Israel was faithful to their promise to bring the bones of Joseph to the Promised Land and bury them there. We need to have a healthy respect for the past, it is the foundation on which our present and future is built. Those who may not have had a Christian heritage in their background may still take comfort in the fact that in Christ they have a new heritage. They can trace their past through all the saints of all time.
It should be noted that we are responsible to keep our word even if it was given 400 years previously! We need to be very careful of the promises we make. They can have a long-lasting impact.
*** For awhile now I have been doing two blogs - one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament. Unless there are a lot of you who feel otherwise, I am going down to one blog - Ephesians at the moment. I am spending more time on developing Bible course workbooks.
Dec 16/06 - Joshua 24:31
Israel was faithful to God as long as they had the Godly leadership of Joshua and the elders who had ruled with him. But their heart was not steadfast. As soon as the Godly leadership had died out they deserted God. If Joshua had one major failure, it was that he failed to provide a Godly leader to follow him. Without leadership the people went astray. Who we follow is important. A leader who is himself in rebellion to Godly authority can produce no long term positive results. We need to have Godly leaders and we also need to be able to respectfully cut ourselves off from leaders who lead away from God's Law.
Dec 15/06 - Joshua 24:29-30
Joshua lived a full life. It had pain, sorrow, adventure, struggle, enjoyment, satisfaction, and fulfillment. He had had to wait an additional 40 years to gain his inheritance through no fault of his own. Nevertheless, he had not become resentful or bitter. He had continued on faithfully and was rewarded by God. As we continue in faithfulness to God in every circumstance of life we will have our reward - many times in this life and certainly in the life to come.
Dec 14/06 - Joshua 24:28
When the work was done, the people were dismissed to enjoy the inheritance God had given them. As Christians we do face times of sacrifice but God also expects us to have time to enjoy His goodness. Sometimes we get so busy in meetings and doing things for God that we forget to enjoy our inheritance. Many times we postpone our enjoyment...when the weekend comes...when I'm on holidays...when the kids are on their own...when I retire... There should be an enjoyment and appreciation of each stage of life that God leads us through.
Dec 13/06 - Joshua 24:26-27
Sometimes we think ancient societies were unlearned or ignorant. That is only because we have been bombarded with humanistic, evolutionary thinking. The fact is, although we are more technologically advanced, the further we move from Creation the more our minds and bodies degenerate.
Joshua wrote all the words of the Law of God. They were to have a reliable, written record of all that God had said. There would be no excuses. Joshua even set up a hugh stone which would remind them of their covenant with God every time they passed it.
Interestingly the stone is called a witness and in the New Testament Jesus said if we didn't praise Him, the stones would. We never know what will rise up in witness against us if we forsake the ways of God.
Dec 12/06 - Joshua 24:21-25
The people insist that they will serve God. Joshua then entered into a covenant with the people. They were witnesses against themselves if they ever broke the covenant. We need to be committed to God, but at the same time we must humbly acknowledge that it is only through the grace of God that we are able to keep our commitment.
Dec 11/06 - Joshua 24:19-20
Joshua is blunt with the people. He told them they could not serve God. God is too holy to be served by sinful human beings. If we try and fail we will be consumed by the wrath of an offended, holy God. The only way to offer God acceptable service is through the blood of Jesus Christ. That is why those outside of Christ cannot please God and will eventually end up in Hell. In Christ, our imperfect [but whole-hearted] work is acceptable before God because of the cleansing Blood of Christ.
Dec 08/06 - Joshua 24:16-18
The people choose to follow God. Their reason, though, were based on God's actions not a commitment to His Person. If we only follow God for what He does for us, when He allows us to go through a Job experience we will desert Him.
Dec 07/06 - Joshua 24:15
The people could choose to serve God or serve their idols. Regardless of their decision, Joshua's course was set. His decision was made, even if he had to walk alone. We need to have the same determination to follow God - even if we have to go alone. It is hard to walk a lonely path, but that is sometimes what God calls us to. Even in the Christian community there are many who settle with just getting by and they tend to despise those who are sold out to God. They hate being reminded that they are not where they should be. They will try to bring others down to their level.
Dec 06/06 - Joshua 24:14
Joshua challenged the people to serve God in sincerity and truth. Their service could not be mere lip service if they wanted God to fight for them. In keeping with that then, they had to get rid of all the false gods that had been part of their family heritage. Anything in violation of God's commands had to be done away with. It takes an undivided heart to serve God.
Dec 05/06 - Joshua 24:11-13
If you look at the wars of Canaan on a natural level, you see a small amateur army consistently beating larger, professional armies. God makes sure we understand that they did not do it by luck or superior strategy. It was because God was at work behind the scenes that they were able to win. God gave them the victory, and God gave them all the blessings of the land.
In our own lives, we do not have to be concerned about the odds if we are fighting God's war. Yes, we do have to do the fighting, but it is God working behind the scenes Who brings the victory. The wicked will discover that they have stored up treasure for the righteous. They have built, but the Godly will inherit.
Dec 04/06 - Joshua 24:9-10
Balak was smarter than most of Israel's enemies. He had seen that physical warfare always ended in defeat, so he began his attack in the spirit realm. He hired a powerful witchdocter to curse Israel. He thought if he could destroy them spiritually then his armies would have no problem...and he was right. The only thing was God would not allow Balaam to bring his curse. Instead, much to Balak's horror, Balaam was forced to pronounce blessing on the children of Israel.
As Christians, we do not need to live in fear of Satan, Satanic cults, or the curses of the occult. Our God has surrounded us with the Blood of Christ and no enemy curse can touch us. Too many Christians fall for the superstitions of the enemy. They are troubled by seeing the number 666, or thinking that Satanic cults are out to get them, or whatever. Our trust and hope is in God. He protects us from all the attacks of the enemy.
Although it is not mentioned in this passage, Balaam did earn his money. He taught Balak how to destroy Israel be getting them involved in sin. It is the same strategy that has brought the Western nations to their knees today. We have abandoned the holiness of God and involved ourselves in every kind of sin. Our necks are on the chopping block. If repentance doesn't come quickly, judgment will.
Dec 02/06 - Joshua 24:8
Israel seemed to go from one overwhelming challenge to another, yet God watched over them. He brought them to victory each time. The same is true of us. God never promised us an easy time in this world - just the opposite, in fact - but He has promised to always be with us.
Nov 30/06 - Joshua 24:6-7
Just getting out of Egypt didn't solve all their problems. The Egyptians came after them, but God protected them and destroyed the Egyptians in the process. Many times we think that solving one problem is all we need, but it often leads to another problem. Nevertheless, God is more than able to solve all our problems if we are committed to Him. It is also important to see that it was God that led them from Egypt into the wilderness. The ways of God are often mysterious to us, but as we trust Him He puts it all together.
Nov 29/06 - Joshua 24:5
Jacob and his sons went down into Egypt which became the land of bondage. In the perfect timing of God, God sent Moses and Aaron to bring them out. God's timing is not usually our timing. We want things instantly. God is willing to wait until He has accomplished what He wants to before He brings deliverance. We need to learn to wait patiently for God's timing instead of mumbling and complaining.
Nov 28/06 - Joshua 24:4
Esau was also one of Isaac's children but he was not the one to receive the inheritance of the covenant. Nevertheless, God blessed him. This shows that even the ungodly can experience the physical blessing of God to the degree that they aline their lives to God's Word. For example, sometimes the ungodly can have better marriages and family life than some Christians because they are living in closer alinement to God's laws.
Nov 27/06 - Joshua 24:1-3
As we see in the e-mail course, Covenants, Abraham and his fathers were idol worshipers. God did not choose Abraham because he was a great man. God chose him out of the good please of His will and in His abundant grace. This is the same way God chooses anyone. The answer in never found in man, but in the mercy and grace of God. God acts because of Who He is, not because of who we are.
Nov 25/06 - Joshua 23:15-16
Israel gained the promises of God but they were also warned that they would lose them when they broke the covenant. All the promises of God are conditional - as we study in the e-mail course: Covenants. Interestingly, both Moses and Joshua realized that Israel would break the covenant and inherit the curses.
Western society today is in the same place. We prospered nationally in covenant relationship with God. Now we have forsaken God, allowed His covenant to be broken. We have sought the strange gods of humanism, democracy, and eastern religions. If we continue in this direction, God will bring His curses on our nations until we are destroyed. The only way to change this is through confession, repentance, and a return to obedience to the law of God.
Nov 24/06 - Joshua 23:14
We are all going to face death. We may as well accept the fact. If we know Christ and have run a good race, then death holds no fears. It is the entrance into a better life - a life without pain and sin.
Also notice, once again, that EVERYTHING God promised Israel from the time of Abraham was fulfilled in the lifetime of Joshua. Scripture is clear. To claim that some of God's promises for Israel through Abraham have not been fulfilled is to deny Scripture.
Nov 22/06 - Joshua 23:12-13
If we give in to compromise God will no longer fight for us. We will be on our own...helpless in the face of an enemy seeking our destruction. In fact, as some famous ministries have discovered, compromise will lead to compromise until final destruction is inevitable. No matter how loudly they yell "Christian," God will not come to the aid of those who have forsaken Him unless there is repentance and a return to obedience.
Nov 21/06 - Joshua 23:11
We cannot afford to take our relationship with God for granted. We have to be careful and diligent to cultivate and develop it. If we do not make it a priority then other things will creep in and we will be side-tracked before we know it. Why do people and ministries who started out loving God fall into sin? They became distracted. Like Peter walking on water, they took their eyes off of God for a moment...and that is all it takes.
