Numbers 21:24 "Israel, however, put him to the sword and took over his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, but only as far as the Ammonites, because their border was fortified."
Known as “The Greatest Generation,” these are men and women who came of age during the Great Depression and World War 2 and went on to build America as we know it today. If you are blessed enough to talk to someone from that era (born usually in late 1910’s and early 1920’s), you will know, when it came to World War 2, nothing would stop them from seeking to overthrow evil tyrant and dictator, Adolf Hitler. Millions of Americans from this generation alone lost their lives in blood-stained and primitive Europe and the jungles of the Pacific. Yet, all of them were focused on the one goal of taking out one of the most evil men ever to walk the face of the earth.
If you read all through history and see how other kingdoms like Hitler’s have crumbled and empires have melted away, you would see that when king after king was killed in battle or overtaken by sudden death, it was because God’s mercy endures forever (Psalm 136:17-26)! It was not mercy to the one man or even a generation such as the “Greatest Generation.” Rather, the sufferings of the helpless cried to God for justice. The moans and tears of prisoners and captives presented went before Him until His mercy linked arms with His wrath and He killed the wicked and evil.
Why? Because His mercy endures forever!
Don’t forget that in this same chapter of Numbers 21 the Israelites grumbled and had to ask God to take away the snakes that were biting them. They complained and complained until God finally brought about another judgment.
But what do we see here? We see that even after God judged them through fiery serpents He also gave them victory over their enemies. Sometimes, in the LORD’s providence, His best mercies to us come just after our darkest, blackest sins have occurred. Only the mercy of the LORD could have brought this to us.
And this is exactly what God did. Shortly after destroying Sihon and his people and then more Amorites at Jazer, the people of Israel marched north along the eastern bank of the Jordan River. There they met Og, king of Bashan, who may have well been up to 10 feet tall. (He was one of the few remaining giants that the spies reported.)
Here the people of Israel are actually faced with some of the very enemies they feared before and that provoked them to rebel against God. God promises them that He will give the giant Og and his army, his land, and his possession into their hands. They will do to him just what they did to Sihon. So God adds to His promise of victory over Og the reminder of what He just did to the Amorites.
When God promises His people something in the Bible, He often adds to the promise a reminder of what He has done in the past so that we will trust Him to be faithful in the present. No matter what happens, even if the worst you can imagine happens to you, you can’t be harmed because nothing will remove you from the love of God (Romans 8:31-38; John 10:27-29). It is because God gave Christ for your sins that you can be sure that He will give you everything you need to persevere in faith in Jesus to the end of your days and so enjoy the love of God forever.
Father, remind me ten times over that you resist the proud but give grace to the humble. Remind me (and the devil) that I am tight with you because you made me and saved me in Christ. Hard rains remind us of your power to destroy us by a flood and rainbows remind us of his promise that he won't. We don't deserve rainbows. Father, more so, we don't deserve forgiveness. Thank you for Jesus saving us. In his name. Amen.
Numbers 22:38 “Well, I have come to you now,” Balaam replied. “But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.”
Do the words you say really make a difference? Whether negative or positive, does it really matter? Does it matter if I post words on my social media account or simply say them to a person? We have freedom of speech, so why does it matter?
Yes, it does matter what you say and how you say it. God gave us language and He uses language to convey His message and truth to us. More importantly, because the Bible addresses what you say throughout the Bible (Ephesians 4, for example). Ultimately, God desires to use your speech for His plan and glory to advance His kingdom.
Under God’s sovereign direction, Balaam could not bring himself to curse Israel as the king of Moab desired. Rather, he blessed Israel with the words that God gave him. While most of Balaam’s life was not pleasing to God, we get a very clear principal from Numbers 22:38: “The words God put in my mouth, I must speak!”
We all know the power of words and the lasting effects they have on those around us. Trash talking and put-downs, for instance, are more and more common nowadays. You have probably even noticed it during government sessions, church meetings, classes, or at work. And I probably don't even need to mention TV shows and movies that have become such a part of our life. Name-calling and vulgar language are as common as food in our society.
The interesting thing about today's cultural acceptance of negative language is that each is mentioned in in Proverbs 16:18-19. You see, of the seven things the LORD hates, all of them relate to the causes and effects of damaging words:
""There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.""
