Category Archives: Provider

When YHWH Delivers Victory, Praise Him!

When YHWH delivers victory, take time to give him the glory with thanks and praise. Don’t let a simple thank you suffice, when he is worthy of praise as well. Take time to reflect on who he is and what he has done, on what he continues to do. Take time to enjoy the peace that follows trials once he delivers you.

We see a good example of this recorded in Judges 5, and we should apply this to our lives often.

Judges 5

The Song of Deborah and Barak

      1Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,

      2“That the leaders led in Israel,
That the people volunteered,
Bless the LORD!

      3“Hear, O kings; give ear, O rulers!
I—to the LORD, I will sing,
I will sing praise to the LORD, the God of Israel.

      4“LORD, when You went out from Seir,
When You marched from the field of Edom,
The earth quaked, the heavens also dripped,
Even the clouds dripped water.

      5“The mountains quaked at the presence of the LORD,
This Sinai, at the presence of the LORD, the God of Israel.

      6“In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath,
In the days of Jael, the highways were deserted,
And travelers went by roundabout ways.

      7“The peasantry ceased, they ceased in Israel,
Until I, Deborah, arose,
Until I arose, a mother in Israel.

      8“New gods were chosen;
Then war was in the gates.
Not a shield or a spear was seen
Among forty thousand in Israel.

      9“My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel,
The volunteers among the people;
Bless the LORD!

      10“You who ride on white donkeys,
You who sit on rich carpets,
And you who travel on the road—sing!

      11“At the sound of those who divide flocks among the watering places,
There they shall recount the righteous deeds of the LORD,
The righteous deeds for His peasantry in Israel.
Then the people of the LORD went down to the gates.

      12“Awake, awake, Deborah;
Awake, awake, sing a song!
Arise, Barak, and take away your captives, O son of Abinoam.

      13“Then survivors came down to the nobles;
The people of the LORD came down to me as warriors.

      14“From Ephraim those whose root is in Amalek came down,
Following you, Benjamin, with your peoples;
From Machir commanders came down,
And from Zebulun those who wield the staff of office.

      15“And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah;
As was Issachar, so was Barak;
Into the valley they rushed at his heels;
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great resolves of heart.

      16“Why did you sit among the sheepfolds,
To hear the piping for the flocks?
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great searchings of heart.

      17“Gilead remained across the Jordan;
And why did Dan stay in ships?
Asher sat at the seashore,
And remained by its landings.

      18“Zebulun was a people who despised their lives even to death,
And Naphtali also, on the high places of the field.

      19“The kings came and fought;
Then fought the kings of Canaan
At Taanach near the waters of Megiddo;
They took no plunder in silver.

      20“The stars fought from heaven,
From their courses they fought against Sisera.

      21“The torrent of Kishon swept them away,
The ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon.
O my soul, march on with strength.

      22“Then the horses’ hoofs beat
From the dashing, the dashing of his valiant steeds.

      23‘Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of the LORD,
‘Utterly curse its inhabitants;
Because they did not come to the help of the LORD,
To the help of the LORD against the warriors.’

      24“Most blessed of women is Jael,
The wife of Heber the Kenite;
Most blessed is she of women in the tent.

      25“He asked for water and she gave him milk;
In a magnificent bowl she brought him curds.

      26“She reached out her hand for the tent peg,
And her right hand for the workmen’s hammer.
Then she struck Sisera, she smashed his head;
And she shattered and pierced his temple.

      27“Between her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay;
Between her feet he bowed, he fell;
Where he bowed, there he fell dead.

      28“Out of the window she looked and lamented,
The mother of Sisera through the lattice,
‘Why does his chariot delay in coming?
Why do the hoofbeats of his chariots tarry?’

      29“Her wise princesses would answer her,
Indeed she repeats her words to herself,

      30‘Are they not finding, are they not dividing the spoil?
A maiden, two maidens for every warrior;
To Sisera a spoil of dyed work,
A spoil of dyed work embroidered,
Dyed work of double embroidery on the neck of the spoiler?’

      31“Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LORD;
But let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might.”
And the land was undisturbed for forty years.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Seek and Obey YHWH

Joshua was a great leader of YHWH’s people after Moses. Much of the promised land was conquered under Joseph’s leadership. He gave all the glory to YHWH rather than himself. After he passed, the people still sought YHWH and relied upon him. They obeyed him and he continued to give them victory.

