do proactively choose what they are going to do because he knows that we all serve something. 

I think the difference in our societies is that back then they were very much into worshipping something. Nowadays, we are more likely to worship ourselves and our own abilities to solve our problems and guide our lives. We are into pleasing ourselves over pleasing a god. 

Father, I’m obviously choosing you, but I know I still have a lot to learn as to what that means and looks like. What does it really look like to be your worshippers and servant every day? I suppose that’s what discipleship and working out my faith with dear and trembling is all about. I don’t know that I’ll ever figure it all out, but I ask that you help me today to get one step closer to being the worshipper and servant you deserve and that I need for myself to be. 

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen 

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2017 in Joshua