Sunday, March 18, 2012

Joshua Part 4 - Jericho

Now we come to probably the most famous part of Joshua's life - Jericho.  This story has been talked about several times and I know that Veggie Tales made a skit about it but here is my rendition of the story.

Joshua finally got the people of Israel across the Jordan river.  Now they had entered the Promised Land.  God had been telling them for 40 years that they would get to this land and the time had finally arrived.  As I stated in the last post, they were facing a tremendous challenge when they got there.  There were seven nations occupying their land and each of these nations was more powerful than Israel.  But Joshua had God on his side so he was determined to conquer the land.

Throughout the first several books of the Bible, we see that while God is certainly a God that can do miracles, the Israelites learn much about tactics and how to do things militarily.  Fortunately for Joshua, this is not his first campaign as their military leader and he is at home fighting wars.  So Joshua sends out a couple of guys to do reconnaissance of the land.  He needed to know what he was up against and these guys were to go take a look and give him a report on the land.  While the two guys were spying out Jericho, they came across a woman named Rahab and they stayed with her.  It's interesting that Rahab was a prostitute.

Well the king of Jericho finds out that the Israelites stayed at Rahab's house and he isn't real happy about it so he sends some people to pick the two spies up.  Rahab hides them.  Somehow she knows that the Israelites will be victorious so she makes them promise to spare her family when they invade the city even though the city has real high walls that make it almost impossible to attack and win an easy victory.  The spies give her a scarlet string and tell her to tie it to her window when the attack happens.  Anyone in her house will be spared but everyone else is going down.  They leave and tell Joshua all the found.

So Joshua loads everyone up and they prepare to cross the Jordan river which is at it's flood level.  Joshua has the people carrying the Ark of the Covenant go first.  Now as soon as their feet touch the edge of the water, the Lord stops the water from flowing and everyone crosses.  The instant that the last of the people's feet touch the other side of the river, it starts flooding again.  So the children of Israel camped on the other side of the Jordan river.  The day the pitched camp was the last day that the Lord sent them manna from heaven for food. 

Now while Joshua was standing around, he looked up and there was a man standing there with his sword drawn.  Joshua fell down on his face before the man and asked if he was friend or enemy.  The man was the captain of the Lord's army.  He was an angel.  Now Israel had surrounded the city so that no one could get in or out and the angel said the Lord is giving you this city.  Then the angel gives him the strangest battle plan ever used on a battle field.  Here is what he tells Joshua to do.  I want you to get some priests and the whole army and I want you to walk around the city once.  Do this each day for the six days.  On the seventh day, I want you to walk around the city seven times.  On the seventh time, the priests will blow their horns and everyone give a loud shout.  When that happens, the wall of Jericho will fall down and you can rush in to capture the city.

I don't know about you but this doesn't make much sense to me.  If the angel had said, I'm going to call in the heavenly Navy Seals and they are going to blow the walls apart with explosives then I'm going to hit the whole city with a bunch of bombs from a bomber, that would make sense.  But we need to learn a lesson.  God's thoughts are higher than ours and many times what He tells us to do won't make sense to us.  But if we know it's Him, we need to follow His directions. 

Fortunately for them, the Israelites did exactly what God told them to do through Joshua and just like He said it would, on the seventh trip around of the seventh day, when the people shouted and the priest blew the horns, the wall fell down flat and Israel captured the city!

Joshua went on to help the children of Israel conquer the promised land and while I could say much more about it, I am going to stop right here.

That's another of the Minion's Bible Stories.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Joshua Part 3

Today I want to continue with the story of Joshua.  Now as we previously discussed, Joshua was a military leader as well as being one of Moses, the President's, right hand men.  Joshua had a heart for God and served him all the days of his life.  He was only one of two people who were adults that actually entered the promised land with the other children of Israel.  What about Moses you ask?  Well Moses saw the promised land but he didn't enter it with Israel.  I will get to that in a few minutes.

Now what I find interesting is that Joshua was destined to become the next President/Leader of Israel.  Israel wasn't a democracy so they really didn't have a president but I hope this helps you understand Moses and then Joshua's position in the government.  Now like we touched on in the last post, Joshua and Caleb were full of faith and when the Lord told them to go and take possession of the land, they were ready to do it but everyone else was to afraid to try.  So God sent them to wander around in the wilderness for 40 years until everyone from the generation of those that didn't believe was dead.  During that time, they took on two different nations and wiped them out.  The didn't start the fight, the other nations did.  But with God's help, they sure finished it.

So we see that Joshua did very well as the General of the Army.  As President, he would keep the same position as the top general of Israel's army.  He did all the right things.  He supported God's man in power, Moses, and he worked hard to do what Moses said.  But something was going to happen that he wouldn't like.  He was going to get promoted but it was going to come at a cost.  See one time when the Israelites needed water, God told Moses to talk to a rock and that it would produce water enough to take care of this whole nation.  Moses got mad at the people and he hit the rock instead of talking to it.  Now I haven't done the studying to determine why this made God so mad at Moses but it did.  Because of that Moses was not able to go into the promised land with Israel.

The Lord told Moses to appoint Joshua as the leader of Israel which he did.  Then Moses went up on this mountain to see all the land of Israel and while he was there, he died.  The bible says that the Lord buried him and is the only one who knows where Moses body is today. 

