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Bible Pathways 03/16/2003

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 kings united to fight the Israelites. However, the Gibeonites, located between the land of the Canaanite kings and the encampment of Israel (Joshua 9:17), decided their chances of survival would be greater by making a league with the Israelites than by joining with the Canaanite kings in their war with Israel. They told Joshua: Your servants have come from a very distant land because of the reputation of the LORD your God. For we have heard of His fame, and all that He did in Egypt. . . . So our elders and all the inhabitants of our land told us, Take provisions with you for the journey, and go meet them and say, We are your servants. Therefore make a treaty with us. . . . Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions, but did not seek the LORD's counsel. So Joshua established peace with them and made a treaty to let them live (9:9-11,14-15) ? a violation of the law (see Exodus 23:32-33; 34:12). This points out that ignorance of God's word does not nullify the results.

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 agreed to.

The Israelites did not break their oath, even though the Gibeonites deceived them. However, over 400 years later, King Saul broke this covenant and it resulted in a 3-year famine in Israel (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. One sin never justifies another. The characteristic of the children of God that distinguishes us from all other people is that we conquer evil with good (Romans 12:21). God wants us to learn from the Gibeonite's covenant how important it is to have personal integrity and keep our commitments.

The moldy bread and worn clothing seemed to be visible proof of the strangers' words (Joshua 9:12-13). Too often we are foolish in making decisions based on what we see or think. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths (Prov. 3:5-6).

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:

Government Officials: Rep. Joseph Crowley (NY) and Rep. Ron Kind (WI)· Country: Sweden (9 million) in northern Europe · Major language: Swedish · Religious freedom · 66% Protestant; 2% Roman Catholic; .7% Eastern Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Call upon the Lord in adversity, for He will hear (Psalms 116:1-4,8).

Optional Reading: John 7

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:15

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