David’s Finest Moment

Image result for king david in bibleDavid’s finest moment is not winning battles or not killing Saul. It’s when he is confronted by Nathan for his sin with Bathsheba, and he accepts responsibility and humbles himself before God.

David is different than others kings — both in the past and leaders of today. He does not have the arrogance they have, and he repents.

Although the consequences of David’s sin is far-reaching (one of David’s sons will rape his sister and another will kill his brother and launch a coup against David himself), by admitting he sinned, David is a man after God’s own heart.

People of the Promised Land: Bathsheba

Image result for bathshebaAs opposed to the last woman we studied in BSF’s People of the Promised Land Part 1 study (Abigail), we now turn to Bathsheba — in effect the opposite of Abigail. We don’t get any sense of sacrifice or honor here.

It’s easy to feel sympathy for Bathsheba (daughter of abundance). She was innocently bathing on the rooftop in days where there were no bathrooms and the houses were close together. She was beautiful. She was summoned by the king who wanted to sleep with her. Had she refused, there could have been severe penalties, even death, in ancient times.

However, a person who knowingly does wrong is responsible. She knew she committed adultery, and she suffered because of it: she lost her husband, her child, and her virtue. Bathsheba disappears from the Bible after the birth of Solomon and only reappears after David dies, and Solomon takes the throne.

Bathsheba is know as an adulteress and for good reason — her complicity in the act and her failure to resist a sinful situation made David’s sin possible. We are all called to not make others stumble in our walk with Christ.

When you’re pressured to just follow the crowd, what do you do?

People of the Bible: Abigail

Image result for abigail in bibleAbigail (Hebrew for “father rejoices” or “source of joy”) was not a main player in the history of Israel, but she had an instinctive skill for diplomacy and peace-making. A woman of beauty and brains, Abigail in the Bible could defuse a dangerous situation between hot-headed men.

Though Abigail may have been trapped in a bad marriage — probably arranged by her parents — she was hardly helpless. She took decisive action when her husband mistreated David. Abigail in the Bible saved her people as well as David from taking action he would later regret.

She, in the end, would marry the man she saved from rash action, bearing him his second son, Kileab (2 Samuel 3:3). David could lose his temper but always recognized when faced with sense.

Why Did God Reject Saul as King?

Every human on this planet has been rejected at some point in their life. Either for jobs or colleges or people or loved ones or to get a book published or  what-have-you.

But Saul faced the ultimate rejection: rejection by God.

So much promise…

Saul had everything going for him. He was tall, handsome, and commanded attention. He was chosen as the first king of Israel  — and he didn’t even run for the office! He encountered God’s Spirit (in a way all Christians wish to experience God) that changed him entirely. He saved his people. He won many battles.

Saul had the best young men in his army. One of them, David, would never oppose him. David married Saul’s daughter, and Saul’s oldest son, Jonathan, became David’s best friend.

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Saul had an inner weakness: he caved under pressure. He was impatient and offered sacrifices only a priest could do. He continued to disobey God, losing both Samuel and God’s support — and ultimately resulting in the loss of his crown (1 Samuel 15:23).

Saul slipped into despair as an evil spirit tormented him. He drove David away and fear gnawed at his soul until he was incapable of leading. He and his beloved son, Jonathan, were ultimately killed in battle.

 Why did Saul Fail?

The Bible reports the facts to us; the interpretation is up to us, as humans, to learn from. In essence, he cracked under pressure. He did not have the fortitude to obey God no matter what. He is the epitome of the worse kind of leader: not only one who destroys himself, but others along with him. Israel was left to David divided into two countries under Philistined domination.

Joshua: A Prelude to Jesus

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The Life of Joshua in the Bible

Like all the Israelites, Joshua began in humble surroundings. He was born a slave in Egypt an followed Moses across the Red Sea to freedom. He first appears in the Bible as a military commander. Soon after escaping from Egypt, the Israelites confronted a new enemy, and Moses turned to Joshua to lead their very first battle (Exodus 17:9-15).

A month later, when Moses climbed craggy Mount Sinai to meet with God, Joshua was at his side. He first reported to Moses the strange sounds coming from the camp, sounds that turned out to be the Israelites’ great spiritual rebellion (Exodus 32:17). Joshua rose to become Moses’ trusted number-two man, an assistant who served him at almost every major crisis. Moses changed his aide’s name from Hoshea, which meant “help” or “salvation”, to Joshua, meaning “The Lord saved.” (The Greek from of Joshua is Jesus).

Joshua Becoming the Leader of the Israelites

On the verge of entering Canaan, Moses turned to Joshua again, choosing him as one of 12 spies sent to collect information about the land. Ten cam back frightened, with predictions of doom. Only Joshua and Caleb had faith that God would keep his promises to the Israelites despite the military odds.

Joshua learned about the hazards of leadership from that spy trip: On his return, thousands of angry Israelites called for his public stoning (Numbers 14). But he stood firm, and God rewarded him. Of all the Israelites who had left Egypt, only he and Caleb were allowed to enter the Promised Land–not even Moses was granted that honor. As Moses’ death neared, God and Moses mad Joshua their uncontested choice for a new leader for Israel. It was time for number two to become number one.

