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Bible Pathways 03/16/2004

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: 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 such a league was a violation of the Law (Exodus 23:32-33). Israel soon would realize that ignorance of God's Word does not nullify its results.

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

Even though the Gibeonites deceived them, the Israelites did not break their oath which was sworn to in God's Name. However, over 400 years later, King Saul broke this same 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. When someone sins against us, it does not justify us to sin against them. One characteristic of the children of God that distinguishes us from all other people is that we overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). From the Gibeonites' covenant, we learn how important it is to have personal integrity and keep our commitments to God.

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

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 Beaghen ·Government Officials: Rep. Joseph Crowley (NY) and Rep. Ron Kind (WI) · Country: South Korea (47 million) in northeastern Asia · Major languages: Korean and English · Religious freedom · 33% Buddhist; 24% Protestant; 22% Confucianism and other eastern religions; 4% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips (Proverbs 16:23).

Optional Reading: John 7

Memory Verse for the Week: John 3:16

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