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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Summary of a Life Well-lived

Joshua had tri-cultural experience. He spent his childhood in Egypt, lived in the wilderness where he moved forty or more times, entered Canaan where he camped in a number of places before he and his family finally moved into their tribal territory. 

Joshua was hungry for God and lived in Moses’ shadow throughout the wilderness travels. The leadership baton could not have been passed to a better man. Joshua loved the Book of the Law. He began his leadership by obeying God’s Word. He circumcised all those who had not been circumcised in the wilderness. He celebrated the Passover. He met the commander of the army of the Lord. He saw Jericho collapse at the shouts of Israel. He directed Israel to deal decisively with sin and taught them the fear of the Lord. He led Israel in one successful military campaign after another. 
Joshua began his leadership with a high commitment to Bible literacy and ended his leadership position with that same commitment, “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left” (Joshua 23:6). Joshua reviewed Israel’s history beginning with Abraham’s call and promises from God. He completed his history lesson by imploring Israel to throw away their idols and fear and serve the living God. He promises, “If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you” (Joshua 24:20).
The book of Joshua ends with a summary of Joshua’s leadership, “Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the LORD had done for Israel” (Joshua 24:31).
During Joshua’s tri-cultural experience he saw human behavior at its worst and its best. During his 110 years Joshua developed a rich theology: 
  1. Man is a sinner and needs to be saved from himself
  2. God accepts the substitutionary death of the innocent on behalf of guilty sinners
  3. God is better to man than he deserves
  4. Knowing God’s Word is crucial to the spiritual welfare of His people.
Joshua discovered that a life fed by meditation on the Word of God and led in accordance with the promises of God brought true blessing, fulfilling purpose, and rich reward. At the end of his life, he declares, “Choose you this day whom you will serve . . . As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (24:15). God’s way starts with difficulty and ends with joy (Prov. 4:18), while the way of sinners starts with ease and ends with sorrow (Prov. 14:12). Joshua chose to live in God’s Word and walk in God’s way; what choice will you make?

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 "No! We did it for fear that some day your descendants might say to ours, 'What do you have to do with the Lord, the God of Israel?' . . . So your descendants might cause ours to stop fearing the Lord. That is why we said, 'Let us get ready and build an altar--but not for burnt offerings or sacrifices.' On the contrary, it is to be a witness between us and you and the generations that follow . . ." (Joshua 22:24,25b-26).

Most everything in our home was destroyed by fire in 2003. We were able to rescue a few things. The Red Plate survived the fire. It was given to us as a wedding present from Dr. and Mrs. Larry Walker (one of the NIV translation team members). I cannot use that plate without thinking of Dr. Walker. The ugliest quilt in the world (I am not kidding!) which had been stored in a trunk in our attack also survived the fire. One look at that quilt still evokes powerful memories because of the pain associated with it and the lessons I learned about God and myself through it. We all have similar items which provide strong visual reminders of the past.

To commemorate the eighteen months spent with a discipleship group I gave each of the young women in that group a ceramic cup. Each one had to record with a permanent marker their favorite Scripture memory verse (and explain why they chose that particular verse) and sign their name on each other's cup. I wrote Psalm 16:5 which says "O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; you maintain my lot." Ten years from now I want each of them to think of one another as they look at that cup. I want them to remember that they pour out of their cup what they put into their cup. I want them to have a continual reminder that it matters to God what they put into their cup. I want them to remember that only God can meet the deepest longing of their hearts. That cup will ensure that they remember. Visuals have a way of doing that.

The tribe of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh built an altar to remind their descendants of whose they are. They called this altar, which would never host a fire or a sacrifice, "A Witness Between Us that the LORD is God." One look upon this altar reminded the viewer that the LORD is God.

We need similar altars and objects in our own lives that remind us of whose we are. Is there an object in your house that, when seen, reminds you to seek the Lord or symbolizes God's work in your life?

