Coffee and God: You Can Make a Difference

Coffee and God: Monthly Coffee Chats

Hey all!

It’s time for our last Sunday of the Month Coffee Chat where we talk about anything and everything that’s on our minds.

Today for me it’s giving, sharing, and asking.

“Ask and it will be given to you.” Matthew 7:7

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Our time is valuable. Our resources are valuable. Our energy is valuable. That’s why putting in the time to study God’s word through Bible Study Fellowship and other Bible studies or on your own is so important. God wants your time. He wants your effort. He wants your resources.

Twice a year I post on donating to my blog. It’s a tiny button in the sidebar on the homepage of my blog.

DONATE HERE

This blog is a labor of love. It started inauspiciously over 10 years ago and has grown to what you see now. I spend a ton of time researching, compiling resources, maps, and facts–all with the goal of helping you know God more.

If you find anything here useful and helpful, a small suggested donation of $25 would be much appreciated, but feel free to give whatever God leads you to give–from $1 to $5 to more. There is also an option for a monthly contribution as well if you don’t want to do a lump sum. Clicking on ads helps in a very small way as well. Every little bit helps support this forum as it continues to grow. I have made big changes this year and your donation goes to making this site bigger and better and hopefully able to reach more and more people for God’s Kingdom. That is my goal anyways, as small as it is in the Internet world.

If you choose not to donate to me (perfectly fine!), please consider another charity close to your heart. We are so very, very blessed in the 21st century, and we are called to share that with others. Give of yourself, your time, your resources, your energy. Life is so much more fulfilling when you give away your heart.

Thank you in advance, and I look forward to what God will lead us to learn this year and many more to come!

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Inspirational Quotes: Family Life

“At the end of the day, I want to be famous in my home.”  Mark Batterson Chase the Lion

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Conquering of the Promised Land: Is a War Ever Holy?

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Why Would God Choose a Military Campaign and Relentless Slaughter of People for His Judgment?

Many people struggle with war. It is one of man’s worst evils. So why would God use war against people and slaughter whole groups of “innocent” people.

Because these people were not innocent. They were sinners and 400 years prior to Joshua, God had promised Canaan to His people. The sins of the Canaanites caused them to forfeit the right to the Promised Land. History shows the Canaanites as engaging in some of the worst sins such as child sacrifice, butchery, and sadism.

Furthermore, the Israelites were susceptible to outside influences as the golden calf showed. God wanted all unbelievers gone to eliminate this threat. As we’ve just seen, however, the Gibeonites have been spared–a disobedience that as Judges tells us will lead the Israelites astray.

The Crusades and Beyond: Holy Wars Today

The wars of the Old Testament were specifically ordered by and guided by God. We know God eliminated these peoples because they were sinners, and God chose war to do so.

Then along came Jesus who chose to suffer and die rather than kill others. His weapon was the Good News, leaving the judgment of all peoples until the Last Days.

For us today, our weapon is the same. We follow Jesus. He chose non-violent means to win people’s hearts. And so must we.

 

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 3, Day 5: Joshua 12

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Image result for joshua 12Summary of Joshua 12:

Joshua 12 lists the kings of the land the Israelites had defeated and whose territory they took over. Included is the list of tribes Moses conquered (the land given to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh) and the list Joshua conquered on the west side of the Jordan River.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 5: Joshua 12:

12) These are real events, not a fairy tale or made up. This is a way for the Israelites to remember the great things God did for them, and to make it clear that the land belongs to Israel. God keeps His word and His promises to His people.

13) Personal Question. My answer: I love how Joshua is human. He succeeds. He fails. He obeys. He missteps. He disobeys. Yet in the end, he has a heart for God, which I hope to have as well.

14) Personal Question. My answer: Being nicer to people. Watching my words. Speaking less. Listening more. Obeying more. Praying more.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 5: Joshua 12:

Even though God does not have to prove His existence and His omnipotence to man, He does with lists like this that match up with historical facts. Just another example of God’s grace to us who don’t deserve it, and another example of God’s relentless pursuit of His people and nonbelievers to become His people.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 5: Joshua 12:

Moses’ lands he conquered were on the East side of the Jordan River.