Joshua made a remarkably smooth transition into leadership. In fact, Joshua’s life had many parallels to Moses’.  The miracle of the crossing of the Jordan River poignantly replayed Moses’ crossing of the Red Sea. Moses encountered God directly at the burning bush; Joshua met God’s special representative, the “commander of the army of the Lord,” and likewise took off his shoes at the meeting (Joshua 5:13-15).

Both Moses and Joshua wrote the law onto stones; Moses creating a permanent record for Israel, and Joshua erecting a monument for the nation to pass by on the way into the new land (Joshua 8:32). Both leaders pleaded with God on behalf of the people. And both ended their terms with stirring speeches that reviewed history and challenged the people toward a critical choice.

Joshua: A Faithful and Obedient Leader of the Israelites

Moses, who grew up in the courts of the Pharaoh, obviously received a better education than Joshua. He showed a philosophical bent. Joshua, on the other hand, was action-oriented and pragmatic, a perfect military man. He had the rare combination of knowing how to follow orders as well as how to give them.

The Bible, never guilty of glossing over its heroes’ flaws, reveals some of Joshua’s mistakes. In one incident in the desert, he was rash (Numbers 11:26-30). During the first battle of Ai and the treaty negotiations with the Gibeonites, he acted impulsively, without first seeking God’s advice. And, faced with his first major defeat at Ai, he uncharacteristically dissolved in fright, earning God’s stern rebuke: “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?” (Joshua 7:6-12).

Apart from these few incidents, Joshua’s life was marked by unusual faith and obedience. Joshua never let the press of military action interfere with worship and the renewal of the covenant. When he divided up the land (an immense bureaucratic burden that takes up the last half of the book of Joshua), he did so with wisdom and fairness, selecting his own portion only after all the others had chosen.

The Bible records this simple legacy: “Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua” (Joshua 24:31). History would show how rarely that occured in the life of this troublesome nation.

Taken from Student Bible with Notes by Philip Yancey & Tim Stafford

People of the Promised Land: Joshua

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People of the Promised Land: Joshua

Joshua: A Good News Book

After 40 years of wandering in the desert, the Israelites had a new leader: Joshua. Moses is dead. God commissions Joshua, Moses’ protege, to “be strong and courageous” and to lead His people into the Promised Land.

Who is Joshua?

When we meet him in Joshua Chapter 1 in the Bible, Joshua is the oldest man in Israel, probably in his nineties.  For the last 40 years since the Exodus, Joshua has been Moses’ right-hand man. The Book of Joshua is the story of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan and the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people in bringing them into the Promised Land.

When Was The Book of Joshua Written?

Dates bury based on when scholars date the Exodus, but the concensus is that the Book of Joshua was written by an eyewitness (perhaps Aaron’s grandon, Phineas, Joshua 24:33) within a generation after the events of this book.  This time frame is either 1400-1380 BC or 1250-1230 BC.

What Events do the Book of Joshua Cover?

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A good outline of the book of Joshua is:

  • Joshua Chapters 1-5: Preparing to conquer the land
  • Joshua Chapters 6-8: The fall of Jericho and Ai
  • Joshua Chapters 9-12: Victory in the southern and northern territories
  • Joshua Chapters 13-22: Allotment of the land
  • Joshua Chapters 23-24: Covenant renewal and death of Joshua

The events of this book probably did not take longer than 7 years, although Joshua lived longer until around 1375 BC. Remember that only key events were recorded; there were many, many more battles and skirmishes not recorded.

What Tasks was Joshua Commissioned For?

Joshua was commissioned by God to accomplish 2 main tasks.

  1. Direct a military campaign to take control of the land God had promised
  2. Parcel out the conquered land amongst the tribes

What are the Main Themes of the Book of Joshua?

  1. Obedience. Once inside the land of Canaan, the Israelites had learned that wandering around for 40 years was not something they wanted to repeat, so they followed God’s instructions precisely, even though it must have seemed crazy to them at times. Marching around a city, blowing trumpets isn’t exactly a common military tactic used.
  2. God is in charge. He leads the Israelites and gives them the land on His terms. Nothing in history happens unless God says so

The Life of Joshua

Born as a slave in Egypt, it’s safe to assume Joshua had a not-so-easy childhood. Born as Hoshea (Hebrew for “save”), Moses changed his name to Joshua (or Jehoshua), meaning “Yahweh is salvation”, making his name theophorous or bearing the name of God. He was one of the 12 spies sent to scout the land of Canaan. He led the Israelites for the rest of his life, conquering Canaan and distributing the land, until he died at 110 year old.

Highlights in the Book of Joshua

We will read about Rahab, the prostitute who hid the spies Joshua had sent to scout Jericho. We’ll read about the fall of Jericho, one of the most famous stories in the bible.

Joshua is one of the few in the bible who had unwavering faith, loyalty, and obedience to God. Many compare Joshua to Jesus since he lead people to God’s earthly promised land, while Jesus leads people to a heavenly promised land. Joshua usually consulted God, but the bible records one time he did not: when he made a treaty with Gibeon despite God’s warnings never to do so. This is to show us even Joshua messed up, but he self-corrected and got on the right path again.

Through Joshua’s example, we see how a life God-led yields great rewards and blessings.

The same holds true for our lives: Follow God. Receive rewards. That’s His promise.

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