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading: Joshua 22:1-24:33
  • Why do the Israelites act so quickly when they hear that their brethren have built a replica altar on the border of Canaan near the Jordan?
  • What reason do they (Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh) give to Israel for the building of this altar?
  • What does this tell you about the people at this time in their history? What had they learned about themselves? About God?
  • What warning does Joshua include in his departing words to Israel?
  • How does Joshua describe Abraham's forefathers? How does he use this story to instruct Israel?
  • How does Joshua describe God?
  • What does the "stone of witness" signify?
  • What was the last instruction Joseph gave to his descendants upon his death in Genesis 50:24-25?
  • Why was his burial in the land of Canaan so important to Joseph?
Turning truth into prayer: Thank the Lord for daily bread, for the reminder that His body was broken so that we might experience forgiveness of sin. Thank Him for running water, which reminds us of the Living Water of Life. Ask the Lord to allow you to set up altars throughout your life to remind you of whose you are.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bible Literacy, Justice, and the Spiritual Health of God's People

Cities and pasture lands throughout Israel’s twelve territories were set aside for the Levites. Six of those 48 cities were appointed as Cities of Refuge. Justice and the spiritual welfare of Israel depend upon the dispersion of the Levites (who know and do their job) throughout all 12 territories. This dispersion reveals a number of truths regarding the governance of the nation: 
  • Bible literacy accompanies the spiritual welfare of God’s people. The Levites were dispersed throughout the land to exalt and to teach the Book of the Law of Moses, “He [the Levites] teaches Your precepts to Jacob and Your law to Israel” (Deuteronomy 33:10).  
  • Justice accompanies a biblically literate and spiritually healthy people. Six cities (three on both sides of the Jordan River) among the 48 cities of the Levites are designated as cities of refuge. The Levites form a court of law to hear the case of those involved in unintentional loss of life. Spiritual discernment based on God’s law offers justice for the innocent.
  • Bible literate and spiritually healthy people offer unbiased judgment and safe places for those falsely accused of wrong doing. Accidents happen. Sinners, being who they are, seek revenge, even for unintentional loss of life. Cities of Refuge offer those involved in unintentional death a safe place for trial and a safe place to live once innocence is declared. There were no prisons in Israel; those found guilty of intentional loss of life die. Those exonerated are safe from retaliation. The Levites were accountable before God to assure justice reigned in Israel. 
The positioning of the Levites throughout all twelve territories and the six cities of refuge within those territories ensure all of Israel access to justice. Right governance of this newly founded nation depends upon Bible literacy and the spiritual health of the Levites. 

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"Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled" (Joshua 21:45).

This passage demonstrates God's fulfillment of two major promises that He made to Abraham that He fulfilled in Joshua's day:
  1. God swore to Abraham in Genesis 12 that He would make him a great nation and give him Canaan as his inheritance.
  2. God promised that He would give them rest on every side from their enemies.
And here they are. Possessing the land of promise and experiencing rest from their enemies. In retrospect reading these verses might lead some to conclude that faith is easy. We have the luxury of reading the final chapter while they were caught up in the midst of the story where faith is required and the fulfillment of the promises of God seems unlikely. God keeps His promises. He keeps them over time and He keeps them through impossible situations. To have a promise from God is to have its fulfillment.

The first promise God makes to man in the Bible is His promise regarding the coming seed: "I will put enmity between you and the woman. And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Gen. 3:15). God fulfilled that promise over the course of thousands of years. Every other promise He has made He has fulfilled. Only one promise remains unfulfilled, "He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly" (Revelation 22:20). We can be sure that He will keep that promise as He has all others that He has made. What God promises in His Word He performs in actuality. What He speaks authoritatively He performs omnipotently.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading: Joshua 19:32-21:45
  • Where were the "casting of lots" and decisions made regarding the land division?
  • Why were the cities of refuge established in Israel? What does this tell you about God?
  • Why were the Levites given towns in each of the tribal areas? (You may want to review the March 12th reading)
Turning truth into prayer:
Thank the LORD that He is a promise maker and a promise keeper. Read Proverbs 3:5-6 and turn these verses into a praise and a prayer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Whining Gets You Nowhere!

