Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Joshua 19:51 These are the inheritances that Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the heads of the fathers' houses of the tribes of the people of Israel distributed by lot at Shiloh before the Lord, at the entrance of the tent of meeting. So they finished dividing the land.
            The first 19 chapters have consistently presented God’s promise to Israel of the land and the demands of the Word for life in the promised land. These five final chapters reflect on the beginnings of their life in the land and Israel’s first steps of obedience. In obedience to the Law given to Moses, Israel begins to separate themselves from the surrounding nations.

            The way of life for Israel entails provisions for the underprivileged of their community. Those suspected of murder are provided for in a judicious manner. The Levites, those committed to serving God and the people in the Tent of Meeting, are given special provisions from the entire community.

            Only as Israel begins this life of obedience under the Mosaic Law will they realize the future blessings of God. In obedience Israel will begin to see the hand of God at work in their community. Lives throughout the tribes will begin to blend together as all work towards the common goal of obedience to God. The covenant people live in covenant relationship to their God.

Monday, March 30, 2015


Joshua 18:2-3 There remained among the people of Israel seven tribes whose inheritance had not yet been apportioned. So Joshua said to the people of Israel, “How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?”
            Here we find Joshua scolding the seven tribes who have failed to take control of the land. The seven lazy tribes lack courage to do as Joshua has commanded. He uses the example of the two stronger tribes, Judah and Joseph, to motivate these tribes to act as they had been instructed.

            Success is there for the taking. Without acting they could not realize the promise made by God to Moses and Joshua. How often has Israel been promised a blessing but finds many a reason to not reach-out and take what is promised. Joshua even points out the tribe of Dan who lost their possession to the Canaanites. Later they are able to fight and acquire a different territory for their possession.

            Obedience to God involves action at the place where God has shown himself ready to meet his people. The tent of meeting is where the divine will is found. Israel cannot simply receive the gifts directly from the hand of God. She must do her part. Laziness and procrastination are not traits of the obedient and faithful.

            Having received the land, Israel is called to a life in the land. It is a life of peace in a land under their control. This is God’s desire and God’s provision. The land was given to an obedient people. When the land is lost, they cannot blame God. Israel must measure her own life by the standard set up by God in the beginning.

            This chapter makes clear to us today that success is conditioned on obedience, on faithfulness to the Word of God. When we are not willing to march forward at God’s command we cannot talk of God as our God. We can only speak of him as the God of others. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Joshua 15:63 But the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the people of Judah could not drive out, so the Jebusites dwell with the people of Judah at Jerusalem to this day.

 Three verses in chapters 15-17 depict a hidden problem. The Israelites were to purge the lands they conquered. God had directed them to kill all the inhabitants of the lands. Total obedience to this matter of conquest was important to God. Trouble would follow their failure on this. .

We see that in this verse, Judah failed to drive out the Jebusites from Jerusalem. The Jebusites live among the Israelites, not as subjects but as fellow residents of the territory allotted to Judah. We can only presume that their daily lives and their families intermingled socially. The false beliefs of the Jebusites could have also influenced the Israelites.

In 16:10, the tribe of Ephraim did not dislodge the Canaanites from their allotted territory.  They remain living among God’s people. The written account notes, however, that they are required to do forced labor for the Israelites. The Israelites assumed that forced labor was sufficient obedience. In 17:12-13 we find the tribe of Manasseh unable to fully occupy their territory. The Canaanites were determined to live in that region. They did not care that Israel’s God had told them to conquer the land. The best Manasseh could do was to place them into forced labor.  

It is easy to listen to God’s commands and give mental ascent to His will. But to live our lives in total submission to Him requires faith, trust. It requires that our reasoning be displaced with a total willingness to do what seems out of sorts to do. God wanted the inhabitants of the land destroyed, killed, eliminated.

Israel rationalized their way around this by forcing them into labor, leaving them in a small encampment outside the town or only destroying their leaders. Any rationalization is a failure to do as God had directed. Sin has subtly had its way into the camp.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Joshua 17:17-18 Then Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, “You are a numerous people and have great power. You shall not have one allotment only, but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.” 
            Long lists of boundaries and cities make us want to skip over the passages in Chapters 15-17. If we do this we will miss an important message for us. In these chapters we find the final fulfillment of the command to Joshua in 13:6-7.

