Saturday, March 26, 2011

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Ch. 9

Chapter 9 - Caleb's Faithfulness

I. Introduction

A. Review - last week

1. Gibeonites deception (didn't call on the Lord)
2. Israelites defeat southern kingdoms

B. This week

1. Defeat of the northern kingdoms
2. Caleb's faithfulness and his reward
3. Israelites failure to follow through
4. How we mimic the Israelites

II. Defeat of the Northern Kingdoms

A. Joshua continues to follow God
B. Israelite armies conquer 5 allied kings of the northern territory

III. Caleb's Faithfulness and his Reward

A. Recall Caleb and Joshua were only two who originally said they could conquer the land (40 years prior)
B. God promised Caleb land for his steadfast faith (Numbers 14:24)
C. Caleb was 40 when he was sent in to spy out the land
D Israelites wandered for 38 years
E. Caleb now 85, thus it has taken them 7 years to conquer the land
F. Caleb again does as God commands, takes the land and wholly destroys the people
G. Caleb asks Joshua for land of Hebron. Joshua grants his request (Joshua 14: 6-15).

IV. Israelites Fail to Follow Through

A. God has commanded they drive out the current inhabitants of the land
B. Israelites instead let the people stay

1. Israelites wanted peace
2. Israelites wanted riches (defeated to pay tribute) (Joshua 16:10, 17:12-13)

C. Israelites stopped short of what they were called to do.

1. Had opportunity to fully participate in God's gifts, but instead chose the easy way
2. Based on the conditional portion of the covenant (which we've discussed before) the blessings stopped. Had received the unconditional gift of the land, but failed to follow through and get 'the whole enchilada'!
3. Read Deuteronomy 12:2-4,28

V. How We Mimic the Israelites

A. We, too fail to follow through on God's promises
B. We accept the unconditional portion of the covenent (eternal life simply by believing and accepting God's grace found in the redemption of Jesus the Christ)
C. Fail in accepting the conditional portion of the covenant
D. Like the Israelites all we want is earthly peace and earthly wealth
E. Holy Spirit lives in us, however we fail to seek the fruits of His presence

1. Read John 14:18
2. Read Galations 5:22-25
3. Read Luke 8:14-15


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Ch. 8

Chapter 8 - The Gibeonites

I. Introduction

A. Recap - last week
B. The conquest continues

II. Recap - last week

A. Ch. 7 - Mt. Ebal & Gerizim
B. Blessings and Curses

III. The Conquest Continues

A. Lesson this week focuses on events found in Joshua Ch. 9 and 10.
B. Tale of alliances, deception, and oathes
C. 5 city-state kings unite in attempt to defeat Israelites
D. Gibeonites employ different strategy
1. realize God is on the side of the Israelites and they won't be defeated
2. deceive Israelites and get them to enter an Alliance
3. Israelites don't consult God and take an oath on His name
E. 5 city-state kings jointly attack Gibeonites
1. Gibeonites appeal to their Israelite allies
2. Joshua responds despite protests from the people
3. Save Gibeon but Gibeonites are forced into slavery serving the Israelites
F. 5 kings run away and hide in cave
1. Joshua commands his generals to trap the kings inside the cave
2. Joshua then commands them to attack city states
3. Each is destroyed
4. 5 kings then removed from the cave and killed
G. Life lessons
1. Not much to gather from this chapter
2. Author compares Rahab and Gibeonites
a. they came to believe in the Israelite God and struck bargains with the Israelites to avoid destruction
b. both integrated into the Israelite community


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Ch. 7

Chapter 7 - Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim

I. Introduction

A. Last week covered battles of Jericho and Ai
B. This week Israelites are on the move again, north to Shechem
C. Lesson this week revisits a theme we discussed a couple of weeks ago, the Unconditional Promise and Conditional Promise

II. Short Geography Lesson

A. Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim about 20 miles northwest of Ai
B. Town of Shechem lies between the two mountains
C. Mt. Ebal is north of Mt. Gerizim
D. Only about 500 yards separate the two mountains at their bases
E. Mt. Ebal is 3,007 ft. high, Mt. Gerizim is 2,895 ft. high
F. Later in Jesus' time this is the land of the Samaritans
G. Today it is in the "Left Bank" and home to the Palestinians

III. The Altar on Mount Ebal

A. Read Deuteronomy 27:4-7,11-26
B. Read Joshua 8:33-35
C. God commanded Mt. Gerizim to be marked mountain of blessing and Mt. Ebal mountain of warning (place of the curse)
D. Altar built on Mt. Ebal - symbolized that people would sin and need to come to God's altar for forgiveness
E. Altar was built from uncut stones (world's first "green" construction project)
F. Rough, uncut stones were to remind Israelites that nothing they could do would justify them before God
G. Paul, in Romans, teaches that the Jews tradegies occurred because they kept trying to come to God through the works of the law (represented by Mt. Gerizim) rather than through the altar on Mt. Ebal
H. Read Romans 9:31-10:4

