THAT I HAVE GIVEN YOU
! Bible Reading: Joshua 1:1-7 Key Verse: Joshua 1:3- “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.”
Key Words: that I have given unto you
The book of Joshua starts with the word now. This word links the book of Deuteronomy with the book of Joshua. Moses is referred to as “the servant of the Lord.” What a compliment! God Himself referred to Moses as a servant of His. But now Moses is dead, but God’s Word continues to go forward. Leaders may change but God doesn’t. Now that Moses is dead, Joshua is to take over and go forward over the Jordan River to possess what has been promised. It’s interesting to note that the book begins with Moses’ death and ends with Joshua’s death. Every place God’s people tread, God has given the land to them. This is what God intended for His people forty years earlier. (See Numbers 13.) I read recently about a young man who was very impressed by a motto on a sticker that said, “LET GOD.” He cut out the six letters, pasted them on a card, and hung the motto on Leaders may his bedroom wall. Somehow the blessing he sought change but God did not seem to come. One day, however, he found the last letter had dropped off his board, leaving the doesn’t. motto “LET GO.” When we let go of all the things that hinder us: our will, our plans and selfish desires, then Joshua 1:3 can and will be fulfilled: “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.”
What to do: ! Many blessings of God are missed because we fail to go forward, so I challenge you to move forward.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 1:8-18 Key Verse: Joshua 1:8- “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Key Words: then thou shalt have good success
Joshua was governed by the book of the law. This book was prepared for Joshua according to Exodus 17:14, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” Rabbinical scholars record that Joshua was holding the book of Deuteronomy in his hands when he was notified of Moses’ death. We do not know if that is factual, but we do know that the law of God was important to Joshua. God instructed him to meditate day and night upon God’s Word so he could know and obey the Word of God. Meditation was not optional; it was a command. As you read Joshua 1:8 you come to the realization that meditation plus application equals success. This is the only place in the Scripture where the word success is used. No doubt Joshua obeyed the Word and was prosperous. H. P. Barker gives a graphic illustration that points out the need for both knowing and applying the truths of Scripture. When he looked out into his garden one day, he noticed three things. He first saw a beautiful butterfly that would light on a flower and then flutter to another just for a few seconds. It touched as many flowers as it could, but derived no benefit from the flowers. He watched a little longer and a botanist came into the garden. He was equipped with a notebook under his arm and a big magnifying glass that he used to study the flowers at length and then write his findings in his notebook. After studying the flowers for several hours, he left. The third thing that was noticed was a tiny bumble bee that would land on the flowers and sink deep down into it, extracting all the nectar and pollen it could carry. It went into the flower empty and came out full. That is what the Lord wants to happen to us when it comes to studying His Word. He wants us to get something from our study of the Scriptures that will satisfy us and fill us with His joy and power.
That’s what real success and prosperity is: it’s getting inside the Word of God and coming out full. Let me encourage you to make this a daily habit in your life.
What to do: ! Get inside God’s Word, obey it, live it, love it. Spiritual success is sure to follow.
THE SCARLET THREAD NOVEMBER 3 ! Bible Reading: Joshua 2 Key Verse: Joshua 2:18- “Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.”
Key Words: this line of scarlet thread
Rod Mattoon in his commentary on Joshua says: “Judgment would pass over them because of the rope of red. What a beautiful picture of the shelter we have from God’s judgment because of the blood of Christ. In Egypt, the Death Angel passed over the homes with the blood on the door posts. In the sacrifice of the red heifer, the scarlet thread was wrapped around hyssop and thrown into flames when the heifer was burnt. The ashes were mixed together and used in ceremonial cleansing. The blood of Christ cleanses us of our sin (I John 1:7). On the Day of Atonement, a scarlet thread was attached to the gate of the Tabernacle. Jewish historians state that it was white linen that had been dyed red. If the sin of the people was atoned for, the thread would turn back to white. After the crucifixion to the destruction of the Temple, the rope remained red because the sacrifice of Christ had been rejected. The purpose of the thread was identification, a mark of obedience, and separation from wickedness. Christians are to be identified with Christ by obedience to the Lord and separation from the wicked lifestyle of this world.” The story is told of a man passing through a village in Basutoland. To his surprise he noticed some chickens with red ribbons fastened to their backs between
their wings. He asked the owner of the chickens what was the purpose of those red ribbons. He answered and told the traveler that the red ribbons protected his chickens from hawks that would normally attack them. During his fifteen years in the village, no chicken was taken by a hawk if it had that red ribbon on its back. Yet, many chickens that did not have the ribbon were carried off by the hawks. Blue, green, and other colors did not work, nothing worked except the red. What a lesson for us. The scarlet ribbon of Christ’s blood protects us from the wrath and doom that awaits the unbelieving sinner and keeps us from the onslaughts of Satan who desires to take us captive at his will. Thank God for the blood of Christ!
