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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

2018.11.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 9

Read Joshua 9
Questions for Littles: What did all the other kings begin to do (v1-2)? What did the Gibeonites do instead? What did they want Joshua to make with them (v6)? What kind of country did they know that they needed to look like they were from for Joshua to do this? Whom do they say in v9 is the reason that they want to be in covenant with Israel? What does v14 highlight the Israelites did not ask? What did Israel learn after three days (v16)? But what didn’t Israel do and why (v18-19)? What does Israel decide to do with them (v23, 25-27)? What answer do they give for why they acted deceitfully (v24)?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we have an apparent act of great faith in Yahweh—but not from the Israelites.

Not once, but twice, the Gibeonites proclaim the greatness of Yahweh as the reason that they have done something. First, He is the reason that they were determined to get Israel to accept them in covenant. Second, He is the reason that they were willing even to be deceptive, if it would just mean that they would end up on His side.

Interestingly, the Israelites are the ones whom the passage sets up in a negative comparison with the Gibeonites. They are the ones who seem to treat it as a small thing to have the LORD on their side. They don’t even seek His counsel—even though it is apparent that they suspect that the Gibeonites are being deceptive. But what do they do? Take some of the Gibeonites’ provisions.

Not only were these much more meager than the ones that the Lord had just given them much of at Ai. The Gibeonites’ things were not even as good as what Israel themselves had dragged around the wilderness for 40 years, because the LORD whom they were taking for granted had not allowed their things to age and wear out.

It’s very interesting that the Lord Himself does not speak to rebuke Israel throughout this chapter. Why not? What does that accomplish? Well, one thing that it certainly does, as far as the telling of the story is concerned, is that it keeps the focus upon the Gibeonites and their valuing of the Lord.

And there they are, at the end of the passage: woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation. The Israelites finally found a permanent scapegoat for their most tedious chores! But do you know what else needs much wood and water? The house of God (v23), the altar of Yahweh (v27). What a blessing for him who desires to end up close to Yahweh no matter what!

When may you draw near the Lord? How urgently do you make use of those times?
Suggested songs: ARP84A “How Lovely, LORD” or TPH84B “O LORD of Hosts, How Lovely”

3 comments:

  1. Just wondering: What if the Gibeonites had come openly and thrown themselves on the mercy of the Israelites? Rahab and her household were spared. Might they have been?

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  2. Probably not just if they had thrown themselves upon their Mercy. There was still the problem of the people's iniquity being full. However, if like Rahab and Ruth, they credibly professed faith in Yahweh, I think that they would have been received.

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  3. And, if you look at Exodus 12:38, 48-51, you will see that Israel had always been a covenantally defined nation more than an ethnically defined nation. Right from its beginning as it was being brought out of Egypt, the nation included a mixed multitude who were brought in among the people of whichever tribe were their neighbors. This is one of the many, many problems of the dispensational obsession with "ethnic" Israel even unto this day, over-against focusing upon a covenant Israel and the church as a single tree: stump, with both natural branches and unnatural branches connected only through faith in Christ.

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