Joshua 22–A Witness Between Us, The Lord is God

For the shepherd general, He had one job left.  He had to send the men of Rueben, Gad and Manasseh home.  That meant the campaign was over and Joshua’s job was done.  He had finished the distribution of the lands and now the tribes that claimed the land on the other side of the Jordon could rejoin their families.  If Joshua was being honest, he never expected for them to complete the mission, at least without some complaining or trouble.  But looking back, they performed excellently and without dispute.

So, they were released to go home.  Each man wealthy with the spoils of war and ready to start a life as a free man.  When they reached the Jordan, they built an altar. Its construction caused an uproar among the remainder of the tribes and they gathered for war.  The rest of the tribes thought the second altar meant that they were separating from Israel.  They were wrong.  The second altar meant the opposite–they named it, A WITNESS BETWEEN US THAT THE LORD IS GOD. Such a change from the tribal groups that left Egypt half a century before.  It was a great reminder that God truly had become the leader of the people.

In our lives, the Lord wants that for us as well.  He wants us to have a great life, but, one that He leads. He knows the plan for us–He wants to give us hope and a future (Jer 29:11).  If we will follow and trust Him, it will most assuredly be a battle.  We will suffer pain and loss, war does that. We will, more importantly, be prepared to claim the inheritance God has so kindly promised us.  We will be like the troops of Israel, going home rich with the spoils of war.  It requires trust and patience–funny part is, God will provide that too!God Bless You


Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh and said to them, “You have done all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded. For a long time now—to this very day—you have not deserted your fellow Israelites but have carried out the mission the Lord your God gave you. Now that the Lord your God has given them rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”Then Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their homes. (To the half-tribe of Manasseh Moses had given land in Bashan, and to the other half of the tribe Joshua gave land on the west side of the Jordan along with their fellow Israelites.) When Joshua sent them home, he blessed them, saying, “Return to your homes with your great wealth—with large herds of livestock, with silver, gold, bronze and iron, and a great quantity of clothing—and divide the plunder from your enemies with your fellow Israelites.”So the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh left the Israelites at Shiloh in Canaan to return to Gilead, their own land, which they had acquired in accordance with the command of the Lord through Moses.10 When they came to Geliloth near the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an imposing altar there by the Jordan…34 And the Reubenites and the Gadites gave the altar this name: A Witness Between Us—that the Lord is God.

Joshua 8 Part 1–Joshua the Shepherd

When all is right with God, it is much easier to lead with confidence.  Joshua had grieved the loss of his men at the first battle of Ai. He grieved the sin of Achan and the punishment and pain it had caused. So, after dealing with the sin and dealing with the loss–God picked up his leader and gave him back the confidence to continue.  And continue Israel did.

This time God told Israel to take all the spoils of the battle. He devised the plan to ambush Ai.  He knew they would be cocky and confident and would not think like soldiers.  He was right.  Ai left themselves unguarded and their city open to attack because they were going to show those Israelites a thing or two. Israel seized on their overconfidence and destroyed them.  As the people finished up the battle and divided the spoils, Joshua was able to breathe. He had again brought the people back in line and in right fellowship with God. 

Joshua was again reminded He was a shepherd–not a general. His job was to lead his people to follow the Lord.  It was God’s job to then clear the land for the people.  

One of the most difficult parts of following the Lord is placing our confidence in Him, and not placing it in our own abilities.  It can lead us to make choices we regret, and or place us in positions where our overconfidence leads to our own destruction.  If we lead like Joshua led, seeking God, and allowing Him to lead us–then, the Lord will do amazing things.  If we try to wrestle control away from the Lord, God will allow us to have control but, He will also us to fall into the traps that come with it.

God Bless You


And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land. And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its livestock you shall take as plunder for yourselves. Lay an ambush against the city, behind it.”

So Joshua and all the fighting men arose to go up to Ai. And Joshua chose 30,000 mighty men of valor and sent them out by night. And he commanded them, “Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind it. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you remain ready. And I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. And when they come out against us just as before, we shall flee before them. And they will come out after us, until we have drawn them away from the city. For they will say, ‘They are fleeing from us, just as before.’ So we will flee before them. Then you shall rise up from the ambush and seize the city, for the Lord your God will give it into your hand. And as soon as you have taken the city, you shall set the city on fire. You shall do according to the word of the Lord. See, I have commanded you.” So Joshua sent them out. And they went to the place of ambush and lay between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai, but Joshua spent that night among the people…. And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city, and that the smoke of the city went up, then they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. 22 And the others came out from the city against them, so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. And Israel struck them down, until there was left none that survived or escaped. 23 But the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him near to Joshua.

24 When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it down with the edge of the sword. 25 And all who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000, all the people of Ai. 26 But Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction.[b] 27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of the Lord that he commanded Joshua. 28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it forever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day. 29 And he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. And at sunset Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city and raised over it a great heap of stones, which stands there to this day.