IV. Keeping God's Commands

A. Altar was on mount of cursing because salvation can not come by man's keeping the law.
B. Unconditional promise is represented by the altar on Mt. Ebal
C. By going (accepting) to the altar (Jesus) we receive benefit of God's grace. We can do nothing to earn it, must only be willing to acknowledge we are sinner's, repent at the altar, and accept God's limitless gift of grace.
D. Conditional promise is based on adherence to God's laws. To truly receive God's blessing we must not only accept his unconditional gift of grace but also commit to following His laws. In keeping His laws we are blessed.
E. Read Matthew 7:24-27


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Ch. 6

I'm back from my one week sabbatical. I'm sure everyone enjoyed the change of pace with Charlie leading you through Ch. 5 and its discussion on the two kinds of memorials. Jack is going to love the lesson this week, it's all about the battles of Jericho and Ai.

I. Ch. 6 - Jericho, Achan, and Ai (a story within a story)

A. Theme 1 - Military history and strategy
B. Theme 2 - God's Judgment

II. Military history and strategy

A. Schaeffer does good job of explaining topography of land
B. Explains similarity between God's strategy and strategy subsequent strategy employed by others through the ages.
C. Hills lie immediately west of Jordan river valley
D. Jericho strategic stronghold at base of hills
E. Ai was high in the hills and would allow Israelites to control surrounding area
F. Also focused on Israelites core strength - light infantry and negated Canaanite strength in chariots.
E. Three Phases to overall strategy

1. Establish bridge-head west of the Jordan
2. Gain a foothold in the mountains west of the river valley
3. Spread out from the secured base on the central ridge to widen the area of occupation for permanent settlement

III. Taking of Jericho

A. God's plan

1. Walk silently around city once each day for 6 days
2. City was small probably only covered about 7 acres
3. Front of the army would probably meet the back of the army as they completed their circuit (i.e, they would have the city surrounded)
4. On seventh day walk around seven times and shout at the sound of the trumpet at the conclusion of the seventh circuit
5. Walls would then fall down and the city would be violently overthrown

B. "Battles of the Bible Explanation"

1. After seeing Israelites walking around city once each day for 6 consectutive days Canaanites would become complacent
2. By seventh day they would be lulled into believing nothing was going to happen, then the Israelites would attack while the Canaanites' guard was down

IV. Battle for City of Ai

A. Did Israelites get cocky or did they have a flawed plan?
B. Battles of the Bible says it was probably both
1. Israelite scouting reports were overly optimistic - only need 3,000 men
2. Underestimated great strength inherent in ruins prepared as defensive positions
C. We'll find out in second half of the lesson the real reason the Israelites failed in their initial attempt to capture Ai
D. Israelites were routed, chased back down the hills, and lost 36 men

V. The Other Story - God's Judgment

A. The city shall be accursed (Joshua 6:17)
1. Hebrew word used means both "accursed" and "devoted" (i.e., given to God)
2. Joshua told to spare Rahab and her family but burn everything else to the ground
3. Nothing was to be taken, no food, no gold, no silver, nothing. The "first fruits" of their victory over the Canaanites was to go to God (Joshua 6:19)
B. Achan's Sin
1. One man from tribe of Judah, Achan disobeyed decree took gold, silver, and Babylonian garment
2. Easy to understand why Achan was tempted to take gold and silver, but why the Babylonian garment - in a word, prestige. Anything Babylonian stood for success and power, it was chic.
3. Achan's sin had two parts, simple theft and pride
4. However, he didn't just steal from anyone. He stole from God!

VI. The Principle of Judgment

A. Four steps
1. When we sin God knows - can't hide it
2. When we sin the blessing stops or slows
3. Judgment will follow - all sin has consequences
4. Turning from sin (repentence) leads to a resumption in the blessing
B. Principle is seen time and time again throughout Bible and our lives today
C. One individuals sin can impact blessing of entire community
1. Achan sinned - Israelites suffered defeat at Ai
2. Not sure its because God punishes all for sins of one but because sin can have unintended consequences. There can and will be "collateral damage".

VII. Other Tidbits from the Lesson

A. Sin always begins in the mind
1. Interestingly Schaeffer points out that the 10th and last commandment is "Do not covet"
2. However, coveting precedes every other sin. "Before we break any of the other nine, we have coveted internally something either of God's or of another person's."
B. Achan's theft of the Babylonian garment
1. Does it teach us to beware of grasping for affluence, for prestige, of trying to be a VIP?
2. When we serve the Lord what is our motive?
a. Do we do it out of love and generosity, wanting to give back in a small way to our God?
b. Or, do we sometimes do it for the recognition, or to stroke our ego?


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975
(2) Battles of the Bible, Caim Herzog & Mordechan Gichon, Barnes & Noble Publishing 2006