Joshua 8-9: God’s Word
April 4, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Joshua 8-9, Psalm 75, Mark 1:35-45, 1 Corinthians 3
Having then dealt with the “sin in the camp” that chapter 7 described, Joshua is once more commanded to attack Ai, this time given leave to keep some of the plunder, and assured that God would give the city into his hands (8:1-2). Again, he is told not to be afraid (8:1)—a characteristic commission of God to Joshua as he led God’s people into war.
In fact, God has a particular strategy: an ambush (8:2). The people of the city will run out to battle, Israel will appear to retreat, and the people of Ai will think they are defeating them as before and so chase after them. Little do they know that behind them, another part of the Israelite army is destroying their city, setting it on fire, and then coming behind them to spring a trap. Israel pretends to be beaten—a legitimate “ruse de guerre”—and victory is won (8:3-29). The covenant is renewed again (8:30-35), assuring them of their commitment to God and God’s commitment to them. Joshua copies out the law of Moses and reads every word to all congregated (8:34).
These people are serious about God and about God’s Word. If you want to start again with God, start again with the Bible. Read it, think on it, follow it. It is God’s Word to you.
Now the peoples gather together against the Israelites (9:1-2). The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and the various peoples band together for a common cause to defeat Israel. The Gibeonites, however, have a different and more cunning plan (9:3-15). They pretend they have come from far away and show the Israelites stale food and worn-out clothes as proof, then ask to make a covenant with the Israelites. Israel does not ask God for his direction (9:14), but goes ahead with what seems best to them, and Gibeon is therefore protected by the vow they have taken (9:18-20), though they are made servants and wood cutters for the community nonetheless (9:21, 23, 27).
It is wise not to be wise in our eyes. To seek God while he may be found. To see that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Pray before any major decision. Read the Bible for direction. Ask God for his wisdom. Seek counsel from other godly individuals. Do not forge out on your own as what seems best to you, but seek God and so live.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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