Bible reading for July 7.
"So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD." (Joshua 9:14)
THE GIBEONITES. The Israelites are deceived into making a covenant of peace with an Amorite group associated with the city of Gibeon, which was not far away. The Israelite leaders did not seek guidance from the Lord. If they had waited and prayed for a few days they would have seen the ruse. The Lord does not judge Israel for this, and the leaders realized that, deceived or not, they needed to honor their pledge. The Gibeonites in a sense acted in faith, believing that the God of Israel (and Moses) was indeed God. As seen in the next chapter Israel's commitment to defend Gibeon proved the occasion for a very large and decisive battle for southern Canaan. We find in the biblical story much later that King David continues to honor the covenant with the Gibeonites (2 Sam 21). After the exile, Gibeonite families help repair the wall of Jerusalem (Neh 3:7), so apparently some (or many) within the Gibeonite clan became believers in the Lord.
TAKEAWAY: Do not rush into commitments. Take time to seek wisdom and counsel from the Lord (Prov 3:5-6; James 1:5). Honor your commitments even though it may prove difficult (Prov 20:25; Eccl 5:4-5; Rom 13:7-8). Even when we have made poor decisions, the Lord may yet bring good from those circumstances (Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28).
"Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!" (Psalm 141:2-3)
TWO PRAYERS FOR PROTECTION. These two psalms are prayers of David for protection from evil designs against himself. The first psalm (140) is about opponents who are planning evil, and the second (141) includes the evil that he himself is tempted by. He asks that his prayers be a kind of sacrificial offering, pleasing to God, like the evening incense offered in the tabernacle. Indeed, we see that the angels in heaven handle the prayers of God's people as holy offerings (Rev 5:8; 8:3-4).
TAKEAWAY. The believer must be on guard from evil arising both from outside and from within himself. Our Lord has warned us that we live on a spiritual battlefield (Matt 26:41; Mark 13:23; 1 Pet 5:8). Ongoing prayer is vital to our welfare and ministry (Eph 6:18-20). In the prayer that he taught his disciples, Jesus tells us to pray, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Matt 6:13). So... do I have the high value of prayer that David (and the angels) have? Am I praying daily for wisdom, protection, and guidance regarding my life in this world? Am I praying for God to show me the traps and pitfalls that I might face each day?
Image credit: photo by nega on unsplash.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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