Monday, February 29, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 19

Joshua 19

-The last six territories: Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan are covered in this explanatory chapter of Scripture. These areas were all appointed before the LORD by lot and extensive descriptions are given to each tribe’s boundaries and borders. Simeon was in the midst of Judah including major cities like Beersheba. They had close to 20 cities with their villages in the hill country/desert region to the south (Joshua 19:1-9). Zebulun was situated in the middle of the country just north of Manasseh and basically directly west of the Sea of Galilee, although it had no major water areas. They had twelve cities with their villages including Bethlehem, but this was a different city than the one where Jesus was born in Judah (Joshua 19:10-16). Issachar had the Jezreel Valley under their control over to the Jordan River with the southern border near Beth-she’an, a cross point city where the Jezreel Valley and Jordan Valley meet. Issachar had 16 cities with their villages as an inheritance (Joshua 19:17-23). The territory of Asher fell to the far west along the Mediterranean Sea from south of Dor way up to past Tyre in the north. They had fortified cities and included Mt. Carmel, where Elijah would one day battle the prophets of Baal with the Almighty God’s power. There were, in all, 22 cities and villages in Asher (Joshua 19:24-31). Naphtali had the sixth lot fall to it and received the fertile areas west and north of the Sea of Galilee. They bordered Issachar and Zebulun on the south all the way to the Jordan in the east and Asher to the west. Naphtali had nineteen cities with their villages in the land that Jesus would day do most of His earthly ministry (Joshua 19:32-39). The territory of Dan was the last allotted and fell primarily to the middle western region to the south of Manasseh and to the north of Judah. Ephraim bordered Dan to the northeast and Benjamin also bordered Dan to the east. The Word says that the territory of Dan “proceeded beyond them; for the sons of Dan went up and fought with Leshem and captured it.” They possessed this area to the far north of the territory of Israel between Naphtali and the eastern Manasseh to north of the Sea of Galilee. Therefore, they inhabited two distinct areas of the country (Joshua 19:40-48). The southern portion of Dan included the modern day areas of Jaffa (ancient Joppa where Jonah took off from and where Peter had his vision on Simon the Tanner’s roof, Jonah 1:3, Acts 10:1-23) and Tel Aviv. There is also a well preserved Tel Dan in the north where ancient Leshem apparently was. “When they finished apportioning the land for inheritance by its borders, the sons of Israel gave an inheritance in their midst to Joshua the son of Nun. In accordance with the command of the LORD they gave him the city for which he asked, Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. So he built the city and settled in it.” Therefore, Eleazar the priest and Joshua had distributed the land properly under the guidance of the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting in Shiloh (Joshua 19:49-51). The job was finished in regards to the sons of Israel’s inheritance.

-*Application* Proper borders and boundaries are essential in life. If you don’t believe me, go out on a major highway and try to make up your own road rules with no regard to lanes and limits. A crash is inevitable if we don’t have our proper place and abide in that sanctuary. Where has the LORD placed us by His divine lot? Are we cultivating and conquering in that land of inheritance He has blessed us with? Tend to the call and don’t worry about going outside of it unless He guides in that direction. We may at times have a Leshem to vanquish. God may proceed us out of an area, but make sure that that is His will and direction. Only then will He be with us for assured victory.

Verse to Memorize: Joshua 19:49

Friday, February 26, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 18

Joshua 18

-Now the focus shifts onto the allotment for the remaining seven tribes as the congregation of the sons of Israel assemble themselves together at Shiloh where they set up the tent of meeting after the land had been subdued before them (Joshua 18:1-2). Joshua commanded that three men be provided from each tribe that they may be sent out to walk through the land and write a description of it according to their inheritance. Then they would return to Joshua there in Shiloh and the seven portions would be divided by lot before the LORD. Therefore, the men went out as directed and described the seven divisions in a book and presented it back to their leader. The lots were cast before the LORD, and Joshua divided out the land to the sons of Israel who had not yet received their inheritance (Joshua 18:3-10).

-The territory of Benjamin is described in great detail as the first portion. Their land lay between the sons of Judah to the south the sons of Joseph to the north. All of their borders were laid out specifically along with their fourteen cities. Places of note in this region were Jericho, Bethel, and the Jerusalem area (Joshua 18:11-28). Saul, Israel’s first king which came some 400 years later, was from this tribe of Benjamin, presumably from city of Gibeah (1 Samuel 9:21; 10:26). Benjamin was Jacob’s last son, born to Rachel whom he loved (Genesis 29:18-20; 35:16-19, 24).

-*Application* How do we make great decisions? Take this chapter and learn from it. Go and walk through the analysis part of the decision. Make note of every detail. Describe it. Meditate on it long and hard. Use the time you are given. Then, finally, bring it before the LORD and the people you respect and look up to in life. This is an awesome strategy for success in all sorts of decisions. The key is to bring the matter before the LORD, but there are other important aspects as we see here in the passage. Just remember to keep it all before the LORD with the right heart and spirit to do His will.

Verse to Memorize: Joshua 18:10

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 17

Joshua 17

-In some interesting history for the formation of the national identity in Israel, Manasseh was allotted land on both sides of the Jordan. The half-tribe to the east was settled by the descendants of Machir, who was a man of war and the father of Gilead. The rest of the sons of Manasseh, which included the sons of Abiezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher, and Shemida, were the ones to settle to the west of the Jordan. A recount to Moses’ rational rule from God for inheritance allotment to the daughters of Zelophehad, a descendant of Manasseh through Machir and Gilead, was given thus making the ten portions to Manasseh, besides the land of Gilead and Bashan, which was to the east of the Jordan (Joshua 17:1-6).

-Precise border descriptions are once again given for this territory distributed to the sons of Joseph. Some areas of note are the city of Beth-shean, the Jezreel Valley, and the plains of Megiddo more towards the coast. These were areas of importance for travel routes historically between Europe, Asia, and Africa. Megiddo is where the consummation battle of the tribulation will take place (Revelation 16:16). We see again the inability to go completely forward in conquest as the LORD had assigned. The Canaanites persisted in living in that land of Manasseh, even though the Israelites put them to forced labor after they became strong. The sons of Joseph asked for more than one lot for their numerous people. Joshua responded with a challenge. He issued that that they “go up to the forest and clear a place for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and of the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.” The sons of Joseph rebuttal showed fear, and not faith. They were somewhat afraid of the iron chariots of the Canaanites who lived in the valley, but Joshua wanted to see them conquer. He exhorted them that they had great power because of God’s call, and they would indeed prosper in victory with more land if they would only show courage (Joshua 17:7-18). Apparently, they were never able to demonstrate this spirit as Judges 1:27 attests.    