What to do: ! Thank God today and everyday for the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
DIRECTION & PREPARATION
! Bible Reading: Joshua 3:1-13 Key Verse: Joshua 3:2- “And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;”
Key Words: after three days
The trip from Shittim to Jordan was about ten miles. Israel had set up camp for three days preparing themselves to cross over the Jordan River. A key lesson here is that God’s people need to realize the importance of preparing themselves to obey God’s leading and to wait on God’s direction and timing. Direction and preparation comes from a clear conscience, confession of wrong, prayer and study of God’s Word. When you do these things, your days will be free from inner turmoil and conflict, and God’s will can be done with a right and Godly attitude. In 18th century Wales, a young man named William Williams graduated from the university to become a physician of the soul. He became a pastor. William was warned about fanatics such as Wesley and Whitfield and decided to be a fanatic for the Lord too. In 43 years of preaching, he traveled 95,000 miles and preached regularly to crowds as high as 10,000 people or more. Once he had the opportunity to preach to an estimated crowd of 80,000 people. That day he wrote in his journal, “God strengthened me to speak so loud that most could hear.” Pastor Williams is best remembered, however, for the hymns he wrote which ended up being about
800 songs. This man followed God’s guidance through the snows of winter, the rains of spring, and the heat of the summer. He was beaten by mobs (once within an inch of his life) and also cheered by crowds. In all his adventures and travels, his compelling desire was to do the will of the Lord in his life. He penned that attitude in the song he had written, “Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah.” Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah Pilgrim through this barren land; I am weak, but Thou art mighty; Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
What to do: ! Remember, attitude has a lot to do with outcome.
THE STONES OF REMEMBRANCE
! Bible Reading: Joshua 4:1-9 Key Verse: Joshua 4:5- “And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:”
Key Words: and take you up every man of you a stone
The Lord had a reason for the removal of the stones. When future generations would ask the meaning of the stones, their parents would be able to explain to their children how the waters were miraculously cut off before the Ark of the Covenant. The stones were a memorial to both the power and work of God. We all need a memorial of God’s blessings and working in our lives because we do have a tendency to forget. The memorial stones would also be a reminder to those who wanted to cross back into Egypt. We, as believers, never need to go back into our Egypt of carnality and the world. Unfortunately, many believers get away from God and return to their old sinful lifestyle. Robert Robinson wrote the wonderful hymn, “Come, Thou Fount,” when he was 23 years old. The third stanza of the hymn says, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.” Robert was expressing a battle already taking
place in his life, for later in his life Robert backslid and got far away from the Lord. While riding a stagecoach one day, a worldly Robinson heard a woman humming his hymn. She later engaged him in conversation and asked what he thought of the song. Robinson was broken and overcome with emotion and said to this lady, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago and I would give a thousand worlds if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had back then.” Sin doesn’t give, it takes.
What to do: ! Go back and re-visit the blessings of God in your life.
LEARNING FROM THEIR MISTAKES
! Bible Reading: Joshua 4:14-24 Key Verse: Joshua 4:24- “That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.”
Key Words: the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty
The twelve stones were to demonstrate the mighty hand of God to the nation of Israel. We as believers know the mighty hand of God through His: Resurrection – victory over death, Reconciliation – forgiveness of sin, and Revelation – the Word of God.
A university professor noticed a student was about to fall asleep in class. So the teacher asked the student, “What is the greatest problem in our society...ignorance or apathy?” The student replied, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” Such was the case with the people of Israel.
The result of these
memorial stones was eventually failure (Judges 2:8-12).
They suffered from apathy and the
“Second Generation Syndrome.” The land was partially conquered and the people became content with a partial victory. “We got some land
“What is the greatest problem in our society...ignorance or apathy?”
now!” was their attitude. “Why should we bother to get anymore and risk death?”
They became satisfied with second best. They failed because they neglected to fully obey the Word of God. In Joshua, obedience to God’s Word played a big role, but in Judges it was hardly mentioned. May we learn from their mistakes.
What to do: ! Remember when we fail to learn from the mistakes of others, we are bound to make the same mistakes ourselves.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 5 Key Verse: Joshua 5:10- “And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.”
Key Words: and the children of Israel camped in Gilgal
The name Gilgal means “roll.” In verse 9 we see that Gilgal is where God rolled away the reproach of Egypt which was on Israel. Now, in verse 10 Gilgal becomes a place of refreshment and restoration. Israel’s obedience had brought about fellowship and feasting by means of the Passover (verse 10) and a delicious meal (verse 11).
This would have been only the third time Israel would have observed the Passover. The first time was in Egypt when the death angel visited the land; and the second time was at Mt. Sinai (Numbers 9:5). During the wilderness wanderings, the Passover was not observed because no uncircumcised person could partake in the feast (Exodus 12:48).
The nation of Israel had forfeited their right to the Passover by their disobedience and sin. God will not give the enjoyment of His fellowship and blessings to a people who are content to live in disobedience.
Just as Israel had forfeited the right of God’s blessing and fellowship, today many believers, as well, are giving up the blessings of God for a life of carnality and sin. If these believers living in sin do read their Bibles, they get nothing from it. When they do go to church, they do not enjoy it. If they fellowship with other believers, they find little in common because they are following the beat of a
different drummer...a carnal one. Sin and disobedience are robbing them of a great blessing. What a shame!
What to do: ! Don’t let sin rob you of God’s blessings.
JERICHO’S OF OUR LIFE NOVEMBER 8 ! Bible Reading: Joshua 6:1-11 Key Verse: Joshua 6:2- “And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.”
