Saturday, October 27, 2007

The War is On

I ran into a friend who reads this blog yesterday. She laughed and asked, "What was that sheep thing about? It was so random!"

So first, a bit of business. The sheep story came out of an experience I had last week. I'm part of a writer's group. Or, I should say, I WAS part of a writer's group. And last weekend, a group of "leaders" in my group behaved exactly as did the sheep in my story. The point was simply this: We who believe are so susceptable to deception. Those leaders did evil, and they called it good. I can't be a part of their evil, and found I must withdraw from the group. It was a sad day! Even Jesus cried.

And second, many of you are wondering about my friend Kerrie. The diagnosis is Large B-cell Lymphoma. The doctors will stage the disease and begin chemo this coming week. Please continue to pray, if you would? I'll keep you informed.

And as for Joshua. I've been so overwhelmed with life, that I'm behind -- as you can tell. So, I'll just give you one more observation from Joshua, and then we'll move on to Romans. I've found that I can't work backwards. So here we go!

The book of Joshua is generally about the Israelites taking the Promised Land. God has instructed them to completely remove the people living in the land, and to occupy it. This is the bloody part of the Old Testament, and many critics use it to say that the Jews are no different from contemporary Muslims, etc.

However please note the differences. One: They weren't conquering the entire world. They had a specific and limited geographic objective. Two: The mandate to conquer via war was limited in time. It was ONE event in their entire history, and did not repeat itself in the same way EVER again. Three: The people being conquered were involved in idolatry that involved prostitution, and child sacrifice. Even those with NO moral framework might consider these behaviors questionable. God considered them abominable. He planned the Joshua wars to eliminate these terrible behaviors from the land. Four: No one could claim that this war was won by capable stratigic planning. In fact, no explosives were used. For instance, the Jews once conquered a town by circling the town seven times and then shouting. It was nothing more than miraculous. Not a battle won by cunning and bomb vests.

These are just some of the ways the Jewish conquest of the Promised Land differs from other "Holy Wars"

Now for the observations:

In one of the battles, Joshua and the Israelites defeat the northern kings. God gives them this instruction. "Do not be afraid of them. By this time tomorrow they will all be dead. Cripple their horses and burn their chariots."

Why did God say that?

I would have to look at chapter 23 to see the point. Note these words, "The Lord your God has fought for you against your enemies.' (vs 3) and "For the Lord your God will drive out all the people living there now." (verse 5) and "For the Lord has driven out great and powerful nations for you, and no one has yet been able to defeat you. Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the LORD your God fights for you, just as he has promised." (verse 9 and 10)

"I gave you victory over them. I sent hornets ahead of you to drive out the two kings of the Amorites. It was not your swords or bows that brought you victory. I gave you land you had not worked for, and I gave you cities you did not build..." (24:11-13)

I think the ultimate point of Joshua is to remind us that in all battles, we are to let the LORD be our commander.

He wins the battle for us.

Today, as we fight for marriages, our children, our churches, our communities, our relationships, our pastors, and for the nations of the world, WE MUST LEARN TO DEPEND on the commander of hosts. Spiritual battles cannot be won, except on our knees. Then, as did the Israelites, when we have our instructions from the Commander, we are to go out and OBEY, as did Joshua. So why did the LORD instruct his people to cripple the horses?

As a reminder. We are NEVER to take the strength of the enemy as our own. If we did, we would begin to trust in armies, in weapons, in strategies. God does not want us EVER to depend on these things. We are to depend ONLY on the LORD of hosts. We are no longer seeking to conquer a land. But we are in battle never the less. We battle for souls, for destiny, for ministry, for unity. And our weapons are not of flesh and blood...

Neither were Joshua's.

Enough said? Let's move on to Romans!

Bette

2 comments:

Deanna said...

I've come to the same conclusion regarding "Holy Wars". There was only one like this, done for God's purposes and not by human skill or cunning.

Elia said...

Good words.