Bible reading for July 8.
"And the LORD said to Joshua, 'Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.'" (Joshua 10:8)
THE SOUTHERN CAMPAIGN. Israel does not need to take the offensive in Canaan at this time because the Canaanite kings unite to attack the cities of Gibeon which had made a covenant with Israel. And so Joshua comes to their aid (vv 1-10). What follows is all-out war which rapidly involves all of the southern city-states. It must be remembered that the Israelites were desert nomads, with no chariots, no armor, and greatly outnumbered (cf Josh 11:4). The Lord intervened miraculously on their behalf with widespread panic among the enemies, a supernaturally lengthened day, and hailstones that killed thousands (v 10-14, cf Exodus 9). In a way this battle mirrored the plagues that God sent upon Egypt. The "Book of Jashar" (v 13) was apparently another record of these events, but no copy has survived.
THE BATTLE IS THE LORD'S. Many down through history have questioned the morality of Israel's conquest of the promised land, but it is very clear that to the people of that time, this was a colossal battle of the gods. It was Yahweh vs. the pagan gods of Canaan. We as Christians today are not called to fight for God with physical weapons (Matt 26:52-53; John 18:36; 2 Cor 10:4-5) but rather, with the proclamation of the gospel of reconciliation (Eph 6:13-19). The battle still belongs to the Lord.
"I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land." (Psalm 143:6)
WEARY AND FAINT. Sometimes we get so weary that all we can do is stretch out our hand to the Lord! Both of the psalms in today's reading paint a picture of David seeking to walk on God's path (Ps 142:3; 143:8-10), but at the point of nearly fainting and falling into a trap (142:3; 143:7). And it would seem that no one cares! (142:4) Note the images: a trap, prison, fainting, and parched land. David declares that the Lord himself is his portion and refuge (142:4-5; 143:9). He thirsts for God as a dry land thirsts for rain!
STRETCH OUT YOUR HAND. When we are weary and faint, we need to stretch out our hand to the Lord. Certainly we all can pray this prayer along with David:
"Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge!
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!" (143:8-10)
Image credit: photo of hikers in the Carpathian Mountains is by Anna Barsa 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.
The NET Bible is a free, online resource, and a ministry of bible.org.