Our leaders will change. People, even family we love, will pass in time. Only YHWH is constant. We can rely on him. He is unchanging. Let us be sure to hand down to our future generations the importance of seeking and obeying YHWH rather than doing things our own way or even according to family traditions.

Judges 1:1-26

Jerusalem Is Captured

      1Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel inquired of the LORD, saying, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” 2The LORD said, “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand.” 3Then Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me into the territory allotted me, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I in turn will go with you into the territory allotted you.” So Simeon went with him. 4Judah went up, and the LORD gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hands, and they defeated ten thousand men at Bezek. 5They found Adoni-bezek in Bezek and fought against him, and they defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites. 6But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and big toes. 7Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to gather up scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me.” So they brought him to Jerusalem and he died there.

      8Then the sons of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire. 9Afterward the sons of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country and in the Negev and in the lowland. 10So Judah went against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba); and they struck Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai.

Capture of Other Cities

      11Then from there he went against the inhabitants of Debir (now the name of Debir formerly was Kiriath-sepher). 12And Caleb said, “The one who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will even give him my daughter Achsah for a wife.” 13Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, captured it; so he gave him his daughter Achsah for a wife. 14Then it came about when she came to him, that she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. Then she alighted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” 15She said to him, “Give me a blessing, since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

      16The descendants of the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law, went up from the city of palms with the sons of Judah, to the wilderness of Judah which is in the south of Arad; and they went and lived with the people. 17Then Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they struck the Canaanites living in Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. So the name of the city was called Hormah. 18And Judah took Gaza with its territory and Ashkelon with its territory and Ekron with its territory. 19Now the LORD was with Judah, and they took possession of the hill country; but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had iron chariots. 20Then they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had promised; and he drove out from there the three sons of Anak. 21But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem; so the Jebusites have lived with the sons of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.

      22Likewise the house of Joseph went up against Bethel, and the LORD was with them. 23The house of Joseph spied out Bethel (now the name of the city was formerly Luz). 24The spies saw a man coming out of the city and they said to him, “Please show us the entrance to the city and we will treat you kindly.” 25So he showed them the entrance to the city, and they struck the city with the edge of the sword, but they let the man and all his family go free. 26The man went into the land of the Hittites and built a city and named it Luz which is its name to this day.

Victory is our in and through the LORD. Let us seek him for all things in our life and worship and honor him.  Let us obey his instructions rather than making up our own or adopting those of other cultures. It is good to be different from those around you (in the right way). We are called to be set apart for the LORD.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Trust In The Promises Of The LORD

Joshua records how the LORD provided and then divided the promised land amongst his people. Joshua 21 records the cities given to the Levites in which to live amongst the rest of God’s people. At the very end is a significant statement which we should not overlook in verses 43-45.

      43So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. 44And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand. 45Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

We can always trust in the promises of the LORD.

Joshua 21

Forty-eight Cities of the Levites

     1Then the heads of households of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of households of the tribes of the sons of Israel. 2They spoke to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, “The LORD commanded through Moses to give us cities to live in, with their pasture lands for our cattle.” 3So the sons of Israel gave the Levites from their inheritance these cities with their pasture lands, according to the command of the LORD. 4Then the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites. And the sons of Aaron the priest, who were of the Levites, received thirteen cities by lot from the tribe of Judah and from the tribe of the Simeonites and from the tribe of Benjamin.

      5The rest of the sons of Kohath received ten cities by lot from the families of the tribe of Ephraim and from the tribe of Dan and from the half-tribe of Manasseh.

      6The sons of Gershon received thirteen cities by lot from the families of the tribe of Issachar and from the tribe of Asher and from the tribe of Naphtali and from the half-tribe of Manasseh in Bashan.

      7The sons of Merari according to their families received twelve cities from the tribe of Reuben and from the tribe of Gad and from the tribe of Zebulun.

      8Now the sons of Israel gave by lot to the Levites these cities with their pasture lands, as the LORD had commanded through Moses.

      9They gave these cities which are here mentioned by name from the tribe of the sons of Judah and from the tribe of the sons of Simeon; 10and they were for the sons of Aaron, one of the families of the Kohathites, of the sons of Levi, for the lot was theirs first. 11Thus they gave them Kiriath-arba, Arba being the father of Anak (that is, Hebron), in the hill country of Judah, with its surrounding pasture lands. 12But the fields of the city and its villages they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as his possession.