Although these lists mean little to us over 3000 years after the fact, this was important so all knew what land was theirs and the boundaries.

Half of the Israelite tribe of Manasseh lived on the East side of the Jordan River. The other half lived on the West side of the Jordan River.

Why List the Defeated Kings?

  • These are real events, not a fairy tale or made up. This is history and specifics are important.
  • A way for the Israelites to remember the great things God did for the them.
  • To make it clear that the land belongs to Israel.

Themes of Joshua 12:

We must remember the great things God does for us and the little things God does for us each and every day.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 3, Day 4: Joshua 11

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Summary of Joshua 11:

When the Northern Kings heard of the complete destruction of the Southern kingdoms, they joined forces against the Israelites and met at the Waters of Merom to fight against Israel. They were as numerous as the sands on the seashore. They also had a large number of horses and chariots.Image result for joshua 11 map of cities northern

Again, God encourages Joshua and tells him not to be afraid for He will deliver them, slain, into his hands. God tells the Israelites to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.

So the Israelites attack this huge army and defeated them. They chased them and slain all of them and hobbled their horses as the Lord directed.

Joshua returned to the city of Hazor and slaughtered everyone there as their king was the instigator of this attack upon Israel. He then totally destroyed all of the cities and kings that came against him as Moses had commanded. They did not burn any of the cities on their mounds. However, Joshua did all that Moses directed and killed everyone. All the plunder and livestock the Israelites kept for themselves.

Joshua continued the conquest of the Promised Land, taking the entire hill region, the Negev, Goshen, and more. All the kings and peoples were attacked and killed except for those living in Gibeon. The Lord had hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel so that they may face punishment.

Joshua took the entire land the Lord had promised, divided it up according to tribes, and rested from war.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 4: Joshua 11:

9) “Do not be afraid of them” and “hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.” Joshua needed encouragement and direction from God (as we all do). The enemies were more advanced than the Israelites in terms of warfare since they had horses and chariots. So to ensure they wouldn’t fight them again, the horses were hobbled and chariots destroyed. God keeps His word and directs the Israelites exactly as needed.

10) The Anakalites were the reason the Israelites hadn’t entered the Promised Land sooner and were relegated to wandering the desert for 40 years. The Hebrews thought them to be descendants of the Nephilim, a powerful race who dominated the pre-Flood world (Genesis 6:4; Numbers 13:33). When the twelve Israelite spies returned from exploring the Promised Land, they gave a frightening report of “people great and tall” whom they identified as the sons of Anak (Deuteronomy 9:2). The Israelites had finally conquered them.

11) Personal Question. My answer: None really. We all deserve death, and it’s only by God’s grace that we are still breathing today and saved by His Son, Jesus Christ. This is an evil world full of evil, violent people. God uses the sin that entered through Adam to punish His enemies. That is His prerogative, and we are to accept it without question. Furthermore, God has a reason for everything He does that is beyond our understanding.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 4: Joshua 11:

I love how God is always encouraging and always instructing His people. I love how even the impossible (the defeat of the Anakites) is possible through Him.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 4: Joshua 11:

The Israelites are now the target due to their success. The same applies to our success on this side of heaven. There’s always someone jealous of you who’s looking to take you down.

The challenges facing the Israelites are increasing with a gigantic foe and superior weaponry. Same for us: we often find that the challenges facing us in our Christian life increase at each step. God uses each previous victory as a springboard for what we face in the future.

Fear was an issue for Joshua and the Israelites; hence, God’s encouragement.

Again, we see Joshua’s military boldness as he initiates the attack once again. I’m sure an army that size would expect the Israelites to high-tail it out of there, not attack.

What is Hamstringing and Why did God tell the Israelites to use It?

Hamstringing is just what it sounds like: cutting the hamstring muscle in the leg, hindering proper movement and effectively hobbling the animal. This was common on animals and on humans in ancient times. It was also extremely painful.