Nov 20/06 - Joshua 23:9-10
When God is on our side anything is possible. Winning at 1 to 1,000 odds is incredible in the world. In the Kingdom of God it is just standard ability. We expect nothing less. We never have to be afraid of the "odds" when we are fighting in obedience to God. It may look overwhelming, but God only laughs at the opposition. He knows their destruction is coming.
Nov 17/06 - Joshua 23:7-8
Sinners - including our own sinful desires - will tempt us to compromise our Christian beliefs and values. We must be very careful that God is our top priority. Our loyalty to Him must take precedence over everything: family, friends, employment.
Nov 16/06 - Joshua 23:6
Even though God would fight for them, possessing the land would require courage and obedience. Obedience is always a requirement for gaining the promises of God. In our own lives and nations, we have to stand in courage and obedience. It is easy to compromise when the Word of God is unpopular. If we want God on our side, we must stand firm on His side.
Nov 14/06 - Joshua 23:3-5
Because they had seen God fight for them in driving out many nations, they could be confident that God would continue to fight for them until the mission was complete. So Joshua divided up the rest of the land and instructed them to keep fighting until it was all theirs. God would keep His promise. Taking possession of the promises of God is not an easy task. But as we move ahead God will fight for us. He is the One who drives out the enemy if we will follow Him in faith. If we wallow in self-pity or fear, we will never enjoy the land.
Nov 13/06 - Joshua 23:1-2
No matter how great we are, we all grow old. The important thing is to grow old in the service of King Jesus. Like Joshua and many others, we need to keep our commitment to God strong all of our life. Sometimes it is tempting to get careless later in life. We think we can relax and retire. True, it is good slow down and enjoy life...but every Christian is on active duty until the day of death.
Nov 11/06 - Joshua 22:21-34
When the confrontation took place, it turned out that it was all a misunderstanding. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh had built the altar as a reminder of their unity with Israel not for sacrifice. They were afraid that in future years they would be rejected because they lived on the other side of the Jordan River. The altar would witness to their unity. When the rest of Israel heard the reason they were happy.
How often do we get upset because of a misunderstanding. We need to be careful to search out the truth and consider the other person's point-of-view. We need to have open ears. If Israel had not been willing to listen to the explanation, they would have gone to war. Many times wars and strife happen simply because we have made up our minds and we refuse to listen to the other side.
Nov 10/06 - Joshua 22:10-20
On the borders of the Jordan the departing tribes built an altar. The other tribes heard about this and were greatly upset. Here these people had been instructed to follow God and already they were rejecting Him. Notice, they did not just ignore the situation. They confronted the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh. How often do we ignore serious sins because we don't want to offend others or because we are just cowardly? Jesus also instructed that serious offenses must be dwelt with. Not only did they present a challenge, but they also proposed a solution. Pointing out a problem by itself is not enough. We need answers and solutions. How are we going to fix it?
Nov 09/06 - Joshua 22:7-9
The children of Israel grew wealthy in their warfare. Spiritually, as we take more of the land God has promised us, we are the ones who benefit. We experience more peace, joy, satisfaction, etc. The true riches become ours as we are willing to follow God through both good and bad times. Often God blesses in material ways as well.
Nov 08/06 - Joshua 22:5-6
The tribes that had their inheritance on the other side of the Jordan were especially reminded to keep the law and to love God. Being separated from the main body of Israel would be an extra temptation to divide and go their own way. They were reminded that they served the same God and had the same responsibilities.
Often we think of the Old Testament as being all law, but even in the Old Testament loving God was of prime importance. Loving God has always been a privilege and a requirement. Even in the New Testament Jesus said we prove our love for God by obeying His commands. Love and obedience go together. You can obey without loving, but you cannot love without obeying.
Nov 07/06 - Joshua 22:1-4
The Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh had fulfilled their duty. They had helped the rest of the Israelites to possess their land. Now they could return and enjoy their own inheritance. We all need to help each other. God designed us to be a unit and we need each other to reach our best. Sometimes we need group effort to achieve what God has for us, other times we need to relax and enjoy what God has given us.
Note: We will soon be coming to the end of Joshua. If you have suggestions as to the next Old Testament book to blog, please let me know via the contact button.
Nov 06/06 - Joshua 21:43-45
This is an extremely important section of Scripture. There are people today who claim that Israel never physically inherited the land God promised to Abraham. They build entire doctrines on this mistaken idea. Here, in divine Scripture, it very plainly states that Israel inherited everything promised to their fathers. Who were their fathers? Abraham [primarily], Isaac, and Jacob. Twice in these three verses God states that He gave them ALL the land He had promised. In the final verse God expands the statement beyond just the land. The Word of God states that EVERYTHING on the physical level that God promised to Abraham was fulfilled by the end of Joshua's life. Now who are you going to believe? God or teachers with different theories? My choice is made. For some of you, this paragraph will mean rethinking how you interpret large portions of Scripture. Don't be afraid to let go of any idea or teaching which contradicts Scripture. It is far better to have no explanation for a section of Scripture than to cling to a false interpretation.
Oct 28/06 - Joshua 21:1-42
The Levites were not given an inheritance in the land because they were to be focused on serving God; nevertheless, they were given cities and the surrounding property to live in. This pictures that our focus is to be on God. He is our inheritance...there could be none greater. It also shows that the people of God have the privilege and responsibility of seeing that full time ministers are well looked after. As Paul would later say, those who minister to us in spiritual things have the right to be blessed by us in physical things.
Oct 27/06 - Joshua 20:1-9
The Israelites had to appoint a certain number of cities as cities of refuge. A person who had accidently killed someone could flee and be protected from the punishment of murder. Of course, if it actually was a case of murder the city of refuge would not protect him. This is one of the few cases where it was important to determine the motive. Humanistic law places a great emphasis on motive, BIblical law discovers motive only to determine if a crime has been committed. If a crime - murder or otherwise - has been committed the reason why is relatively unimportant.
Oct 26/06 - Joshua 19:49-51
Joshua was rewarded with specific land. This is a principle in the Kingdom of God. Leadership deserves to be rewarded for their work before God. It is a shame for church to see how little they can pay their Pastors and staff. They should, instead, be seeking how much they can pay them. Pastors, church staff, Christian school staff, etc. should not be expected to live on "starvation" wages. They should be honoured for the work they do before God and man. Part of respect and honour is a willingness to sacrifice to see these people of God are well looked after. Ironically, poverty-stricken Christians often know this far better than their counterparts in wealthy countries. Missionaries can tell of people who would go without food themselves for several days in order to be able to honour them with the best meal possible when they came for a visit. In the West we are often so caught up with ourselves that sacrificing to met another's needs (unless we are emotionally stirred) is unthinkable. Shame.
Oct 25/06 - Joshua 18:2-19:48
Although the land was subdued in general, it was not all captured. Joshua had the remaining tribes scout out the land and then he divided it between them. It was up to them to go in and possess it. In the same way Jesus has purchased our "land" or inheritance in God but we have to go in and take it. The enemy doesn't want us to enjoy the fullness of our inheritance in God. We will have to go in, with the Holy Spirit, and drive him from the land God has given us. What has God given us? Read the Bible. All the promises of God are yours -both physical and spiritual - if you are a Christian. Explore your inheritance...and then gratefully take it.
Oct 24/06 - Joshua 18:1
The tabernacle, which had moved through the wilderness with the Israelites, was now placed in a stationary location at Shiloh. It would remain there until it was moved to Jerusalem under David. God has always wanted to live in midst of His people. Even in the New Testament He says that where two or three are gathered together, He is there.
Oct 23/06 - Joshua 17:11-18
The children of Joseph would have made good modern-day Western Christians. They complained about not getting enough, then didn't like God's answer. They wanted more of the country because they were a "great people." Basically, Joshua said, 'Fine. Go and take it." They didn't like that. They wanted it handed to them. They didn't want to have to work for it, let alone risk their lives. Joshua had no problem with faith. The enemy's iron chariots were immaterial to him. Since God had given them the land, nothing could stop them. The might of the enemy didn't matter, God was supreme. The children of Joseph, like many Christians, couldn't see that. Their eyes were on the iron chariots. Fear rose in their hearts to struggle with their desire for more land. They wanted blessing without struggle. It doesn't exist. If we are to succeed in what God has placed before us, it will take struggle. If our eyes are on the enemy's power, we will grow weak and fearful. If our eyes are on God, we will grow strong and full of faith.
Oct 20/06 - Joshua 16:1-10
The Ephraimites also failed in total obedience. They did not drive out the Canaanites that lived in Gezer. Instead they compromised. They taxed them. They wanted to benefit from them. This incomplete obedience was to cost the nation of Israel dearly. We can see this in our Western nations today. In the late 1800's compromises began to be made on the inerrancy of Scripture and the origins of the universe [creation vs evolution]. Some stood up but many compromised. Today we are reaping the results with abortion, homosexuality, corruption, and wide-spread humanism...even in the church. Unwavering obedience to the Word of God, regardless of cost, is the only way out of this mess.
Oct 19/06 - Joshua 15:20-63
The Jebusites lived in Jerusalem in the midst of the territory of Israel until David conquered Jerusalem. Why could the children of Judah not drive out the Jebusites? Had God not promised the victory? Scripture doesn't give us the reason but it could only have been from one of two things. Either they didn't have the faith to take it or they weren't serious enough to keep at it until it was conquered. How many times do we do the same thing? We allow the enemy a stronghold in our lives. Some bad habit or sin keeps tripping us up even though God has promised and won the victory. We have to believe God has given us the victory and we have to keep working on it until we have the victory. This is faith and works moving together.