Along the same line, Jesus said, ""Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks"" (Matthew 12:34). The place to begin dealing with our words is inside our thoughts about God, others, and ourselves. If we accompany that with a commitment to stop speaking harmful words, we have begun a wonderful correction in life.
Has the grace found in the cross of Christ so overwhelmed your life that you cannot help but speak of our gracious LORD in even the most menial of daily conversations? To what extent do you recognize the Lordship of Christ in your life?
The speech and conduct of a believer should be permeated with the recognition of the Lordship of Christ.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit... be exalted in our thoughts today, honored by our words, revealed through our choices, and known by our love. Father, free us to be encouragers today... those who offer intentional acts, words, and looks of grace... wherever we are. Holy Spirit, may our words be seasoned, saturated, and spoken with grace today, including our body language. Jesus, help us give soft answers to wrath-full barbs today. We want to stir up grace, not more grievous words. Jesus, the gospel will most definitely "win the day," but may it win my attitude, words and reactions all day long. Jesus, may the words of our mouths reveal that the meditations of our hearts are about your glory, grace and gospel. In your name. Amen.
Joshua 1:8 "Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
As humans, we are creatures of habit. For instance, how often do you follow the same routine to wake up or eat the same thing for breakfast? Probably very often! So when that something that has always been constant suddenly disappears, a feeling of uneasiness comes over you because you don’t know what to expect.
Today’s story was written to a young nation in need of divine guidance. Nearing Moses’ death, the community heard one last time the laws of the LORD. The laws were not too difficult to understand or do (30:11), nor were they far away (30:12-13). Everything God commanded them to do was within their grasp. Now all they had to do was obey them.
This is how Joshua and the Israelites felt when Moses died. Moses, their leader for the past 40 years, was gone and now they had to start over. The time had come for them to enter the Promised Land that God had given them as their inheritance. Feelings of excitement and doubt were inevitably mixed together when Joshua stepped up to follow in Moses’ footsteps.
But God told Joshua four times, saying, “Be strong and courageous!” (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, & 18). The LORD assured Joshua that stopping his fear started with obeying Him. If He failed to obey the Law, then He would not be successful. However, if He did follow what the LORD commanded, then all Israel would enter the Promised Land blessed and prosperous. For Joshua, being strong and courageous meant living for God despite the difficult circumstances around him.
You say, "Well, that was written to them, what about us?” Because of the finished work of Jesus Christ in the Gospel message, we no longer have to keep all the Old Testament laws. But we are required to search out the Scripture to find what the LORD commands us to do today. For instance:
*Are you aware that you will give an account for every word you say (Matt. 12:36)?
*Are you aware that you will be held accountable for how faithfully you proclaim the Gospel message (2 Cor. 4-5)?
*Are you aware that showing favoritism between Christians is a sin (1 Tim. 5:21; Gal. 2:6)?
John wrote, “Now by this we know that we have come to know God: if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3). Can this be said of you this day, dear young Christian?
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
These are words of promise in the face of grief and its accompanying challenges that lifted Joshua’s spirit’s and helped equip him for his tasks. The LORD promises to be with us the same today as He was with Joshua. Won’t you seek Him now and let His presence surround your worries and troubles?
The LORD goes ahead of us and will never fail nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
Father, may your kindness lead us to repentance all day long--in word, thought, and deed. Grant us joy in our repenting. Father, thank you than your Word will never return void, but will always accomplish your purposes, with no exceptions. Father, everything in your Word affirms your love, delight, and enjoyment of your children. We believe; free us from our great unbelief. Help us keep your word as the focus. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Joshua 2:9 "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."
Rahab is one of the most controversial women in the whole Bible. Scripture is clear that she was a prostitute. Yet, God led Rahab to do good things for the people of Israel. Rahab knew of and believed in the God, and her faith empowered her to save the lives of the Israelite spies.
Rahab, an Old Testament prostitute, had just heard bad news: An army of desert wanderers was just across the Jordan River preparing to invade their land. They had already conquered two other great nations. She knew the invading army would crush her hometown.