  • Hamstringing rendered the animals useless, so they couldn’t come against the Israelites again.
  • Horses and chariots were an advanced weapons of war that the Israelites would not master for hundreds of years. It was far easier to effectively erase the threat than learn how to use the threat.
  • This showed complete trust and faith in God as the Israelites did what God told them to do, and didn’t try to use the enemies’ tools for themselves.

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What do we learn from the complete annihilation of the Enemy?

  • Israelites had complete faith and obedience in God.
  • Judgement was complete.
  • Canaanites were completely and totally unable to be redeemed and thus deserving of just punishment.

What is the “hardening of the hearts”?

The hardening of men’s hearts is when God gives man up to the sin that is in his heart (Romans 1:24-28). There was no grace shown to the Canaanites.

Who were the Anakites?

The last tribe to be defeated by the Israelites, the Anakites had prevented Israel from entering the Promised Land 40 years prior. They fall easily. God saves them for last as the Israelites needed supreme confidence to defeat them.

What do we Learn from the Anakites?

  • God knows how to manage the battles in our life.
  • Total surrender to God’s will is our response. Sometimes we have to fight last what we think is first.

Fun Fact of the Bible:

The giant Goliath is an Anakite from the descendants of the Nephilim. Goliath comes from the city of Gath some five hundred years later (1 Samuel 17:4).

Similarities between Judges 1 and Joshua 1-11

Judges 1 summarizes the incidents recorded in Joshua, but from a different point of view. Joshua presents the campaign as highly successful; Judges shows that many military goals were never achieved. One possible explanation: Joshua presented the wars as a series of raids on territory and did not include the “mopping up” and settlement process. Judges shows that, after the Israelites divided up the land, they proved fall less successful in the second phase of conquest.

This ends section 1 of the Book of Joshua as mission has been accomplished with the defeat and occupation of the Promised Land. Obviously, not every town and city had been conquered. That was left up to the individual tribes to accomplish within their individual territories.

Theme of Joshua 11:

Same with Jesus: he defeated the enemy, but we still must claim what is ours.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 3, Day 3: Joshua 10:16-43

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Summary of Joshua 10:16-43:

The 5 kings retreated to a cave at Makkedah. Joshua ordered stones to be placed in front of the cave to prevent the men from leaving. He also told the Israelites to pursue the armies and destroy them. Joshua had the 5 kings from Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon brought before him. He humiliated them by placing feet on top of the kings’ necks.

Joshua killed the kings and hung them on trees as signs of what the Lord would do to all the Israelites’ enemies. Later, he threw the kings’ bodies back in the cave.

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Then Joshua took Makkedah and Libnah and humiliated the king in the same way and left no survivors behind. Joshua conquered Lachish, Gezer, Eglon, Hebron, and Debir, humiliating the kings and completely slaughtering the people.

Joshua subdued the whole region from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from Goshen to Gibeon–all in one campaign. The Israelites returned to their base at Gilgal when finished.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 3: Joshua 10:16-43:

6) The Canaanites fortified themselves in their cities. The Israelites attacked while all the surrounding Canaanites hid behind walls. The Canaanites knew they would probably lose against Israel’s God.

7) “Come and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” This is an act of humiliation and showed utter submission. This points toward Jesus (most scholars compare Joshua to Jesus) and the Second Coming when all of Jesus’ enemies (Satan) will be put under his feet.

8 ) Personal Question. My answer: So far, we’ve seen what happens when you have faith. You have faith, and God performs miracles for you. I know God is fighting with me and, at times, for me. Nothing is too big to overcome; thus, I should hand all of my battles over to God.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 3: Joshua 10:16-43:

The penalty for disobeying God is real. And it’s not pretty. Total annihilation. I wish this would be emphasized more at churches today. Healthy fear of the Lord is a good thing. Too many people sweep Him under the rug. Bad idea.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 3: Joshua 10:16-43:

We must remember Joshua is enacting God’s judgment against the nonbelievers by slaughtering them. The Canaanites knew now without a doubt God was with the Israelites–hence the retreat to their fortified cities.

Too many people today see the Church occupied by a cozy, warm, forgiving God–which He is. However, church is the place people should know that if you attend, you will be conquered. Surrendering to God is part of the bargain of redemption.