Oct 18/06 - Joshua 15:18-19
Achsah worked with her husband to provide the best for her family. She asked her father to increase their inheritance. Land without water is difficult to farm and live on. Caleb generously gave the new couple both the upper and lower springs of water.
When we come to God with requests we need to come with the confidence of loved children. We are not to be demanding and proud, but neither are we to be whining and begging. This is our Father Who loves us and wants the best for us. We come with respectful confidence. We know that if it is indeed in our best interest, our Father is more than happy to grant our request. If fact, we may only ask for springs of water and He generously gives two springs of water. God delights in His children, even as we should delight in Him and use His blessings for the expansion of His kingdom.
Oct 17/06 - Joshua 15:13-17
This story sounds strange to Western ears. Caleb gave his daughter, Achsah, in marriage to the man who conquered Kirjathsepher. We must remember that all the men were Israelites, in other words, they were all believers. They were all well qualified to be her husband. Caleb was getting the best and bravest man for his treasured daughter. Achsah must also have agreed to this plan as the Bible does not permit forced marriage [which is different than arranged marriage].
Although parents cannot force their choice of a spouse on their child, they should look at the potential spouse carefully. Often the two "intended" are so emotionally involved [this is especially true if there has been physical contact or immorality - even kissing should be saved for marriage] that they cannot objectively look at the other person's character. Parents need to examine the potential spouse's character and advise their child. This needs to be done tactfully so as not to injure the parent/child relationship. How far a parent can go depends on the age of the child and the type of relationship they have. If the parent has not develop a good relationship during the child's growing years they will have an extremely limited influence on this life-changing decision.
Oct 14/06 - Joshua 15:1-12
Here we have a record of the different borders. Again this places us in history. This is not myth or legend. The details show us we are dealing with real people and real places.
Oct 13/06 - Joshua 14:12-15
At 85, Caleb wasn't ready to give up or to retire. God had promised him a land and he didn't care about the giants who lived there, the wall cities that stood against him, or his age. He was going to have everything God promised or die in the attempt. That kind of determination and courage is often lacking in Christianity today. If the way gets too hard we whimper, complain, and give up. God is looking for Calebs who will wholly follow the Lord Jesus Christ and take possession of everything that is theirs. Of course, it isn't going to be easy. There is opposition. We may be wounded. We must preserve. We must keep going. Victory is ours if we do not give up. We must have complete faith in the Word of God. If God said it, then He will work with us to attain it - as we wholly follow Him. Naturally, if we are following our own agenda we will be fighting on our own...and defeat is inevitable.
Oct 11/06 - Joshua 14:10-11
Caleb was 85 years old when he entered the land. He was just as strong and energetic as he had been at 45. Even through he had to wait 40 years to get into the land, God sustained him. God is able to look after us even through the most trying circumstances. We need to trust God at all times. Even old age cannot stop the plan and blessing of God.
Oct 10/06 - Joshua 14:8-9
Caleb and Joshua were the only ones who trusted God could take them into the Promise Land. The other ten spies caused the people to lose heart and destroyed a generation. Words are powerful. We have to be very careful that we are seeing things from God's perspective.
There is a reward for being faithful to God. Caleb was promised that, although he had to wander in the wilderness too, he and his children would inherit their portion of the Land. We are affected by the circumstances around us but no one can ultimately prevent us from having everything God wants to give us.
Oct 05/06 - Joshua 14:6-7
Caleb, who was one of the original spies, was not a natural born Israelite and yet he had more faith than any of the Israelites other than Moses and Joshua. Many times "new" Christians are more excited and "on fire" than people who have been Christians for years. It should not be this way - and it doesn't have to be that way - but often it is.
Oct 04/06 - Joshua 14:1-5
In the Old Testament often they would cast lots to determine the will of God. It was this way that the land was divided between the tribes of Israel. In the Old Testament era they did not have the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit to direct them. Now we have the Holy Spirit living in us to guide us. Believers never "cast lots" after the Day of Pentecost. It was no longer necessary. We are responsible to know God for ourselves.
Oct 03/06 - Joshua 13:22-33
Balaam finally met his end. He had reluctantly pronounced God's blessing on Israel and then proceeded to teach their enemies how to destroy them. Now he dies by the sword. The enemies of God will one day be destroyed. No one who stands against the Church of Jesus Christ will prosper long term.
Oct 02/06 - Joshua 13:14-21
The tribe of Levi received the greatest inheritance of all - God was their inheritance. What is our desire? Are we anxious to get all the good things of this life? There is nothing wrong with wanting to experience the blessing of God in a material way. God created the world for His children and His glory. Eleven of the twelve tribes received material inheritance and they worshipped and enjoyed God as well. But the tribe of Levi was to be focused on God, not to be distracted by the things of this world. If we truly want the best we will ask God Himself to be our inheritance and seek after that goal whether He adds or takes away material blessings. At the same time we are not to have a proud or critical spirit toward other Christians. Only a humble spirit can ask God to be his inheritance.
Sept 29/06 - Joshua 13:7-13
Some of the Israelites had chosen not to inherit land in the Promised Land. They liked the land on the wilderness side of the Jordan. They were not condemned for their decision as long as they helped the rest gain their inheritance. There is great variety within the body of Christ. Not everyone wants the same things. As long as people are operating within the boundaries of genuine Christianity and not fighting against other Christians, there should be no problem. We are to accept and support one another even in our differences [as long as they are within genuine Christianity]. Too much time is spent trying to make everyone like us. God didn't make everyone like us. We need to learn to get along and love each other anyway.
Sept 28/06 - Joshua 13:1-6
Joshua, like all of us, grew old in the fight and there was still much to do. They had conquered much territory and the land was under their basic control but not all the enemy had been conquered. They would need to keep up the fight until the very last enemy was defeated. Oft times we give up too soon. We settle with so much less that what God has for us. We grow weary and stop. We may need to rest but never let us stop until everything God has for us is in our possession.
Sept 27/06 - Joshua 12:1-24
Here we have a list of the kings that Moses and Joshua enabled the children of Israel to conquer. When we march in obedience to Christ and under His leadership, every enemy must fall. No one can stand against the united church. It may be a difficult battle - maybe even a generational battle - but victory will be ours in the end.
Sept 25/06 - Joshua 11:20-23
There are some people who, bent on making Scripture fit their theories, claim that Israel never inherited the land. Several times in Scripture - this is one of them - it specifically states that they did inherit the land promised to them. God made a promise and God kept His promise. In the time of Joshua Israel inherited the land promised to them. Joshua led them in and then divided the land among them.
God has promised us a spiritual land. Jesus defeated the enemy and as the Greater Joshua He leads us into inheriting all that God has for us. If we will be faithful and true, we will inherit all that God has for us. It will take work, sacrifice, and faith, but we can have it. God does not promise things He is unwilling to give. If God promised it, He will give it as we met the conditions. Israel failed to met the conditions the first time they came to the land and they spend 40 years in the wilderness. Let's not repeat their mistakes.
Sept 23/06 - Joshua 11:19-20
The Gibeonites were the only ones in the entire land of Canaan that tried to make peace with Israel. All the other cities/nations went to war and were destroyed. Every force that comes against the New Testament people of God - the Church - will be destroyed. Humanism, communism, Islam, etc. will all one day be destroyed because they have dared to attack the Church, which is the apple of God's eye. God will not stand idly by. In His timing He will require from them the blood they have shed.
Notice God was in control of this all along. He hardened the hearts of the Canaanites. They were locked into their war against God for the strengthening of God's people and the glory of God's Name. When we look at the forces against us we can take comfort in the fact that God is in control. Their opposition will only end in their defeat and the glory of God.
Sept 22/06 - Joshua 11:1-18
Again, kings united to destroy the Israelites. These heathen, demonic-inspired kings had well-trained and equipped armies. They even had chariots. There was no way the Israelite foot soldiers [they had no chariots] should have been able to resist let alone defeat this superior force. But things are not always as they seem. It is God Who turns the tide of battle. In our own wars we need to be confident that "one with God is a majority." There is nothing impossible to people of faith operating within God will's with purified lives. We need all three elements to be successful: faith, will of God, holy lives.
Sept 21/06 - Joshua 10:28-43
Joshua destroyed all the cities and their inhabitants. This is a picture of the problems and sins that are in our Promised Land. God has given us a spiritual kingdom but there are walled cities there. Sinful habits, desires, and temptations rages against us possessing all that God wants to give us. Often we tend to compromise - it's just a little sin. No, if we are to be victorious we must be ruthless with sin in our lives and in our sphere of influence. Sometimes it looks like the task is overwhelming but if we will get serious we may be surprised at how quickly God gives us the victory.
Sept 20/06 - Joshua 10:27
In the Law bodies were not to be left hanging overnight. Joshua in obedience made sure the kings were taken down in the evening. Hanging a body on a tree was also a statement of contempt for the Law stated that cursed was everyone who was hung on a tree. This is one reason why Jesus had to die on a cross - He took the curse for us. Each one of us deserved what these kings got and more, but Jesus redeemed us. We have now come out from under the curse and enter into the blessing.
