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penguines March 26 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Joshua 7, 8, 9

Trouble; How to Handle it

Nobody wants trouble, but everyone experiences it at one time or another. Troubles which come from outside our influence are challenges to overcome with God's help. Troubles which come from inside of our home, family, business or other organizations, however, can be devastating, if not dealt with as soon as possible. We must pray for wisdom from God, and if needed seek immediate counsel, then act! How do we handle trouble? Hopefully, today's Bible study will help us with this.

Trouble in the Ranks

Israel is not in the Promised Land of Canaan long before there is trouble. They are feeling very confident from their victory over Jericho, although the LORD won the battle (they did not do much except march around the city, blow trumpets, shout, and then take the city—the LORD knocked down the walls). The next battle, Ai, is an embarrassing loss for Israel. What happened? There is trouble within Israel's ranks; God says there is sin in the camp. Against the LORD's specific instructions, Achan, a brother Israelite, steals treasures from Jericho, treasures devoted to destruction. Here are some lessons we can learn from this defeat (Joshua 7:1-15):

  • Trouble can come in little packages; they are not always seen.
  • God is holy and just. He punishes sin—he does not overlook it.
  • Sin affects others besides us.
  • It is important to obey God even in the little things.
  • Sin must be confessed and forsaken for the LORD to restore and give us victory. God offers us forgiveness, peace, spiritual life and his favor (more...)

After the embarrassing defeat with Ai, Achan and his family are stoned to death, their possessions are burned, and then Israel is restored in fellowship with God.

The LORD knows Joshua and all Israel need their confidence back, so he gives them a winning battle plan. God commands Joshua to call out the entire force of Israel. Then Joshua sets up an ambush to burn the city of Ai when the soldiers leave it to pursue Israel's army. Israel's main army flees to lure Ai's army away from the city. When the Israelites see the smoke of the fire set by the ambush, they reverse their retreat and win the victory.

Notice that the instructions for the plunder of this city are different than the previous battle against Jericho (Joshua 8:2). This time they could keep much of it. If only Achan had been faithful and waited on God, then the LORD would have allowed him to keep some of the plunder.

Here is a lesson for us: be patient and obedient. The LORD will provide all we need and even many things we desire if we will wait on him. Do not steal or have a “credit card” mentality—do not force things to happen. Wait on the LORD for he is good. He rewards those who wait patiently for him.

After the victory over Ai, Joshua builds an altar for worship and sacrifices, and then he leads Israel in recommitting themselves to the LORD (Joshua 8:32-35). On stone slabs he copies the complete Law of Moses (probably the book of Deuteronomy) in the presence of all the Israelites. Afterwards, he reads all of the Law with its blessings and curses on the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal in Canaan as God instructed (Deuteronomy 11:26-30). Joshua leads the people with complete obedience. He leads them with righteousness, respect, and honor for God. He knows the Rock of Israel is their confidence. In times of trouble, God can be the Rock of our confidence. Good spiritual leaders will lead their families, churches or other organizations to worship and obey the LORD.

Trouble Outside Our Influence

When the kings in Canaan hear what was done to Jericho and Ai, they band together to fight Israel.

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 with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. The men 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 men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.” (Joshua 9:3-6, NIV)

Joshua and the Israelites believe their convincing story but do not seek the LORD's counsel. They are deceived! Israel grants the peace treaty then discovers they have been tricked. Because they made an oath to them, however, they are honor bound to keep it. To make the best out of a bad situation, they put the Gibeonites into forced labor, carrying wood and water. This foreign kingdom becomes a burden to the Israelites because they have to defend, not only their own people, but the Gibeonites as well.

Here is another lesson for us: We may or may not be able to detect trouble from outside sources, but when it comes we must seek the counsel of the LORD on everything questionable. Perhaps then we will not be deceived and suffer negative consequences.

Lessons to Live By

  • Sin must be confessed and forsaken for the LORD to restore us and give us victory. God offers us forgiveness, peace, spiritual life and his favor (more...)
  • Trouble can come in little packages; they are not always seen. God is holy and just. He punishes sin—he does not overlook it. Sin affects others besides us. It is important to obey God even in the little things. Sin must be confessed and forsaken for God to restore us and give us victory.
  • The LORD will provide all we need and even many things we desire if we will wait on him. Do not steal or have a “credit card” mentality—do not force things to happen. Wait on the LORD. He is good, and he rewards those who wait patiently for him.
  • In times of trouble God can be the Rock of our confidence. Spiritual leaders will lead their families, churches or other organizations to worship and obey the LORD.
  • We may or may not be able to detect trouble from outside sources, but when it comes, we must seek the counsel of the LORD on everything questionable. Perhaps then we will not be deceived and suffer negative consequences.

Focus Verse

Psalm 37:3 (NIV) “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.”

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Please send your comments to mtbiblestudies@gmail.com

A Look Ahead: When we deal with sin and obey the LORD, we can have a Winning season in our life. Would you like to win? Join us for our Next Lesson.

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