A few days later, Joshua, the leader of the army, sent two spies into the city of Jericho, where Rahab resided. The spies decided to go Rahab’s house, because there they figured they could find out information easily. Shortly after they arrived at Rahab’s home, a small company of soldiers surrounded the place and directed that she turn the two spies over to them. She told them the men that the spies had left, and she had no idea where they had gone. The soldiers believed her and ran off to find the spies.
All along, the spies had been hidden on the flat roof of her home. Rahab helped to save the spies by keeping them hidden until the search for them was called off by the soldiers. Before the spies departed Rahab asked them to promise that her family would be spared when Jericho was attacked.
Because of Rahab's actions, the city of Jericho was taken and Rahab's family members were spared by the conquering army. But the story does not end there. In fact, it just begins. Rahab was saved from the attack and turned her life around, allowing God to include her in the line of David. As the wife of Salmon, Rahab gave birth to Boaz, who married Ruth. Ruth and Boaz had a son named Obed. We find that Jesse, the father of David, came through this family line—and Jesus was born of the line of David. Rahab was given the honor of being a part of the lineage of Jesus. In other words, without that event, many biblical people would not have been around for us to know (Hebrews 11:31).
You see, God fought the battle of Jericho in order to save Rahab and the walls came tumbling down.
Are there any walls that you need knocked down in your life? Maybe there is a habit that you know God is calling you to quit doing, but you can’t stop.
Seek God, He can knock down any walls in your life that you need knocked down...just look at Rahab.
For the glory of the Father, in the grace of Jesus, by the power of the Spirit... so let us live and love today. Today, Father, by the power of the gospel, may we think rightly, see clearly, and love sacrificially, all to your glory, Lord. Father, grant us power today to express the "inexpressible and glorious joy," that is ours through Jesus . (1 Pet. 1:8). Help me not to despirse weakness. Lord, thank you for saving me. Thank you for taking my wrath. And thank you for being my Savior. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Joshua 4:24 "He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God."
In the movie Bruce Almighty, there is a scene that depicts lead actor Jim Carrey in a traffic jam. Frustrated and late to work, Carrey decides to take the problem in his own hands. Morgan Freeman, who acts as a God in the movie, gives Carrey his powers while he takes a vacation. So Carrey simply waves his fingers and all the cars move to the side so he can pass through. Problem averted!
The lesson here is that God never goes on vacation. In fact, we can trust Him because He has never been wrong—ever. Since God is faithful, His Word, the Bible, is as well. God’s Word is only as true as God is faithful. And since story after story in the Bible tells us that God is never late or forgets His covenant with His people, we know we can place our entire life in His care.
Though God never goes on vacation, He can clear any obstacle out of our way by His power. Take the crossing at the Red Sea when Moses and some 500,000 Israelites crossed on dry ground.
Consider the same type of crossing at the Jordan River “when [God] dried it up before” the new generation under Joshua’s leadership. The Jordan River usually stretches 45 feet from side to side. Instead, during harvest and flood time, the river triples in size. Now, by doing a basic math problem (45 x 3), we see that at this point in the history of the Israelites, the Jordan River is 135 feet in width. Just like He did the Red Sea some time earlier, God parted the waters, so the Israelites could enter the Promised Land. To commemorate this awesome event, God told Joshua to choose one man from each tribe of Israel. These men carried large stones from the middle of Jordan River, erecting a monument with them for future generations to see. In both these cases, and certainly in our lives today as well, God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
The Word tells us God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! If a problem needs to be met, He can meet the need. If a bill needs to be paid, God can provide the money. If we need strength to face the day, God will give us the strength. No matter what our need, God is more than willing to supply those who faithfully seek Him, all according to His plan and will.
Is there a river before you that needs to be dried up? Know though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you will fear no evil, for God is with you and has the power to overcome. Will you take your needs to Him now, focusing in on His presence and ready to be obedient as He leads you today? Whether He answers you directly or not, remember, in His own way, God will make a way where there seems to be no way.
Father, you are to be feared because there is no other god. You are to be feared because there is no other Savior. You are to be feared because you are the only real God. Father, thank you that, while we fear you, we know that nothing changes you. Thank you for the promise of Scripture concerning your unchanging character and ways. We love you and praise you in Jesus' name. Amen.