Sept 19/06 - Joshua 10:22-26
Joshua is a type or picture of Christ. Jesus has defeated our enemies and He brings them out for us to share in His victory. Our Satanic enemies were defeated at the cross. We can go out in confidence that the victory is ours. We participate in His victory through faith. The enemy may look strong and invincible but we are assured that our feet will be on their necks if we will be strong and of good courage.
Sept 18/06 - Joshua 10:16-21
The five enemy kings hid in a cave. It wasn't a good hiding place because they were soon discovered. The temptation was then to stop and deal with the kings. Joshua was wiser than that. He would not be diverted from his purpose of defeating the enemy armies. The more that escaped to the walled cities, the harder would be the battles later.
When we are in the middle of success, the enemy will try to distract us. He will offer us something of lesser value, tempt us to compromise, or try to get us to lose our focus. Many Christians are knocked out of the war because they became distracted by secondary things. Joshua dwelt with the kings in their proper order, but he knew they weren't the number one priority right then. We have to find God's priorities and stick to them.
Sept 16/06 - Joshua 10:12-15
This is the only time the sun ever stood still. It must have taken an incredible amount of faith to ask for something that not only had never happened before, but also required a change that would have affected the whole world. This wasn't any private request either because Joshua asked "in the sight of Israel." They would know quickly whether God was answering or not. The fact God answered showed that Joshua was not acting in presumption. God had quickened in his heart what He wanted to do and Joshua spoke it out. Real prayer is like that. It is not us bombarding God with our wish list. It is learning God's will, speaking God's will in confidence, and seeing God bring it to pass in His timing.
This also shows that we can operate in confidence that God will provide us with whatever we need to accomplish His will in our lives and on the earth. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed. We need to be people who are governed by God's principles not our feelings. If God has asked us to do something He will also provide all we need to accomplish it.
Sept 15/06 - Joshua 10:8-11
God encouraged Joshua. Joshua was going to a major battle against overwhelming odds. When we are in the heat of battle or facing the enemy, it is good to have a word of encouragement. We need to be reminded that we are not fighting alone. Neither are we fighting in our own strength. In Joshua's case God even sent down giant hailstones which killed more of the enemy than Joshua's army. As we step out in faith God confirms His word. He steps in to make the impossible, possible.
Sept 14/06 - Joshua 10:6-7
Because the Gibeonites were in a covenant with the Israelites, they could call on them in time of need. The Israelites were required by covenant to come to their aid. Christians are in covenant with God and therefore with each other. [This is one reason we are to clear up offenses between ourselves daily.] We are to be willing to help each other. Even within the Christian family no one person can met all the needs, but God has placed people around who can. We are not responsible for everyone, but we are responsible for those God has placed around us.
The above is also one reason why God tells us not to be in partnership with the ungodly either in business or marriage. We then allow the ungodly to have a claim on the benefits of the children of God without confessing Jesus as Lord. Of course that doesn't save them but it does make a bond that God does not want. For people who were saved after a partnership was formed, God's instructions are not to dissolve it if the ungodly partner is willing to live with the saved partner's new commitments.
Sept 13/06 - Joshua 10:1-5
The Gibeonites had made their peace with Joshua but that made them traitors to the surrounding communities. There is no neutrality in life. We will be on one side or the other. Either way we will have enemies and friends. The only question is who is going to be our friends and who is going to be our enemies. Wise people are on God's side.
Sept 12/06 - Joshua 9:16-27
The people of Gibeon saved their lives but they became lifetime servants of the Israelites. Again they preferred forced labour to conversion. There are those who will not come to God even through they know the Truth. Some fight against God, others try to find ways to get around Him and still have their own way.
The children of Israel were angry with their leaders for making this covenant but they were bound by it. Our leaders will not always make the right choices but God expects us to follow them loyally unless they are leading into sin. God is well able to correct His leadership.
There is something I don't understand about this incident. Joshua and the leadership were deceived into making a covenant. The Gibeonites obviously expected the covenant to be kept even after the deception was discovered - which Joshua did. The question is why? Normally a legal agreement that is made under force or deception is void. Why was this covenant not void when the deception was discovered? If you have any ideas, send me an e-mail through the contact button.
Sept 11/06 - Joshua 9:3-15
The people of Gibeon were smart. They knew they could not defeat the Israelites in battle, but neither were they willing to convert like Rahab, so they decided to trick them into a covenant. They pretended they were from a far away country and asked Joshua and the leaders to enter into a covenant. Joshua and the leaders investigated as much as they could, came to what they thought was a good conclusion, and signed the covenant. They only forgot one thing...to ask God.
God does expect us to use our brains...that's why He gave them to us. On the other hand, we must never forget to take counsel of the Lord and submit our decisions to Him and His Word. Sometimes there are things of which we could know nothing but are of great importance to our decision. If we don't ask God we could be headed for big mistakes.
Sept 09/06 - Joshua 9:1-2
The Canaanites realized they had a problem. They were going to be destroyed one by one. They did the logical thing. They united together to be the destroyers instead of the destroyees. Was Joshua scared when he found out this huge army of well-equipped, well-trained soldiers was coming against him? There is no record of it. He knew God was on their side. The odds were unimportant. Besides, this would save time. Instead of having to attack each separately they could be attacked and destroyed as one unit. Sometimes God allows our enemies to unite - not to overwhelm us but to let us defeat them in one quick blow. Never be scared by the size of the opposition. God is bigger than any opposition.
Sept 07/06 - Joshua 8:32-35
Joshua knew how to follow orders. He was faithful to do all that he had been commanded. Notice that the law was read to everyone men, women, children, and foreigners living with them.
Formerly Christian countries today have been infiltrated with humanism. They have adopted the idea that everyone's religion is acceptable and that we must accommodate them. How foolish. They do this to weaken Christianity so that their religion of humanism can dominate. The law forbade persecuting other people for private religious beliefs but it did not compromise what law was the governing law. Everyone in a Christian country is required to live according to Christian law. Non-Christians are freely allowed their private beliefs as long as their public acts do not violate Christian law. Non-Christians have freedom to live, operate businesses, or do whatever with one restriction. They cannot be in government which includes the position of judges [i.e. they could be police officers who enforce the law but not judges who must interpret the law in concrete cases].
Sept 06/06 - Joshua 8:30-31
The stones for the altar had to be whole stones that no one had worked on. This shows that the way to God is totally of His making and His grace. There is no work we can do that will earn the right to worship or enter God's presence. We are forever dependent on His grace. We can only give back to God what He has given us in the first place. We have nothing in ourselves.
Sept 05/06 - Joshua 8:3-29
We are a people of formulas. We like to know the method and then we can feel in control. God is a God of principle but different methods. For Jericho they marched around the city seven times and then the walls came down. If they had tried that method with Ai, they would have been the laughingstock of Canaan. God had a different method for capturing Ai. They had to be sensitive and obedient to the Word of God. If you look at the miracles of Jesus, He used different methods to heal people - no set formulas.
Formulas are for the realm of science. They are how we understand and bring nature under control. God designed it that way. We are to have dominion over the natural world. But the use of formulas in the spiritual realm is often an attempt to bring God under our control. If we pray enough or fast enough or do something enough then God must do what we want. This is the same principle as witchcraft - the use of formulas to attempt to control the spirit world. We are to be submissive to God, not God to us. We follow God's orders, we don't give Him orders.
Sept 04/06 - Joshua 8:1-2
Now that the problem of sin had been dwelt with, they could continue on with God's agenda of conquering the Promised Land. We can never move ahead with God while habouring conscious sin. We must cleanse our lives and then God guarantees our victory, although there may be struggle and battle.
This time they were allowed to keep the spoil. If Achan had been patient he probably could have had more than his heart desired. When we disobey God and take for ourselves things He hasn't given us we end up in trouble [and usually debt]. If we will be patient and wait for His timing, we will be surprised at how generous He is.
Sept 02/06 - Joshua 7:21-26
`When there was no choice left, Achan confessed. He brought destruction on his family and everything he owned. Why did his family die as well? The Bible is plain that each person is responsible for their own sins not the sins of another. The answer is found in where the stolen items were hidden. Achan buried them in his tent. This means his family members knew what he had done and did not report him. They were just as guilty of the unnecessary death of those 36 soldiers as Achan was. This shows that where a crime or other violation of the Word of God has been committed family members are responsible to stand with the Word of God and report it. In the case of crime, they are to turn the offending members over to the law system. In the case of things like gossip, bitterness, backbiting, etc, they are to confront the person giving him an opportunity to repent, change his ways, and seek restoration with all offended parties. If the offending member will not change [assuming he/she is a Christian] then the procedures in Matthew must be taken. In no case can we ignore sin without condoning it and becoming partakers of it. If we have been guilty of this in the past we need to confess, repent, and move on. Our loyalty to the Word of God must be first. This does not mean we legalistically condemn every minor flaw in others. We examine ourselves first. We remain humble. We know that love covers a multitude of sins. But we must distance ourselves from unrepentant sins and criminal acts.
Aug 31/06 - Joshua 7:16-20
Joshua promptly followed through on God's instructions. Delayed obedience is disobedience.
I wonder how Achan felt knowing what he had done and watching it slowly narrowed down to him. Every time it got closer I'm sure he got more nervous. Still he did not confess until there was no choice. What he should have done is run to Joshua first thing in the morning with sorrow, confession, and repentance. He may still have lost his life, but he would have saved his soul. But there was no true repentance. Sin gave him the insane hope that he could escape the judgment of God. Impossible. Many people today continue in a lifestyle of sin hoping that God doesn't know, doesn't care, or isn't going to do anything about it. Sin is very deceptive. The day will come when the judgment of God arrives and it will be too late to repent. It is best to fall before God in genuine repentance now.
