Posted in bible reading plan, Uncategorized

Bible Reading Plan thoughts: The LORD hardened their heart and killed them all

For it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the Lord commanded Moses. (Joshua 11:20).

The Bible Reading Plan passage for today is Joshua 11-15. I read and re-read this verse from chapter 11. It’s a hard passage. It’s Old Testament passages like these where God gets his stern and tyrant reputation.

The John MacArthur Study Bible helps here:

God turned the Canannites’ hearts to fight in order that Israel might be his judging instrument to destroy them. They were willfully guilty of rejecting the true God with consequent great wickedness, and were as fit to remain in the land as vomit spewed out of the mouth (Leviticus 18:24-25).

Individual and national sin is a serious offense against God. RC Sproul called it cosmic treason. And for all that, God is patient. He waited 400 years for the Amorites’ sin to come to full measure. (Genesis 15:16). He gave the false prophetess Jezebel who was teaching his children sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols time to repent. (Revelation 2:21). Whether it is an individual person or a national sin, He is patient. It is said in 2 Peter 3:9 that God is not willing that anyone should perish, but that all should come to repentance. This is the same God. He is immutable, unchangeable, the same yesterday, today, and forever.

His patience and willingness to give time to repent does not mean that he will forget His promise to deal with sin. Sin is a crime and all crimes have punishments. For the Canaanites, that day eventually came, and they were judged for their cosmic treason.

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:3).

tues cracked and hardened.jpg

Posted in old testament, Uncategorized

Bible Reading Plan thoughts: And the walls fell flat?

Our Bible Reading for today is Joshua 6-10. It’s the famous scene where Joshua and his army are commanded to march around the city of Jericho for six days. On the 7th day they were to march around it 7 times, shout, and the LORD would make the walls fall flat.

The walls were about 7 feet high, with a ditch around that, and atop a steep incline. The wall was actually a double wall. Towers were built into the walls, and anyone attempting to climb the hill and attack would be at a severe disadvantage.

It must have been unnerving for the Jericho-ites to see the Israelite army marching around and around day after day, the tension heightening, the strangeness of the scene increasing their apprehension. It was a good lesson for the Israelite army too. Obedience in the face of a strange command. Its fulfillment promised blessing, though, and would be a tremendous miracle.

And it was!

Some people say that such a thing could not physically happen. Others say that archaeology does not confirm what the Bible says, that Jericho never even had a wall. In both cases, these are not a problem for the Bible believer. We believe God, therefore we believe what He says in His inspired word. The walls fell flat? Yes, the walls fell flat. Praise God for His mighty and mysterious ways.

Joshua 6:21 says that all the people and animals in Jericho were then killed by the sword. (Except Rahab and her brethren).  It’s always rough to read something like that. But the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says-

It should be remembered that the Canaanites were incorrigible idolaters, addicted to the most horrible vices, and that the righteous judgment of God might sweep them away by the sword, as well as by famine or pestilence. There was mercy mingled with judgment in employing the sword as the instrument of punishing the guilty Canaanites, for while it was directed against one place, time was afforded for others to repent.

God is good, He is gracious, and He is merciful. He is also righteous judge, and if idolaters refuse to repent, and continue idolizing the devoted things, then their sin will be paid with death. Joshua’s march shows that obedience brings blessing.

Further Reading

Answers in Genesis: The Walls of Jericho