Joshua 6:2 "Then the LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men."
The LORD confirmed to Joshua three times before the taking of Jericho that this would work in his favor. The first time occurred when the spies returned from the city and reported God’s blessing on their scouting.
The second time happened when an angel stood outside the city and encouraged Joshua with a message from the LORD. The final time came when the LORD Himself confirmed that the city would be in Israel’s possession.
Looking to God’s faithfulness in the past gives you encouragement to face the unknown. If you are facing a major decision today or simply asking for God’s guidance in a situation, it would be wise to recount on paper every time God blessed you when you didn’t think it possible.
Has He saved an unsaved friend who was hardened to the Gospel? Has He healed you from a disease? Has He met your basic needs over and over again? Whatever the LORD has done—and we know He has done MORE than we can ever thank Him for—should remind you of His continued faithfulness in the future.
May we like this to the LORD under these great truths." "Thank you, Father, that you have all the answers because you know what all the questions are. Thank you, Father, you can handle it all because there’s nothing that is uncontrollable out of your hand. You have it all under your supreme authority.
Thank you, Father, that I am walking in your presence today, and not only am I in your presence, but you are on the inside of me by the grace you showed in Jesus Christ. Thank you that you have already prepared for me everything that I need. Thank you, Father, that your love cannot be tampered with, touched, or changed.
Therefore, I wake up and stand on this awesome eternal foundation of your love, goodness, kindness, protection, provision, your knowledge and awareness of all that I am, all that I need, and all that I have. Thank you that I can live today with absolute confidence that you can handle my todays, my tomorrows, and every single day of life of all eternity with your sovereign hand. In Jesus’ name, amen."
Joshua 10:42 "All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel."
War was in the air, and the Israelites were on the winning side. After defeating the five-king alliance of Jerusalem (before the Israelites occupied it), Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon to uphold their alliance with the Gibeonites (Joshua 10:1-15), the Jews were ecstatic. To top off their newfound morale and motivation to live in God's promises, Joshua sang a tune asking the LORD to stop the sun and the moon so the nation could avenge itself on its enemies (10:15). And, because of their faithfulness, God granted Joshua's request, setting up a miracle for the ages.
As the tenth chapter continues, we see the Israelites once again on the battle trail. It is no surprise that these faithful Israelites—those who were second generation kin to the grumbling and faithless Jews who wandered in the desert for 40 years under the direction Moses and Aaron after the exodus from Egyptian slavery—were victorious in battle once again.
The text records how the cities of Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, and Debir were taken so easily: ""All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel"" (10:42).
All of Israel's victories came from God, in part, because the author of the book of Joshua and the nation of Israel gave credit to the LORD's name only, not Joshua or an idol.
Many Christians have unknowingly befriended the kingdom of darkness. No, they are not demon-possessed. Instead, they lack the effectiveness of a Spirit-led life and are lukewarm in their dealings in Kingdom responsibility. In other words, they pose no threat to satan by living radically for Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a positive for the enemy of our souls.
Does the devil know your name? Trust me, the moment you repent of your sin and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation, the devil knows your name. For most of us, that is as far as we get. I pray that, through the power of Christ in you, satan will have to think twice about ignoring what God is doing in your life. Nothing is greater than shaming the devil by living your life for the glory of God (1 Peter 2:15).
When we are successful and prosperous, the temptation is to take all the credit and glory as though we did it all ourselves. In reality, however, today's story teaches us that God gives us the victories, and that He alone delivers us from our enemies (1 Cor. 10:31). That's why we must be quick to praise Him day after day, never forgetting the fact that His love endures forever. Take the time today to truly worship the LORD for all He has done for you recently.
Give all the credit, glory, and honor where it is due—to God's holy name." Father, the truth must be treasure and trusted in our lives. The devil knows all sorts of right things but doesn't find them precious as we ought to as you people. Like Joshua, remind us that all victories in our lives are from you. We have no claim or stake.
Father, remind me today that the devil is not scared of me. Rather, he is scared to death of the one--you--within me, for he knows his doom is sure. Father, the devil knows my name but calls me by my sin. You know my sin but call me by name. Thank you for this in Jesus' name. Amen.