Key Words: and the LORD said
Jericho was locked up tight as a drum. It was “straightly shut up.” In the
Hebrew this reads “was closed and closed.” It was closed with iron gates reinforced with copper bolts. Jericho thought it was secure, only to find out later that it was insecure. Their fortress would soon become a flaming crematory and they would be the fuel for the fire. They thought Israel would come through the gates, but God had different plans. What was Jericho like? Why are they attacking here? Jericho was the fortress guarding the eastern entrance into Canaan land. It was located seventeen miles northeast of Jerusalem. It could be cold and wintry in the hills of Jerusalem, but a six-hour hike dropping 3000 feet through desert and rocky land would bring you to the warm and pleasant climate of Jericho which was 800 feet below sea level. In the summer it was extremely hot in Jericho. It was called the city of palm trees which were abundant in the city. It was a beautiful place. The area of the city was eight to nine acres. It was surrounded by double walls 25 to 30 feet high with an outer wall six feet thick. The inner wall was twelve feet thick with fifteen feet between each wall. Jericho was a big obstacle for Israel. Their faith was being put to the test. Let me assure you that if you dedicate yourself to be what God wants you to be and to go where God wants you to go, you’ll face some Jerichos in your life as well. You will face... The Jericho of materialism, The Jericho of popularity, The Jericho of persecution, The Jericho of rejection, The Jericho of discouragement.
But keep on marching and obeying God – victory will come. Hold on, my child, joy comes in the morning.
What to do: ! Look beyond your obstacles and see the possibilities if you keep on going.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 6:12-25 Key Verse: Joshua 6:17- “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.”
Key Words: Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in her house
Rahab and her household were to be spared. For six days Rahab watched the army walking around the city in silence. Do you think it was tense in her home? You better believe it was! What would you be thinking? When will they attack? Will we get caught? Will the soldiers keep their word and spare us? What would you be checking or examining? I imagine Rahab was checking
that scarlet thread to make sure it was in the window. Paul tells us, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (II Corinthians 13:5). Rahab is a picture of a believer prepared for the return of the Lord and the judgment to come. Rahab was removed from the calamity and judgment after the shout. She was one on high looking down on the peril below. She did not know when the judgment would begin, but she was ready and prepared. Are you? John Wesley was asked by a friend, “If you were to die at midnight tomorrow, how would you spend the rest of your life until then?” Wesley replied, “I would spend my time exactly as I plan to spend it now. I would preach tonight and travel to another town tomorrow to preach in the
afternoon. Then I would go to the Martin’s home in the evening where they are expecting me. We would spend time fellowshipping together and praying. I would go to bed, put myself in my Father’s care, go to sleep, and wake up in Heaven.” Wesley was a man ready for Glory!! The question is, are you?
What to do: ! Live everyday as if it was your last on earth, and one day it will be.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 7:1-9 Key Verse: Joshua 7:1- “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.”
Key Words: But the children of Israel committed a trespass
Joshua is still filled with joy over the victory of Jericho, but he is about to learn that yesterday’s victories do not immune us from tomorrow’s defeats. The spies return from spying out Ai and basically say we can make quick work of this. God’s people had become overconfident. They had forgotten that it was God who brought victory, not Israel. The spies in their overconfidence underestimate the strength of the enemy and overestimate their own ability. Overconfidence not only can lead to struggle and defeat, it will lead us into the valley of despair. Golf immortal Arnold Palmer recalls a lesson about overconfidence: It was the final hole of the 1961 Masters tournament, and I had a one-stroke lead and had just hit a very satisfying shot. I felt I was in pretty good shape. As I approached my ball, I saw an old friend standing at the edge of the gallery. He motioned me over, stuck out his hand and said, “Congratulations.” I took his hand and shook it, but as soon as I did, I knew I had lost my focus. On my next two shots, I hit the ball into the sand trap, then put it over the edge of the green. I missed a putt and lost the Masters. You don’t forget a mistake like
that; you just learn from it and become determined that you will never do that again. I haven’t in the thirty years since. We would do well to learn from others the defeat of overconfidence.
What to do: ! Remember, he who fails to learn from his failures is bound to repeat them.
ATTRACTION TO SIN NOVEMBER 11 ! Bible Reading: Joshua 7:10-26 Key Verse: Joshua 7:21- “When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.”
Key Words: when I saw
The path of sin never changes. Achan said, “I saw, I coveted, I took, I fell.” The following was taken from Christianity Today magazine: Several years ago our family visited Niagara Falls. It was spring, and ice was rushing down the river. As I viewed the large blocks of ice flowing toward the falls, I could see that there were carcasses of dead fish embedded in the ice. Gulls by the score were riding down the river feeding on the fish. As they came to the brink of the falls, their wings would go out, and they would escape from the falls.
I watched one gull which seemed to delay and wondered when it would leave. It was engrossed in the carcass of a fish, and when it finally came to the
Achan said, “I
brink of the falls, out went its powerful wings. The
saw, I coveted, I
bird flapped and flapped and even lifted the ice out of
took, I fell.”
the water, and I thought it would escape. But it had delayed too long so that its claws had frozen into the ice. The weight of the ice was too great, and the gull plunged into the abyss.
The material possessions of this world can entrap us if we become attached to them. Like Achan we will fall and our fall not only affects us, but those around us as well.