-*Application* Notice the difference between Caleb of Judah and the sons of Joseph. Caleb took what God had given him and moved ahead in His program (Joshua 14:12). His confidence in faith was rewarded and his people more fully occupied their inheritance (Joshua 15:14-15). The two tribes of Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, had been given choice land indeed and lots of it. However, they were too scared to actualize their inheritance fully. This would prove to start a trend in the national history of Israel. Civil strife would one day separate theses tribes. The northern kingdom, which had its power center in Ephraim, dissolved much quicker than Judah. And, as we know, the promises ended up coming through Judah for the Holy City where God’s Temple would be built and where Jesus would make His atonement for the world. The only good biblical kings were in the southern kingdom. God’s desire was for both to prosper, but only Caleb’s bunch passed the test. What about us? Are we strong in faith, confident, and courageous? Or, do we tend to complain about what we might lack, stay in fear, and never get what God wants us to really have?

Verses to Memorize: Joshua 17:12-13

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 16

Joshua 16

-The lot for the sons of Joseph, which went from Jericho through the wilderness and into the hill country of Bethel, is described here in this brief chapter. Remember, it was Joseph that had two allotted inheritances by his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim by the blessing of Israel (Genesis 48:5). Half of the tribe of Manasseh settled with land portioned by Moses at their request east of the Jordan. Ephraim and the western Manasseh tribes’ allotment is the primary focus of this chapter. Their families’ borders are detailed to each side of the compass. The only negative appears in the last verse with the commentary that the Canaanites, who lived in Gezer, could not be completely driven out. They became forced laborers in the nation of Israel (Joshua 16:1-10).

-*Application* We continue to see the short little phrase “they did not drive out” in the text. This became a not so little problem for Israel as the years went by. Even to this day they have had to share their allotted and promised land with people trying to subvert and demoralize their faith. This same thing happens in our lives if we allow even a “little” bit of sin to stay in not dealt with. Eradicate the evil within by the blood of Christ totally. Don’t hang on to nasty habits and plaguing shortcomings. Surrender and confess all to the Lord and let Him deal with the total destruction of your sin nature. Let Him totally sanctify you and quit making excuses. Though God loves us and let’s us stay within His spiritual holy land, things are never right with even a fragment of tainting within our spirit. Become holy as He is holy by His given grace and righteousness through the cross of Jesus (Leviticus 19:2).

Verse to Memorize: Joshua 16:4

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 15

Joshua 15

-As the inheritance portions continue, Judah’s borders are explained with great detail in the text. Their land, established by lot, stretched all the way from Edom’s border in the east to the wilderness of Zin at the “extreme” south over to the coastal areas in the west and on up to the northern extremities at the stone of Bohan, the son of Reuben, and over towards Gilgal. This was the border of Judah according to their families with many cities and villages (Joshua 15:1-12). Caleb was given Kiriath-arba (Arba named after the father of Anak), otherwise known as Hebren (see last chapter for more info). Caleb was responsible for driving out the three fierce sons of Anak: Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. After this Caleb went up against the inhabitants of Debir, otherwise formly known as Kiriath-sepher. In this conquest Caleb said, “The one who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah, my daughter, as a wife.” Othniel proved to be that valiant man and received Achsah as his wife according to the word of Caleb. In due time Achsah asked her father for a blessing in their land of the Negev. She, along with her family, wanted to have springs of water in this dry and thirsty land. Caleb obliged and gave them the upper and lower springs (Joshua 15:13-19). The rest of the chapter delineates each of the cities and sections of Judah one by one. Of interesting note, the chapter ends with the fact that the Jebusites, who inhabited Jerusalem, could not be totally driven out by the sons of Judah. Therefore, by the time of the writing of this book, they remained at Jerusalem among the sons of Judah (Joshua 15:20-63). Not until the time of David was Jerusalem truly established as a Hebrew stronghold (2 Samuel 5:6-10, 1 Chronicles 11:4-9).

-*Application* Othniel became Israel’s first judge after the death of Joshua playing an important role in protecting and reforming Israel by chasing away yet another oppressive enemy. He brought peace back to the land as a legacy of Caleb’s faithfulness and courage in the next generation (Judges 1:13; 3:9-11). Caleb ends up being better than Joshua at passing the torch to the next generation by raising up quality people within his family unit (Judges 1:1-2). How intentional are we in making sure that those who will follow us in our land have the fortitude and moxy to stand for righteousness? Be like Caleb, invest in the next generation with blessing after blessing.

Verse to Memorize: Joshua 15:12

Monday, February 22, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 14

Joshua 14

-The territories in Canaan apportioned as an inheritance for the sons of Israel by Eleazar the priest and Joshua begin in this chapter. Lots were used by the command of the LORD through Moses for these 9 ½ tribes west of the Jordan River. Thus the land was divided (Joshua 14:1-5). “Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, ‘You know the word which the LORD spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh-barnea. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the LORD my God fully (Joshua 14:6-8).’” Moses had sworn to him on that day that he would surely inherit the land that he had believed for in his treading. Not only would Caleb possess it, but his children forever because he followed the LORD his God fully. The realization of this prophecy was now coming to fruition some 45 years later. God had allowed him to live through the wilderness wanderings and the victorious battles of conquest in the land. Caleb confidently asserted that he was, at age 85 now, still as strong and vigorous to go forward in faith with the LORD into battle. He boldly spoke, “Now then, give me this hill country about which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the LORD will be with me, and I will drive them out as the LORD has spoken (Joshua 14:9-12).” At the hearing of this, Joshua blessed his faithful Israeli brother and gave him Hebron for an inheritance. Why? The Scripture reiterates again it was because “he followed the LORD God of Israel fully.” This area had been called Kiriath-arba after the greatest man among the Anakim, but now it returned to being known as Hebron as in the days of the Patriarchs (Genesis 13:18). This area indeed had great historical significance for the nation of Israel (Genesis 23:2-20; 35:27-29; 37:13-14). “Then the land had rest from war (Joshua 14:13-15).”