The people of Joseph whine about their allocation of land, “We are a numerous people and the LORD has blessed us abundantly” (Joshua 17:14). 

Joshua responds to their complaint by urging them to appropriate the forested areas of their territory. The people of Joseph ratchet up their complaint and appeal to Joshua once again for more land, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have iron chariots” (17:16). 

Joshua counters their complaints with finality, “You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have iron chariots and though they are strong, you can drive them out” (17:17-18).

The people of Joseph’s complaints reveal a number of truths about whining:
  • Ingratitude gives way to whining. The people of Joseph were landless in Egypt and in the wilderness. They now have more than they’ve ever had and they are complaining. 
  • Laziness generates whining. The people of Joseph want their land given to them on a silver platter. They want land that doesn’t require warfare or work. It’s easier to complain than to roll up your sleeves and take action.  
  • Pride produces whining. The people of Joseph were “too big for their britches”—too numerous for the territory allocated them. 
  • Entitlement breeds whining. The people of Joseph were numerically blessed by the LORD; therefore, they felt certain that this blessing entitled them to a vast land without challenge. 
An inheritance is a gift, not an entitlement. Gratitude produces a “can do” attitude that rolls up its sleeves to do whatever is required to appropriate the gift. God’s person lives in an air of gratitude that treats every gift--no matter how small--as a reason to respond with thanksgiving.

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"The country was brought under their control, but there were still seven Israelite tribes who had not yet received their inheritance. So Joshua said the the Israelites: "How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you" (Joshua 18:1b,2-3).

It took the children of Israel five years to gain control over Canaan; although Canaan was theirs to inhabit seven tribes were still reticent to "take possession" of what they had already been given. I immediately think of the wonderful promises that God has given us in His Word. Although they are ours for the claiming we leave them on the table unclaimed.

Ephesians 1:3 says "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." Let's consider a few of those spiritual blessings:
  • Forgiveness - God promises to forgive and cleanse confessed sin (1 John 1:9), yet how often believers carry around a load of guilt.
  • Peace - God promises peace in place of anxiety for all those who will pray about everything (Phil. 4:6-7) yet many believers worry themselves sick.
  • Joy - God promises joy for all those who will trust in Him (Romans 15:4), many believers live joyless and unfulfilled lives.
  • Fruitfulness - God promises fruitfulness to those who abide in Him (John 15:5) yet many believers live barren lives.
  • Assurance - God promises assurance of salvation to those who believe in Him (1 John 5:13), yet many believers lack such assurance because they live by their emotions than by faith in Christ.
  • Guidance - God promises to lead His children (John 10:4) yet many believers fear the future.
Why would any believer walk in guilt, anxiety, gloom, barrenness, fear, and doubt when God promises him just the opposite?

It isn't enough to just secure the borders of Canaan, the seven tribes of Israel still had to inhabit conquered territory. This would require diligence, discipline, faith, and time. They have to do their part. They have to appropriate by actions what God has said is already theirs. It isn't any difference for us. So too, Peter tells us that we are given exceedingly great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4), but unless we claim these promises by faith then we are no different from these seven tribes. We'll remain on the periphery even as God invites us to enter fully into all that He has for us in Christ Jesus. It's kind of like unclaimed baggage. The suitcase is yours as are the contents--just waiting from you to identify it as yours and then pick it up, take it home and unpack it.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading: Joshua 16:1-19:9
  • What does Joshua's decision regarding Zelophehad's daughters tell you about Joshua's view of women? His respect for Moses' decisions?
  • What dilemma does the inability or unwillingness of the Manassites to drive out the Canaanites create for the tribe or Manasseh? How is it resolved? What does this tell you about Joshua's leadership?
  • How does Joshua divide the seven territories between the seven tribes?
  • Read Proverbs 16:33. How does "casting lots" prohibit bickering?
  • Read the following passages to see how God accomplished His purposes through the seemingly randomness of "casting lots": Leviticus 16:8; Nehemiah 10:34, 11:1; Jonah 1:7; Acts 1:17, 26.
Turning truth into prayer:
What are you leaving unclaimed on the table of promises? Ask the Lord the Lord to show you areas of your life where you are living on the periphery of what He has for you.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Something for Everyone