Aug 30/06 - Joshua 7:10-15
Joshua and the elders were weeping and sorrowing because of their defeat. They knew something had gone terribly wrong.
God's response was basically, "Quit crying and take care of the problem." He then went on to expose the sin and give them the steps of restoration. If Joshua had refused to take the steps he would have been partaking in Achan's guilt. When we allow sin in our midst - our life, our family, our church, our business, our nation - without condemning, judging, and forsaking it, we turn our backs on God. He will not be with us. He will allow us to stumble in our own ways until we are sick of ourselves. We will not be able to stand before the devil and his attacks. If we are always failing we need to look and see if there is hidden sin. The only way back is repentance.
If we side with someone in sin - even a family member - we stand guilty before God of the same sin. We must stand with God and against all who oppose him. It can be a real test of loyalty. Where does our highest loyalty lie? our family? our friends? our nation? Jesus Christ?
Aug 29/06 - Joshua 7:6-9
At least Joshua and the elders had the right response. They did not keep pressing on in pride and self-confidence. They fell on their faces before God in sorrow and humility. They knew the answer to their defeat lay with God, not with a bad military strategy. This was also the response of the Puritans who came to America. Whenever one of their communities suffered a famine, Indian attack, or other disaster, they would meet together and seek God to see why His protection had been removed. This should be our response as well. When bad things happen we should seek God for the cause and the solution. Many times [but not always] the cause is sin. This then needs to be confessed, repented of, and forsaken. Sometimes, like Job, the cause is not sin and we must patiently wait for God's timing in bringing relief. [Of course, as Joshua was later to learn, we should seek God at all times not just when bad things happen.]
Aug 28/06 - Joshua 7:2-5
After the great victory at Jericho, the people of Israel became overconfident. Ai was a small city so they thought they could take it without any problems. They were defeated
Often after a great victory in our lives, Satan waits until we relax our guard or get overconfident and then he attacks. The greatest lows often come after the greatest highs. This is not something to be afraid of but to be prepared for. We should not be taken by surprise.
This also shows us that we can't handle anything by ourselves. Both great and small problems need to be brought to God. In pride we like to handle things ourselves. Big mistake.
Aug 26/06 - Joshua 7:1
This is interesting. An individual, Achan [probably with the knowledge of his immediate family/friends] disobeyed God's command, but the children of Israel as a group came under the judgment of God. This underscores the fact that no individual is an island. Our actions - for good or bad - affect many others. Sometimes the collective actions of a small group can affect the destiny of a nation. [Homosexuals are a good example of this.] Joshua and Caleb were delayed getting into the Promised Land for 40 years because of the actions of others. We need to be pure and holy before God and encourage and instruct others also. We must stand for righteousness. Judgment on a nation or a group can never affect individual salvation. We can walk with and be reward by God even if others are in rebellion.
Aug 25/06 - Joshua 6:26-27
Joshua pronounced a curse on anyone who would rebuild Jericho. It had opposed the people of God taking their rightful inheritance so it was to be left a heap. Hundred of years later a man named Hiel discovered how powerful this curse was. He rebuilt Jericho and it cost him the life of his firstborn son and youngest son [1 Kings 16:34]. The things of God are powerful and not to be taken lightly nor is there a "statute of limitations" on the judgment of God. A person cannot out last or out run God.
What is the roll of curses today? The enemy perverts curses to attempt to destroy what God has made and to operate his kingdom. The curse of God activates the judgment of God on sin and the ungodly. The Christian and the pre-Christian will never experience the curse of God for Christ became that curse for us and bore its full penalty. The non-Christian lives under the curse of God which will one day be finalized in the lake of fire. Christians are called primarily to bless but they can curse what God has cursed. Ungodly institutions and people who rise against the Kingdom of God can be cursed, in other words, we can actively pray for their destruction. We have to be very careful that we do not pray against people simply because they have offended us or our nation - that is selfish and satanic - but if they are attacking the Kingdom of God or the Glory of God that is another matter.
Aug 24/06 - Joshua 6:21-25
The total destruction of Jericho shows that we are not to compromise with sin. Sin is not something we can play with. We must be committed to rooting out sin in our lives and in our sphere of influence. No longer does that involve killing people and animals [except as Godly civil governments enforce capital punishment for certain crimes]. But we can all bring down the Satanic lies that surround our lives and the lives of those around us. We can bring the light of the Truth into every situation.
Rahab and all her relatives in her house, of course, were spared. Rahab had changed sides when it was dangerous to do so. Hers was no easy conversion. In faith she had committed herself to God when it looked from the natural like a bad decision. Her faith was rewarded. She even came into the natural line of Jesus Christ.
Aug 23/06 - Joshua 6:20
Obedience and a shout of praise in faith and the power of God came down and destroyed the defenses of the city. The Israelites were able to march right in and destroy their enemies. The power of obedience and praise cannot be underestimated. No matter what enemy we face, no matter how strong they are, obedience to the Word of God and the voice of praise - before we have the answer - will bring the strongholds tumbling down.
Aug 22/06 - Joshua 6:15-19
Joshua followed God's plan exactly. Any deviation would spell disaster. God's plans do not contain optional elements. They are to be followed exactly. Saul discovered how fatal it is to change God's plans.
Jericho, as the first captured city, was to be dedicated completely to God. Like the tithe, it belonged to God. Taking any spoils would be theft from God. God is always first in our lives and our accomplishments. This helps us keep things in perspective and helps prevent selfishness and greed.
Aug 17/06 - Joshua 6:3-14
God gave the plan. It sounded foolish. March around the city with the Ark of the Covenant. On the seventh day, after marching around seven times, with a great shout the walls would fall down. That had never happened before. God does not lead us into familiar paths but into new, challenging ones. It takes faith to follow God's instructions. We have to stand on the raw Word of God trusting that He will do as He says.
Aug 16/06 - Joshua 6:1-2
The mighty city of Jericho with its strong walls and fortifications was prepared for siege. This was an important battle. Failure here would mean defeat and discouragement all along. It would mean that the Promised Land was impossible to attain. In the natural there no way the Israelite army would be able to take the city unless they starved them out which could take years. Nevertheless, God promised the city and its army to Joshua. Joshua believed God. If we are going to take our Promised Land we are going to have to believe God in spite of what our eyes see and our mind thinks. If we rely on appearances we will be defeated. If we rely on the Word of God we will be victorious. It really is that simple. [Notice I did not say easy.]
Aug 15/06 - Joshua 5:15
Like the Moses' encounter with God at the fiery bush, Joshua was instructed to take off his shoes because the ground was holy. The Canaanites had trod over this ground for hundreds of years. What made the ground holy now? The presence of God. Wherever God is, is holy.
We must always have a reverence for God. This reverence includes how we speak about Him, how we treat the buildings that are dedicated to His name, how we treat His ministers, how we treat each other, and even our attitude toward His entire creation.
As we launch into God's mission for us, we must keep an attitude of reverence and submission. This is not our war - whether we are talking about combating internal spiritual and mental conflict or evil and sin in the world in general. It is God's war and must be fought on His terms and in His way.
Why was Joshua instructed to loosen His shoe? The foot was made by God, the ground was holy. The shoe was a man-made object - good in its place - that separated man from God. We cannot allow anything, no matter how good, to come between us and God. As we enter the holy war, we must be totally focused on God. No compromise. No distractions.
Aug 12/06 - Joshua 5:13-14
As Joshua was walking by Jericho considering how to take this first important city, he saw an armed man. Joshua did not know who he was so he challenged him.: "Are you on our side or our enemy's side?" The man's response basically was: "Neither one."
We can get so wrapped up in the idea that God is on our side that we miss the bigger picture. The real question is: Are we on God's side? Many Christians are not. They profess faith but continue doing their own thing. They do not study the Word of God to see what God requires of them. They believe in grace without responsibility. Joshua was not like that. As soon as he knew Who the man was he bowed and waited for orders. All the truly great men and women of God have learned this lesson. They have declared themselves to be on God's side regardless of personal cost or benefit.
Aug 11/06 - Joshua 5:12
God had provided for the Israelites in the wilderness. In spite of their complaining, they had been fed, clothed, and sheltered with very little work on their part. They had basically been looked after like children. Now it was time to move from childhood to adulthood. There would still be miracles of God, but they would be different. God's miracles in the Promised Land would require courage and faith on their behalf or they would not happen. They would have to be mature. The benefits of adulthood over childhood are enormous but so are the costs.
There comes a time in our lives when God wants to move us from childhood to adulthood. It is not God's desire to have children forever. Unfortunately, some Christians refuse to mature. There is nothing wrong with childhood as a stage but when we don't grow beyond it there is something seriously wrong.
Aug 10/06 - Joshua 5:10-11
The blood of the Passover Lamb had gotten them out of Egypt. Now entering the Promised Land, the blood of the Passover Lamb was again shed before they advanced to take the land.
No matter how long we have been a Christian or how mature we may feel we are, we never get past the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything we have and can attain is based on His Blood sacrifice and the free gift of grace that applied it in our lives. We must never forget or lose our focus on Calvary.
Side note: Those who say God promised Israel the land of Palestine unconditionally forever - besides not understanding the Abrahamic Covenant - have forgotten that the only basis that anyone gets anything from God is the Blood of Christ. Those who move outside of Christ have forfeited all the benefits given by God - physically and spiritually.