-*Application* Following the LORD fully. What does that look like in our lives today? What would it cost us? What would be God’s rewards? These are the questions worth considering as we meditate on the life and character of Caleb, a faithful man of the LORD. He, like Joshua, definitely didn’t follow the crowd with their fear and negativity so despised by God. Instead, he entrusted his well-being to a faithful Creator and Sustainer that was easily capable of working out all of His good promises. Though it took time, over half his life in fact, Caleb was given the primo inheritance and was in the end able to rest with an incredible legacy for future generations. These are the things worth thinking about today.

Verse to Memorize: Joshua 14:8

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 13

Joshua 13

-Joshua was by now old and advanced in years. The LORD spoke to him at this point in the text to remind him that there was still land to be conquered that He had promised His people, namely “the regions of the Philistines and all those of the Geshurites from the Shihor which is east of Egypt, even as far as the border of Ekron to the north (it is counted as Canaanite); the five lords of the Philistines: the Gazite, the Ashdodite, the Ashkelonite, the Gittite, the Ekronite; and the Avvite to the south, all the land of the Canaanite, and Mearah that belongs to the Sidonians, as far as Aphek, to the border of the Amorite; and the land of the Gebalite, and all of Lebanon, toward the east, from Baal-gad below Mount Hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon as far as Misrephoth-maim, all the Sidonians.” God finished by telling His servant that He would indeed drive them out from before the sons of Israel. He choose this time to give tribal allotments for Israel’s inheritance according to His command (Joshua 13:1-6). The remainder of the chapter gives the specifics to the tribes that Moses allotted on the eastern side of the Jordan, which included the half-tribe of Manasseh, Gad, and Reuben. Their territories are delineated and a brief recount of the history is given including the slaying of Balaam, the son of Beor, the diviner, who blessed Israel according to the word of God but capitulated to the king of Moab, Balak, in many ways. There is also a reiteration that the Levites were not given a land inheritance, but the LORD, the God of Israel, was their inheritance just as He had promised (Joshua 13:7-33).  

-*Application* The promise was before the children of Israel, but the problem was that Joshua was not raising up a man after God’s own heart to pass the baton to as he advanced in age. This would plunge the nation into chaos and 400 years or so of judges that God would have to raise up as military and spiritual leaders. It became hard to complete the task of assuming authority in the Promised Land because of a lack of strong leadership. How does that compare with our modern day families, churches, communities, cities, states, and country? If we do not invest in training up the next generation in the nurture and admonition of the LORD, what will become of them (Ephesians 6:4)? Soon and very soon, we too will be old and advanced in age. Then it’s too late to really make that difference in the development of the next generation. Take time to invest in the next generation while we have good opportunity. It really is a noble duty.

Verses to Memorize: Joshua 13:6, 32

Friday, February 19, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 12

Joshua 12

-This chapter gives a brief aside and recounts all the kings that were defeated by Israel in their conquest of the Promised Land both on the east side of the Jordan by Moses’ leadership and the west side to the north and south by Joshua’s leadership. The land controlled by God’s people now stretched from the Mediterranean coastal parts in the west up to the Lebanon areas in Baal-gad over to Mt. Hermon and down through the Jordan River Valley including the heights of Geshur and Bashan in the north to Gilead and the land of the Amorites to the east and the hill country and wilderness areas to the west of the Jordan, all the way down to the Negev and Mt. Halak in the south. The Hittite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, and Jebusite kingdoms were utterly defeated. 31 kings were destroyed. God had conquered (Joshua 12:1-24).

-*Application* There are times in our lives during the battles that we face that we need to stop, repose, and reflect on what victories the LORD has accomplished for us. If we dare to admit it, we do go through long seasons of intense conflict and strife for the purposes of God even when we’ve come into our spiritual land of promise. Celebrate each victory and add them up. Write them down even. You will be surprised at what God has already accomplish in your work and ministry under His direction. This will guarantee to put a smile on your face and encouragement in your heart. Love is worth the fight!

Verse to Memorize: Joshua 12:24

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 11

Joshua 11

-Now the kings of the more northern areas conspired together to thwart the LORD’s program, but to no avail. Jabin, king of Hazor which is north of the Sea of Galilee, sent for help in an alliance to Jobab, king of Madon, as well as the kings of Shimron (near the Megiddo area) and Achshaph (to the west near the Mediterranean Sea), and the kings of the north who were in the hill country and the Arabah just south of the Sea of Galilee, and the kings on the heights of Dor in the north western edge of the land. In sum, the Canaanite on the east and west, the Amorite northeast of the Dead Sea, the Hittite of the south near the Negev, the Perizzite and the Jebusite of the hill country in proximity of Jerusalem, and the Hivite at the foot of Mount Hermon to the far north of the territory in the land of Mizpeh all came out with their armies to confront Israel at the waters of Merom just north and west of the Sea of Galilee. The Bible says they were very numerous, “as many people as the sand that is on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots (Joshua 11:1-5).”

-At that time the LORD spoke again with His servant Joshua telling him not to be afraid because of their impressive numbers and alliance. God further revealed that He would deliver them all slain before Israel. Then the LORD told Joshua the strategy. Israel was to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire (Joshua 11:6). Therefore, with this blessing of the God of Heaven and earth, Joshua and all the people of war with him came upon their resistance suddenly at the waters of Merom and attacked them. It happened just as the LORD predicted. Israel was delivered as they defeated their foes, pursuing them all the way northwest to Sidon and Misrephoth-maim and the valley of Mizpeh to the northeast. They struck them down until there was no survivor left to them. Joshua did just as the LORD commanded by hamstringing the horses and burning their chariots with fire. Then, Joshua turned back immediately and captured Hazor striking its king with the sword. This was the head of the northern alliance as a kingdom. Jabin along with everyone else who breathed in Hazor was destroyed by the edge of the sword. Then, the city was burned with fire. In fact, Joshua captured all the cities of these before mentioned kings, and he struck them with the sword for total annihilation just as Moses, the servant of the LORD, commanded (Joshua 11:7-12). However, Israel did not burn any cities that stood on their mounds with the exception of Hazor. All the spoil from these cities including cattle were took as plunder by the sons of Israel. These places were not under a ban. Joshua left nothing undone of all that Moses, by the word of the LORD, commanded (Joshua 11:13-15).