Before his death Joshua distributes the land of Canaan among the nine and a half tribes  east of the Jordan and the two and half tribes west of the Jordan. Each territory contains enemies, challenges, and benefits. No one tribe is disadvantaged by the division of landgrace gifts based on the promise of God to Abraham. 

Each tribe is blessed beyond measure with land freely given by God; and they all face enemies and challenges in their territories so that they  remain dependent upon God. God is good and only does good!

Access to the Sea of Galilee and Mediterranean Sea and two trade routes
People divided by Jordan River
Access to the Jordan River and one trade route
Mountainous and arid conditions
Borders Arnon River and access to one trade route
Borders the Dead Sea
Rich history of Beersheba
Landlocked; isolated
Philistines, Edomites, remaining Canaanites
Borders Mediterranean Sea
Abuts the Dead Sea
Philistines, remaining Canaanites
Mediterranean Sea; 
access to major trade route
Little access to fresh water
Philistines, Edomites, remaining Canaanites
Abuts the Yarkon River
Centrally located
No access to trade routes
Remaining Canaanites
Valley abuts the Jordan River
No access to trade routes
Remaining Canaanites
Borders Sea of Galilee and Jordan River
No access to trade routes
Borders Mediterranean Sea and Litani River; access to major trade route
Borders Tyre to the north

Everything that you have is a gift from God. Everything that another has is a gift from God. Benefits, challenges, and enemies accompany each man gifts. Therefore, be content with what God has given you.

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Living to End Well
"I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord has promised me that day. You yourselves have heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said" (Joshua 14:11-12).

Gotta love Caleb. Eighty fives years old and going strong. Caleb expressed huge faith in the Living God forty-five years earlier when Moses sent him out along with eleven others to spy out Canaan. He saw the gaints in the land and wasn't afraid then and he isn't afraid now. His large view of God has carried him through every difficulty all of his life. He remembers how God stripped Egypt of their pride, possessions, and drowned their posse. He remembers the parting of the Red Sea, the provision of water, manna, and quail in the wilderness. His age and the passing of time have not dampened his enthusiasm nor damaged his theology.

Your view of God determines how you face aging, the enemy, and all other challenges. How does one develop a high view of God and then maintain such a view? NOT by looking at your circumstances but at God! Psalm 16:8 says "I have set the LORD always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved."

Dive into the stories of the Bible and meditate upon the same stories that Caleb had in Genesis and the ones he himself experienced in Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy until you come away with a large and proper view of God. The book of Genesis alone has enough stories to bless your heart. To name a few:
  • God kills an innocent animal and with its skin God covers Adam and Eve's nakedness.
  • God saves the righteous (Noah and his family) when He destroys the wicked.
  • God gives an old man with a barren wife a baby (Abraham & Sarah) through which He builds a nation and brings the Messiah.
  • God cares about women who are mistreated (Leah, Rachel, Hagar, Tamar, etc.)
  • God fulfills a promise made to Abraham (Genesis 15) many years before and saves an entire people during a famine by sending a brother ahead to prepare a place for them in Egypt.
God doesn't implant Bible microchips into followers of Jesus Christ in order to guide their minds and their behavior. We have to develop a Biblical worldview by setting our minds on things above (and not below). "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Romans 8:5-6). We have to discipline ourselves to entertain large thoughts about God. The Scriptures feed our faith and build a large view of God.
Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading: Joshua 13:1-15:63
  • What does the division of Canaan's real estate do for the tribes of Israel?
  • What does this land division teach them about God?
  • How long does it take Israel to conquer Canaan in the initial stage/campaigns?
  • How does Caleb motivate his men to drive out the Anakites?
  • Describe Caleb's relationship with his daughter Acsah.
  • What does this tell you about Caleb's view of women?
Turning truth into prayer:
Ask the Lord to let you see how you are living today will affect your future perspective.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Got Enemies?

