For some of you, the beginning of this passage marks familiar territory from your childhood. “And the walls came a-tumbling down.” It was a remarkably simple strategy to defeat the city and enter it. Some marching and a little noise from the shouting and the blasting of the horn. The story however, does not end there.Read More
You really wonder sometimes when you read through Scriptures, don’t you. I mean, why has God been so patient with us over the centuries when over and over again we disobey and thumb our noses at him. Chapter 7 of Joshua begins with a tragically familiar phrase, “But the Israelites acted unfaithfully . . .” It was a simple task they had been given. After the city was taken through a miracle of God, they were to put the treasures of the city into the ‘Lord’s House.’ It was symbolically a way of reflecting their understanding that God had been with them.Read More disobedience, faithlessness, honesty
This part of the story begins with a ‘buck up’ speech from God! It does not take long for Joshua to find out the truth about what is really going on. The people of God have disobeyed the source of their life and their power. They broke their covenant with God. God has not left them – they have left God.
The tragedy of this story as it unfolds is that people closest to Joshua are just as disobedient as many of the others.Read More compassion, grace, judgment, righteousness
Try to find a sermon or bible study on this passage. Google it! You will find it almost impossible. Nobody wants to preach it simply because the harsh brutality of those times is reflected once again. The consequences and defeat are final. A city is destroyed and a whole people annihilated by the Israelites. Once again for some of you, this offends your modern sensibilities. But you shouldn’t be surprised. We live in brutal times.Read More brutality, difficulties, presence, promise
A number of years ago there was a television show called The “A” Team. In the show there was always a moment where the characters at the end of the show would smile and say, “I love it when a plan comes together.” This is what is happening in chapter 8 of Joshua. God has told them exactly how they are to attack Ai. It would be an ambush and the people of God would win.
Yet one powerful theme is played throughout this chapter.Read More dependence, humility
Think back on the times in which God has moved in your life. Those special moments in which God was specially present. A particular time challenge or need where God ‘showed up’ and there was nothing that you could do but say thank you. God brings those moments into our life as touchstones. They become desperately important when you may at other times be feeling his absence. They are like a memory to remind you that God is there.Read More God’s presence, memory, monument
There it is again. That amazing statement of God to the people of Israel – not to be afraid. The enemy armies have gathered and Joshua and his armies again must stand against a force that far outnumbers them. Their anxiety and fears are to be expected so once again God says to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hands. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.”Read More adventure, courage, faith
Finally the wars were coming to an end and Joshua is gradually distributing the land to the various tribes so that they can settle down. A familiar name comes up again in this story – the name of Caleb. Caleb had been with the people of Israel when they left Egypt. He was present when God divided the waters of the Red Sea. He was one of the twelve spies who had been sent out to survey the land and one of the only two who stood with Joshua in their recommendation to press on into the promised land with the profound belief that God was with them.Read More courage, discipleship, faith, fear, wilderness
What did you do when you were in a trouble as a child? Or what did you do when you were accused of something that you had actually done but were imputed motives that were not true or intent that was not present. I went to the closet in my bedroom. I do not know why but for some reason it felt like a safe space to me. Maybe everything would settle down or at least the immediacy would be tempered.Read More guilt, innocence, refuge, security
Peace has come to the land and while much is left to be done, the old warrior and leader, Joshua is tired and ready to pass on. These are his last words, spoken deeply and powerfully by a leader who loves his people, but unfortunately also knows them. He knows they have short memories and he is aware that they have a tendency to want to rebel and choose other gods. He is already observing things in their lives that concern him. So, as any good leader on his way out would, he calls them together for one last hopeful call to be faithful and his words are helpful for us as well.Read More love, remember, steadfastness