-Verses 16 through 23 give a summary now of all the conquests of Israel. The hill country and all the Negev including Goshen, the lowland, the Arabah, the hill country of Israel and its lowland were now taken. From Mount Halak in the south as far north as Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon at the foot of the highest peak in that region, Mount Hermon. Most of the Mediterranean coast was Israel’s. All the kings were captured and put to death by Joshua and his armies. “Joshua waged war a long time with all these kings.” No city other than the Hivites living in Gibeon offered for peace. Israel took them all in battle because “it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he (Joshua) might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the LORD commanded Moses.” The final three verses explain how Joshua cut off the Anakim (`Anaqiy - "long-necked," a tribe of giants, descendants of Anak, which dwelled in southern Canaan) from the hill country by utterly destroying them with their cities in the land with the exception of Gaza, Gath (where Goliath would later be from), and Ashdod. “So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war (Joshua 11:23).”

-*Application* God will give total victory when we are totally submitted to doing things His way at His discretion. There will be a time of war and a time of peace (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

Verse to Memorize: Joshua 11:20

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 10

Joshua 10

-The enthralling narrative continues as Jerusalem comes into the picture for the first time. This city, where God would eventually set up His Temple and dwell, had a king by the name of Adoni-zedek. He had heard the news of Ai’s demise under the direction of Joshua by his valiant warriors with the LORD’s authority. He had also heard of the destruction of Jericho, and that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel being their servants in the land. Adoni-zedek feared Gibeon greatly the Bible says because they were a great city, “like one of the royal cities (in other words, a city of security),” with mighty men in it (Joshua 10:1-2). Since this conceding of Gibeon opened up access to the coastal plains and lowlands for Israel, the king of Jerusalem knew that with the loss of this strategic center, he was in deep trouble. Therefore, Adoni-zedek sent word to four other kings of the region asking them to come up and help in an attack of Gibeon, who as we have said had made peace with the sons of Israel. These kings were: 1) Hoham, king of Hebron to the south of Jerusalem, 2) Piram, king of Jarmuth to the southwest of Jerusalem, 3) Japhia, king of Lachish further southwest of Jarmuth, and 4) Debir, king of Eglon, which was just south of Lachish (Joshua 10:3-5). They all camped by Gibeon and fought, which necessitated a call by the Gibeonites to Joshua for rapid help to save them. Joshua went up to the hill country in the west with all his men of war from Gilgal in the Jordan Valley. At that time the LORD said to His leader, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you (Joshua 10:6-8).” With this definitive word, Joshua came up suddenly by marching his men all night. “And the LORD confounded them before Israel, and He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah (to the south).” At the descent of Beth-horon God sent a hail storm upon the enemies of Israel all the way to Azekah killing more than the sons of Israel had killed with the sword. Joshua asked the LORD for more time in this decisive battle, and the LORD complied miraculously. He asked that the sun stand still at Gibeon and the moon in in the valley of Aijalon. So God stopped the sun and the moon until the nation had avenged themselves of all their enemies. This was written in another book of antiquity, which has been lost, called the “Book of Jashar (for more info see:” For about a whole day, close to a twenty four hour period, the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not go down. “There was no day before or after, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel (Joshua 10:9-14).” After this incredible victory, Joshua took his men back to their base camp at Gilgal (Joshua 10:15).

-Now it was found out that these five kings had fled and hidden themselves together in a cave at Makkedah. Joshua had his men roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and assigned men to guard it so as to not let them out. The rest pursued the enemy to attack them from the rear so that they could not re-enter their respective cities. God had brought them out to deliver them into the hands of the Israeli army. Joshua and the sons of Israel finished slaying them with a very great slaughter to the point of total destruction with only a few survivors remaining that entered the fortified cities. Now that there was peace with no one speaking a word against any of the sons of Israel, Joshua had the cave opened up and the five kings brought out before him. Joshua, the commander, had his chiefs of the men of war put their feet on the necks of the vanquished reiterating to them, “Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies with whom you fight.” Soon afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death. Then, he hanged them on five trees until the evening of the day. At sunset Joshua commanded that they be taken down and thrown into the cave where they had hidden themselves with large stones over the mouth of the cave to seal it up. It stayed that way up until the writing of the text and probably much longer than that (Joshua 10:16-27). In many ways this is a foreshadowing to the curse that Jesus became for us on the cross to pay the debt of sin.

-The rest of the chapter describes the exploits city by city in the south and western part of the land. Starting at Makkedah on to Libnah, then Lachish where Horam king of Gezer came fruitlessly to help, then Eglon, then Hebron, and then to Debir, Israel slaughtered their enemies taking no prisoners and leaving no survivors. “Thus Joshua struck all the land, the hill country and the Negev (South country) and the lowland and the slopes and all their kings. He left no survivor, but he utterly destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded.” As far as from Kadesh-barnea even as far south as Gaza, down to Goshen even as far north as Gibeon, Joshua capture all these kings and their lands at one decisive time, “because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.” At the end they returned once again to their base camp in Gilgal back in the eastern part of the Promised Land (Joshua 10:28-43).

-*Application* When God fights for us, nothing can stand in our way. Isn’t it awesome when He does? Notice that obedience and consulting Him alone brought the victory and blessing.

Verses to Memorize: Joshua 10:14, 42

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 9

Joshua 9

-By now the kings of the region in the hill country, lowland, coastal areas, and northward toward Lebanon were hearing of the exploits of Joshua through the power of God. The Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites all gathered in one accord to fight Joshua and his people Israel (Joshua 9:1-2). There was another group who heard of the feats of strength the LORD had accomplished by His people in Jericho and Ai. These were the inhabitants of Gibeon, and they devised a guileful plan to con God’s people for the right to survive. They “acted craftily” in their scheming as they sent out envoys with worn-out sacks on their donkeys along with worn-out wine skins that were torn and mended. They put worn-out shoes on their feet that were patched up and old-tattered clothes, plus they allowed their bread to become dried out to the point of crumbling. Then they went to Joshua at Gilgal, the Israeli headquarters during the invasion, deceitfully claiming to have come from a “far country” and sook a covenant for preservation in exchange for servitude to the Israelites. There was some suspicion at first from the men of Israel, but the Gibeonites maintained their position and humbly asked to be the Israelites servants. They claimed they had heard the fame of the LORD God of Israel and what He did to deliver His people from Egypt and the kings of the Amorites, Sihon and Og (Joshua 9:3-10). They desperately wanted a covenant of peace with the people of this Living God. They gave some of their manipulative provisions to the men of Israel who took them without consulting the LORD their God. “Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them (Joshua 9:11-15).”