Either fear or faith increase when enemies join forces. 
Five kings of the Amorites join together to fight against the people of Gibeon because they had made peace with Israel. The Gibeonites cry out to Israel for help. Sounds like terrible odds—5 to 1—until God is factored into the equation. The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you” (Joshua 10:8). 
The next day the LORD assists Israel in battle by “hurling large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites” (Joshua 10:11). Joshua commands the sun to stand still in order to give Israel more daylight in which to mop up the battle against the Amorites. Enemies joining forces simply require greater intervention by God. He is up to the battle!
One enemy king after another falls as Israel fights their first campaign. Success is credited to God’s activity on Israel’s behalf, “All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel” (Joshua 10:42).  
No sooner does one campaign finish before Israel begins another as numerous kings join forces, “a huge army as numerous as the sand on the seashore” (Joshua 11:4). Once again the LORD assures Joshua of victory, “Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain” (Joshua 11:6). Incredible odds for any army but God’s army! Again, Israel defeats a consolidation of kings. 
Joshua successfully leads Israel to defeat thirty-one kings, “For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally” (Joshua 11:20). 
These military stories reveal a number of truths about God and the enemy.
  • Sometimes the Lord consolidates the enemy so that only one battle is fought instead of several. 
  • Victory over the enemy is not based on man’s might or power, but upon God’s resources and intervention. He may commandeer weather and nature and hurl hailstones against the enemy. 
  • Fear immobilizes while faith in God mobilizes His people to face their enemies. 
What God has done for Israel He will do for any of His children who face opposition. The Psalmist confidently boasts, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6).

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Strength Training 
 "After an all night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise" (Joshua 10:9)

Imagine marching all night long over 25 miles of rugged landscape only to arrive at your destination to immediately begin fighting. By stopping the sun in the middle of the sky for twelve hours God gave them an extra twelve hours in which to fight. That means they spent twelve hours marching and then twenty-four hours fighting. Where had they learned such endurance?

Remember how often the cloud moved by day and the fire by night while the children of Israel moved about in the desert for forty years? What seemed like senseless movement was simply God's preparation--strength training. Little did they know that God would use their experience in the wilderness to prepare them for this very day.

It is like that in our lives. Often we can't make sense of what God is doing in our lives and we despair. God never wastes our experiences. The very things that are distasteful and frustrating are the very things that "make" us.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading: Joshua 10:1-12:24
  • The gathering of the five Amorite kings to attack the Gibeonites was actually God's gathering the enemy for their defeat. How do the Gibeonites respond to the Amorites and why?
  • How does God intervene on Israel's behalf?
  • How does Joshua encourage his army? (What had God already told him in verse 8?)
  • Describe Israel's first campaign.
  • Describe Israel's second campaign.
  • What makes Joshua such a successful leader?
Turning truth into prayer:
Ask the Lord to show you where you are resistant or responding poorly to His character developing process in your life.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Avoiding Deception

