June 6, 2014
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And it shall come to pass that “whosoever” shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.”
Joel 2: 32
“Why do not I call on His name? Why do I run to this neighbor and that when God is so near and will hear my faintest call? Why do I sit down and devise schemes and invent plans? Why not at once roll myself and my burdens upon the Lord?...I need not ask whether I may call on Him or not, for that word “Whosoever” is a very wide and comprehensive one.” “Whosoever means me, for it means anybody and everybody who calls upon God. I will therefore follow the leading of the text, and at once call upon the glorious Lord who has made so large a promise. My case is urgent, and I do not see how I am to be delivered; but this is no business of mine. He who makes the promise will find ways and means of keeping it. It is mine to obey His commands; it is not mine to direct His counsels. I am His servant, not His solicitor. I call upon Him, and He will deliver.”
C. H. Spurgeon
Today’s Study Text:
“He (Heil) laid its (Jericho’s) foundations at the cost of the life of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its (Jericho’s) gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord he spake by Joshua the son of Nun.”
1 Kings 16: 34
“God’s Word Stands Forever” Part 3
“When the Bible speaks, God speaks.”
Do I believe that God speaks through the words in the Bible directly to me?
Do I follow all God’s truth in the Scripture?
“Let us receive nothing, believe nothing, follow nothing which is not in the Bible, nor can be proved by the Bible.”
“God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a distance by unaided minds. He spoke a book and lives in His spoken words, constantly speaking His words and causing the power of them to persist across the years.”
As the children of Israel prepared to “go up against” the city of Jericho and its inhabitants, God came to Joshua with a unique plan.
The Bible states that God’s strategy for the destruction of Jericho did not resemble any known battle plan ever put in place before. The Lord said unto Joshua, “See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.” (Joshua 6: 1, KJV)
We are also given a picture of what happened in the walled-city of Jericho in Joshua 6: 1, KJV: “Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out and none came in.” In preparation for an Israelite invasion, the king of Jericho basically put the city on lock-down. All the gates were shut and no one was allowed to enter or leave the city.
If we think back on the report of the twelve spies which Moses sent into the Promised Land to “scout-out” the territory, ten of these undercover agents returned to the camp of Israel, decrying the fact that the Promised Land was fill with large giants -- human giants that is -- and massively walled cities. Evidently, looking at the walls of cities like Jericho struck such fear in the hearts of the Israelites, they threatened to “make a captain and return to Egypt” (Numbers 14: 4, K.J.V.). What a ridiculous solution to a problem caused simply by a lack of trust in God’s word -- and now, over forty years later, we find that God, still believing in His children, came to their rescue by giving the following instructions to Joshua: “Ye shall compass the city (Jericho), all ye men of war, and go around about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him” (Joshua 6: 3-5, K.J.V.).
This was God’s Word. These were His instructions for guaranteed victory. Walking around Jericho for seven days along with a big, loud shout -- and the closed-up city of Jericho, shutoff by carefully crafted walls of stone, fell flat. Jericho, which was a man-made closed city became a God-ordained open-city.
However, God had another directive which He gave to Joshua and the Israelites and it is found in Joshua 6: 26, KJV “And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, ‘Cursed be the man before the Lord, the riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation -- thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it’.”
Since I didn’t understand the meaning of the word “adjured,” I undertook some study which helped me gain a deeper knowledge of what Joshua was asking of the Israelites.
In Hebrew, to adjure means “to cause to swear.” It is likely that Joshua gathered the leaders together, possibly representatives from each tribe, and had them solemnly pledge an oath that would then be passed on throughout generations. The curse that was placed by God upon Jericho was not meant as a here today, gone tomorrow pledge. As Matthew Henry notes,” Joshua adjured by the elders and people of Israel, not only by their own consent, obliging themselves and their posterity never to rebuild this city (Jericho), but by divine appointment, God Himself having forbidden it under severe penalty…Men build for their posterity, but he that builds Jericho shall have no posterity to enjoy what he builds.” This was the curse God placed upon Jericho and anyone down through the ages who decided God’s Word didn’t mean a thing!
Added to these thoughts, though, I find it enlightening to explore the perspective shared by M. B. Van’t Veer who states that nearly five centuries after the Israelite’s conquering of Jericho and God’s curse against anyone who tried to rebuild this city, that Ahab decided Jericho needed to be “rebuilt,” permanently. Down through history, there was evidence that people lived in and around Jericho, but as Van’t Veer explains, the purpose of Heil’s building plan was not to make Jericho suitable for human habitation, for the city was already inhabited. Instead, his purpose was to build large, strong city walls, for the walls still lay in ruins. “Jericho was still an open city. Ahab could no longer tolerate this situation…(Jericho) would have to become a fortress again.” Man would have to trust in the power of man, not in the strength of the Lord. As M. B. Van’t Veer so insightfully explains, Jericho was the scene of one of God’s great feats on behalf of His children. The walls of Jericho fell, not because of human might, but because of God’s power. “God, Himself had pulled down the city walls. The victory could not be credited to Israel’s strength and weapons but only to (God’s) wondrous intervention from above. The ruins of the once mighty wall testified to the great power of God and spoke to all who passed by of Israel’s God.”
As we are reminded of the truth of God’s Word from Joshua’s proclamation to Ahab’s apostasy, the words of author Tony Evans ring louder and with more clarity. “From the first word of Genesis to the last word of Revelation, God’s Word is true and trustworthy.” As Alex McFarland reminds us, “If we believe God is who He says He is, then His words are true. They are the truth, not some here-today, gone tomorrow fad of thought.” In the wonderful words shared by the Apostle Paul and his “son in Christ,” Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man (and woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3: 16-17, N.I.V.).
This was a lesson Heil learned all to well at the cost of the lives of both his sons!
“Faith grows by reading and meditating upon the Word of God.”
E. M. Bounds
“O Lord, let not Your Word become a judgment on us, lest we hear it and not do it, or believe it and do not obey it.”
Thomas á Kempis
“O God our Father,
in the holy scriptures
you have given us your word
to be our teacher and our guide:
help us and all the members of our Fellowship
to seek in our reading
the guidance of the Holy Spirit
that we may learn more of you
and of your will for us,
and so grow in likeness to your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.”
Hilde Reading Fellowship
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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