-Inevitably the nation of Israel heard about the real situation. It only took three days according to the text for them to find out they these Gibeonites were actually close neighbors living within their Promised Land. These towns were described as Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. The Israelites held to their oath by and before the LORD and did not strike them. This caused some grumbling among the congregation of Israel towards their leaders for a huge mistake. But it was too late, they had not sought after the counsel of God, and foolishly swore to their neighbors not to harm them. The Gibeonites became “hewers of wood and drawers of water” as servants, or slaves, of the Chosen People. Joshua cursed them to this posture of servitude for their deception. They acknowledged their great fear of the LORD and His people, which led them to this deliberate action of dishonesty. They were in the hands of God’s people and would do whatever seemed good to the Israelites. They stayed slaves, but had their lives, until the writing of this book (Joshua 9:16-27).

-*Application* What can we say for the cunning actions of the Gibeonites? In a way they escaped with their lives, and who could fault them for fearing the wrath of God that was about to come their way? This is a historical reminder that we need to get counsel for every decision, no matter how trivial or mundane it might seem. We can get trapped by our word in situations as righteous, God fearing people. Don’t let ourselves be deceived by the craftiness of men, rely on God for insight and discernment on every decision you face in life (Ephesians 4:14). His counsel is a must. Look for it and receive it.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 8

Joshua 8

-The conquest of Ai now resumes after the situation with the sin of Achan. God told Joshua not to fear or be dismayed, but to arise and go up to Ai, for had given it into their hands along with its king. This time the LORD would allow for some spoil to be taken along with the city’s cattle as plunder for themselves. Instructions were given for an ambush, which Joshua set into motion with great expertise. The campaign was totally successful as they choose 30,000 valiant men of war for the fight. They utterly destroyed the 12,000 of Ai who left their city undefended and captured its king bringing him before Joshua to be hanged on a tree. The entire city was burned according to the word of the LORD. So “Joshua did not withdraw his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.” Israel only took the cattle and the spoil as plunder according to the word of the LORD, which He had commanded to Joshua. After Ai was burned and the king hanged, his body was thrown at the entrance of the city gate and covered with stones that stood there until the writing of the text (Joshua 8:1-29).

-Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD in Mount Ebal just as Moses had commanded the sons of Israel to do (Exodus 20:25, Deuteronomy 27:1-9). He wrote there a copy of the Law of Moses, and they offered burnt offerings before the LORD their God along with sacrificing peace offerings. The Ark of the Covenant was present with all of Israel’s elders, officers, judges, and the Levitical priests doing their prescribed duties in these days of celebration within the land of promise. Half stood on Mount Gerizim and half on Mount Ebal as the entire book of the Law was read by Joshua to all the assembly of Israel including their women, their little ones, and the strangers who were living among them (Deuteronomy 27:10-28:68, Joshua 8:30-35).

-*Application* This victory was coroneted with a solemn remembrance of where the nation had been and an honoring of their majestic God who had given them success according to His word. Let us consider proper protocol in the special events of our lives as sacred. Honor the things that the LORD prescribes and expects. Don’t ever be irreverent in whatever pomp and circumstance that may be required in a formal setting that is set aside to reflect and meditate on the goodness of the Sovereign. While we must be careful to not follow mundane traditions of man, the LORD is a God of decorum and expects us to follow His precepts that He decrees in an appropriate fashion.

Verse to Memorize: Joshua 8:26

Friday, February 12, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chaper 7

Joshua 7

-The sin of Achan is explained in this chapter with foreshadowing to a continuing problem in the nation of Israel. Achan, one of the sons of Israel from the tribe of Judah, caused the anger of the LORD to burn against His people because he acted unfaithfully in regard to taking things under the ban with a covetous spirit (Joshua 7:1, 21). The sin was found out due to a significant early failure in the campaign to take the Holy Land. Joshua had sent men from Jericho to Ai, which was near Beth-aven and east of Bethel, where the patriarchs had worshipped God and had incredible interactions with the Almighty (Genesis 12:7-8; 28:11-19; 35:9-15). These men went up to spy out the land and gain some reconnaissance of the area. They surmised that it would only take 2 to 3 thousand men to take this strategic area of the land. Therefore, Joshua sent only that amount, but they had to flee from the men of Ai. 36 of their men were struck down, and the sons of Israel were pursued from the gate of the city as far as Shebarim. This made the hearts of the people melt and they became exceedingly fearful. Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth upon hearing the news. He set his face before the Ark of the LORD until evening along with the elders of the people. They put dust on their heads in a symbolic display of sorrow and repentance, though they knew not what they had done yet. Joshua beseeched the LORD for answers and argued with Him over bringing them into this land if they were only to be delivered over to the enemy for destruction. He pleaded that they would have been content to stay beyond the Jordan. He simply could not understand why God had allowed this to happen. Turning their backs on the enemy would surely be reported to others in the land of Canaan along with the other inhabitants of the land. The reputation of the sons of Israel had been severely tainted, and Joshua feared being surrounded and cut off with total annihilation the result. This would destroy the LORD’s great Name from the earth. All of this was nonsense of course, but Joshua was in a desperate state as we can easily deduct from the text (Joshua 7:2-9).

-Now the LORD replied, “Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things. Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst.” God went on to tell Joshua to “Rise up!” and “Consecrate” the people before Him and find out who had performed the transgression. When found, they were to be burned with fire in totality with the family and all their belongings, “because he transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he has committed a disgraceful thing in Israel.” They would select the tribe by lot under the guidance of the LORD. That tribe would come near by families, and the LORD would point out the guilty from among them as they investigated down to the exact person. Achan was eventually discovered, and he did confess the crime before the LORD. He had seen (didn’t check his sin at the eye gate) some spoil that he wanted in his heart (where the true sin was committed), “a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight.” He coveted them and took them even though he knew full well the ban that the LORD had placed on His people as they invaded. This was not a hording band of marauders, it was a conquest of covenant promise, and God would not be mocked by this outlandish act. Achan had concealed his spoil in the earth inside his tent. Joshua sent messengers to the tent, and they discovered the items there just as Achan had related. They returned the items and poured them out before the LORD God. Then Joshua and all of Israel in unison with him took the crook and all his banned spoil along with all of his sons, his daughters, his animals, his tent, and all that belonged to him to the valley of Achor (trouble). All Israel stoned them there with stones and burned them afterwards. The LORD troubled them because they troubled Israel. A great heap of stones was raised up over his carcass that stood until the day of the writing of this historical text, “and the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger (Joshua 7:10-26).”