Aug 9/06 - Joshua 5:8-9
The men had to wait until they were healed. Sometimes we rush into things before we are ready. We need to wait on God's timing. We need to be prepared. Sometimes there is healing that needs to take place in our lives before we can move to the next level in God.
Aug 8/06 - Joshua 5:6-7
Can the people of God come under judgment? Yes. The Old Testament children of God, the nation of Israel, originally refused to enter the Promised Land and all except two of the men of war of that generation died in the wilderness. Of course, not all of the children of Israel were "saved" but only the remnant who truly believed. In the same way, many people take the name of the New Testament people of God, Christians, who are not truly saved. They will met the judgment of God. Genuine Christians have been saved from final judgment because Jesus has already taken the judgment. However, they can and will experience the judgment and discipline of God in this world if they walk in disobedience to the Word of God. Jesus must be Lord not just Saviour.
Aug 7/06 - Joshua 5:2-5
Circumcision, as a sign of God's Covenant, goes back to the Abrahamic Covenant [see Covenants course]. There was no reason other than laziness or rebellion for the children of Israel not to have circumcised their children in the wilderness. Moses especially should have been sensitive to this point as he had almost lost his life on the way to Egypt for not circumcising his own sons. Nevertheless, they had failed to fulfill a condition of the Abrahamic Covenant. It was necessary to be in full covenant relationship before fighting in the Promised Land. If we are going to be successful in attaining everything God has for us and having the image of Christ formed in us we must be submitted to the total Lordship of Jesus Christ.
By the way, this circumcision was different from the pagan nations. The heathens used circumcision as a rite of manhood. The Israelites were to circumcise their boys on the eight day. Part of the reason for this it that it shows that God is the One who choses not man.
Aug 3/06 - Joshua 5:1
The kings in Canaan had the most advanced military equipment of the day. They were protected by walled cities. In the natural they had nothing to fear from the Israelites. But they had heard about the Jordan being dried up, they had heard about what happened in Egypt. They were smart enough to be afraid, but not smart enough to surrender. When we stand firm in God the demonic forces against us tremble. They know they are going down in defeat, but that doesn't stop them from doing their best to stop us.
Aug 1/06 - Joshua 4:20-24
Fathers are the ones primarily who are responsible for teaching their children the things of God and of life. These twelve stones would be an object lesson. It would ignite the curiosity of the children and give the fathers an opportunity to explain what God had done...and since He is always the same, what He would do in the future. We need to search for opportunities to create curiosity. People learn better when they want to know something rather than just having uninteresting information fed to them.
July 31/06 - Joshua 4:15-19
Israel crossed the Jordan by a miracle. Now they were in the Promised Land and the Jordan returned to overflowing its banks. They had reached the Point Of No Return. There was no going back now, no retreat. Like it or not, they were committed to the cause. Ahead of them were enemies who would do everything in their power to destroy. Both sides knew it was a war to the death. There would be no holding back and no compromise.
If we want to enter into all that God has for us, we, too, must reach the Point Of No Return. We must be totally committed to God regardless of the cost. The enemy with throw everything he can at us to destroy us, but God is on our side. We must not entertain the thought of retreat from the war [individual battles may require retreat]. There can be no compromise with sin or any of the enemy's plans. We must stand firm on the Word of God. We have to realize that we are in a war to the death and lives are at stake. How many lives are shattered because of sin's illusions? The truth must be known. It seems that we are out numbered and out gunned. That is only for the greater glory of God if we will stand firm.
July 29/06 - Joshua 4:10-14
So the people passed from the testing of the wilderness to the first step in possessing the Land God had promised. They had forty years of testing. They hadn't needed to spend that much time in the wilderness, but they had refused to go into the promised land the first time God had given them the opportunity. We will be tested, it is part of the necessary training for what God has for us, but sometimes we spend much more time there than we need to. If we complain, whine, rebel, have fear instead of faith, we will stay in the wilderness even if we live there our entire lives. The promised Land is for giant-killers, not whiners.
July 28/06 - Joshua 4:1-9
One man from each tribe took a rock from the bottom of the Jordan to build a memorial on the Canaan side of the Jordan. The past is important. Future generations could look back at those rocks and be reminded of the miracle that God had done for them. Our actions into the future must be firmly based on the past. To beginning with, everything we do is based on the work of Christ at Calvary. We can never forget that or allow our children to forget it. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the Rock foundation. There are other events and people who, in a lessor and imperfect ways, instruct and inspire our actions into the future. As a Christian, you have a great heritage. The saints of all the ages and all the nations inspire and instruct us as we move into the future. We can possess our land. Humanism can be defeated and the Kingdom of God can be seen on earth.
July 27/06 - Joshua 3:12-17
The Israelites stood beside the Jordan during flood season. There was no way across. It looked very foolish for them to pack up their tents, line up behind the priests, and march toward the Jordan. Onlookers would have thought they were crazy. And they would have been crazy except for one thing...they had the the Word of God through Joshua. As they stepped [literally] out in faith God preformed the same miracle He had done for Moses. This allowed them to cross the Jordan on dry ground and also confirmed to the people that Joshua was God's choice to replace Moses.
Sometimes following the Word of God can make us look foolish in the eyes of the world: you pay tithes! - you pay to send your kids to a Christian school when there is free public school! - you are honest even when it gets you in trouble or makes you lose money!... Faith combined with obedience will always be rewarded in due season [presumption will always fail]. Notice the Jordan did not part until the priest's feet touched the water. Sometimes God waits to the very last minute, but He is never late.
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July 26/06 - Joshua 3:11
Our Lord is the Lord of all the earth. This was a unique concept in the ancient world. To them gods were regional. Certain gods controlled certain things or certain places. To have a God over all the earth...! The claim of the God of Abraham was amazing. Sometimes we fall into the same trap. Although we would not say it with our mouths, sometimes we act like God controls some things but not others. Fear is basically lack of faith in the complete power and love of God.
July 25/06 - Joshua 3:8-10
Joshua was a man who heard from God. He was a man who studied the Word of God and heard the voice of God. He could; therefore, speak with authority and confidence. He did not come before the children of Israel with "I think the Lord said..." or "Maybe this is what we should do..." He was the Commander and he knew the word of God. He spoke with authority. When we truly know God we can speak from authority - not arrogance. Of course, we have to be honest. If we are unsure what God has said then we need to make sure our listeners are aware of our doubts. It would be unfair to them to present something as from God that is only coming from our own minds.
The other thing to note is that Joshua was the Commander. He declared the Word of God. The people did not come to him trying to force him to do their will. How many Pastors, for example, have members of their congregations coming to them demanding that they take certain actions because God "told" this certain member so? Certainly, Pastors should listen to the advice of their congregations - whether "from God" or not - but the final decision is the Pastor's. He is the commander under God of that particular part of the army of God. On the other side, if we feel we have heard from God on a particular matter or even just have some wise counsel, we should present it to our Pastor in humility - not pride. Then we leave it in his hands. We remain humbly submissive even if he does not take our advice. If we strongly feel he is making a mistake then private prayer - not public gossiping disguised as prayer - is our choice. After all, if the heart of the king is in the hands of the Lord, how much more the heart of our Pastor who also loves God.
July 24/06 - Joshua 3:7
Joshua didn't have to promote himself. God placed him in leadership and God would support him before the people. God would show the people that Joshua was the man of God. If God has placed us in a position of authority we do not have to fear man. God is more than able to keep us there as long as He wants us. Study the great men of the Bible - Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel - none of them was self promoting. They allowed God to defend them when attacked and to promote them when needed. If we have to fight for our position or to keep our position - in any area - then chances are God didn't put us there. There is great peace in allowing God to look after us. Helpful hint: If you see someone who is self-promoting - run!
July 21/06 - Joshua 3:6
The priests, with the presence of God, were to lead the people. We can make, at least, two major applications from this.
First, Christian leaders - Pastors, elders, deacons, CEOs of Christian organizations, etc - are to lead the way for the body of Christ. They are to set the example by being men and women of integrity. They are to study and know the Word of God for today. They are not to allow themselves to be distracted by immorality, dishonesty, sensationalism, or any other sin. They are to show Christian people how to walk in this corrupt world without becoming corrupt. Their eyes are to be on their Head - Jesus Christ.
Second, all Christians are priests. We are to lead the world in the ways of God. We are to be men and women of integrity - even if it costs us everything. There are to be no excuses - my leaders failed me, everyone is doing it, God didn't mean that in the "church age", you don't know how hard it is... No excuses. We stand before God and the world. We also stand between God and the world. If our communities and nations are corrupt it is because we are not doing our job. Light is always more powerful than darkness - when it is turned on. People in the world should be looking to us for examples of how to live successful lives. We should be the best workers in any company. We should be the most loyal and supportive citizens except where activities contradict our higher loyalty to God. Even then, we are to act with respect and honour.
July 20/06 - Joshua 3:5
If we are to move into the things of God, we will have to sanctify ourselves. To sanctify is to set apart. It means separating ourselves from the filth of the world. It doesn't mean that withdraw or develop a superior attitude. We use self-discipline and refuse to indulge in anything which would displease God. Even things which are not sin in themselves are handled with care. We can enjoy life but we do not get carried away with any activity. We keep our priorities on God. This certainly requires self-discipline.