            The distribution of the land was equitable and detailed. The easy part was dividing it between the tribes of Judah and Joseph. Joseph’s share is further divided between Manasseh and Ephraim. The more difficult part was accepting the responsibilities that ownership of the land required.

            Joshua carries out the promises of Moses by making the distribution. Those receiving the land were responsible to accept it as given. The tribe’s leaders were responsible to solve any dissatisfaction among their people. They had to accept to make a living space available for the Levites, a tribe without ownership of land. Ownership involved the challenge to fight to gain and retain the land allotted to them. They were to displace other peoples to take full ownership.

            Israel now experiences the blessings of God. Ownership of the land brought continued challenges and responsibilities. This fact gives us the problem that faced Israel for the rest of her history. Israel had to choose to be obedient to God in facing these challenges of ownership.

          Or they could choose to avoid the challenges and responsibilities of the blessing. Failing to meet them as God had instructed would cause them to one day lose the land and be cast into exile.

Friday, March 27, 2015


Joshua 14:10-11 [Caleb said to Joshua:] “And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old.” 

            Caleb was one of the men that accompanied Joshua on his mission to spy on the Land for Moses. Throughout Joshua’s ministry Caleb was beside him, a silent partner in fulfilling God’s will for the people.

            God’s divine blessing on Caleb is seen in that his age has not weakened his strength or zeal for the Lord. Caleb has been obedient to both Moses and to God. In return for his faithfulness Caleb will now receive the land he had been promised. Caleb is our example of the faithful leader, who is totally loyal to God and to God’s chosen leaders, Moses and Joshua.

            We see that the entire process of land distribution followed the pattern and written traditions of the book of Numbers. Joshua acts in accord with the instructions God had given earlier to Moses.  The right person, Joshua, distributes the land. The proper persons receive the land.  The excluded people were sent to other properties. The priests were privileged to receive no land and had their interests and needs provided for by the people.

            The work of dividing the Land was not an arbitrary act. It was in accord with God’s will as given to Moses over forty years earlier. Joshua was faithful to conquer and then to distribute the Land God intended for Israel.

            Two major points are important for us today. First, life in all its dimensions is to be lived according to the plans set forth by God, not by the greedy, selfish plans designed by man. Blessings come ultimately to the man or woman who is totally following God.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Joshua 13:1, 6 Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the Lord said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess… I myself will drive them out from before the people of Israel. Only allot the land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have commanded you.” 

            This chapter is a dividing point in the book of Joshua. Israel as they move from a people fighting for the land to a people living in the land. Joshua’s job now is no longer to point to future blessing but to teach proper life style for those who possess the blessing.

Before that can happen, the land must be divided among the tribes and settled. The remaining areas to be conquered will be the work of God himself. But for now, the Land of Promise will be shared with the inhabitants of the land.

After the aged Joshua passes from the scene, new leadership will be needed to rid Israel of the menace of the remaining peoples to the north, west and south. God will choose that leader.

Joshua is the leader who did just what Moses said and just what Moses did. As a result, he experienced the divine presence just as Moses had. Now Joshua will divide the Promised Land among the people to whom Moses had promised. God is seen as having been with Joshua.

 Joshua is shown to be the leader with conviction and courage. He serves as an example to all generations of the rewards of obedience to God and his chosen leader.

The theological lesson from this chapter calls us to obedient, courageous leadership for the tasks of life ahead, while maintaining encouragement on the basis of the past faithfulness of God.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Joshua 11:19-20 There was not a city that made peace with the people of Israel except the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon. They took them all in battle. For it was the Lord's doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the Lord commanded Moses. 

            In the end “the land had rest from war”. It took struggle, death and warfare to bring the people of God peace from their enemies.

            Israel had learned its lesson after one mistake. She did not sign a peace accord with any other inhabitant of the land. Israel responded to their threats by looking to God. In obedience, they waged war against the surrounding nations and in the end completely destroyed them all. Israel had responded to God’s faithfulness by fulfilling the divine command.