What to do: ! Remember, the first duty of every soul is not freedom, but to find its master. If Jesus is your Master, He alone will attract you.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 8:1-9 Key Verse: Joshua 8:1- “And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:”
Key Words: Fear not
Israel’s failure at Ai had shaken them, so God gave His reassurance that He was still with them. God knew that fear of the future and discouragement always accompanied failure. Failure brings with it an “I can’t” attitude. But in reality failure is an opportunity to learn from our mistakes which allows us to do a better job the next time.
Henry Ford defined failure as “an opportunity to begin again more intelligently, and organize a victory out of failure.”
Alexander Whyte said, “No matter what mistake we make, the worst mistake of all is to not try again.”
Thomas Edison failed many times and yet made over 1,100 inventions. When he worked on the idea of making artificial light, he couldn’t find a filament that would give good light when electricity flowed through it. He spent two years experimenting with thousands of materials, including everything from blades of grass to wire made from platinum. Finally he used carbonized thread, which is cotton sewing thread burned to ash. On October 21, 1879, he succeeded.
Remember, it is not failing that is the problem; it is what one does after he fails. What to do: ! Remember, a winner never quits and a quitter never wins.
COCKINESS NOVEMBER 13 ! Bible Reading: Joshua 8:10-29 Key Verse: Joshua 8:14- “And it came to pass, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; but he wist not that there were liers in ambush against him behind the city.”
Key Words: the king of Ai...hasted and rose up early
It was pride and over-cockiness of Israel that led to their defeat against Ai. Now the pride and arrogance of Ai will lead to their demise. Remember, “Pride goeth before the fall.” Past victories are no guarantee of future victories.
An overconfident girl may think she can handle the “petting” only to find out later the power of worldly lust. An overconfident pastor may feel as though he can handle his desires and passions as well, only to find himself a shame to the cause of Christ, his family and himself. The overconfidence of many teens and adults has destroyed them when they thought they could handle the drugs, sex, or liquor. Watch out for cockiness and pride.
A man who had a high opinion of himself, stepped on a coin-operated scale that dispensed a card giving his weight and comments about his personality. After reading the card, he handed it to his wife and said, “Here, look at this!” She took it and read aloud, “You are dynamic, a born leader, handsome, and much admired by women for your
Past victories are no guarantee of future victories.
personality.” Giving a second look, she added, “Hmmm...I see it got your weight wrong, too.”
Beware of cockiness! What to do: ! Remember Philippians 1:21: “For me to live is Christ” – not “for me to live is me.”
THEY FAILED TO PRAY NOVEMBER 14 ! Bible Reading: Joshua 9:1-16 Key Verse: Joshua 9:14- “And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.”
Key Words: and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.
He who does not learn from his past is bound to repeat it. Israel failed to seek God when they attacked Ai. Now here in chapter 9, they again fail to seek God when they make peace and a league with the Gibeonites.
Because they did not pray and seek God, they lacked discernment and were easily misled (verses 12 – 15).
We would all do well to heed the prayer checklist of missionary, Ruth Paxton. Has my prayer life been powerless because of besetting sin? _____ Has it been hindered by irregularity? _____ Have I had such power with God that I have real power with people? _____ Have I prayed only for self and my needs? _____ Has my prayer life been hindered because of a lack of hearing God’s Word? _____ Has my prayer life been joyless, more of a duty than a privilege? _____ Has my prayer life been sacrificial? Has it cost me nothing in time and energy? _____
We will always fail unless we learn that we should: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways
acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.
What to do: ! Always remember, a lot of kneeling keeps you in good standing.
SUN STOOD STILL NOVEMBER 15 ! Bible Reading: Joshua 10:1-14 Key Verse: Joshua 10:13- “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.”
Key Words: And the sun stood still
This passage of Scripture is one of the most controversial passages in all of God’s Word. It is one that scoffers and critics use to say the Bible is a hoax. But need I remind you that God is no hoax? If God can speak the world into existence, if God can create life, if God can save our souls, then certainly God can cause the sun to stand still. Joshua did not know the earth is 8,000 miles in diameter, 200 million square miles of surface, and 71% of that is water, that the earth travels 18 ! miles per second, that the sun is 93 million miles away from the earth, and at the core of the sun, it is 30 million degrees Fahrenheit. Joshua did not know that the earth weighs 6.6 sextillion tons. Joshua knew none of this. All Joshua knew was that with God, nothing is impossible. Harry Rimmer in his book Harmony of Science and Scripture records the story of a professor of astronomy at Yale University who found the earth was 24 hours out of schedule. Dr. Trotter, another professor at Yale, challenged him to read the Bible to find the answer. This professor said 23 hours and 20 minutes was lost at this event in Joshua. The professor decided the Bible was not true because there was a 40-minute mistake.
But we read in Isaiah 38:8 that God would turn the sun back 10 degrees to affirm to Hezekiah that He would give him 15 years of additional life. Ten degrees is 40 minutes on the sun dial. To God be the glory!!
What to do: ! If God can stop time, He can stop the problems you face as well.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 11:1-20 Key Verse: Joshua 11:18- “Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.” Key Words: made war a long time
The victory over the enemies of Israel did not come quickly or easily. These foes were formidable opponents, but by perseverance and God’s grace, victory did come.