The Foreshadowing of the False Messiah

The king of Jerusalem, Adoni-Zedek, paints a fascinating picture of the false Anti-Christ to come:

Note the repetition of God promising victory over all your enemies.

What does the Treatment of the 5 Kings Signify?

  • Joshua performed the executions himself, thereby signifying there is absolutely no place in your life for sin.
  • The men were hung alive–again, a brutal symbol meant to tell the world sin would not be abided.

Egyptian and Assyrian sculptures frequently portray the stepping on the neck of a king. This would give the men courage, knowing they could defeat kings with God.

The forthcoming battles mentioned could have taken place over months. All were won, but one a time.

Lessons from Joshua 10:

  • Take every battle in your life one at a timeImage result for caves
  • The battle is one little by little
  • Know which battles to fight and when
  • God fights for us; we walk in His victory

God told Israel in Exodus 23:30 (and Deuteronomy 7:22) that He would drive out the Canaanites little by little. Israel wasn’t ready to take the land all at once, and God gave it to them in portions they could take as long as they trusted and obeyed Him.

God knew which battles to fight and when to fight them. These were not the only Canaanite cities in the region, but they were the military strongholds. God knew what He was doing in selecting which particular battles to fight and when they needed to be fought.

The Significance of Gilgal

  • Israel’s victories always came from Gilgal.
  • Gilgal was the place of total faith, commitment, and fellowship with God
  • Gilgal was the place where Israel had been conquered by God.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15

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Summary of Joshua 10:1-15:

The King of Jerusalem, Adoni-Zedek, heard about the Israelites’ conquering of Ai and Jericho and the peace treaty it had made with Gibeon. He gathered together 4 more kings of the Amorites–Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon– and attacked Gibeon, which was an important and large city.

The Gibeonites, now subjects of Israel, appealed to Joshua for help. He came up with his best fighting men from Gilgal. The Lord promised to deliver them into his hands. After marching all night, Joshua took the kings by surprise. The kings retreated and Joshua pursued them all the way to Azekah and Makkedah.

The Lord brought hail that killed many of the retreating army. Joshua asked for the sun to stand still and the moon to stop. God fulfilled Joshua’s prayer as a sign He was with Israel.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15:

3) Joshua took his entire army, his best fighting men included, and marched overnight to surprise the kings of the Amorites. God told Joshua “Do not be afraid; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.

4)  “The Lord threw them into [the Amorites] into confusion before Israel.” “The Lord hurled down large hailstorms down on them from the sky, killing more than swords.” God stopped the sun on the request of Joshua so the conquest would be complete. God is good. God keeps His promises. God wants His glory to be known. God fights for us. God has His ways and uses various methods to achieve His history.

5) Personal Question. My answer: If you pray, God is there, and He will guide and lead you. God will work miracles to help you if you have faith. Definition of integrity: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness; the state of being whole and undivided.

I love the second definition of integrity. When Israel is together, of one mind and united in a cause, they are unbeatable. They act as one unit and are much stronger and a more formidable opponent. Also, the Israelites defend the Gibeonites because they do have a treaty. They are honoring their commitment to others.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15:

I love how the Lord doesn’t hold anything against Joshua; he is totally forgiven for his mistakes. We just saw Joshua disobey an order from God: don’t make treaties with the Canaanites. Now, when Joshua is called upon by the Gibeonites to help, he honors his word and God honors Joshua’s word as well as Joshua seeks the Lord here.

If God can let go of the past so easily, why can’t we?

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 2: Joshua 10:1-15:

Why the Military Coalition of the Southern Kings?

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The Israelites had brought the unique judgment of God against the Canaanites (Jericho and Ai) and did not take any plunder or profit from the cities. An Israelite army fighting for the glory of God and as a unique instrument of God’s judgment made everyone shake in their boots.

The previous victories across the middle of Canaan effectively separated Canaan between north and south. “Israel controlled the Benjaminite plateau, the crossroads between the hill country and the Judean wilderness. It provided access to the coastal plain and lowlands to the west via the Beth Horon pass.” (Hess)

“It has been conjectured that the Canaanitish kings assumed this name in imitation of that of the ancient patriarchal king of this city, Melchizedek, whose name signifies king of righteousness, or my righteous king: a supposition that is not improbable.” (Clarke)

Remember the Gibeonites surrendered because they honored the God of Israel, not because they couldn’t defend themselves.