      13So to the sons of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, and Libnah with its pasture lands, 14and Jattir with its pasture lands and Eshtemoa with its pasture lands, 15and Holon with its pasture lands and Debir with its pasture lands, 16and Ain with its pasture lands and Juttah with its pasture lands and Beth-shemesh with its pasture lands; nine cities from these two tribes. 17From the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with its pasture lands, Geba with its pasture lands, 18Anathoth with its pasture lands and Almon with its pasture lands; four cities. 19All the cities of the sons of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen cities with their pasture lands.

      20Then the cities from the tribe of Ephraim were allotted to the families of the sons of Kohath, the Levites, even to the rest of the sons of Kohath. 21They gave them Shechem, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, in the hill country of Ephraim, and Gezer with its pasture lands, 22and Kibzaim with its pasture lands and Beth-horon with its pasture lands; four cities. 23From the tribe of Dan, Elteke with its pasture lands, Gibbethon with its pasture lands, 24Aijalon with its pasture lands, Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; four cities. 25From the half-tribe of Manasseh, they allotted Taanach with its pasture lands and Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; two cities. 26All the cities with their pasture lands for the families of the rest of the sons of Kohath were ten.

      27To the sons of Gershon, one of the families of the Levites, from the half-tribe of Manasseh, they gave Golan in Bashan, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, and Be-eshterah with its pasture lands; two cities. 28From the tribe of Issachar, they gave Kishion with its pasture lands, Daberath with its pasture lands, 29Jarmuth with its pasture lands, En-gannim with its pasture lands; four cities. 30From the tribe of Asher, they gave Mishal with its pasture lands, Abdon with its pasture lands, 31Helkath with its pasture lands and Rehob with its pasture lands; four cities. 32From the tribe of Naphtali, they gave Kedesh in Galilee, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands and Hammoth-dor with its pasture lands and Kartan with its pasture lands; three cities. 33All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their pasture lands.

      34To the families of the sons of Merari, the rest of the Levites, they gave from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with its pasture lands and Kartah with its pasture lands. 35Dimnah with its pasture lands, Nahalal with its pasture lands; four cities. 36From the tribe of Reuben, they gave Bezer with its pasture lands and Jahaz with its pasture lands, 37Kedemoth with its pasture lands and Mephaath with its pasture lands; four cities. 38From the tribe of Gad, they gave Ramoth in Gilead, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands and Mahanaim with its pasture lands, 39Heshbon with its pasture lands, Jazer with its pasture lands; four cities in all. 40All these were the cities of the sons of Merari according to their families, the rest of the families of the Levites; and their lot was twelve cities.

      41All the cities of the Levites in the midst of the possession of the sons of Israel were forty-eight cities with their pasture lands. 42These cities each had its surrounding pasture lands; thus it was with all these cities.

      43So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. 44And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand. 45Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Trust the Lord to Provide for You

There may be times when we are tempted to look around at what the Lord has provided and be discontent. We may come and ask for more. If we do so, let us to so humbly and with thankfulness in our hearts for what he has already given. Let us then accept his answer, even if it is different than what we expected. Often, even if he will bless us and provide more for us, he may expect us to work for it.

Let us be content and trust in YHWH to provide for us our portion. Let us not strive with one another or look upon one another with jealousy or discontent.

Joshua 17

Territory of Manasseh

     1Now this was the lot for the tribe of Manasseh, for he was the firstborn of Joseph. To Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, were allotted Gilead and Bashan, because he was a man of war. 2So the lot was made for the rest of the sons of Manasseh according to their families: for the sons of Abiezer and for the sons of Helek and for the sons of Asriel and for the sons of Shechem and for the sons of Hepher and for the sons of Shemida; these were the male descendants of Manasseh the son of Joseph according to their families.

      3However, Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, only daughters; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. 4They came near before Eleazar the priest and before Joshua the son of Nun and before the leaders, saying, “The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brothers.” So according to the command of the LORD he gave them an inheritance among their father’s brothers. 5Thus there fell ten portions to Manasseh, besides the land of Gilead and Bashan, which is beyond the Jordan, 6because the daughters of Manasseh received an inheritance among his sons. And the land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the sons of Manasseh.

      7The border of Manasseh ran from Asher to Michmethath which was east of Shechem; then the border went southward to the inhabitants of En-tappuah. 8The land of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the sons of Ephraim. 9The border went down to the brook of Kanah, southward of the brook (these cities belonged to Ephraim among the cities of Manasseh), and the border of Manasseh was on the north side of the brook and it ended at the sea. 10The south side belonged to Ephraim and the north side to Manasseh, and the sea was their border; and they reached to Asher on the north and to Issachar on the east. 11In Issachar and in Asher, Manasseh had Beth-shean and its towns and Ibleam and its towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and its towns, and the inhabitants of En-dor and its towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and its towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and its towns, the third is Napheth. 12But the sons of Manasseh could not take possession of these cities, because the Canaanites persisted in living in that land. 13It came about when the sons of Israel became strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely.

