Sermons from the Book of Joshua
Josh 9:14 ” So the men took some of their provisions but did not ask counsel from the LORD.”
This verse gives us a solemn reminder of the consequences of taking actions without consulting God. The entire account in Joshua 9 also reminds us not to react negatively to single incidents. The story did end with Joshua 9. We need to trust God that He can work overall good out of seemingly negative incidents for us when we continue to obey Him relentlessly. And that we see in Joshua 10.
We read at the beginning of Josh 9 that a coalition of pagan nations gathered against Israel. This should have prompted Israel to be ever more diligent in prayer. But as it often happens, confidence from recent victory resulted in complacency. Josh 9:14 says that “…the men….did not ask counsel from the LORD.” The result? Israel was tricked into making a covenant with the Gibeonites. The consequences could have been very severe. V18b “..Then all the congregation murmured against the leaders.”
When we encounter similar issues in our lives, we must not be short-term minded in how we view the matter. The covenant with the Gibeonites resulted in Israel having to fight a war against a coalition of enemies that took the Gibeonites as “ransom”. But out of duty to keep their covenant, Joshua set out with the armies of Israel to defend the Gibeonites. Israel was effectively fighting a war that became theirs only because of an apparent “mistake” made earlier. But what resulted when they were faithful in keeping their covenant, was a resounding victory that effectively wiped out the enemy forces. It also resulted in an amazing miracle of the sun “standing still” so that Joshua had enough daylight to complete his mopping-up operation. All these were recorded for us in Joshua 10. We must not stop at Joshua 9.
Our God is a covenant keeping God. He promised in Gen 3:15 that the “…Seed of the woman will bruise the serpents’ head…”. Christ came and laid down His life for His people. In what appeared to be a loss for the Seed of the woman, our faithful covenant keeping God raised Jesus from the dead in a resounding victory over Satan and redeemed all His people effectually.
Joshua 23:10-11 “One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the LORD your God who fights for you, just as he promised you. Be very careful, therefore, to love the LORD your God.”
How is it possible for one man to fight a thousand? How can it be that he even pursues them in flight? Unless “it is the LORD your God who fights for you…”
And if He does that for you, it is only right that you be very careful to love the LORD your God. The logic is straightforward. No one should disagree. But as sinful people, there is that constant tendency for us to forget the LORD. Hence, the exhortation “Be very careful,…”
Have you just experienced a victory over sin? Have you experienced success in business? Have you just done very well in your exams? Remember that these were brought to pass by our merciful God. “Be very careful, therefore, to love the LORD your God.”
Josh 7:12b “I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.”
Israel just had a resounding victory over Jericho in Joshua 6. Their next objective was the city of Ai. It would have been an easy battle. Ai was a smaller city. They had a smaller army. But Israel was defeated at Ai. Why? Because there was hidden sin amongst Israel.
Achan had hidden some forbidden spoil from the battle at Jericho. Israel was explicitly commanded not to keep any of the spoil. Unfortunately, Achan was tempted. He kept some of the items which were attractive to keep as possessions. He hid them under his tent. He thought no one would find out. For some reason, he had the perception that he could hide it from God.
Isn’t it true for many of us? We think we can hide our sins in the inner recesses of our heart; we forgot that our God is omniscient, omnipresent & omnipotent. We forgot that He sees all & knows all.
Josh 7:12b “I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.” This was the clear direction God provided to Joshua. Sin has to be confessed & repented of, else we cannot the presence of God with us. Achan’s sin had to be dealt with & eradicated before God would bless Israel with His presence.
What is the situation with you today? Have you confessed and repented of your sins? Are there secret sins lingering in your life? Remember what God said to Joshua “I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.” Take heed!