Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March 2, 2016

"Now when all the kings west of the Jordan heard about these things—the kings in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea as far as Lebanon (the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites)they came together to wage war against Joshua and Israel. However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.”The Israelites said to the Hivites, “But perhaps you live near us, so how can we make a treaty with you?” “We are your servants,” they said to Joshua. But Joshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from? ”They answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan—Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth. And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; make a treaty with us.”’This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey. The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath. Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them. So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the Lord, the God of Israel.The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders, but all the leaders answered, “We have given them our oath by the Lord, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now." Joshua 9:1-19
This is an eye-opening account of what can happen to a leader as great as Joshua when he neglected to pray.
God commanded Joshua and his army to completely destroy all the Canaanite nations and their kings so they could have rest in this Land of Promise.
However, one of their enemies was cunning enough to trick Joshua into making a treaty of protection with them. The men of Gibeon came to Joshua claiming to be foreigners from a territory far from Canaan saying they had heard of their reputation and the power of their God. They put on old tattered clothing, old wineskins and moldy bread to make it appear they had truly traveled from afar when they had only come around the corner.
Joshua and his men listened to the claims of the Gibeonites and looked at their evidence and lacking the discerning wisdom received from prayer were taken in by their ruse. 
Joshua pledged a treaty of protection to the Gibeonites and then three days later he realized he had been had.
By trusting his own judgement, Joshua put himself in a compromising situation because God had commanded His people to destroy all the tribes of Canaan but now he had just pledged to protect one of them.
Oh, if they had only inquired of the Lord before they made their pledge to these men! Oh, if they had listened to God before listening to these deceptive men from Gibeon!
Have you ever gotten yourself into a compromising situation because you neglected to pray?
Are you still living with the complications of an unwise decision you neglected to pray over?
If it happened to Joshua it can happen to you.
If it happened once it can happen again if you forget to pray. When you are prayerless you are careless!
Have you prayed today?

March 1, 2016

"Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below." Joshua 2:8-11

Joshua discreetly sent two spies into Jericho to gather intel. They ended up at the home of Rahab the harlot. It may have been the only safe place within the walls of Jericho and it wasn't even that safe as the soldiers came by looking for them. Thanks to the courage and resourcefulness of Rahab, they stayed safe while they were in the city. When it came time to leave Jericho she helped them escape by lowering them down the wall.

Forty years earlier Joshua had been a spy, one of 12 appointed by Moses. After scouting out Canaan he came back with a realistic yet optimistic report, "We should go up and take this land!"

Unfortunately, there were 10 other spies who gave a negative report which discouraged the people and brought fear to their hearts.Rather than cross over into Jordan they demanded Moses lead them back into the wilderness.

But, God is the God of fresh starts, beginnings and second chances so He brought them back to Canaan for another shot at entering into the Land of Promise. And while they wandered By the time they were committed to cross the Jordan those who had doubted were dead.

So the two secret spies came back to Joshua with a very encouraging report. They told Joshua that God had planted a fear in the Hearts of those inside the walls of Jericho. All the marvelous miracles wrought by God to lead His people out of Egypt gave the Hebrews a fearsome reputation among the Canaanites. The Canaanites feared the God of the Hebrews perhaps more so than the Hebrews did! They should have felt quite safe hiding behind the impenetrable walls of Jericho but instead they were shaking in their sandals.

Herein lies a life-changing truth that should embolden you when God calls you to destroy your stronghold. WHEN GOD PUTS HIS COURAGE IN YOUR HEART HE HAS ALSO PLACED FEAR IN THE HEART OF YOUR ENEMY!

That's huge!

That can be a game-changer!

Anytime God is calling you to do some great thing that you wonder is possible, remember this powerful truth! When God is stirring courage in your heart you can be cure He has also placed fear in the heart of your enemy!


Serve God courageously!

Serve God confidently!