Joshua 23-Joshua Begins His Exit Strategy

All Good things must end.  Joshua and his family had enjoyed a long time of peace. God protected Israel, just as He had promised and now Joshua was very old and getting ready to die. Knowing the end was near, Joshua summoned the entire nation–leaders and all. He then took the time to remind all of them what the Lord had provided. He also encouraged Israel.  Joshua told them that as God had driven out their enemies to this point; He would continue to do so in the days ahead.Joshua reminded Israel that God drove out mighty nations before them, and that 1 Israelite soldier accounted for 1000 of the enemy–real superhero stuff.

Joshua then began the reminder of the importance of keeping covenant with God.  Specifically, do not make treaties and deals with the remaining locals.  Do not cohabit with them or worship their gods.  It is so easy to be distracted by the stuff around you, and God knew–as did Joshua, that foreign gods always seemed easier; because, they were hand-crafted, easy to touch, and easy to control. 

Then and now, God wants His folks to remain committed to Him, and focused on what is real, not what is easy.  He has given us so much and required so little in return.  At the end of the day, the Lord only asks that we trust and follow Him. God asks, however, as He did with Israel, that we worship Him and Him alone. The Lord protects, prepares, and provides for us and simply asks that we live lives that honor His gift and leadership.  Make no mistake, God understands it is a difficult choice.  If we will follow, however, He will continue to go ahead of us against our enemies.  In that promise, God has never failed. God Bless You


After a long time had passed and the Lord had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man, summoned all Israel—their elders, leaders, judges and officials—and said to them: “I am very old. You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you. Remember how I have allotted as an inheritance for your tribes all the land of the nations that remain—the nations I conquered—between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. The Lord your God himself will push them out for your sake. He will drive them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the Lord your God promised you.

“Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now. “The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 10 One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. 11 So be very careful to love the Lord your God.

Joshua 13–Don’t Worry, I’ve Got This

Reality Stinks…Joshua had simply grown old and there was still lands to take. Amid all the victories and the clear obedience of the people, God sits Joshua down and speaks of next steps.  The Philistines were left. God said to Joshua–don’t worry, you focus on getting the land distributed and I will drive out the mountain people, Myself.

In God’s mind, a covenant is a covenant.  He told the people He would give them all the land, and He intended to do so. 

For Joshua, it had to be a hard message.  He had done all that had been told to him to do and now he was at the end and could no longer lead campaigns.  But God was not threatening or disciplining Joshua; instead, God was comforting the strong and courageous leader that he could do the next part of the mission, distribution, and God would take care of clearing the land.

As in Joshua’s life, we have reality checks in our lives as well.  We are bustling along attacking our missions; when life throws curve balls.  All at once, we are faced with hard realities and fear the mission will not be completed.  In those times, our heavenly Father pulls us aside and through His word says, “I got this!”

It is often hard to hear, it takes a great deal of faith, but, if we will trust God; He will complete what He has started in our lives.  To God, it is not an act of discipline–instead, it is a simple act of love and faithfulness.

God Bless You


When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.

“This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites, from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite though held by the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron; the territory of the Avvites on the south; all the land of the Canaanites, from Arah of the Sidonians as far as Aphek and the border of the Amorites; the area of Byblos; and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath.

“As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you, and divide it as an inheritance among the nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh.”

Joshua 9 Part 1–Don’t Worry God, We Got This?!?

Why did the leaders of Israel make a treaty with the Gibeonites? Every other major decision that happened was preceded by Joshua entering the tent of meeting and consulting the Lord.  God led them through forty years of travel and finally into Israel. Now as they had begun the campaign to clear the land, all the kings decided to unite and go to war–all but the king of Gibeon.  These descendants of Ham (Noah’s son) created a very thoughtful deception and came to the people of God and asked for a treaty.  

It was at this point, where we expect to read, “Then Joshua sought the Lord and …” Sadly, that did not happen that day.  Israel was winning and Joshua was leading by faith.  So, when these travelers from a distant land came to make a treaty, Joshua and his elders felt like they could handle this small task. They did not want to bother God with such a small thing…

In truth, no matter how much we try, as God’s chosen, all of us figure we should help God out from time to time. We seek Him and follow, and He protects, provides, and prepares us for the daily journey.  Then, on any given day, we are faced with an opportunity to make a small decision or take matters into our own hands. Like Joshua, we are either too busy or too distracted to stop and seek the Lord. Then we blunder ahead and make a choice that has very long-term implications.

These people were never wiped out; and remnants of their place can still be found in Ethiopia. They were always servants, but they were never destroyed. They remained attendants to the tabernacle and the temple–Ironic.  God remained true to His people’s covenant–even though it was one He had no part of negotiating.  Jesus said it best, “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and, all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

God Bless You


However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded[a] with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.”

