Friday, October 7, 2011

Joshua 9-12 October 6, 2011

In the last two chapters of Deuteronomy, Moses addresses all the people before his death in blessings and song.  Chapter 32:4 KJV He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
Ladies as your Teaching Director and God’s spokesman I hope you can say as the Widow at Zarephath said to Elijah. “Now I know that you are a (man) of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth.” 1 Kings 17:24
*There are 228 instances of the word truth in the NIV 1984 version of the Bible.
Psalm 119:30 I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.

Zechariah 8:16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts;
·        Who lies for you will lie against you. ~ Bosnian Proverb
·        No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar. ~ Abraham Lincoln
·        A half Truth is a whole lie. ~ Yiddish Proverb
Billy Graham in his devotional Hope for Each Day “Many today say there is no such thing as absolute truth. From philosophers to pop musicians, the word goes out that “truth” is only what you want it to be, and what is “true” for you isn’t necessarily “true” for anyone else but Jesus Christ is absolute truth.” “Do not be mislead by the moral or spiritual relativity of this age. God has revealed His Truth in His written Word, the Bible, and in His living WORD, Jesus Christ. And because Jesus is absolute Truth, you can depend on him absolutely.”
In this lesson we learned what happened when Joshua and his men failed to discern the truth: They were deceived and made a treaty that ultimately would damage the nation. God will give you discernment—don’t be deceived!
Deceived by Man-
·        Gibeonites heard of LORD God of Israel
·        Deceived Joshua and leaders
·        Israel forgot to seek God’s counsel
·        Joshua honored oath

Joshua 9 3 However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they resorted to a ruse:   But Joshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from?”
 9 They answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the LORD your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan—11 And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; make a treaty with us.”’ 12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13 And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey.”
14 The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD. 15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.
·        According to Eastern custom, by eating bread and salt with a guest you indicate that you have received them as a friend.  Explorer’s Bible Study
16 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them.
·     You would think after the embarrassment of Ai that Joshua would have learned to seek God for wisdom.  
Psalm 3:6-7 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;   in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders, 19 but all the leaders answered, “We have given them our oath by the LORD, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. 20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them.” 21 They continued, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community.” So the leaders’ promise to them was kept.
 24 They answered Joshua, “Your servants were clearly told how the LORD your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this. 25 We are now in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and right to you.”  26 So Joshua saved them from the Israelites, and they did not kill them.
·        Just as Rahab did the Gibeonites had heard of the LORD God of Israel, His power, and His promise to give all the land to the Israelites. They feared extermination so they deceived Joshua and the leaders with this clever deception.
·        Weirsbe notes that we have no indication that the Gibeonites caused the Israelites any further trouble. It appears they accepted Jehovah as their God and worked on the tabernacle.  
·        Explorer’s Bible Study “All that was involved with Israel and the Gibeonites, as with Rahab and the spies, was that it is not what we are but what we become through the grace and mercy of God that matters. No record exists of their or their descendants ever betraying this trust. Neither is there any record of the Gibeonites ever influencing Israel into idolatry."
·        To his credit, Joshua honored the treaty and did not break the oath he made in the name of the LORD God of Israel.
Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them and caused a famine in the land. 2 Samuel 21:1, 2b And there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David sought the face of Jehovah. And Jehovah said, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he put to death the Gibeonites.  
Christians this should be a warning to us. Like the nation of Israel, we have enemies that try to deceive us and discredit our witness for the Lord. Whether it’s our own sin, the devil using others to attack us, or the lure of the pleasure of this world, we must never act impulsively and rush into compromising situations that will dishonor Christ.
·        1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
·        2 Corinthians 11:14 … for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
·        1 Peter 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
·        Ephesians 6: 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Remember, ask God for discernment so you can accomplish His will and not be deceived!
Divine intervention-Joshua 10
·        Brings confusion
·        Hailstones
·        Joshua asks for more daylight
·        Never before or since
 (slide of hail from heaven)The five kings of the Amorites
 10 The LORD threw them into confusion before Israel, who defeated them in a great victory at Gibeon. 11 As they fled before Israel on the road down, the LORD hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.  12 On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel:
   “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on[
b] its enemies,  as it is written in the Book of Jashar.
·     The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!
·     How was the length of this day extended?  It could have been a slowing of the earth’s rotation; it could have been a tilting of the earth’s axis; it could have been a miracle of reflection of light; it could have been simply the presence of God manifested in light.
·        Ladies I don’t have to understand how God accomplished this miracle. He spoke the universe into being.
Genesis 1: 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.
Whatever it means, the result was clear.  The sun seemed to stay still in the sky, and Israel was able to complete the victory.
Truth or Fiction: I’m sure many of you have heard a story from the pulpit, printed in your church bulletin, or passed on the internet how NASA found a missing day while running a computer program. With help from a Bible they combined accounts of Joshua 10:10 and 2 Kings 20:1-11 to find the missing day. (King Hezekiah asks for a sign from Isaiah to make the sun go backwards.)
 My nephew Lucas, actually took a course at USC Charleston on Urban Legends. That began my education into Internet e-rumors. Several sites I use for debunking falsehood are Google in less than a half a second (.11 of a second) you can find numerous links to information. My favorite is Snopes. Husband and wife team, Barbara and David Mikkelson with over 15 years' experience as professional researchers and writers, created in 1995. Appearing on 20/20, ABC World News, CNN Sunday Morning, as well as profiled in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and an April 2009 Reader's Digest feature ("The Rumor Detectives.")
Charles A. L. Totten in 1890  used scripture and calculates total of 24 hours by his estimates the date of creation  Joshua's Long Day and the Dial of Ahaz: A Scientific Vindication
The Harmony of Science and Scripture, first published in 1936, Harry Rimmer devoted the entire last chapter to “Modern Science and the Long Day of Joshua.” using Totten’s work
October 1, 1958, the official start of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Harold Hill, businessman turned author, speaker, humorist tells the NASA story in his book
How to live like a King’s Kid

Refuted by Truth Magazine; Christianity Today in 1970
Now I want to address our responsibilities as Christians today.
"Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good" 1 Thessalonians 5:21
 "Whatsoever things are true ... think on these things" Philippians 4:9

 Determined by God-Joshua 11-12
·        Depraved
·        Debased
·        Detestable
·        Defiled
·        Degenerated
CH. 11: 12 Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded. 13 Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds—except Hazor, which Joshua burned. 14 The Israelites carried off for themselves all the plunder and livestock of these cities, but all the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed. 15 As the LORD commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.
Joshua 10 - 12 sites an amazing account of Israel’s glorious victories over her enemies. Chapter 12 even provides a list of all the defeated kings. Even against overwhelming odds, Israel defeated every single enemy army. However, in this summary of victories, there is one exception, and it stands out like a sour note in a concert. The “except” is in 11:19 which reads, 

 19 Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle.

Verse19 tells us- For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses.

We cannot understand the “seemingly” cruel and senseless extermination of the Canaanites. But God’s indisputable and Holy Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 6-7, Israel should not intermarry for they would turn His people to serve other Gods.
·        Isaiah 55:9 For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
·        Proverbs 14:12 12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
·        Ezekiel 33:11 “As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live”
John 3:16 is quoted by preschoolers and other nations around the world but the following verses are not as well-known.
John 317 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.[g] 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
Remember to take the time needed before making decisions that bind you. Keep in mind that you may regret a hasty answer and then have no way to back out gracefully? Be reminded that every decision you make has consequences?

Will you choose to ask God for discernment in all you do or say?
John 8:32 You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.
Closing Prayer