Now there is a lesson in this for us as well. Not all victories in our lives will come easily, but by God’s grace and perseverance on our part, victory will come.
A lad saw a want ad in a small Massachusetts paper asking for a young man to assist the office manager of a brokerage house in Boston. Applications were to be mailed to Box 1720 in Boston.
The young man wrote the best letter of
application he knew how. When no reply came, he wrote a second letter. Still no reply. Though discouraged, he did not quit. He rewrote his letter, changing the wording, improving the construction. Still he received no reply from his third letter.
The lad knew that success required persistence. So he took a train to Boston, went directly to the post office and asked, “Who rents Box 1720?” The clerk replied that to give out such information was against the law.
The boy hunted for Box 1720, then waited hours until someone came. He followed the person to one of Boston’s largest brokerage houses. When the manager heard his story, he said, “My young friend, you are just the type we are
looking for. The job is yours.” Thus began the career of Roger Babson, one of America’s illustrious statisticians.
What to do: ! Remember, if Columbus would have turned back, no one would have blamed him. No one would have remembered him either!! Keep going, victory will come.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 12 Key Verse: Joshua 12:1- “Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon unto mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east:”
Key Words: Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote
Chapter 12 is a roll sheet of the defeated kings of Canaan. They remind us that the enemies of God are numerous; that the faces of evil are many; that the enemies of God are united, desperate, but by the power of God, they are defeated. In verse 9 – 16, sixteen kings of the South are defeated by Joshua. In verse 17 – 24, there are fifteen kings of the North that are defeated. Thirty-one kings in all remind us of two key things. First, these thirty-one kings remind us that God’s people have obstacles to overcome every day of the month. Secondly, the thirty-one kings were defeated by God. Daily victory comes from God. The number thirty-one in the Bible is a numerical value term. The number thirty-one reads in the Hebrew EL, the name of God. Victory comes daily from a daily walk with God. What a great lesson for each of us!
When Felix of Nola was hotly pursued by murderers, he took refuge in a cave, and instantly over the opening of the cave a spider came and wove his web. Seeing the web over the cave’s entrance, the murderers concluded Felix could not have entered the cave; so they passed him by. The point is “Where God is not, a wall is
but a spider web; but where God is, a spider’s web is as a wall.” Thank God for His marvelous ways which benefit us daily.
What to do: ! Commit each day to God and He will carry you through.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 13 Key Verse: Joshua 13:1- “Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.”
Key Words: and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed
Joshua had lived a full life. We know that he is over the age of 80. The term “well stricken in years” means over 80. Yet God wasn’t through with Joshua yet; he still had unfinished business to take care of. Two lessons we learn from this portion of Scripture: age is never an excuse not to serve; and, secondly, we are never to rest on our past achievements. There will always be unfinished business of God’s that needs to be done. An older man began cutting trees to construct a log house. A neighbor who knew him and his age asked, “Isn’t this too large an undertaking for one person who is no longer young?” “It would be,” replied the elderly man, “if I looked beyond the chopping of the trees and sawing of the logs and pictured myself laying the foundation and erecting the walls and putting on the roof. Carrying the load all at once would exhaust me. But it isn’t much of a job to cut down this one tree, and that’s all I have to do right now.” The moral of the story is take one thing at a time and do it – then that which is unfinished will be finished. So it is in all of our lives, no matter what our age.
What to do: ! Finish the course.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 14 Key Verse: Joshua 14:8- “Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God.”
Key Words: I wholly followed the Lord my God.
Three things you see about Caleb in Joshua 14. " First of all, he was committed to doing the will of God (verse 9). " Secondly, he was consistent (verse 10). " Thirdly, he was courageous (verse 12).
For forty-five years Caleb had been behind the scenes as an obedient, faithful servant. We never find him grumbling, griping, or complaining. He was loyal and consistent. Caleb would be a perfect example of absolute surrender. Caleb meant business for God. Author and business leader Fred Smith writes: “One of my treasured memories comes from a doughnut shop in Grand Saline, Texas. There was a young farm couple sitting at the table next to mine. He was wearing overalls and she a gingham dress. After finishing their doughnuts, he got up to pay the bill, and I noticed she didn’t get up to follow him. But then he came back and stood in front of her. She put her arms around his neck, and he lifted her up, revealing that she was wearing a full-body brace. He lifted her out of her chair and backed out the front door to the pickup truck, with her hanging from his neck. As he gently put her into the truck, everyone in the shop watched. No one said anything until a waitress remarked, almost reverently, ‘He took his vows seriously.’” So it was with Caleb – he took the business of God seriously – and so should we.
What to do: ! You can join the crowd and not be serious about the business of God...or you can join the few who take it seriously: that’s my recommendation.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 15:1-20 Key Verse: Joshua 15:1- “This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families; even to the border of Edom the wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast.”
Key Words: even to the border
Chapter 15 describes for us the boundaries for the Israelites. A boundary is a confinement, a limit. Boundaries promote order and security. Without boundaries we couldn’t play ball, drive on the road, nor could we live in peace. Without boundaries there would be chaos. We as believers have boundaries. The Ten Commandments are boundaries. Parents need to provide boundaries for their children. Without them children would be wild, rebellious, and out of control.
