Bible reading for July 9.
"So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. And the land had rest from war." (Joshua 11:23)
THE NORTHERN CAMPAIGN. The battle for the cities of northern Canaan was more challenging than in the south. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, the combined armies of the Canaanite tribes totaled 300,000 armed footmen, 10,000 horsemen, and 20,000 chariots. Hamstringing the horses seems cruel, but it was necessary to render them unfit to pull chariots. The chariot was a powerful advance in military technology at that time and was a grave danger to the Israelite soldiers, all on foot. For more details on this chapter see Constable's notes in the NET Bible. The hardening of the enemy's hearts (v 20) parallels the hardening of Pharaoh's heart at the exodus (Exod 7:3, 13).
TAKEAWAY. God fulfills his promises regarding history and the inheritance of his people. Joshua is an example to us of faith and obedience toward the Lord: "Just as the LORD had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses" (v 15; Heb 11:30-34).
"Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood."
TRAINED FOR WAR. King David is thankful that God has equipped him to fight and to be able to protect his kingdom (vv 1-2). "What is man...?" (v 3) echoes Psalm 8:4, but the emphasis here is on human mortality rather than human dignity. Twice we hear the phrase, "whose mouth speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood" (vv 8, 11). The threat is not their foreignness but their deceptiveness. Foreign kings and their armies would not only threaten the security of Israel but also introduce idolatrous religions. Kings were always tempted to compromise religious convictions for the sake of peace with the neighboring nations. David prays for God's protection and concludes, "Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord" (v 15).
JESUS MEEK AND MILD? Sometimes, if we only consider Christ in his first coming, we may think of him as a pacifist, or someone who opposed conflict of any sort. But "peace" in the Bible never means to concede truth, or to compromise with falsehood or wickedness. True peace comes from being reconciled to truth, to God, and to his people. The OT speaks of the Messiah as being a righteous, warrior King (Psalm 2; 110), who defends and establishes peace by his power ("Prince of Peace", Isa 9:6-7). And this role Jesus himself will fulfill at his second coming (Rev 19:11-16). He is both the Lamb of God (passively giving his life as a sacrificial offering) and the Lion of Judah (actively and powerfully judging his enemies)(Rev 5:5-6). We must always adjust our conception of Jesus in line with what the Bible says about him.
A FINAL QUOTE. "Our standard is not a flexible standard. Far from holding that what is true today becomes false tomorrow according to the shifting needs of human life, we find our standard both of truth and of conduct in the Bible, which we hold to be not a product of human experience but the Word of God." (J. Gresham Machen, Selected Writings)
Image above: sketch of a bas-relief of Assyrian war chariots.
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.