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winning baseball team March 27 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Joshua 10, 11, 12

Winning

It is almost baseball season. If you have watched winning teams, you know that not only do the teams play together well, but the breaks of the game all seem to go their way. If we are totally obedient following God's will with our heart and actions, the LORD will also bless us. Although by the world's way of looking at things we may not always win (i.e., we may lose or bad things may still happen to us), we win favor with God when we are fully obedient. Many times if we are completely obedient he will make us come up on top.

The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. (Deuteronomy 28:13, NIV)

Although this promise was given to Israel, the principle often applies to fully devoted Christians today.

We all make mistakes, but God can even use them to help us win. In yesterday's Bible reading Israel made a misstep. The Gibeonites were a nation close to the Israelite camp in the land of Canaan. They feared the Israelites because they heard about their victories over Egypt and over the powerful nations of the Ammonites and Moabites on the east side of the Jordan. They also heard about the miraculous crossing of the Jordan River, victories over Jericho and Ai, and the LORD's plans to wipe out all the nations in Canaan. Because of their fear they resorted to a ruse. Pretending to be from a distant land, they sought a peace treaty with Israel. The Israelites failed to inquire of the LORD (Joshua 9:14) and only judged by the poor appearance and provisions of the delegates from Gibeon. They were deceived.

In today's Bible reading some good comes to the Israelites despite their unwise treaty. The Apostle Paul will later write, that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called by his name” (Romans 8:28, NIV). Israel was his people, called out by his name, and they sought to please the LORD. Gibeon's trickery brings the five kings of the Amorite hill country together to fight against her for making peace with Israel. Jeshurun (the righteous nation of Israel) comes to her rescue and destroys all five armies at one time. After this battle, Israel continues to completely destroy everyone in their kingdoms as the LORD instructed Joshua. Although this may sound harsh and cruel, these are extremely wicked nations, and the LORD had already extended his mercy to them for 800 years after his prophecy to Abraham (Genesis 15:13-16). They had time to turn from their evil ways and seek the LORD. All nations are accountable to our Sovereign God. The evil must be removed from their Land.

The LORD fights for Israel in three ways against the five kings (Joshua 10:9-14). First, he throws them into confusion before Israel. Second, he hurls large hailstones on them from the sky, killing more in this manner than by the sword. Third, God delays the descent and ascent of the sun and moon, respectively, for a whole day so the Israelites have more time to defeat these kings and their armies.

Many theories have been proposed to explain how this could have happened. The Bible seems to suggest that the LORD slowed the rotation of the earth so its rotation that day was forty-eight hours instead of twenty-four (Joshua 10:12b-13a). If he did it this way, then God also miraculously stopped the resulting tidal waves of the sea and everything from flying around. The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament, edited by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p. 351 points out that the Sun and Moon were principle deities of the Canaanites. When they saw their gods subject to Israel's God they testified, “Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!” (Joshua 10:14b, NIV). God will help us win in such a way that he is glorified.

God also gives victory to Joshua in all southern and northern battle campaigns west of the Jordan River (land east of the Jordan was already conquered by Moses and Israel and occupied by the tribes of Rueben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh). Joshua demonstrates his total obedience to the LORD's will in these campaigns by completely destroying these wicked, unrepentant nations (Joshua 10:28–11:15). Here is a principle for us: Complete victory can only be won by complete obedience.

God tells Joshua to hamstring the horses of the northern territorial kings (hamstring means to cut their leg tendons to cripple them) and burn their chariots. Why? The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament, p.353 says God gives these instructions because the Canaanites used horses in their pagan worship, and horses and chariots were a sign of their military strength (Psalm 20:7). Again, the LORD shows his strength over their pagan gods and military might and receives the glory.

The LORD hardens the hearts of the kings of Canaan so that Joshua and his army exterminate all of their troops (Joshua 11:19-20). In all, thirty-one kings and their armies are totally destroyed.

Lessons to Live By

  • God can even use our mistakes to help us win. The Apostle Paul writes, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV) Do you know God? He can give you forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...).
  • All nations are accountable to our Sovereign God.
  • God will help us win in such a way that he is glorified.
  • Complete victory can only be won by complete obedience.

Focus Verse

Deuteronomy 28:13 (NIV)

The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

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A Look Ahead: Now that the major battles are complete, we see that God is faithful to his promise to give them the land of Canaan for their possession. Join us for our Next Lesson and learn how Our Faithful God Motivates Us.

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