-*Application* We see what a terrible thing it is to covet from this text. God wants us to be completely satisfied with what He allows and bestows upon us as His creation. Wanting something that tempts us, as this idol certainly would do, brings down the serious wrath of God. In our society, we have lost that cognizance (awareness, understanding, knowledge, or perception) of His character. In other words, due to our own successes (which are actually God’s good graces), we have lost the fear of the LORD. God sees and hears everything. Nothing is hidden from Him. Sometimes He is patient with us, but when it’s really serious (like the matter of taking control of the Holy Land), He has every right to correct the situation with power and anger. What do you think His second coming is going to look like? It will be a day of wrath and vengeance with much bloodshed as we can read about in the Scriptures. Check It and see (Isaiah 13:6-13, Amos 5:18-20, Obadiah 1:15, Zephaniah 1:7-18, Malachi 4:5, Acts 2:20, 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 19:11-20:3). Let us learn to fear only Him and keep His covenant of grace through the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:26-31). “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the Hands of the Living God.”

Verse to Memorize: Joshua 7:1

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 6

Joshua 6

-Chapter six begins with a depiction of the situation in Jericho in anticipation of the inevitable attack that was looming. The gates were tightly shut with no one coming in or out of the city. In other words, it was under siege. The LORD spoke to Joshua on the eve of this conquest to give him assurance, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors (Joshua 6:1-2).” Then came the marching orders from the LORD. They were to “march” around the city for six days with seven priests carrying seven trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the Ark blowing them vigorously. On the seventh day, they were instructed to “march” around the entire city seven times. The priests would blow a long blast on the horns and then the people would shout with a great shout. The people were not allowed to speak to let their voice be heard up until that point on their march. They were prompted to “go forward” and accomplish this mission, and so they did. After the first day they came back to the camp and spent the night there. This went on for the required six days. On the seventh day, at dawn, they arose to “march” around the city in the same manner. Only this time, they went seven times as the LORD had prompted them. At the seventh encircling, when the priests blew the long blast of the trumpets, Joshua ordered the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city.” A reiteration of the ban was mentioned in the text as Joshua gave his final admonition, along with instructions for the two spies to go and get Rahab and her relatives according to their word. The reason for the ban? To keep the people from coveting possessions according to God’s command. However, all the silver, gold, and articles of bronze and iron were to be confiscated as holy materials to the LORD to go in His treasury (Joshua 6:3-19).

-“So the people shouted, and the priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city. They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword (Joshua 6:20-21).” As the attack ensued the two spies were sent out by Joshua to go get the harlot and bring her and her family with all they had out the chaos and destruction. They were place outside the camp of the Israelites, but they were indeed saved. Israel ended up burning the city with fire, and all that was in it. Only the things taken for the LORD’s treasury survived, which consisted of the silver, gold, bronze, and iron. The narrative jumps back to Rahab one final time as she was spared along with her father’s household and all that she had. She ended up living in the midst of Israel up till the writing of the text, and it could easily be assumed for the rest of her days on earth “for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” After the completion of this conquest, Joshua made the people take an oath. Cursed before the LORD would be any man who would one day rise up and rebuild this city of Jericho. Joshua prophesied that they would lose their firstborn if they re-laid the foundation and they would lose their youngest son if they set the gates of this city back up that the LORD had destroyed (for the fulfillment of this prophesy see 1 Kings 16:31-34). “So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land (Joshua 6:22-27).”

-*Application* God doesn’t always accomplish His promises to us in the way that we at first expect. He is very creative in His fulfillments. How has God surprised you with His uniqueness in circumstances and situations that He has undoubtedly shown Himself faithful? When God gives His marching orders, “go forward” with great expectations even when you don’t fully understand how things are going to happen. The other thing to consider here from this passage is God’s blessing to those who decide that it is best to go His way. Reflect on Rahab and her family. They made it out alive when the rest of the city was destroyed. Why? They went God’s way. Don’t you think God would have spared that whole city if they would have just gone God’s way? I think the LORD would have been gracious had they turned and not had the warrior spirit, just like He was with Nineveh in the time of Jonah. Let’s face it, when we fight with God, He always wins. We might as well let Him have His way without the struggle; then we will realize His goodness and grace in a brand new way.

Verse to Memorize: Joshua 6:20

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 5

Joshua 5

-This chapter begins with the dread that the kings of the Amorites beyond the Jordan to the west in the Promised Land were feeling when they received word that the LORD had dried up the river for His people to cross. “Their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the sons of Israel (Joshua 5:1).” At that time, God told Joshua to make knives of flint and circumcise again the sons of Israel since they had never had this done. At Gibeath-haaraloth (the hill of the foreskins, nice name right?) all the males of the nation of Israel were circumcised for the first time since they came out of the wilderness 40 years before. That generation had completely passed away at the LORD’s promise for their not listening to His Voice. But now the new generation was ready and poised to take the land. This covenant symbol was an important event in consecration for the battles ahead (Joshua 5:2-7). After the circumcision was complete, the men went back to their places and healed. I’m sure they were glad for that reprieve. Then the LORD spoke to Joshua again and said, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore they named that place Gilgal (rolling) as a permanent place; although, this exact geographical spot has been lost to antiquity (Joshua 5:8-9). While the sons of Israel camped there at Gilgal on the desert plains of Jericho, they observed the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover, they ate some of the land’s produce, which consisted of unleavened cakes and parched grain. The day after that the manna that they had received daily in the wilderness for 40 years stopped. They were now in God’s Promised Land, and He would provide bountifully for them in a brand-new reality (Joshua 5:10-12).

-“Now it came about that when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand…” Joshua asked him if he was for them or against them on the side of their adversaries. This man informed Israel’s leader that indeed he had come as the captain of the hosts of the LORD. This took Joshua from standing erect to prostrating himself on the ground. He then bowed down and asked what his lord had to say to his servant. The captain of the LORD’s host replied, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” Joshua immediately complied in reverence and awe (Joshua 5:13-15). There could have been no doubt at this point that the LORD was with him and ready to fight for His people as they attempted to conquer this land filled with enemies and giants. What an inspiration! What an encouragement! Can you imagine???

