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Bible Pathways 03/16/05

March 16

Read Joshua 9 - 10

In Today's Reading:

Israel's treaty with Gibeon; Gibeon attacked; God intervenes, causing the sun and moon to stand still; Amorite kings defeated

After Joshua's victories over Jericho and Ai, five Canaanite kings united to fight the Israelites. However, the Gibeonites, who were located between the land of those five kings and the encampment of Israel (see Joshua 9:17), decided their chances of survival would be greater by making a league with the Israelites than by joining with their fellow Canaanites in war against the Israelites. In order to accomplish their protection from destruction, they appealed to Joshua: From a very far country your servants are come because of the Name (reputation) of the LORD your God: for we have heard the fame of Him, and all that He did in Egypt. . . . Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, Take victuals (provisions, food) with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say to them, We are your servants: therefore now make you a league (treaty) with us. . . . And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD. And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live (9:9-11,14-15). To make peace with the enemies of God was a violation of the Law (see Exodus 23:32-33; 34:12). Israel's sin points out that ignorance of God's Word does not nullify its results.

The moldy bread and worn clothing seemed to be visible proof of the strangers' words (see Joshua 9:12-13). Too often we foolishly make decisions based on what we see or think.

This league with the Gibeonites should impress upon us the enemy's skill in deception. We should also learn how fallible our human reasoning is. If Joshua had prayed for the Lord's guidance, the league never would have been made.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Because the league had been sworn in God's Name, the Israelites did not break their oath to Gibeon, even though the Gibeonites had deceived them. However, over 400 years later, King Saul broke this covenant and it resulted in a 3-year famine in Israel (see II Samuel 21:1). Through this, the Lord teaches us that the wrong done by another does not give us the right to do a similar wrong in return. One sin never justifies another. One characteristic of the children of God that distinguishes us from all other people is that we are to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). God wants us to learn from the Gibeonites' covenant how important it is to have personal integrity and keep our commitments. When you vow a vow to God, defer not to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools: pay that which you have vowed. Better is it that you should not vow, than that you should vow and not pay (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5; see also Psalm 15:4).

Word Studies:

9:4 bottles = containers made of animal skins; 9:5 clouted = patched sandals; 9:6 league = peace treaty; 10:10 discomfited them = caused them to panic, thus creating confusion (compare Psalm 18:14); 10:40 springs = slopes, foothills.

Christ Revealed:

As the One through whom we have victory (Joshua 10:25). Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:57).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Thomas & Mary Beaghen · BPM Staff: Mary Kay Wagner · Government Officials: Rep. Joseph Crowley (NY) and Rep. Ron Kind (WI) · Country: Philippines (79 million) in Southeast Asia · Major languages: Filipino and English · Religious persecution in some areas · 64% Roman Catholic; 11% Protestant; 8% indigenous Catholic; 8% Muslim; 7% cults · Prayer Suggestion: Keep your mind on the Lord and trust Him; He will give you peace (Isaiah 26:3).

Optional Reading: John 7

Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 2:9

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