            Israel’s obedience was made easier by God. He caused the inhabitants of the surrounding lands to resist any desire to seek peace with Israel. Unlike the Gibeonites, the warring Kings sought to destroy Israel with overwhelming force. As God hardened Pharaoh’s heart against Moses, so he hardened the hearts of these kings against Joshua. To protect Israel against the sin of idolatry, God commanded her not to show mercy to the enemy. To enable Israel to keep his commandment, God caused the enemies to fight her rather than seek mercy and peace.

            Joshua portrays for us a divine strategy for life. It took great faith to be obedient to God when Joshua faced what seemed to be insurmountable opposition from his enemies. Yet, Joshua trusted God’s promise that “no man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” (1:5)

Joshua has become an example for future generations of godly leaders. We will find the same success in our lives as we accept divine encouragement and instruction, and combine it with faithful obedience to Christ. The we will be able to accomplish God’s plan in our lives.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Joshua 10:12-13 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.

            This chapter shows us that despite the cunning of the Gibeonites, Israel still remained in proper relationship to God. When the Gibeonites are threatened, Israel is threatened and she is quick to respond. Joshua proves himself true to his covenant with them and God. Israel again is mindful of God’s provision and His going before them in battle.

            The victory depends on divine action.  Assurance of God’s giving victory does not preclude human wisdom and action. Israel’s experience has shown that God provides victory when His people depend on Him and not their own power. She can rely on her God, when her God can rely upon her.

            These military conquests are a mirror into the spiritual heart of Israel. Their temporal battle against nations is more a spiritual battle to trust and obey God. Israel is seeking to achieve her spiritual identity as people of God. The spiritual pilgrimage of Israel is reflected in her military campaigns to displace her national enemies.

            Israel’s spiritual identity as the people of God requires godly leadership and obedience. The leadership of Joshua is shown as accepted by God in His listening to Joshua’s command to make the sun and moon stand still. Joshua leads the army into battle without fear or to destroy the nations who occupy the land God intends for Israel. Joshua does not waste time in celebration but moves from foe to foe to fulfill his duty to God. He displays the fearless courage of leadership. The other element obedience entailed the complete annihilation of the enemy. We may be uncomfortable with this issue, but God commanded this of Joshua in his day. The chapter shows the great lengths to which Joshua and the people went to ensure full obedience to God.

            Today God calls us to follow the leadership of Christ in full obedience to his call to live a holy life in conformity to His divine will and plan for each of us.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Joshua 9:14-15 So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.
            The divine promise is at work as the inhabitants of the land tremble in fear before God and his reputation for giving victory to His people. Now coalitions of armies are forming against Israel. In light of this, part of the population, the Gibeonites, execute a cunning plan to avoid destruction.
            Verse 14 is the climax of their successful plan. Joshua and the leaders make a covenant with Gibeon to spare their lives. They do this without following the normal pattern of seeking the will of God. Joshua and the leader’s sin by failing to kill the foreigners as God had instructed them.

The ironic thing is that the oath was sworn in the name of God and was therefore binding, although the action had been carried through without consulting God. Breaking the treaty now would not only result in human wrath, but would bring down divine wrath, too.

            The theme of leadership appears again in this narrative. Israel’s leaders have allowed themselves to be tricked into disobedience by the Gibeonites. Here the wilderness motif has been turned upside down, for in the wilderness the leaders were justified, while the congregation was guilty. Here the congregation is justified, while the leaders are at fault.

            Leaders are not allowed to act on their own authority without consulting God. They cannot assume the loyalty of the people when they act in such a godless manner. They cannot ignore divine law and commandments. If they do, they find themselves trapped by their own actions. The leader is required to execute justice by proper channels. Only then can the leader expect the loyalty of those he leads and God’s protection for all His people.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Joshua 8:34-35 [Joshua] read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them.
            Israel had suddenly faced the faith-shattering fact that victory was not automatic for the people of God. We have seen the contrasting experiences of two groups; a disobedient people of God and an obedient people of God.

Here we learn how the congregation which had transgressed the divine covenant restores their relationship to our covenant God. The answer is a theological one. The people of God go to the place where God has chosen and renews its commitment to the Law of Moses. This involves the entire community, the leaders and the people.