Joshua and the people of Israel no sooner recover from Achan’s deception than they fall for another deception. The Gibeonites hear about the defeat of the people of Jericho  and Ai and devise a plan to save themselves from the same destruction by deceiving Israel into making a treaty with them. This story alerts the reader to seven conditions that make a person vulnerable to deception:
  • Exhaustion - Israel had just finished fighting the people of Ai, “Israel cut them down, leaving them neither survivors nor fugitives” (Joshua 8:22). They also carried off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city and burned Ai to the ground. Exhaustion may weaken a person’s defenses against deception.
  • Euphoria of victory and celebration - Israel successfully ambushes a sleeping Ai from all sides and experiences great victory. Joshua builds an altar to the LORD and copies on stones the law of Moses. The entire nation recites the blessings and the cursings. Euphoria may dull a person’s sensitivity to deception. 
  • Empathy - The Gibeonites present themselves as hungry and poor, “They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. The men put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy” (Joshua 9:4-5). Israel responds with fleshly empathy instead of discernment. Worldly compassion may impair a person’s discernment to deception. 
  • Expediency and ease - A battle with all the kings west of the Jordan is imminent. The Gibeonites appear and request a treaty with Israel, “Make a treaty with us” (Joshua 9:6).  The Gibeonites came not to war with Israel but to offer themselves as servants, “We are your servants” (Joshua 9:8). Israel sees the Gibeonites as one less people they must fight. Expediency may prompt a person to ignore warnings of deception. 
  • Dismiss reservations - Israel questions the veracity of the Gibeonites by asking, “Perhaps you live near us” (Joshua 9:7) “Who are you and were do you come from?” (Joshua 9:8) Raising questions without obtaining satisfying answers allows a person to fall for “trumped up evidence” and being deceived. 
  • Prayerlessness  - “The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD” (Joshua 9:14). Prayerlessness dulls a person’s heart so that he cannot recognize deception. 
  • Ignoring Scripture - Moses clearly warned Israel against making treaties with the people in Canaan, “And when the LORD you God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. Your shall make no covenant with them or show mercy to them” (Deuteronomy 7:2). Ignoring Scripture sets up for deception. 
This scene reveals three truths about deception: 
  1. Things are rarely as they appear. The simple believe every word they hear, everything that they see, and thus open themselves to be deceived. 
  2. Knowing what the Scriptures say and appropriating those truths prevent deception.
  3. Making decisions without serious prayer is a recipe for disaster. Praying about everything gives people time to think clearly and gives God time to work

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"When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath" (Joshua 7:1)

Achan had something he couldn't enjoy. In fact he had to bury what he had taken. God prohibited Israel from taking anything from the city of Jericho "But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them . . . All the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury" (6:18-19). This battle was won by God, therefore to God belong the spoils of war.

Achan forgot something very basic about God: He sees and He knows. "And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account" (Hebrews 4:13). "Darkness and light are alike to God." We cannot see the Invisible One but He can surely see us. 

Truths we can learn from Achan's theft, deception, and death:
  • If it has to be hidden, it can't be right.
  • If it can't be waited for, then it should not be taken. Had Achan only waited for the next battle he would have been allowed to take from the spoils of war (8:2).
  • Delayed gratification is better than immediate possession by deception.
  • The evidence of God's blessings isn't based on the amount of your possessions or reward, but on your participation in His winning the battle.
  • Living in the awareness of God's presence will prevent you from walking in deception, scheming, and taking things that don't belong to you.
  • The consequences for taking things that God hasn't given you affects more than just you. Thirty-six men lost their lives, leaving their families without dads and brothers. Israel was humiliated before the people of Ai.
  • An attitude of entitlement demonstrates unbelief in the goodness of God. Entitlement says that "God owes me something."
We must guard our hearts from wanting what God hasn't given us--coveting. We are no different from Achan when we take what is not ours to have.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading: Joshua 7:1-9:27
  • What happened in Israel when their "trimmed down" army was defeated in Ai?
  • How does Joshua respond to their defeat? To what does he attribute their defeat?
  • How does God respond to Joshua?
  • Does Achan have time to repent? What do you think he was thinking that night? (We are prone to think that we probably aren't the only ones to take something or we justify the amount we have taken, etc.)
  • What does Achan's sin cost him, his family, Israel?
  • Read Proverbs 28:13. How could Achan have responded the night before?
  • Why does Joshua increase the size of his army the second time they go up against Ai?
  • How does Joshua celebrate Ai's defeat?
  • Does Joshua have any reservations regarding the Gibeonite's request to enter into a treaty with Israel?
  • Upon what basis does Joshua make his decision regarding the Gibeonites?
  • What does the Gibeonite's deception cost them?
Turning truth into prayer:
Ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal things you've said or done that need to come into the light so that you can walk in fellowship with Him.