This caused Joshua some discomfort because he was about to lead his nation into battle again but he was facing an impossible situation.  First of all, they had to cross the Jordan river while it was at it's highest level of the year.  That was no easy task.  Then once he got to the other side of the river, there were seven nations in the land of Israel.  Each one of these nations on their own was larger than the whole nation of Israel and the Lord told Joshua that he was going to lead Israel into victory against each one.  On top of all this, Moses was dead.  Joshua couldn't go to Moses to find out what should be done.  He had to go to the Lord himself and seek God through the Levites who were the priests of Israel.

I want to end today with what the Lord told Joshua because it has blessed me personally over the years.  I will finish what I plan on writing about Joshua with the story of Jericho next week.

This is from Joshua chapter one.  This is my paraphrase.  The Lord says, "Moses is dead.  Get over it.  It's time for you to lead this people now.  You lead the people over the Jordan and into the land that I promised them.  Every place that you walk I have given to you just like I told Moses.  No man will be able to stand against you all the days of your life.  As I was with Moses, so I will be with you:  I will not fail you or leave you.  Only stand strong in your faith in Me because you will deliver this land to Israel.  Do what Moses said and I will cause everything you do to prosper."

That's another Minion's Bible story

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Joshua Part 2

Let's continue with our story of Joshua.  This has been very interesting for me so far because I started out thinking we would talk about Joshua and the wall of Jericho.  We will get to that in time but I am really learning a lot about his character as we go.  Joshua was constantly around Moses.  He was learning everything he could about how the Lord, through Moses, led the children of Israel.  Joshua seemed to be the type of guy who would do anything that Moses told him to do.

Now we know that the children of Israel left Egypt and they were headed for what the Lord called the Promise land.  That land was a good land and it is actually where the children of Israel came from before they went to Egypt.  But it had been about 400 years since they had been to their homeland and they were on their way back to it.

Now when they got to the edge of the Promised land (also called Canaan) Moses sent people to go check out the land.  He sent one man from each of the twelve different tribes of Israel.  Guess who was one of the twelve?  Yup, it was Joshua.  So these twelve guys head out to check the place out.  Moses knows they will have to invade the place so he wants to know stuff like whether the people live in tents or in forts, if there is a lot of wood and if there is any food.  These guys come into the land and they find a ton of food.  As a matter of fact, they cut down this big cluster of grapes that is so big it takes two of them to carry it.  That's a lot of grapes.  They also brought back pomegranates and figs.  The guys came back to Moses after they searched the whole country for 40 days.

Everyone of the twelve said it was a really cool place with plenty of food and that it would be a great place to live.  But here is where things get a little interesting.  Ten of the twelve guys came back and said, "Dude, there are giants living in that place.  These are the biggest dudes we have ever seen.  Some of them are really famous and there is no way on earth we could ever beat them.  We can't make them leave our land.  We aren't good enough to do it.  We even saw these giants called the sons of Anak.  After seeing them we looked at ourselves and we thought we were just little grasshoppers.  Also, they thought we were grasshoppers too and they know that beat us up."  This is the Minion translation of what the bible says.

So everyone in the whole nation of Israel freaks out.  They get all worked up and then they get mad at God.  They say, "God should have just let us die in Egypt or in the wilderness.  The Lord just brought here so these people could kill us with a sword and take our kids captive.  Maybe we should get rid of Moses and Aaron and find someone who will lead us back to Egypt."  Now God told these people that they were supposed to go and take this land back for them to live in.  He even gave them several things that he wanted them to do when they lived there.  But they were so afraid because of what ten of the men said about the land that they trusted these men's words much more than they trusted God's word.  That doesn't make a lot of sense does it?  If God tells us to do something, even if it seems impossible, He will make it happen because He says he will.

Now Moses and Aaron are pretty upset so they fell down on their faces before the nation.  It would probably be a good thing if our top politicians and our top Christian leaders got on their face to pray to God about what to do with our nation.  Notice I said that only ten of the twelve had bad stuff to say about the Promised land.  By the way, the Promised land is the country that we call Israel today.  Anyway, there were two guys who had something different to say.  One was Caleb.  Guess who the other was?  Yup, it was Joshua.  They stood up before all the people and said, "This is a great place to live.  If God told us to go take this land then He will make sure we do it regardless of the giants that live there.  It's a good land.  But we need to be careful now.  We can't rebel against what God said to us.  Dudes, don't be afraid of these wimps.  It doesn't matter how big they are.  They can't defend themselves against us because God is going to kick them out.  God is with us."

But these folks wouldn't listen and they wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb to death.  The Israelites were kind of mean weren't they.  We will hear more about the children of Israel and Joshua next week but for now I want to leave you with a few things we have learned about Joshua in this post.

First of all, Joshua did what his leader Moses told him to do.  Think about it for a minute.  If the land was like they described it, there were only twelve scouts and if they got into a fight, they could have been whipped pretty bad.  Second, Joshua knew what the Lord said about the promised land.  He knew that God told them to go into that land and live there.  When he was faced with a situation that looked different that what God told them about it, he didn't get upset.  He just expected God to do something about the situation.  He knew that God would fix it.  Let me stop here for a minute and ask, what situations are you facing in your life right now?  Are there things in your life that seem like they don't line up with what God has to say?  Maybe you need healing in your body or your spirit.  Well Jesus said in 1 Peter 2:24 that his body was broken and because it was, we were healed.  Start setting your heart and mind on what God said and don't let what your situation looks like scare you.  It cannot stand up to the word of God.

Lastly, Joshua was so passionate about what he believed God said that he was willing to stand up for what he believed the Lord wanted.  Like the country music song says, you have to stand for something or you will fall for anything.

Well it's happened again.  I have blogged myself happy and that's another of the Minion's bible stories.