-*Application* Do you ever wonder what is going on in the spiritual realm when you pray to God? How much do we really believe when we ask of things that may seem from our perspective to be impossible, or so ever daunting? Pray that the LORD would open our eyes as we lift them up and actually look, just like Joshua did, to see His angel armies that are by our side and ready to go into battle with victory assured. He is our very present help just like He was to Joshua and David (Psalm 46:1).

Verse to Memorize: Joshua 5:15

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 4

Joshua 4

-When all the nation of Israel had finished crossing over the Jordan River on dry ground, the LORD spoke to Joshua on this unique and special day saying, “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man each tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight (Joshua 4:1-3).” Joshua obeyed the LORD’s command, and the twelve men heaved these large stones upon their shoulders and carried them over as a memorial sign in perpetuity for generations to come as to the LORD’s greatness in caring for His people. When future children of Israel ask, “What do these stones mean to you?” the Hebrews are to say, “Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off (Joshua 4:4-7).” The twelve sons of Israel carried out this command and laid the stones down at Gilgal, where the Israelites lodged on the eastern edge of Jericho in the desert plains of this valley region. Then, from the text, it appears that Joshua set up twelve more stones in the middle of the Jordan River exactly at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the Ark were standing. Those stones remained there until the completion of this text was written according to Joshua 4:9. The priests remained steadfast at their place in the middle of the river until all was completed that the LORD had commanded. The people did hurry across, and then came the 40,000 men of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh who were ready and equipped for war. “On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; so that they revered (yare' – to be feared, honored, to be in awe of) him, just as they had revered Moses all the days of his life (Joshua 4:8-14).”

-Now the LORD spoke again to His servant Joshua telling him to command the priests who carried the Ark to come up from the Jordan. When they did this, the waters of the Jordan returned to their proper and natural place, and “went over all its banks as before.” On the tenth of the first month, which is Nisan, or Abib, and is the same exact time of the first Passover when they were leaving Egypt (Exodus 12:2-3), the people came up out of the Jordan and camped in the Promised Land (Joshua 4:15-19)! This monumental day ended with Joshua taking the twelve stones and setting them up as their memorial stones for future generations…”For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may KNOW (emphasis mine) that the Hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever (Joshua 4:20-24).”

-*Application* Do we easily remember the great and mighty things God has done for us in this life, or are we quick to forget the miracles He has performed? We need memorial stones ourselves often to set aside and reflect on when we have those times of doubt in God’s sovereignty in matters. We all should probably admit this. Memorial stones also give us opportunity to pass the goodness of God’s grace on to the future generations so that they may know and fear the LORD who does incredible things. What are the monumental moments of our lives? How are we memorializing the things that He has taken us through? Think about these things and resolve to remember the awesome deeds of the LORD our God.

Verses to Memorize: Joshua 4:14, 24

Monday, February 8, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 3

Joshua 3

-Chapter three begins with Joshua rising early in the morning to lead the sons of Israel out from Shittim over to the brink of the Jordan River, where they lodged before their crossing over into the Promised Land. At the end of three day there, the officers went through the midst of the camp commanding the people, “When you see the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your God with the Levitical priests carrying it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it.” However, there was to be a distance of about 2,000 cubits (around 3,000 feet or over half a mile) between them and the Ark. They had not passed this way before, and Joshua was careful to have them consecrate themselves, “…for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you (Joshua 3:1-5).” Joshua spoke to the priests telling them to “Take up the Ark of the Covenant and cross over ahead of the people.” They complied, and the LORD spoke to Joshua further, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may KNOW (emphasis mine) that just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you.” God went further in relating that the Ark would need to be carried with the priests standing still in the river. Then Joshua brought the sons of Israel near to hear these words from the LORD, “By this you shall KNOW that the Living God is among you, and that He will assuredly dispossess from before you the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, and the Jebusite.” The LORD wanted them to behold the Ark that was going before them into the Jordan and take one man from each tribe to combine for twelve. “It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the Ark of the LORD, the LORD of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap (Joshua 3:6-13).” The Jordan was overflowing its banks during these days of harvest, but the LORD made the waters back up and halt a great distance away at Adam, the city beside Zarethan, when the priest’s feet carrying the Ark were dipped into the river for Israel’s crossing. “So the people crossed opposite Jericho” just north of the Dead Sea area on dry ground. The priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan River while all the nation of Israel crossed over into the Promised Land safely without complication (Joshua 3:14-17).

-*Application* Several things proceeded the blessing of the crossing that we need to observe here. The leadership was in tune with the LORD to hear His Voice and obey it. Consecration, (qadash - setting apart for holiness, devoting, to sanctify, to be hallowed), was a vital key in this monumental event. We also will observe here the reverence for the LORD that was paramount in giving Him His ado with honor and praise. They also had the faith to step in and receive what God had promised. When we are passing a way that we have never gone before, put into practice these important steps to doing things completely in accordance to the LORD your God. His blessing are sure to follow.

Verse to Memorize: Joshua 3:13

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Chapter 2

Joshua 2

-Joshua sent out two men as spies to view the Promised Land that they were about to invade and conquer. They had a specific mission to spy out Jericho, which was just across the Jordan to the western side, protected with walls around the city. The two spies went and came into lodging with a harlot in Jericho. Her name was Rahab, and she hid the men when the king of Jericho was told of them being involved with her. The king inquired of Rahab as to the whereabouts of these men who were supposedly searching out the land, but she lied saying that she did not know where they were from or where they had gone. She told the king that they had gone out of the city gates near the time of darkness. She falsely implored the king to have his men pursue them quickly for they would overtake them for all practical purposes towards the east. However, secretly Rahab had brought these spies up to the roof of her house and hid them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order up there. The men from Jericho did pursue after the wanted spies along the road to the Jordan and into the fords that were there shutting the city gate behind them. There was intense fear in the city due to the reputation of the Israelites, and the spies soon got the full low-down from the helpful harlot. Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab came and spoke with them, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.” The people of the land that Israel was about to invade had been privy to the stories of how God had dried up the Red Sea in their departure from Pharaoh in Egypt. They had also heard of how the two kings of the Amorites beyond the Jordan were utterly destroyed. The spies soon realized that these inhabitants had no courage left in them. Rahab confessed openly, “…For the LORD your God, He is God in Heaven above and on earth beneath (Joshua 2:1-11).” Therefore, she begged them to spare her and her family with an oath not to harm them when they sacked the city, which seemed inevitable at this point. Since she had dealt kindly with them, she asked for mercy, and the spies obliged. They would indeed promise to spare her and her family from death if they would keep totally quiet about the matter of being with them. They would in fact deal faithfully and kindly with her house (Joshua 2:12-14).