The Israelites said to the Hivites, “But perhaps you live near us, so how can we make a treaty with you?”

“We are your servants,” they said to Joshua.

But Joshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from?”

They answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan—Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth. 11 And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; make a treaty with us.”’ 12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13 And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey.”

14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. 15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.

16 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them. 17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the Lord, the God of Israel.

Joshua 5 Part 1–Renewing the Covenant

Ouch! After 40 years in the desert, God finally brought His people across the Jordan to reclaim their lands.  The neighboring kingdoms lost their confidence and cockiness because they saw and knew God was in charge. Still one thing remained outstanding–the covenant with Abraham required all males to be circumcised.  Since the Israelite people left Egypt, that practice had somehow ceased.  So all the men left in Israel, except for Joshua and Caleb had to be circumcised. 

So, Joshua sharpened the flint knives and did the job.  Amazingly, no one argued , complained or grumbled.  They simply camped out until they were healed and ready for war.  These were God’s chosen people–not escaped slaves from Egypt.It is important to know that we are set apart as the children of God.  Joshua got it.  He was leading a special people, to a special place, for a special purpose.  Finally, the enemies knew it and his own people knew it.  They had finally become what they were called to be. 

We need to live the same way.  We are called to walk as children of God. We follow God closely and are grateful for His leadership. We trust God, and we seek Him.  As we do that, He empowers us to become the people we are supposed to be. As we obey, the world and all that would oppose God recognise that it is God and not us that is in charge. 

That gives us the opportunity to claim His promises and be God’s covenant people. We need not be ashamed of who we are; nor, should we be ashamed of Whose we are.  Paul said it best in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  Now, the life I live in the flesh–I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves me and gave Himself For me.”

Let us live as ones given victory and inheritance–not, as escaped slaves wandering in the desert!

God Bless You


As soon as all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted and there was no longer any spirit in them because of the people of Israel.

At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth.[a] And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way after they had come out of Egypt. Though all the people who came out had been circumcised, yet all the people who were born on the way in the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised. For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord; the Lord swore to them that he would not let them see the land that the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. So it was their children, whom he raised up in their place, that Joshua circumcised. For they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way.

When the circumcising of the whole nation was finished, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” And so the name of that place is called Gilgal[b] to this day.

God Is Not Mocked–Exodus 7 Part 1

It would be so much simpler to obey and trust God. It would not necessarily be easier, but it would definitely be simpler. God is not mocked—whatever a person sows, that they will also reap. As the Israelites suffered at the hands of the Egyptians, God was keeping an accounting. There would be no doubt, at the end of the Exodus, that God avenges his chosen ones.

Pharaoh did not have a chance. He had become so ruthless to Israel, that human reason would not guide his choices. In addition, as the days progressed, Pharaoh’s self-absorbed pride would deal out the punishment for Israel’s treatment. Could Pharaoh have chosen differently, in a word—NO. He was a prisoner of his own heartlessness and pride. God was simply allowing Pharaoh to be himself. Now, apart from God, Pharaoh would experience the chaos his heartless foolishness bought.

God is still not mocked. ISIS thinks it is having its way with the church; it is not. Muslim leaders who are killing and selling Christians are not surprising or outsmarting God. World leaders that are refusing to intercede on behalf of the Christians being slaughtered will be held accountable and yes, even those of us that simply turn our heads and look the other way will have to give an account.

As with Israel and Moses, IT IS TIME to take the current events seriously and seek God’s mercy and intervention on behalf of our family that is spread across the globe. The persecution we shake our head about today will be the persecution we face tomorrow—apart from God’s merciful intervention.

God Bless You

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”

Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.”

10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12 Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.

I am Who I Am–Exodus 3 Continued

Credentials are important for any leader to be successful. Resume, experience and presence–all frame the leader in the sight of those he leads and those he must oppose. God had spent 80 years preparing Moses for his mission; now as he is charging him with the details, Moses wants clarity about his credentials. In the next couple of verses, God sums up credibility and credentials for Moses and all who follow God in the days to come. 

“I Am who I Am” is the title and name of the God that sent Moses and each leader since. All at once, Moses and his pedigree became of little value compared to the surpassing greatness of God. Note that God’s name speaks nothing of the past, though his history is remarkable. It speaks nothing of the future, though he will lead us to a remarkable eternity. 

In a word-God simply is– not affected by time, place or person. He is all knowing, all powerful and in all places and times at once. He called the universe into being. And details each atom and cell within it. For Moses, that was ample credibility and resume for his mission.