            Renewal for Joshua and the people meant more than building an altar and offering sacrifices. Joshua correctly shows the importance of preserving and obeying the Law given by God to Moses.

The total obedience of Joshua concludes this section. The law is written down for all to see. It is read for them to hear. They are taught the Law so they might apply it to their daily lives. They are reminded of the Law and brought to pledge themselves to observance of the entire law.

Why? Because to be people of God meant to be an obedient people, following the divinely given life style it depicts. This brings blessing to the individual and to the community.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Joshua 8:1-2 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land. And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its livestock you shall take as plunder for yourselves.
            The story of Joshua is reflected in the New Testament picture of Jesus in Gethsemane and at Golgotha. Here Jesus declared his deepest feelings and even his sense of being forsaken by our heavenly Father. We know that the story ends with victory, but only after he faced Calvary. Even the disciples did not fully understand how things would conclude. They were swayed by their emotions and personal interpretation of Jesus’ mission.

In fear, Joshua and the people destroyed Achan and all who were corrupted by his sin. They knew the past faithfulness of God but only hoped that God would respond favorably in the future now that Achan was destroyed. They were now faced with a new command from God to advance on another enemy stronghold. The memory of Achan and Jericho were equally fresh in their minds. Would they be successful or would they be routed again?

From sin to redemption, Joshua experienced the full spectrum of man’s relationship to God. Living in the divine presence is a learned practice. Living in His presence is also a gift for the covenant people alone. Those who persist in their sinfulness and self-centered world-view will never truly see or experience the divine presence.

God’s people learn that His divine presence is both demanding and promising. We learn how to react appropriately to punishment as well as blessing from God. Valuing His presence over material possessions is a mark of the child of God. In the end, we need to learn that the acts of man are only temporary and that the acts of God bring results that last for the remaining days of our life and for eternity.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Joshua 7:1 The people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi…of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel. 

The speed in which the Israelites went from mindful and obedient to forgetful and disobedient is startling. After the destruction of Jericho, Joshua sends the army out to spy on the city of Ai. With 3,000 men the army advanced and was routed. They suffered the death of 36 men. Joshua laments these deaths and complains, believing God has let them down.

God responds by pointing out that Israel had sinned. Someone had taken God’s “devoted things” from Jericho. God’s anger is expressed by the defeat of the spies. “I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.” Israel must choose between God and the “devoted things”. Joshua and the people have a significant theological problem. The sin of one person has implications for the entire community.

We cannot always be the people marching through the Jordan or around Jericho. Often times we are the people in utter defeat falling before the Father with pleas for mercy and renewal.

Being God’s people means accepting certain obligations set down by him. It means accepting the divinely ordered life style and world view. It means making each life decision in light of divine revelation, not in the shadow of personal self-interest. Being God’s covenant people means looking back at salvation history with gratitude, and living life forward in faith and obedience.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Joshua 6:1-5 And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days…  On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when …all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat...” 

The story of the fall of Jericho is a drama remembering the mighty acts of God. This story is a paradigm for those who seek victory for the nation and for its leader. The paradigm is constructed of: a command given, the leader issues battle plans, the people obey, the battle won, and a final warning for disobedience and promise for obedience. A righteous victory for a nation and its people must follow this pattern even today.

The story of the fall of the walls of Jericho has entertained and instructed God’s people for generations. Throughout this time there has always been one loud and clear message: God fights for his people. As a result, the people of God have repeatedly testified that what they possess comes from the hand of God, not their strength. Even during the centuries of persecution Christians have consistently maintained the captivating awe and mystery of this lesson.

Finally, this story illustrates the fact that God fulfills his promises. Joshua, being obedient, received the gift of the Promised Land and the presence of God in his daily life. What God said he would do, He did.  

We are reminded by this story that as children of God we are to obey his written Word. Life plans are to be laid out not by our wants but by God’s will. In diligently seeking his will and faithfully trusting in his Word, we too, will be blessed in ways we could never have imagined.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Joshua 5:15 And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
The story of Joshua is an important part of sacred history. Joshua is restoring Israel to her previous state. This text reminds us of Israel’s struggle in Egypt under Moses’ leadership. Now we have Joshua bringing Israel back into the covenant relationship established through Abraham, Isaac, and Moses.