      14Then the sons of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given me only one lot and one portion for an inheritance, since I am a numerous people whom the LORD has thus far blessed?” 15Joshua said to them, “If you are a numerous people, go up to the forest and clear a place for yourself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.” 16The sons of Joseph said, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the valley land have chariots of iron, both those who are in Beth-shean and its towns and those who are in the valley of Jezreel.” 17Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, saying, “You are a numerous people and have great power; you shall not have one lot only, 18but the hill country shall be yours. For though it is a forest, you shall clear it, and to its farthest borders it shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, even though they have chariots of iron and though they are strong.”

Prosperity and Blessing Come From The Lord

Let us remain focused on our heavenly father and provider and be both joyful and thankful as we seek him.

Psalm 127

A Song of Ascents, of Solomon.

    1Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.

      2It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

      3Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.

      4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.

      5How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Prayer of Jabez

Almost buried in a section of historical family lineage in 1 Chronicles is a brief excerpt, limited to two verses, about a man named Jabez for whom God answered his prayer. Like so many parts of scripture, it is waiting for us to find it and explore the depths of God’s word, like buried treasure.

It is worthwhile to pause and reflect on these verses.

1 Chronicles:9-10

9Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” 10Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

Quite some time ago, someone wrote a book about “the prayer of Jabez” and people got almost in a craze about it. The problem is that many focused on only his prayer. They wanted to turn it into some formula whereby if anyone repeats the words they force God to bless them also. However, this is not how a relationship with the Lord works. We don’t control Him. We don’t get His power by rehearsing specific words like some sort of spell.

Matthew 6:7-8

     7“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

The prayer of Jabez was an honorable prayer. He asked for God’s blessing and asked for God’s protection from harm. These are good things to pray for. Let us also take care not to overlook that he also asked for God’s hand to be with Him and he was honorable in his life.

Jabez was not simply asking for more land and less pain, but also for a relationship with God and living his life in accordance with what God directed.

The path to living with the peace and joy of the Lord is one of submitting to him and building relationship with him. You can not and should not try to skip the relationship with God in pursuit of controlling him to give you the outcomes you want. As you build relationship with him, you will also discover that the relationship is the real treasure… that his hand would be with us.

—-

Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

If You Love Me, Tend My Sheep

Yeshua engages Peter in a very pointed discussion. He repeats it multiple times. It would seem he was really trying to make a point. We should pay attention to it as well. Though this was specifically aimed at Peter, and not even all the disciples there at the time, any time Yeshua correlates “if you love me” to any action, we may want to pay attention as it may have applicability to us as well.

John 21:15-17

The Love Motivation

     15So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.

Let us seek to help one another in our journey with Yeshua. We should recognize that the primary meaning of this series of questions to Peter is actually about spiritual care and guidance, not physical, but sometimes the physical is essential as well.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Yeshua Returns Again To His Disciples (After His Death)

It is hard to miss the obvious in John 21. Yeshua has risen from death and come to his disciples. This is truly miraculous and prophetic. Don’t overlook it as common just because you have heard it so many times. However, I am also struck by another perspective in this passage.

Even after death, Yeshua returned to his disciples with an attitude of a servant’s heart. He miraculously delivers a huge haul of fish where they could not catch anything and he prepares the fire and cooks the fish. It is an amazing example for each of us who follow Yeshua for how to treat one another.

John 21:1-14

Jesus Appears at the Sea of Galilee

     1After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. 2Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.

      4But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” 6And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. 7Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. 8But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.

      9So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” 11Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.

Jesus Provides

     12Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord. 13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.

This can not be explained away as the disciples imagining his return. He cam several times. According to other gospels, he reappeared to many over 40 days. Our Lord was truly resurrected and he came back in patience and love to serve, encourage, and fellowship with his disciples.  He once again lives out the role of provider.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

 

We Must Deal With Our Sin Before We Will Experience Victory In The Lord

Joshua and the Israelites faced defeat against Ai, as recorded in Joshua 7, due to sin and rebellion in the camp against YHWH. The sin of a single man led to defeat for Israel. Joshua dealt with the sin according to YHWH’s instructions and was once again directed by the Lord to continue taking the promised land. He then did as the Lord instructed, and those around him did as well, and the Lord granted them victory.

