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Bible Pathways 03/15/2003

March 15

Read Joshua 7 -- 8

In Today 's Reading:

Sin of Achan; Israel defeated by Ai; judgment of Achan; Ai defeated; altar on Mount Ebal; covenant renewed; law read

The Lord held back the waters of the Jordan River at the time of year when the Jordan River overflowed its banks and all the Israelites crossed on dry ground into Canaan (Joshua 3:6-17). After the victory over Jericho, the Israelites were rejoicing. However, without seeking direction from God the Israelites attacked the city of Ai. The men of Ai struck down some thirty-six of them and chased them from outside the gate as far as the crevices, striking them down on the descent (7:5).

Nine times in the first six chapters of this book it is said that the Lord had directed Joshua (1:1; 3:7; 4:1,8,10,15; 5:2,15; 6:2). By not consulting the Lord, Israel's defeat was inevitable (7:2-5). Joshua had momentarily failed to consider that the Lord Himself was their Commander-in-Chief, that He alone could issue orders that would result in success (1:5). First, the evil sin by Achan had to be judged. Then, Joshua called on the Lord who directed him in the complete victory over Ai.

The Israelites' reasoning that led to their defeat at Ai has been repeated by most of us. When no serious problems seem to exist, we become overconfident, seemingly self-sufficient, and assume the Lord expects us to use "our own good judgment." However, apart from our submission to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the smallest temptation will prove to be too powerful for us. He alone imparts discernment as we desire to read and obey the word of God.

Many begin their Christian lives in prayer and daily Bible reading but eventually become self-confident and forget that pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). The truth here is we don't win our victories because we are Christians any more than Joshua won the battle at Ai because he was an Israelite.

The word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Christ Revealed:

Through the uncut stones of the altar (Joshua 8:31). Daniel saw Christ as a Stone which was not cut by human hands (Daniel 2:34,45). Jesus is our Cornerstone (I Peter 2:6-8).

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Justice Ruth Ginsburg · Country: Swaziland (985,000) in southern Africa · Major languages: English and siSwati · Religious freedom · 67% Protestant; 19% animism, spirit-possession cults, and divination; 11% Roman Catholic; 3% Baha'i · Prayer Suggestion: Remember that one of the purposes of prayer is to glorify God (Psalms 115:1).

Optional Reading: John 6

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:14

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