Under Joshua’s leadership, we see Israel’s atonement for a whole generation’s neglect of God’s covenant relationship. The neglect of the details of the covenant was due in part to the sin of the previous generation in their wanderings in the desert. Now, the fathers went out circumcised, identified as people of God and experiencing the saving act of God.

This section of Chapter 5 is a test. God had given Joshua commands to circumcise the men of Israel. They also kept the Passover as was done by Moses. Then, the divine messenger appears and places demands upon the human recipient. The story describes in detail the obedience of Joshua.

Joshua 5 stands as a testimony to God’s greatness in enduring the unfaithfulness of people. God alone stirs the hearts of a new generation, giving hope to them through faithful obedience to his covenant. It reminds us today and the generations after us, that faithfulness to Christ even when the result might be shame and suffering, will bring fruitfulness and blessing to his people. Joshua stands as a promise of divine appearance and divine protection for a leader ready to worship and obey.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Joshua 5:1 As soon as all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted and there was no longer any spirit in them because of the people of Israel. 

God works in the world around us. He makes our lives a blessing to us and to others. The wonders of a life lived to His glory is recognized by other people. We may not know that they are taking notice, but they are still being impacted by what God is doing in our life.

The response people have of God’s work is a mystery. God had done his part by bringing his people into the land. The nations whom Israel faced in the Promised Land hear what had happened and fear for their lives. They have lost hope. Before Israel had even fought a battle, the entire land is theirs for the taking.

If God gave his people the land once, he could do it again, if the people had leaders and obedience as in the day of Joshua. You and I will also receive the land, heaven. But to do so will require Christian leaders who are not afraid to stand in faith on the promises of God. Also, we need to be obedient to all that Christ has commanded us. Faith and trust in his promises and his Lordship in our lives is a final prerequisite for us to share in the eternal blessings God has promised us in Christ.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Joshua 4:20-24 And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal…. “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
Have you seen a miracle lately? Do you even believe in miracles? Miracles can only happen if there is a God to make them occur. Otherwise, they are random events that result from the created order of things. As Christians, we believe in miracles and we believe God is the author of them all.

Joshua and the people he led into the Promised Land saw another miracle. The stopping of the waters flowing in the Jordan River was a miracle. It was a great miracle because God stopped the flow of water at the height of its annual flow. This miracle caught their attention.

Twelve memorial stones were set on the site as a reminder to future generations of God’s miraculous provision. God had made a way for them to cross into the land He had promised to give Moses and the people who had fled Egypt.

The Christian faith continues to this day. It is based in a miracle of Christ’s resurrection from the grave. He has conquered death and leads his people from this life into the Promised Land of heaven. Our reminder of this miracle is our celebration of Easter. Each year the memorial celebration has us thinking back to that day when Christ came to life and showed himself to the first disciples.

Our generation will pass on this memorial event and thereby continue the message of hope to a new generation to come. God is faithful.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Joshua 3:15-16 As soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 

The Ark of the Covenant was Israel’s sign of the presence of God in their midst. Wherever the Ark traveled, God was with his people. His presence is always evident to the people of God. Believers know God goes before them in life. It is He who provides for us each day. Circumstances in life are used by God to bring His will for us into fruition.

As Israel journeyed toward Jericho, the people of that city and the surrounding country would know that God was on the move and was doing something majestic. The way would be made smooth for the Israelites to cross over the Jordan River at a time of year when it was at its most treacherous. The people of Jericho felt most protected because of this natural barrier of water. No one in their minds could cross the swollen river, much less an entire army of soldiers and equipment.

As God was with Moses when he led them out of Egypt and through the parted waters of the Red Sea, God again is leading his people. This time Joshua leads them through the Jordan River as God stops its flow until all had passed over on dry land.

No matter the difficulties and challenges facing us, the same God of Moses and Joshua is with us. He is going ahead to clear the path and ensure any barriers for our progress are removed. Trusting and awaiting Him will be an act of faith. It may be a great trial to wait upon the Lord God to work his will in your circumstances. God will do “wonders among you” as He did for Joshua and the people of Israel.

