Bible Pathways - Mar. 15, 2009
Highlights In Today's Reading:
Sin is severely reprimanded. Israel victoriously enters Canaan under Joshua. Cunning military maneuvers taught to the armies today began here. An altar to the Lord God of Israel is built at which mount? What was read to Israel is very important for us to know.
The Israelites had seen the Lord roll back the waters of the Jordan River and overthrow the mighty walled city of Jericho. But we are saddened to read of their subsequent sin and the humiliation and defeat they suffered in their battle at the smaller city of Ai. The children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan . . . took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel. And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth-aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai (7:1-4).
Joshua had not sought counsel from the Lord before going to battle with Ai; instead, he accepted the advice of his spies and made his own decision. But the Lord Himself was their Captain; He alone can issue orders that guarantee success (5:13-15). This truth is confirmed nine times in the first six chapters of the Book of Joshua as the Bible records how the Lord directed Joshua (Note: 1:1; 3:7; 4:1,8,10,15; 5:2,15; 6:2). Then in Joshua 7:2-5, Joshua and his committee (not the Lord) unanimously decided what action was to be taken, and it resulted in failure.
Instructions had been given as to where Joshua was to get direction from God: He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him . . . before the Lord (Num. 27:21). It is true that Joshua was not aware of the sin of Achan which brought defeat at Ai. But Joshua should have asked counsel of the Lord before going to battle instead of after the defeat and death of thirty-six people (Josh. 7:5-11).
The people of God are never in greater danger of assuming they no longer need to pray for guidance than when the Lord has just answered prayer or greatly blessed them.
Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Phil. 4:6).
Thought for Today:
It is always a mistake to think that we can hide sin and still have the presence of God. God will not allow us to have victory with unconfessed sin in our lives.
Through the uncut stones at the altar (Josh. 8:31). Daniel saw Christ as a Stone which was not cut by human hands (Dan. 2:34,45). Jesus is our Chief Corner Stone (1 Pet. 2:6-8; Matt. 21:42).
7:1 anger of the Lord was kindled =fierceness of His anger (7:26); 7:2 view =explore; 7:6 rent =tore; put dust upon their heads = expressed intense sorrow by defiling their heads; 7:9 environ us =surround us; 7:11 dissembled =received; 7:13 sanctify =consecrate, cleanse; 7:18 taken =chosen; 7:26 Achor =trouble; 8:11 pitched =camped; 8:13 liers in wait =concealed ambushers.
Pray for Government Official: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg • Country: Czech Republic (10 million) in central Europe • Major languages: Czech and Slovak • Religious freedom • 63% Catholic; 7% Protestant; 4% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Be specific in your prayers (Luke 18:41-43).
Optional Reading: John 6
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:16