The time of God's wonders and miracles is not past. God is simply waiting for a people who will set themselves apart for Him. When God finds that, He will move mightily. I believe it was D.L. Moody who said, "The world has yet to see what God can do through a man who is totally yielded to Him." God has done great things but greater are yet to come...if we are ready and willing.
July 19/06 - Joshua 3:2-4
The ark of the covenant, which represented the presence of God, was to lead them. This was going to be a time of new experiences but if they followed the ark they would not go wrong. If we follow God's path - it may be strange and confusing at times - we will not go wrong. We will be victorious in life.
At the same time, they were to keep at a distance from the ark. This shows that we are to respect our God. This includes respecting the Word of God and the House of God. I remember reading of a teenage girl [in China, I think] who was shot dead for refusing to spit on a Bible. I see how some people treat the church building as if it was an entertainment center - no respect or reverence. Yes, we have been brought into a family relationship with God as our Father. We can be comfortable in His presence but let us remember that our Father is the Holy God of the Universe. Let us make sure we treat Him and the things that relate to Him with respect and honour.
July 18/06 - Joshua 3:1
The time had come. Over 400 years previously God had promised the land of Canaan to Abraham, now was the time. They moved to the edge of the Jordan to be ready. When God is getting ready to move we need to be prepared. Those who are lazy or hang back might just miss it. Yes, we need to wait for God's timing, but we also need to be prepared and eager to press into everything God has for us. Let's not miss the next great thing God has because we are satisfied with our current position or consumed in reliving the glories of the past. The past may be great, like the time of Moses, but it is the past. We need to be constantly pressing forward using the past as a stepping stone.
Notice, Joshua rose early. He was not going to be caught sleeping when God was moving. Sleep is good and necessary but many of us are tempted to spend too much time in dream land. We must be active and make good use of our days. We never know when we will be living our last one...
July 17/06 - Joshua 2:22-24
It is one thing to get good advice, it is another thing to follow it. The spies were wise enough to follow Rehab's advice. Because of that they were able to return safely to their camp. Sometimes we are too proud to ask for or accept advice. We need to listen and evaluate what people tell us. Some advice will not be good and will have to be rejected, but it is wise to listen. You never know when a "gem" of wisdom will pop up.
The spies were able to encourage the people before they entered the land. Conquering Canaan was an impossible task without God and it was good to hear that God had already put the fear of them into the inhabitants. When we face impossible tasks, it is comforting to know that God has already gone ahead of us to prepare the way.
July 15/06 - Joshua 2:17-21
Not only did Rahab have to prove her commitment, but also she had to follow instructions. If she did not follow the instructions her life would be lost. The scarlet cord pictures the life line of the Blood of Christ. It is the blood of Christ that ultimately brings salvation, not works. Only those in the house of the Blood of Christ are saved, if they venture out into streets of the world their lives are in danger.
Faith and obedience go together. Yes, Rabah demonstrated her faith by courage but her works did not save her. She had to be under the scarlet cord of the Blood of Christ or her works would have been useless. Likewise, today there are many people who sacrificially work for the benefit of others. They may even risk their jobs or lives to help Christians in danger. Nevertheless, unless they choose - like Rahab - to come under the Blood of Christ their works have no eternal benefit.
July 14/06 - Joshua 2:15-16
Rahab was willing to go all the way. She didn't just hide the spies and then leave them on their own. She managed their escape and advised them how to avoid capture. Too many people begin well and then draw back. We need to be 100% committed. There is no back-up plan. It is all or nothing.
July 13/06 - Joshua 2:14
The spies granted Rahab's request. She and her family were to be spared in the coming war. She had placed herself under the protection of God and she was not to be disappointed. Jesus Himself was later to say that He would not reject anyone who came to Him. So Rahab the heathen harlot joined the covenant community. She became a hero of the Christian faith and was honoured with being in the line of Christ. How we finish the race of life is much more important than how we start. Many start well but get distracted before the end. Even Paul was concerned that he would "shipwreak" if he wasn't careful. If Paul could be concerned, we cannot afford to be careless!
July 12/06 - Joshua 2:12-13
Rahab had proved her commitment to the God of Israel. She had denied her own gods and her own people. They would have considered her a traitor. However, she was leaving an evil system to be joined to God. She had laid her very life on the line. Now she asks the spies to not only spare her but also her family.
God seems to delight in families. He likes to work in family settings. See how many times in the New Testament it talks about "and his household." It is God's desire to save entire family units. If we have unsaved family members, we can pray with confidence for their salvation.
Rahab invested everything she had to join the people of God. They knew she wasn't going to back out when the going got tough because she had already proven herself faithful through the tough times. One reason we have so many people leave the church or switch churches when difficulties come is that it cost them nothing to join. There was no commitment. This is a life or death operation, but often it is treated simply as entertainment. Jesus never made things easy for His disciples. I am not saying we go out of our way to make things difficult, but we certainly don't compromise Scriptural principles - such tithing and Christian education - to win people. We present the truth in love, but we don't beg people. Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords - He doesn't beg or plead. He offers forgiveness and restoration when we offer unconditional surrender.
July 11/06 - Joshua 2:8-11
The enemy knows the power of God. Satan and his forces tremble in the presence of a man or woman who knows their God. [They laugh at those who try to fight in their own strength.] However, that does not mean they surrender. They are totally committed to their agenda. They will fight like a cornered animal even when they know it is pointless - which is one, of several, reasons why there is no compromise with the enemy. It is a war to the death either way. Christians often concede ground to the enemy in order to have peace. Whether such compromising Christians realize it or not, they are still at war. We can be at peace with God and at war with the enemy or we can be at war with God and have a surface peace with the enemy. Either way we will always have war and peace, it is only a question of with whom.
Christians need to stand firm in the face of all odds. Often the enemy has more confidence in the ability of God than the Christians. One of the enemy's tactics is to scare or intimidate us into submission. It cannot work if we have a vision of how great our God is. It is the enemy who is trembling. Another of his successful tactics is to tempt us into living an ungodly lifestyle or keeping us in ignorance of what the Bible actually teaches. If he can do that, he knows we will be powerless before him. With Faith and Obedience the Christian army is unstoppable.
July 10/06 - Joshua 2:7
The searchers left the city and the spies were trapped.
Sometimes we can feel trapped by evil. It seems to be closing in on every side. We cannot see a way out. We must look to God, He will always provide a way. Help may, and probably will, come from an unexpected or unusual source.
July 08/06 - Joshua 2:6
Rahab didn't just risk her life by lying to the king's men but she also took positive action. She hid the men. Everyone's life was in danger but she acted courageously. When we really believe in the Kingdom of God we will risk everything to see it established on earth. It will take men and woman of courage. Men and women who think beyond their own lives and see the big picture. Men and women who are willing to act on Biblical principles even if if costs them everything. Islam has people who are willing to blow themselves up for their cause. Jesus has trouble even getting His people to tithe! Humanists attack the very foundations of Christian society...and the treasonous church helps them. If we would only start living the Word of God, there would be no power on earth that could stop us, but it takes courage.
July 06/06 - Joshua 2:4-5
Rahab lied to the king's men in order to protect the spies. Self-righteous Christians have condemned Rahab ever since. The Bible commends her. Generally speaking, lies are strongly condemned in Scripture but there are times when lying is necessary. [I've written a entire report on this subject.] The basic principle is that evil men bent on evil purposes have no right to the truth. If the truth would allow the promotion of evil then the truth must be withheld. The responsibility for the lie was on the men who forced her to lie to protect that which good.
Rabab the harlot courageously risked her life to join the people of God. She believed in God and was willing to abandon all she knew in order to become a part of God's people. We never know where help is going to come from; therefore, we should not be too proud to accept it from wherever it is offered.
Sometimes we get the idea that only naturally born Israelites could be saved in the Old Testament. Not true. Anyone, like Rahab, could join them. Likewise, in the New Testament where the people of God are the Christians, anyone can join. A person's nationality or social status is not important. The only requirement is to come to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. If God has accepted someone, we have no right to reject them. They have become a blood brother with all the rights and responsibilities thereof.
July 05/06 - Joshua 2:2-3
The enemy has his own intelligence service. The king discovered there were spies in the city and set about to destroy them.
When the enemy knows we are serious, he is scared but he is not going to run up the white flag. He will fight. He is very serious about retaining his position. If he can intimidate us into backing down, he has won. We must be more serious about taking the land than he is about holding it. After all it is ours by the right of promise. The Blood of Christ has secured it. We have to be firm regardless of the cost.
July 04/06 - Joshua 2:1
God had promised Canaan to Joshua and the Israelites. He was fighting for them. However, Joshua didn't just rush in and arrogantly demand the land. He didn't put his soldiers or people carelessly in harm's way figuring God would look after them. He took time to gather intelligence. He considered the situation.
The kingdom of God is to expand until it fills the whole earth as the waters cover the sea. The meek before God [Christians] have been promised the earth. Satanic humanists control large portions of it. Other parts are controlled by different kinds of Satanic inspired leadership. How do we move them out? Not by being arrogant and foolish.
Gary North has a saying, "You can't beat something with nothing." Christians often want to fight evil but they have nothing righteous with which to replace it. For example, if we don't like the State policy on a subject, have we thought out what the truly Biblical policy would be or are we simply trying to replace one humanistic policy with another humanistic policy of our preference? Our preferences have no place in this battle. The thing that matters is what is taught in the Word of God. Many Christians march into this battle with the promise of God on their lips but otherwise unarmed because they have rejected large portions of the Bible as being irrelevant for today. They wonder why they are defeated. They are marching into the land without planning or thought. Their only idea is to get rid of one evil but they either have nothing to replace it with or they want to replace it with another evil. They are, in many ways, unwilling to pay the price to line their lives up with the Word of God.