The Southern Kings gathered forces much as Satan does today. The enemy will use all he has against us.

It was only the Southern kings because the northern kings were already occupied by Israel.  “Jerusalem’s leader wrote at least five letters to the Pharaoh regarding his town and its security. These letters, part of the collection known as the Armana letters, are longer and more literate than the contemporary missives of other Palestinian town leaders.” (Hess)

Jerusalem, Jarmuth, Lachish, Eglon, and Hebron were important cities either for their location or for the trade routes associated with them.

Afraid to attack Israel directly, the kings attacked the Israelites’ subjects, the Gibeonites.

Why are the Israelites still at Gilgal?

  • Gilgal was the place of memorial (Joshua 4:20).
  • Gilgal was the place of radical obedience (Joshua 5:2-3).
  • Gilgal was the place where reproach was removed (Joshua 5:9).
  • Gilgal was the place of obedience and the remembrance of salvation (Joshua 5:10).
  • Gilgal was the place where the manna stopped, and they began to live off what the Promised Land provided (Joshua 5:11-12).
  • Gilgal was the place where they met Jesus Christ in a dramatic way, as commander of the LORD’s armies – and took of their sandals in reverence to holy ground (Joshua 5:13-15).

What Lessons do we Learn from the Gibeonites?

  • It’s okay to call for help. God is our protector. Cry out to Him.
  • God commanded Joshua not to fear because He would deliver. Fear is a sign of unbelief in God doing what He says He’ll do.

Allowing these Canaanite kings to wipe out the Gibeonites would have been a convenient way to get out of a vow that should not have been made, but they will have none of it.

We should have the same sense of honor. Though Joshua was only bound to not kill the Gibeonites himself (Joshua 9:15), he also felt obliged to fulfill the spirit of the vow he made to the Gibeonites.

Why were the Southern Kings taken by Surprise?

The Southern Kings didn’t believe the march was possible in that short of a time. The march from Gilgal to Gibeon involved a climb of 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) over a distance of about 20 miles (32 kilometers). This was eight to ten hours of hard marching all through the night.

God does His work, but He draws us into working with Him. Often God waits to see our initiative, our willingness to be a partner with Him before He does what only He can do.

This is not the idea that “God helps those who help themselves.” The idea is “God wants to draw His people into partnership with Him in seeing His work done.”

What Did the Hailstorm Signify?

  • God’s hand in the battle.Image result for joshua 10 hailstorm
  • For the Amorites who worshipped nature, they must have thought their gods had abandoned them.
  • In Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky suggested that this rain of hailstones was actually a sustained meteor show, the train of a comet. He also theorized that the passing of the comet was related to the next amazing work of God for Israel and Joshua.
  • God’s work is greater than man (Joshua’s) work.

Why Did Joshua Ask for the Sun to Stand Still?

  • Joshua wanted a complete victory and needed more time.
  • God would be glorified.
  •  God would be obeyed.
  •  God’s work would be continued without hindrance.
  •  God’s people would triumph.

How did the Sun Stand Still?

Beyond the reason, “Because God said so,” here are various scientific ideas:

  • A slowing of the earth’s rotation.
  • A tilting of the earth’s axis
  • A miracle of reflection of light
  • Simply the presence of God manifested in light.

In Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky suggested that the long day was caused by the near pass of a comet, that was powerful enough to tilt the axis of the earth. “The tilting of the axis could produce the visual effect of a retrogressing or arrested sun; a greater tilting, a multiple day or night.” [385] He also noted that there are records among the ancient Americans that speak of an extraordinarily long night in the same approximate time.

Fun Battle Fact of the Bible:

This is the first time in Joshua of a counterattack – the enemy initiating a battle against Israel. “Here for the first time Israel does not initiate the aggression but responds to an ally’s appeal.” (Hess)

What Does Joshua 10 Teach Us?

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