What’s more, it is equally complete for us in our missions. We need never rely upon our credentials or record to complete God’s call on our lives. In fact, his word says our credentials and righteousness are as sickening blood soaked bandages compared to him. God will not only prepare us for our journey, he will precede us, provide for us and bring to bare all the tools necessary to complete the mission he has assigned. What a beautiful gift, and what an amazing God!!

God Bless You

So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’“This is my name forever,the name you shall call mefrom generation to generation.

A New Direction–Exodus 2 Continued

Moses’ life took a big turn. From prince to fugitive, he had to recreate himself. He escaped to Midian, where  he immediately saved some ladies in distress. Humble, heroic and unique, he was quickly adopted by the local priest and married his daughter. 

This would never have been how he would have scripted his own journey, but, now the prince and chosen one of Israel was safe, provided for, and free from the threats of Egypt. 

It is easy to allow course corrections in our lives to embitter, discourage and nullify our walk with God. When we become entrapped by the circumstances, we miss the many underlying blessings that accompany the change. 

God asks us to simply trust his plan and follow him. When we do, especially with a humble and grateful heart, he can mold us into his image and use us to accomplish great things. Otherwise, we find our lives spin horribly downward and we miss the joy set before us. Thank you, Lord for setting out the journey and blessing me along the way. 

God Bless You 

Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.

When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, “Why have you returned so early today?”

They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.”

“And where is he?” Reuel asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.”

Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage.

Romans 8:28–Really? Genesis 38 Final

When I was in Royal Ambassadors (RA’s) as a small Baptist ragamuffin–I memorized the verse Romans 8:28, “For we know all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose!” I believed it then and I still believe it today! 

But, even I would never have guessed that Tamar and Judah meeting at the sheep pins under the most deceitful circumstances, could ever have good come of it! BUT it sure did! PEREZ, the child of the encounter probably scorned and talked about his whole life–was the patriarch of the lineage that led to the birth of our Lord and Savior.  SAY WHAT??!!

Had Judah done things differently… well God would have sent the Lord, but amazingly he used this incredible scene.  God loves to take the impossible and use it to show he works through the impossible. Gideon, 5 loaves and 2 fish, the parting of the Red sea and manna just a few of the most unlikely things God used to prove his power and authority.  What’s more, when ever God used the obvious–Like Saul as King, the people thought they controlled the circumstances and screwed everything up!

What are your “All Things” circumstances–health, job, finances or marriage? Do they seem so impossible that nothing good can come from them? That is the time God does his best work. We have to remain faithful, prayerful and ready to respond to his lead.  And while we may never know the good our “All Things” circumstances cause–we can be confident that God does! Keep the faith!

God Bless You

Then Judah said, “Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn’t find her.”

24 About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.”

Judah said, “Bring her out and have her burned to death!”

25 As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. “I am pregnant by the man who owns these,” she said. And she added, “See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are.”

26 Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not sleep with her again.

27 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 28 As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.” 29 But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, “So this is how you have broken out!” And he was named Perez.[a] 30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.[b]

Let’s Be Clear–Genesis 23 Final

God said, let’s be clear–because you have not withheld anything from me, I am going to use you to change the world. I will bless you with an amazing legacy of lineage, land and impact. In a word, I will not withhold ANYthing from you. Those are the words of a proud father, a kindred spirit and a true friend.

God regards our lives personally. He guides, directs, provides and pulls for us,
personally. When we trust him, he literally moves heaven and earth to execute his plan for our lives–personally.

God wants us to remember. We are never going to be alone. We are never going to face the journey without a personal support in our corner.

God Bless You

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time

and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,

I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,

and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.

One Year and Ten Days–Genesis 8 Part 1

What a lonely feeling it must have been for the passengers of God’s Ark.  We have all seen the pictures of the happy animals sticking their head out of the boat.  But, the reality is that Noah and his family managed a giant menagerie of all the surface wildlife that would be on earth.   What is more, that job was not simply babysitting for a few days–they were on that boat for 1 year and 10 days.  In addition, beneath them were the bodies of all the creatures that had come before.  Noah and his family had to have felt fear, guilt and confusion as they floated on the sea that had risen some 75 feet above the highest mountains on earth.

By the time it was safe again to leave the Ark, Noah and his family had to have grasped that they were the new beginning.  God set them down in a safe place.  He set them free to start again, but, he realized that there were no more restarts.  All that left the boat were clear that God was powerful.  All that left that boat knew that they owed their lives to God and to Noah’s faith. One year and ten days of reflection should have changed these folks hearts and gave them the faith they needed to trust and follow God! But, did it???

God Bless You

But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible.

After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.