Friday, March 13, 2015


Joshua 2:18    Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father's household.

       Often times in the Old Testament we will read passages that remind us of the life of Christ depicted in the New Testament. Also, some Old Testament passages remind us of earlier Old Testament stories, too. In either case what we find is God’s unfolding drama of redemption for mankind. The acts of God are repeated from generation to generation. “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6) His nature is the same and His mercy is relentless throughout time.

      The scarlet colored rope has been seen as a symbol for the blood of Christ and His atoning work on the cross for us. Ephesians 2:13 reminds us that at one time we too were in peril in our lives but “have been brought near [to God] by the blood of Christ”. Had we remained unrepentant, without confession of our sin to Him, we would have died without hope. But the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, has freed us from our sins (Revelation 1:5).

      Rahab was to use a scarlet cord to let down the spies for their escape. When they were to return, the scarlet cord was to be tied to the window as a reminder that Israel’s warriors would pass by the occupants of that home with their destruction. All who took refuge with Rahab would be saved from destruction. God had acted similarly when the Jews in Egypt spread the blood of a Passover lamb on their door frames as the angel of death brought destruction to the families of Egypt.

      Today we acknowledge the spiritual element of the covenant of God’s grace. He has always met the needs of his people for centuries past. How much more confident can we be as Christians as we look into our future? God has always been faithful to His word as his people have obeyed His commands. May the Holy Spirit bring us renewed strength to live courageously in anticipation of our King’s return. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Joshua 2:11 And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.  

      The reputation of the Israelites preceded them. Rahab and all the residents of Jericho had heard of the miraculous way in which they were able to flee Egypt. God had intervened. Jericho knew of the destruction the Israelites brought on the armies beyond the Jordan who first confronted them. God had unleashed his wrath. Now, with Jericho in the cross hairs of their advance, everyone was afraid of what they would do to their city. Rahab speaks for the city as a whole in her fear. The God of Israel will destroy them next.

      Out of this realization of God, Rahab begins to speak for herself. She acknowledges the God of Israel as The God, the God of heaven and of earth. From this belief she asks the spies to spare her and her family. She knows that without their help they too will perish.

      Our knowledge of God is made possible by the Bible. Throughout the Old and New Testament we read of His interaction with mankind. Especially in the Old Testament do we see His active participation in world events. This knowledge is the basis for our belief in how He will act in the future. For Christians, our knowledge informs our belief in God. From this we develop a trust in God to continue to act as He has in the past. This process is exhibited by Rahab. Her knowledge led to belief which influenced her trust in how God would act in the future.

      Rahab had knowledge of the God who destroyed armies and miraculously saved an entire nation of people. She now believes that God will continue to act for the good of Israel. She believed that God would destroy Jericho as he had destroyed the other armies. As He miraculously saved the Israelites from destruction in Egypt, she trusted Him to save her and her family. She exercises saving faith in turning to God’s people, the spies, to save her. They are God’s agents for safety as she depends on their showing her and her family mercy in advance of Jericho’s certain destruction.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

The boss walks into your office and shuts the door. “I think Leslie has a nose problem. I just heard that she is heavy into cocaine. We can’t have her around here. I want you to get some dirt on her and get rid of her.” Your first reaction could be to offer help to Leslie, and find a rehab facility for her. You share this with the boss but he responds, “No. I don’t care what you do on your own time. But she needs go from here. Now!”

Caught between a rock and a hard place do you give in and unjustly fire her? Or do you go to Leslie and help her find help and somehow save her job? Perhaps, you could go over your bosses head and find help from his superior. How does a Christian respond?

You may not face this exact situation but there will come a time when a leader’s faith will be tested. The time will come when business pressure from peers, intellectual logic and fear will push you into making a wrong decision. Fear and discouragement can keep us from the right decision. Courage, on the other hand, can lead us to stand on Godly principles and make the right decision, even if it hurts us in the process.

Courage is not always doing brave and heroic things. Sometimes courage is expressed in a way that only God knows what has happened. Fear of losing power, not being recognized or having our ego hurt will cause us to make the wrong choice.

