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.

To Know or To Live–Genesis 3 Part 1

In retrospect, I think I would have chosen immortality.  But, it seems that from the beginning, we have always wanted to know more.  We could never be content with the way things were, we always needed to move forward.  If I only knew the answer to this question, this issue, this life stage–then I would be content. So said Univac, IBM, Apple, Microsoft…Google.

It was the same at the beginning.  Eve was mistaken–she thought being as smart as God was the answer–it was not. Knowing both good and evil simply drove men from God—not toward him. Then the folks at Babel thought reaching God was the answer, it was not. Building toward heaven simply made men prideful and self absorbed. Throughout time, men have tried to emulate the independence God has, in order to become God’s themselves.  So much wasted energy–If men would have sought to emulate God’s character, rather than his independence, then we would have enjoyed his freedom.

Adam and Eve were free to enjoy the world and to enjoy life–that was not good enough.  They wanted to control life, That was the big lie. We will never be able to control life.  The harder we try, the more entangled we become.  If you want to be like God–seek him first and foremost.  When you do, you will realize His greatest gift is the gift of freedom and life.  Seek that, not knowledge and independence–then you can be like your heavenly father!

God Bless You

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves

In God We Trust–2 Samuel 24

In whom do you trust? On American currency, it says in God we trust.  But as you look at the actions of our nation, there is little that would evidence the phrase on our money. The nation of Israel mere known as God’s chosen people and throughout their history, they had acquired lands, received provision and won battles all with his direction and power.  David, the king after his own heart had relied upon God’s protection and provision throughout his life and reign…except for this time.  He decided he needed to know if he had ample troops to go to war and win.  This from the king that had defeated all enemies at God’s direction.  The need to be self-reliant overtook his need to be submitted to God and free from the enemies and entrapment of the world. It seemed like “no big deal”, but was as great a sin as a king or nation could commit.

In our lives, we are faced with the same challenge each day.  Do we focus on freedom or independence.  It is God that saves us and leads us to freedom.  If we trust and follow him, he will protect, provide and propel us into freedom.  But, like David, some days we just want to make sure that we are ready to take the helm…just in case God can’t handle it.  It is in those days that our desire to be independent from God rears its ugly head.  When we decide to live independent of God, we open ourselves up to the sins of pride, and all other forms of self rule that will destroy us.  We, like David need to recognize that independence and freedom are different and at polar opposite ends of the spectrum.  We simply need to seek him first and allow him to add everything else—Matt 6:33. As humble followers of God, we can experience his protection and provision and live a life free from captivity.  Help me Lord to walk humbly in your freedom.

God Bless You

But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab and the commanders of the army went out to count the people of Israel. First they crossed the Jordan and camped at Aroer, south of the town in the valley, in the direction of Gad. Then they went on to Jazer, then to Gilead in the land of Tahtim-hodshi[b] and to Dan-jaan and around to Sidon. Then they came to the fortress of Tyre, and all the towns of the Hivites and Canaanites. Finally, they went south to Judah[c] as far as Beersheba.

Having gone through the entire land for nine months and twenty days, they returned to Jerusalem. Joab reported the number of people to the king. There were 800,000 capable warriors in Israel who could handle a sword, and 500,000 in Judah.

10 But after he had taken the census, David’s conscience began to bother him. And he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt, Lord, for doing this foolish thing.”

I Samuel 18 final—The Price of Fear

Fear is a crippling disease. It binds senses and causes perfectly decent people to do awful things.  Saul was anointed King of Israel.  He allowed the position make him selfish.  That selfishness drove him away from God and cost him his relationship with Samuel, and ended his legacy. It also made him extremely fearful.  He was deathly afraid of losing all that he had attained. Sadly, he had already lost it. But the fear also shaped his decisions, his relationships and his ability to lead.  He saw David’s success and knew that he was walking with God’s anointing.  He knew it because he had lived it.  He also knew that privilege was only afforded to Kings! Rather than repent and humbly follow the plan of God Saul was allowing fear to drive him to do mean and horrific things.

Today, we are all subject to fear. We know that God does not give us the spirit of fear, but the spirit of power and of a sound mind (2Timothy 1:7).  Yet, when we try to be independent and ignore God’s plan—we, like Saul can be driven to fear and away from the peace of God.  Great news, though, If we will acknowledge our inability to live independent of God—Confess our sin; then humbly allow him to direct our journey—follow his lead; then he will give us peace. God is in the business of granting peace not causing Chaos.  He is there to bear our burden not cause it. It is the greatest of all heart issues—Commandment Number One—YOU SHALL NOT HAVE ANY OTHER GOD BEFORE ME!!!!! Let God be God in your life.  Fear will be replaced with peace and independence will be replaced with true and complete freedom.

God Bless You

Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.

10 The next day an evil[a] spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand 11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.

12 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul. 13 So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. 14 In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns…

26 When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed, 27 David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.

28 When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, 29 Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.

30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known.

I Samuel 12–What Have We Done

What have we done? After the anointing of Saul and the transformation to Monarchy, God uses Samuel to clarify what Israel had truly done—You wanted to be independent of God despite the many rescues, provision and power he has provided for you…Israel realized the mistake that was.  They would never be the same.  But in the realization, God holds out hope for his people—If you and your king will submit to me and follow me, it will be fine. Since Adam and Eve, God has always looked at the condition of the heart and not the circumstance to determine our allegiance.  If we continue to follow him, he will provide and protect us in any circumstance.

In our journey, we make great and bad choices.  Many have life altering outcomes.  In the midst of the choices, God holds out hope.  Submit and follow and It will be ok.  I can bless you no matter what your circumstance.  Our duty is to remain focused upon him and trust him to lead us through the circumstance.  It is important, however, to seek him even as we make big choices so that we will not be made painfully aware of the mistakes that confront us.  H

Seek him, follow him and he will be with you in each and every circumstance that faces us.

God Bless You and Happy independence Day!

18 Then Samuel called on the Lord, and that same day the Lord sent thunder and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel.

19 The people all said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.”

20 “Do not be afraid,” Samuel replied. “You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. 22 For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own. 23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 25 Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.”