The poet Coleridge was visited by a man who had a theory about raising children. He stated, “I believe children should be given a free rein to think and act and thus learn at an early age to make their own decisions. This is the only way they can grow into their full potential.” Coleridge made no comment but simply led the man to his garden. “Come see my flower garden,” he said. The opinionated visitor took one look at the overgrown garden and remarked, “Why, that’s nothing but a yard full of weeds.” The wise poet declared, “It used to be filled with roses, but this year I thought I’d let the garden grow as it willed without tending to it. This is the result.” Children, like gardens, will not automatically flourish. They need daily attention and care. They need boundaries. Amen and amen!!
What to do: ! Remember boundaries given with love are not something you are doing to your child, but for your child.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 16 Key Verse: Joshua 16:10- “And they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute.”
Key Words: And they drave not out the Canaanites
Believers must realize that they cannot compromise with evil. The tribe of Ephraim failed to understand that and suffered greatly because of it (Judges 1). When you compromise with evil, you weaken yourself greatly. The Boy Scouts of America understood this truth. In 1992 the Boy Scouts were under fire in California. The Berkeley, California, schools closed their doors to the Boy Scouts because they refused to admit homosexuals and atheists. A judge in Santa Ana, California, ordered Cub Scout Pack 519 to re-admit atheist twins. The two boys were ousted when they refused to say “God” during their pledge. All across California people began to pull their financial support for the Scouts. In San Francisco alone $849,000 was withdrawn from support of the Scouts because of their exclusion of homosexuals. Blake Lewis, spokesperson for the Boy Scouts, said, “Mainstream families want moral values for their youth.” He went on to explain that there is no chance that the Boy Scouts will change its policy no matter how much financial support they lose. He closed by saying, “Our values are not for sale.” Because they took a strong stand, people from every corner of the United States began to send in money and, as a result of their stand, the Boy Scouts were much better off financially in the end because they would not compromise. We must, as believers, come to the place where we understand compromising doesn’t pay. Stay the course. Do right. The psalmist David said, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” What to do: ! Do right always, every time.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 17 Key Verse: Joshua 17:14- “And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the LORD hath blessed me hitherto?”
Key Words: And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the LORD hath blessed me hitherto?
The children of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, feel they have been slighted of their fair share of the land inheritance. In verse 14 they proclaim their selfishness, arrogance and pride by proclaiming their own greatness. There is little in life that will make you more spiritually miserable than a haughty attitude of selfishness. You may get your way, but a selfish attitude will leave you empty and unfulfilled. An irritable old fellow boarded a train, occupied the best seat, and then tried to reserve another seat for himself by placing his luggage on it. Just before the crowded vehicle started, a teenage boy came running up and jumped aboard. “This car is full,” said the man irritably; “that seat next to mine is reserved for a friend of mine who has put his bag there.” The youth paid no attention but sat down saying, “All right, I’ll stay here until he comes.” He placed the suitcase on his knee while the elderly man glared at him in vain. Of course, the “friend” did not appear, and soon the train began to move. As it glided past the platform, the young fellow tossed the bag through the open window remarking, “Apparently your friend has missed the train. We mustn’t let him lose his luggage, too!” Selfishness doesn’t pay, now does it? I challenge you to be content with what God has given you. It’s really the key to a happy, fulfilled life.
What to do: ! Remember, the way to have joy is: Jesus, Others, and You.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 18:1-10 Key Verse: Joshua 18:3- “And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?”
Key Words: How long are ye slack
What do you do when you get behind a slow driver? Do you pass when it’s dangerous, tailgate, lay on the horn, flash the lights, or relax and enjoy the scenery? There were seven tribes that were driving slowly – really slowly. Joshua is honking his horn and getting impatient with their slackness. The seven tribes were slow to respond to the challenge. They had not possessed their land. They were weak in faith and spiritual zeal. These folks wanted to take the easy road. Sounds a lot like many Christians today, doesn’t it? A little girl saw a sign in a church meeting hall and it caused her to cry. The sign read, “The zeal of the house hath consumed me.” When asked why she cried the girl said, “I’m crying because of the zeal.” Someone responded, “Don’t cry, little girl. There is no zeal here.” What a shame! John Milton got up at four o’clock every morning to work on “Paradise Lost.” William Cullen Bryant rewrote “Thanatopsis” ninety-five times. Noah Webster worked thirty-six years to produce the first edition of his dictionary. Many business executives put in ten or twelve hours a day, six or even seven days a week – not always because they have to, but because they are enthusiastic about their work. So we should be about our work for the Lord.
What to do: ! Be zealous, not slack, in your work for the Lord.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 19:1-9 and Genesis 49:5-7 Key Verse: Genesis 49:7- “Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.”
Key Words: Cursed be their anger
Simeon’s inheritance was closely associated with Judah’s. Their inheritance was a fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy found in Genesis 49:5-7. Simeon and Levi are instruments of cruelty. Because they did not control their anger, they now reap the fruit of their actions. They would both be divided and scattered in Israel. Simeon’s inheritance was settled within Judah. The Levites had no inheritance. They were scattered throughout Israel in 48 priestly cities. Simeon and Levi remind us of the consequences of uncontrolled anger. “A fable was told by Ralph Woener about a young lion and a mountain goat. Quite thirsty, the animals arrived at a water hole at the same time. They immediately began to argue about who would drink first. The disagreement became so heated that each decided he would rather die than give up the privilege of being first to quench his thirst. As each stubbornly confronted the other, their anger turned to rage. Just then something distracted them, and they both looked up. Circling overhead was a flock of vultures waiting for the loser to fall. That was all they needed to end their quarrel.” -William Arthur WardYour anger will not only harm others, it will also harm you!