Other Christians don't even bother to fight. Their only hope is to hold on until Jesus returns to rescue them. They are in for a big disappointment. Jesus in not returning on a rescue mission. As the Commander-In-Chief of the armies of heaven, He has given them all the tools and resources they need to fight and win. He will not be impressed with soldiers who refuse to fight. Like the man with one talent, no excuse will be accepted.
July 03/06 - Joshua 1:16-18
The people [although this is speaking specifically of the 2 1/2 tribes who had already received their inheritance] were united behind Joshua. They recognized that God had appointed Joshua to follow Moses and they were supportive. They knew, unlike many Christians today, that if they were going to accomplish anything they would have to stand united. In fact, rebellion was punished with death. Disunity would destroy or murder them so it was a capital offense.
We may not always agree with the leaders God places over us but, as long as they are not leading into sin, we are bound to obey them. We can disagree in a respectful way but always reassuring them of our love and support. We are builders not destroyers. If we are to build, we must work together. The sooner rebels leave the church - voluntarily or involuntarily - the better.
Part of the problem is that churches fail to distinguish between Christians who have been genuinely hurt and those who are rebels. Whenever a Christian leaves one church to join another, in the same community, the receiving church should diligently discover why they are changing churches, If it is because they are unsupportive of their current leadership they should be told to return to their original church, repent, make restitution, and submit their lives to the leadership God has placed over them. Churches must learn to work together and support each other. Pastors should be able to count on each other to support their decisions unless the decision/action can be proven to be contrary to the Word of God.
July 01/06 - Joshua 1:15
Team work is required as we build the Kingdom of God. We need to support one another whether or not we are in total agreement. As we work together, everybody wins and the Kingdom of God is built in the earth. Righteousness expands and evil shrinks. When we are fighting among ourselves, evil expands and righteousness shrinks. For example, in North America, humanism rules the public schools. They are actually North America's largest church with the teachers being the priests and priestess of the religion of secular humanism. The whole system would collapse and countless lives be spared the indoctrination of evil if every Christian pulled their own children out of the public system. It would help even more if every Christian then refused to pay property tax to support such an ungodly system. If Christians were to truly work together evil in any area could be stopped or greatly hindered. But team work is not something we are good at...yet. When Christians can't even agree on basic issues like abortion and homosexuality we have a long way to go. The entire Word of God must once again become our only Standard.
June 30/06 - Joshua 1:12-14
The Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh had already received their inheritance. Joshua reminded them of their commitment to help their brothers conqueror the land.
With the realm of Christianity there are differences. Even through we all love the same Lord, not everyone has the same objective. Some are satisfied with less than the fullness of God's promises. We are not to criticize those who are different. Those who are going in to possess the fullness of the Kingdom and promises of God are not to look down on those who are happy where they are. The redeemed are all equally loved and treasured by God. On the other hand, those who are happy in their current place are to support and encourage - and even go to war for - those who are pressing into the Land. They are not to discourage or hinder anyone who wants to go further. We are a team and we are to work together in spite of our differences. Whenever we are divided, Satan laughs.
June 29/06 - Joshua 1:10-11
Some people have thought of Canaan as Heaven and the Jordan as death. You pass through death to come to the land of promise. I don't think this is the idea being presented. There was struggle, blood shed, and death in Canaan. When we get to Heaven the war is over.
Instead, Canaan pictures the Kingdom of God and the promises of God. It is all there for us. God has provided and promised it to us, but we have to get off our seats to go and take it. There is powerful opposition. Satan and his forces do not want us expanding the Kingdom of God - thereby shrinking his own kingdom. He does not want us to live victorious lives. There will be war. We need to be baptized in the Jordan of the Holy Spirit to enter into all that God has for us.
This may mean leaving our friends and companions behind on the far side of the Jordan. There are always many Christians who would rather sit in the wilderness and gaze longingly into the Promised Land than pay the price to actually possess it. Day dreaming appears to cost little [the costs are hidden - a wasted life], reality costs everything we have but the benefits are enormous.
June 28/06 - Joshua 1:9
Again - strength and courage. There is no way we can accomplish what God intends us to accomplish in this life without strength and courage. The good news is that God is always with us. He does not send us out to battle alone. He goes with us every step of the way.
June 27/06 - Joshua 1:8
The book of the Law was Deuteronomy, although it could refer to all the books of Moses. Joshua was not just to study the Law but to mediate on it. He was to give time to thinking and re-thinking about it. It wasn't to be a haphazard occupation. Even as he was working on other things, the Law was to be rolling about in the back of his mind. This was vital for his success.
I wonder how many Christians today have even read the book of Deuteronomy. Through case law [see Life Line e-mail course] the Bible - especially Deuteronomy - gives us the answers to the problems we face as individuals, organizations, communities, and nations. We will never come up with God's answers if we are not investing the time to mediate and understand His Word. If we don't have God's answers we will ultimately fail. Ever wonder why Western governments spend billions on poverty relief but the problem only gets worse? Ever wonder why the public schools cannot educate children properly? Ever wonder...? The answers are all in the Bible. We either don't have the diligence to search them out or don't have the courage to apply them.
June 26/06 - Joshua 1:7
Obedience to the Law of God requires strength and courage. Many Christians today are weak or deceived. They avoid the Law of God. They make excuses for disobeying the Law. They claim the Law is not for us today. They set up a false problem by claiming we do not have to keep the Law to be saved. That is a smoke screen. Nobody in genuine Christianity has ever claimed you had to keep the Law to be saved. Even in the Old Testament they didn't keep the Law for salvation. Salvation has always been on God's grace alone.
The fact that we are not saved or kept by Law does not give us license to break it. The Law is God's standard of righteousness. The more we love the Law and come closer to keeping it, the more we grow in God and prosper in everything we do. Our success is linked to our obedience. [See the Life Line e-mail course.]
June 24/06 - Joshua 1:6
The foolish say Christianity is for the weak. They think God is a crutch. They have never tried it. Real Christianity requires strength and courage. It draws more out of you than you ever knew you had. It takes you beyond your limits and into the realm where only God can work. It means standing firm on the Word of God when all your friends - and even your own desires and emotions - scream to do something else. Those who accomplish the will of God in their lives are not weak. They are pillars of strength. The weak ones are those who come whining to God everytime something upsets their precious plans. Like the children of Israel in the wilderness, they never look past their own desires and needs. That is not real Christianity.
Notice God declared Joshua would be successful before he even fought his first battle. Likewise, no matter what opposition we face, we can know we will be successful if we stick to God's plan. It is only when we follow our own ways that we get into trouble. But it takes courage to stick to God's plan when it doesn't make sense to our mind.
June 23/06 - Joshua 1:5
Joshua was stepping into some big shoes and had an impossible assignment. He had to take his army of poorly trained soldiers against the most militarily advanced armies of the day. Add to that the fact that his opponents were demonized and you can see why he needed encouragement! God promised that every foe would fall before him and that He would never leave nor forsake him no matter how bad it got. Jesus gave the same encouragement to His disciples.
As Christians we tend to look at the forces arrayed against us. They are powerful. The humanists have captured and control the State, the education, the media, the army, and, in many cases, the Church. Could anything be more hopeless? Our solution is often to compromise in order to work out the best deal we can. But when we do that, we lose God as a partner. If we stand against all odds on the Word of God, God will be with us and our enemies will fall.
June 22/06 - Joshua 1:3-4
These two verses show the partnership between God and man. God owns everything and He gives it as He wills; however, we have to go in to possess the land. God gave the Land to Israel and it was theirs, but if they had simply camped by the side of the Jordan they never would have possessed the Land. It would have been a nice, fancy promise but no practical good.
God has given many promises in the Bible - from Genesis to Revelation. They belong to the Christians. It is all given to us by God through Jesus Christ. Many Christians read the promises of God and believe them but never enjoy them. They camp by the side of victorious Christian living and look longingly into the Land. They see others experiencing the promises of God and wonder why they never do. They want God to hand everything to them. No, they need to keep off the seat of inactivity and, by faith, begin acting on the promises of God. There will be opposition - strong opposition - but God will see they inherit the promise if they go and get it. God does not reward laziness. Step out in faith and see what God will do.
June 21/06 - Joshua 1:2
Moses was a great leader, but he wasn't the man to take the Israelites into the Promised Land. Even the greatest people have their limits. The wise learn their limits and aren't afraid to work with others who can build on their foundation and surpass their limits. It is only when people focus on their own glory instead of building the Kingdom of God that pride comes in and destroys what was built.
We can also see that the land belonged to God. God owns the entire universe and can dispose of it as He sees fit. We are to keep our eyes on God. It is from Him that all good things come.
June 20/06 - Joshua 1:1
Some of you, from years back, may remember that when I first started The Joshua Club many of the newsletters where based in the Book of Joshua. It is a fantastic Book which pictures spiritual warfare principles for our own day. I trust will enjoy this blog.
Moses died. Even the greatest men of God die and life goes on. Moses had been wise enough to prepare a leader to follow him. Many leaders fail at this point and their ministry struggles or disappears after they die. A leader must have a multi-generational plan. Joshua himself failed on this point and did not have a replacement ready. It was then they moved into the dark days of the Judges.
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