Godly courage requires faith and trust that He will protect us and pick up the pieces from having to do what is right. Remember, every decision we make impacts the development of our character and our future. It is therefore important to take time in making decisions that will reflect your faith, values and principles as a Christian.

Monday, March 9, 2015


 Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.  

      I am 56 years old and just realized that I have spent nearly forty percent of my life in school. Counting from kindergarten through high school, through college and then five years of graduate school, I spent twenty two years in school. The entire process was designed to get me educated in order to be a success in life. Skills and abilities were strengthened by this education. In seminary, too, time was spent on learning to speak well, prepare a 3-point sermon outline and techniques for counseling. Life has been a process of preparing to be successful in life and vocation.

      The study of courage was never on any course list in my twenty two years of schooling. Yet, as God begins the story of Joshua we see this idea of courage being emphasized. College and seminary never fully prepared me for the courage needed to live a life of faith. Learning about life is important. Learning a vocation is essential. Learning to be courageous is the basis for living in faith.

      Success in the eyes of God is found in obedience to the Book of the Law, our Bible. Studying it gives us the information needed to live a life pleasing to God. Memorizing passages enables us to keep it fresh in our minds. Sharing it with others is a practice that enables our hearts to reach out to others.

      Without courage we cannot achieve prosperity. In God’s view of things, prosperity entails the full realization of a person’s potential. We prosper when we are free from the chains of sin and live in the grace of Jesus Christ. We find prosperity when we accept his forgiveness for our sinfulness. With courage we can live as God calls us to live; in faith we can live without fear of others, for what can man do to me if God is on my side.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Romans 10:12-15 the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
God in infinite and perfect love, having provided in the covenant of grace, through the mediation and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, a way of life and salvation, sufficient for and adapted to the whole lost race of man, freely offers this salvation to all men in the gospel.

In the gospel God declares his love for the world and his desire that all men should be saved; reveals fully and clearly the only way of salvation; promises eternal life to all who truly repent and believe in Christ; invites and commands all to embrace the offered mercy; and by his Spirit accompanying the word pleads with men to accept his gracious invitation.

It is the duty and privilege of everyone who hears the gospel immediately to accept its merciful provisions; and they who continue in impenitence and unbelief incur aggravated guilt and perish by their own fault.

Since there is no other way of salvation than that revealed in the gospel, and since in the divinely established and ordinary method of grace faith comes by hearing the word of God, Christ has commissioned his church to go into all the world and to make disciples of all nations. All believers are, therefore, under obligation to sustain the ordinances of the Christian religion where they are already established, and to contribute by their prayers, gifts, and personal efforts to the extension of the kingdom of Christ throughout the whole earth.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Sunday, March 1, 2015


John 16:12-14  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 
The Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity, proceeding from the Father and the Son, of the same substance and equal in power and glory, is, together with the Father and the Son, to be believed in, loved, obeyed, and worshiped throughout all ages.

He is the Lord and giver of life, everywhere present, and is the source of all good thoughts, pure desires, and holy counsels in men. By him the prophets were moved to speak the Word of God, and all the writers of the Holy Scriptures inspired to record infallibly the mind and will of God.

The dispensation of the Gospel is especially committed to him. He prepares the way for it, accompanies it with his persuasive power, and urges its message upon the reason and conscience of men, so that they who reject its merciful offer are not only without excuse, but are also guilty of resisting the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit, whom the Father is ever willing to give to all who ask him, is the only efficient agent in the application of redemption. He regenerates men by his grace, convicts them of sin, moves them to repentance, and persuades and enables them to embrace Jesus Christ by faith. He unites all believers to Christ, dwells in them as their comforter and sanctifier, gives to them the spirit of adoption and prayer, and performs all these gracious offices by which they are sanctified and sealed unto the day of redemption.

By the indwelling of the Holy Spirit all believers being vitally united to Christ, who is the head, are thus united one to another in the church, which is his body. He calls and anoints ministers for their holy office, qualifies all other officers in the church for their special work, and imparts various gifts and graces to its members. He gives efficacy to the Word and to the ordinances of the Gospel. By him the church will be preserved, increased, purified, and at last made perfectly holy in the presence of God.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

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