What to do: ! Be ye angry and sin not!!
CITIES OF REFUGE
! Bible Reading: Joshua 20 Key Verse: Joshua 20:2- “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses:”
Key Words: cities of refuge
Below is what J. Vernon McGee says in part about the cities of refuge: “The cities of refuge set before us a vivid scene which has a remarkable lesson for us. God gave to the children of Israel commandment regarding setting aside certain cities for refuge. It is interesting that many tribes and many primitive people have had this same thing. Evidently this is something that was passed on to all mankind. The cities of refuge were for the protection of one who had killed another accidentally. “In the Hawaiian Islands, on the Kona coast of the Big Island, there is a place known as the City of Refuge. It was in use back in the days before Christianity came to the Islands, when the tribes were slaying each other and even offering human sacrifices. It is there as a tourist attraction today. “God’s commandment for the establishment of cities of refuge was first given in Exodus 21:13: ‘And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hand; then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee.’ Then explicit directions for the cities of refuge are given in Numbers 35 – the entire chapter. ‘Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares’ (Numbers 35:11). “Now that the children of Israel are in the Promised Land and each tribe has been allotted its portion of land, the Lord speaks to Joshua about assigning certain cities to be cities of refuge.” There are also a number of spiritual truths about the cities of refuge, some of which are... The cities provided salvation and shelter for anyone. Salvation is for anyone who believes on Jesus Christ. The cities were easily accessible. Salvation is easily accessible. The gates to the cities were always open. Salvation is always open to all who come to Jesus.
I trust today that Jesus is your place of refuge. What to do: ! Run to Jesus, He’ll never fail.
THE LEVITES AND GOD’S GRACE
! Bible Reading: Joshua 21:1-8 Key Verse: Joshua 21:3- “And the children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at the commandment of the LORD, these cities and their suburbs.”
Key Words: And the children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance
The tribe of Levi did not receive land allotments like the other tribes of Israel because of God’s judgment on them (see Genesis 49:5-7). Just the fact they were allotted land shows the marvelous grace of God.
Reader’s Digest wrote of the late Harvey Penick: “For 90-year-old golf pro Harvey Penick, success has come late. His first golf book, Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book, has sold more than a million copies, which his publisher believes makes it one of the biggest things in the history of sports books. His second book, And If you Play Golf, You’re My Friend, has already sold nearly three-quarters of a million. But anyone who imagines that Penick wrote the books to make money doesn’t know the man. In the 1920s Penick bought a red spiral notebook and began jotting down observations about golf. He never showed the book to anyone except his son until 1991, when he shared it with a local writer and asked if he thought it was worth publishing. The man read it and told him yes. He left word with Penick’s wife the next evening that Simon & Schuster had agreed to an advance of $90,000. When the writer saw Penick later, the old man seemed troubled. Finally, Penick came clean. With all his medical bills, he said, there was no way he could advance Simon & Schuster that much money. The writer had to explain that Penick would be the one to receive $90,000.”
People often have Penick’s reaction to the fabulous grace God has to offer. We ask, “What must I do?” God answers, “Just receive.”
What to do: ! Be thankful and gratefully receive the grace of God.
! Bible Reading: Joshua 21:34-45 Key Verse: Joshua 21:44- “And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand.”
Key Words: And the LORD gave them rest
At last the children of Israel have possessed the land and are in the land of promise. There they are at rest, free from war and strife. Only in Christ are we at rest, free from war and strife. Praise God for His wonderful rest! “According to a Greek legend, in ancient Athens a man noticed the great storyteller Aesop playing childish games with some little boys. He laughed and jeered at Aesop, asking him why he wasted his time in such a frivolous activity. Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string, and placing it on the ground. Then he said to the critical Athenian, ‘Now, answer the riddle, if you can. Tell us what the unstrung bows implies.’ The man looked at it for several moments but had no idea what point Aesop was trying to make. Aesop explained, ‘If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it.’ People are also like that. That’s why we all need to take time to rest. Jesus prescribed time off for His wearied disciples after they had returned from a prolonged period of ministry. And in the Old Testament, God set a pattern for us when He ‘rested from all His work’ (Genesis 2:3).” -Our Daily Bread-
Shouldn’t we take His example seriously? Start by setting aside a special time to relax physically and renew yourself emotionally and spiritually. You will be at your best for the Lord if you have taken time to loosen the bow.
What to do: ! Rest in the Lord. Remember the old saying, “We all need to come apart and rest or else we will just come apart.”
! Bible Reading: Joshua 22:1-10 Key Verse: Joshua 22:6- “So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away: and they went unto their tents.”