-Rahab let the two spies down by a rope through the window of her house, which providentially was on the city wall. Before she released them, she instructed them to go the opposite way to the west into the hill country for three days in order to not accidentally come across the men from Jericho who searching for them. After three days, she felt like it would be safe to be on their way to wherever they were going. The men gave some final instructions to Rahab for her protection. Her house was to have a cord of scarlet thread in the window through which they were let down for identification purposes. The family was ordered to stay in their house, else those who left would have their blood on their own head. Only the people in Rahab’s house would be safe. They reiterated their command not to tell of their business there with anyone, and the harlot complied willingly with an oath. She tied the scarlet cord to her window and the men were gone, departing to the hill country where they remained for the recommended three days until their pursuers returned. They were not found as they ventured back down to the Jordan Valley, and then they crossed back over to safety to the camp of Joshua and the Israelites. When they related all that had happened, all were encouraged by the LORD to take the land and all who inhabited it (Joshua 2:15-24).

-*Application* This special woman, Rahab, although not perfect by any stretch, played a key role in not just the national history of Israel, but for the salvific history of mankind. She is assumed to be part of the Messianic line according to Matthew 1:5, even though that may be debated as to who this Rahab was specifically. No matter the case, she overcame some glaring sins (sexual immorality and lying) to find mercy. Her total confession before the God of the Universe is something for us to ponder today. She acknowledged her Sovereign and went along with His program for her people. Her submission to His glory is what we need to glean from this Scripture more than anything else.

Verses to Memorize: Joshua 2:1, 11

Friday, February 5, 2016

Bible Study Notes in Joshua- Introduction and Chapter 1

Joshua 1

-Introduction: The book of Joshua picks up the narrative immediately after the death of God’s servant, Moses, as the children of Israel were now ready to make the crossing into the Promised Land through the Jordan River just north of the Dead Sea. This book is authored by Joshua, the commander of God’s people in conquest of the Promised Land, except for the ending portion generally attributed to the high priest, Phinehas, upon the passing of Joshua. Phinehas would have been an eyewitness (Joshua 24:29-33). The setting for this book focuses on the entire breadth of conquest in the land of Israel, which is more or less the same territory that is controlled by the modern state of Israel in the Middle East; although, God promised His people land all the way to the Lebanese wilderness as far as the Euphrates River. The children of Israel fell short in some ways of realizing all of God’s promises at this time, but yet they were very strong and very courageous under the leadership of a great commander, Joshua. The book can be divided into distinct sections: section one could be called “Preparation and Entering the Promised Land (Joshua 1:1-5:12),” section two could be called “Conquering the Promised Land (Joshua 5:13-12:24),” and section three could be called “Dividing the Promised Land (Joshua 13:1-24:33).” The events of this book took place around 1400 years before the coming of Messiah Jesus. A special feature of this book is the blessing of Joshua and Caleb, the only two to make it from Egypt through the wilderness and into the Promised Land because of their faith and obedience to the LORD. This sets up the mega themes of the work, which include: Strength, Courage, Success, Faith, Guidance, Leadership, Conquest, and Obedience (or Submission). So, as we study this Holy Spirit inspired writing, let us consider that we can choose for ourselves whom we will serve today…”but for me and my house, we will serve the LORD (Joshua 24:15).”

-Chapter 1: God spoke to Joshua, the son of Nun, after the death of Moses, who was the servant of the LORD as he guided God’s people out of Egypt and through the wilderness where he received the commands of the LORD and the promises for a hope and a future in the Promised Land for His people. The LORD was very specific with His new leader telling him to “arise” and “cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel (Joshua 1:1-2).” Every place Joshua would step was promised to be given to him as a commander of the LORD’s earthly army. This was just as He had spoken to Moses (Deuteronomy 1:38; 3:28; 31:7). Land was promised by God “from the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun… (Joshua 1:3-4).” God further guaranteed that “no man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you (Joshua 1:5).” The LORD Himself then exhorts His warrior to “be strong and courageous” in taking possession of the land which was sworn to them by the Sovereign. God challenged him to “be careful to do” all of the Law which He had given to them through Moses. The children of Israel were not to turn from it to the right or to the left. They would need to walk the straight and narrow path of God to find success wherever they went. The Book of the Law was not to depart from the mouth of this leader. He was commanded by the LORD to meditate on it day and night, and then do all that it said to do in obedience. This would insure the blessing: prosperity and success in the way. God then reiterated for the third time to “be strong and courageous” with no trembling (`arats – to be in fear, dread, terror, oppression) or dismay (chathath – to be shattered, dismayed, broken, sacred) (Joshua 1:6-9).

-Joshua took this word from the LORD and commanded his officers of the people to pass through the midst of the camp and authoritatively tell the people to prepare provisions for themselves because in three days they were going to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land that the LORD had given them. A special message was given to those who had been given land on the eastern side of the Jordan, which was the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. Joshua called them to remind them of the covenant they had made with Moses to go into the Promised Land with their brothers until all was conquered and there was peace from the conflict. The wives, children, and cattle could remain behind, but the fighting men were required to go into the fray with their comrades in order to help according to their word (Numbers 32:31-32). They of course followed in accordance with what they had promised and pledged obedience once again to Joshua to go wherever he sent them and do all that he commanded to do. They too assured the authority of Joshua, like God had previously done, and warned of any rebellion against that authority as long as Joshua was “strong and courageous (Joshua 1:10-18).”

-*Application* God crafts us in the early part of our journey for the mission and call He has for us in the end. Joshua is a prime example of being faithful in little and then in much (Luke 16:10). His responsibilities and favor kept increasing as he sojourned through the earth in obedience to his King. We should be no different. God calls us to promise in various ways and then expects us to be very strong and very courageous with unwavering devotion to His purposes. Expect great things in your life as you hear from God and respond in total faith. Don’t ever cave in to fear, dread, terror, oppression, breaking down, or trouble. God is with you too, wherever you go. He will never leave us or forsake us in the journey no matter what the circumstances seem to indicate (Joshua 1:5). None of His promises will fail.

Verses to Memorize: Joshua 1:5, 7-9