In a way, this serves as a blueprint for us in our everyday lives. We can not expect YHWH to give us victory while living in rebellion against his word or the Spirit. We must deal with our sin, the sins of our family, and even the sins of our nation if we are to experience full victory on the Lord’s path. That does not mean that we as individuals can not have strong relationships with the Lord even in a sinful nation… we can. However, do not expect him to grant great and lasting victory to a nation that rebels openly against him.

Joshua 8

The Conquest of Ai

     1Now the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear or be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you and arise, go up to Ai; see, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. 2“You shall do to Ai and its king just as you did to Jericho and its king; you shall take only its spoil and its cattle as plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it.”

      3So Joshua rose with all the people of war to go up to Ai; and Joshua chose 30,000 men, valiant warriors, and sent them out at night. 4He commanded them, saying, “See, you are going to ambush the city from behind it. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you be ready. 5“Then I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. And when they come out to meet us as at the first, we will flee before them. 6“They will come out after us until we have drawn them away from the city, for they will say, ‘They are fleeing before us as at the first.’ So we will flee before them. 7“And you shall rise from your ambush and take possession of the city, for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand. 8“Then it will be when you have seized the city, that you shall set the city on fire. You shall do it according to the word of the LORD. See, I have commanded you.” 9So Joshua sent them away, and they went to the place of ambush and remained between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai; but Joshua spent that night among the people.

      10Now Joshua rose early in the morning and mustered the people, and he went up with the elders of Israel before the people to Ai. 11Then all the people of war who were with him went up and drew near and arrived in front of the city, and camped on the north side of Ai. Now there was a valley between him and Ai. 12And he took about 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city. 13So they stationed the people, all the army that was on the north side of the city, and its rear guard on the west side of the city, and Joshua spent that night in the midst of the valley. 14It came about when the king of Ai saw it, that the men of the city hurried and rose up early and went out to meet Israel in battle, he and all his people at the appointed place before the desert plain. But he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city. 15Joshua and all Israel pretended to be beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness. 16And all the people who were in the city were called together to pursue them, and they pursued Joshua and were drawn away from the city. 17So not a man was left in Ai or Bethel who had not gone out after Israel, and they left the city unguarded and pursued Israel.

      18Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.” So Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city. 19The men in ambush rose quickly from their place, and when he had stretched out his hand, they ran and entered the city and captured it, and they quickly set the city on fire. 20When the men of Ai turned back and looked, behold, the smoke of the city ascended to the sky, and they had no place to flee this way or that, for the people who had been fleeing to the wilderness turned against the pursuers. 21When Joshua and all Israel saw that the men in ambush had captured the city and that the smoke of the city ascended, they turned back and slew the men of Ai. 22The others came out from the city to encounter them, so that they were trapped in the midst of Israel, some on this side and some on that side; and they slew them until no one was left of those who survived or escaped. 23But they took alive the king of Ai and brought him to Joshua.

      24Now when Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the field in the wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them were fallen by the edge of the sword until they were destroyed, then all Israel returned to Ai and struck it with the edge of the sword. 25All who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000—all the people of Ai. 26For Joshua did not withdraw his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. 27Israel took only the cattle and the spoil of that city as plunder for themselves, according to the word of the LORD which He had commanded Joshua. 28So Joshua burned Ai and made it a heap forever, a desolation until this day. 29He hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening; and at sunset Joshua gave command and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the city gate, and raised over it a great heap of stones that stands to this day.

      30Then Joshua built an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, in Mount Ebal, 31just as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the sons of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of uncut stones on which no man had wielded an iron tool; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings. 32He wrote there on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written, in the presence of the sons of Israel. 33All Israel with their elders and officers and their judges were standing on both sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, the stranger as well as the native. Half of them stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the LORD had given command at first to bless the people of Israel. 34Then afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. 35There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them.

I also find it interesting that at the end of a great victory, Joshua reads the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, to not just Israel, but to the strangers living among them. It is another indication that the law of YHWH was not meant only for Israel, but for all who came to join Israel and dwell among them. One law for all, not separate law for Jews vs. Gentiles.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

My Help Comes From The Lord

We can all be encouraged and strengthened knowing that our help comes from the LORD.

Psalm 121

The LORD the Keeper of Israel.

A Song of Ascents.

1I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?

      2My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

3He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.

4Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.

5The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.

6The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

7The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.

8The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.