Key Words: So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away
The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance, and it is separated from the other nine and one-half tribes. The two and a half tribes are so thankful for their inheritance they built an altar and began to worship. The other tribes assumed that they were worshipping a false god because their altar was large, and as a result of rumors, hearsay, and assumptions, the other nine and a half tribes are preparing to go to war with the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh. Making decisions on hearsay, rumors, and assumptions is a dangerous thing. In the end it all worked out but that is not always the case. Speaking of assuming and such, I got a kick out of the following story. “This story deals with a rather old-fashioned lady, who was planning a couple of weeks’ vacation in Florida. She also was quite delicate and elegant with her language. She wrote a letter to a particular campground and asked for reservations. She wanted to make sure the campground was fully equipped but didn’t know quite how to ask about the ‘toilet’ facilities. She just couldn’t bring herself to write the word ‘toilet’ in her letter. After much deliberation, she finally came up with the oldfashioned term ‘Bathroom Commode,’ but when she wrote that down, she still thought she was being too forward. So she started all over again; rewrote the entire letter and referred to the ‘Bathroom Commode’ simply as the ‘B.C.’ Does the campground have its own ‘B.C.?’ is what she actually wrote. “Well, the campground owner wasn’t old-fashioned at all, and when he got the letter, he couldn’t figure out what the lady was talking about. That ‘B.C.’ really stumped him.
“After worrying about it for several days, he showed the letter to other campers, but they couldn’t figure out what the lady meant either. The campground owner finally came to the conclusion that the lady was and must be asking about the location of the Baptist Church. So he sat down and wrote the following reply: ‘Dear Madam: I regret very much the delay in answering your letter, but I now take pleasure of informing in that the B.C. is located nine miles north of the camp site and is capable of seating 250 people at one time. I admit it is quite a distance away if you are in the habit of going regularly but no doubt you will be pleased to know that a great number of people take their lunches along, and make a day of it... . They usually arrive early and stay late. The last time my wife and I went was six years ago, and it was so crowded we had to stand up the whole time we were there. It may interest you to know that right now, there is a supper planned to raise money to buy more seats... . They plan to hold the supper in the middle of the B.C. so everyone can watch and talk about this great event... . I would like to say it pains me very much not to be able to go more regularly, but it is surely not for lack of desire on my part... . As we grow older, it seems to be more and more of an effort, particularly in cold weather... . If you decide to come down to the campground, perhaps I could go with you the first time you go, sit with you, and introduce you to the other folks... . This is a very friendly community.’” -Author UnknownMoral: don’t assume.
What to do: ! Make sure you know what you are talking about before speaking.
JOSHUA’S COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS
! Bible Reading: Joshua 23 Key Verse: Joshua 23:3- “And ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the LORD your God is he that hath fought for you.”
Key Words: for the LORD your God
The curtain is beginning to close on Joshua’s life. He senses that death is not far away. He is old and well-stricken in years. Before that time should come, Joshua wants to pass the torch and share his concerns. Joshua delivers his commencement address to the new generation of leaders. These are men who had fought with Joshua in battles. Joshua reminds them that the place of their faith is to be in the Lord, and he tells them why. " Because of His power, verse 3. " Because of His provision, verse 4. " Because of His promise, verses 5 and 10. During the terrible days of the Blitz, a father, holding his small son by the hand, ran from a building that had been struck by a bomb. In the front yard was a shell hole. Seeking shelter as quickly as possible, the father jumped into the hole and held up his arms for his son to follow. Terrified, yet hearing his father’s voice telling him to jump, the boy replied, “I can’t see you!” The father, looking up against the sky tinted red by the burning buildings, called to the silhouette of his son. “But I can see you. Jump!” The boy jumped because he trusted his father. The Christian faith enables us to face life or meet death, not because we can see, but with the certainty that we are seen, not that we know all the answers, but that we are known.
What to do: ! Remember that one day you must pass the torch. Who are you preparing to pass it to?
! Bible Reading: Joshua 24 Key Verse: Joshua 24:15- “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Key Words: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Joshua’s final message to the people of Israel is that there is no room for compromise. So he offers them a challenge to put God first. Israel’s response is found in verse 16, “And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods.” After Joshua’s final plea and the pledge of the people, Joshua died at the age of 110. The last word spoken about Joshua speaks volumes about him. Verse 29: “...Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died,... .” When Word Perfect was the number 1 computer word processor with over 7 million registered users. In poll after poll, it was the word processor of choice among computer users. It wasn’t that Word Perfect’s product was superior to anything else on the market. It wasn’t that the price was lower. Word Perfect was number 1 because of its superior service. One-third of the company’s employees, 750 in total, were trained and equipped to handle customer questions and problems. They would deal with more than 16,000 toll-free calls each day at a cost of half-a-million dollars in long distance charges per month. Word Perfect’s operators were on call 11 hours per day and could be reached at over 25 different 1-800 numbers. Corporate policy is to not have any customer on hold for more than 60 seconds; so far this year, the average wait time is about 41 seconds. Word Perfect has discovered that service is the key to its success. Joshua had figured that out as well, don’t you think? What to do: ! Live your life for God and you will never have to fear what they put on your epitaph.
I deeply appreciate the help of Laurie Blankenship Trisha Bookout Kathy Endicott Cathy Fortenberry Sandy Lancaster Cathy Lang Pam Lee Marie Moore Mary Parsons John and Tascha Piatt Reba Pontbriand And my lovely wife, Linda
Without God using these people to help this devotional would not have been possible.
Dr. Mike Rouse