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winning baseball team March 27 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Joshua 10, 11, 12

Winning

It is almost baseball season. If you have watched winning teams you know that not only do the teams play together well, but the breaks of the game all seem to go their way. If we are totally obedient and following God's will with our heart and actions, God will also bless us. Though by the world's way of looking at things we may not always win (i.e., we may lose or bad things may still happen to us), we win favor with God when we are fully obedient. Many times if we are fully obedient he will make us come up on top. The Bible way of expressing this is in Deuteronomy 28:13:

The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. (NIV)

Though this promise was given to Israel, the principle often applies to obedient Christians today.

God can use even our mistakes to help us win. Israel had made a mistake. The Gibeonites were a nation close to the Israelite camp in the land of Canaan. They feared the Israelites because they heard about their victories over Egypt and over the powerful nations of the Ammonites and Moabites on the east side of the Jordan, the miraculous crossing of the Jordan River, victories over Jericho and Ai, and the LORD's plans to wipe out all the nations in Canaan. Because of their fear they resorted to a ruse, feigning themselves to be from a distant land, seeking a peace treaty. The Israelites failed to inquire of the LORD (Joshua 9:14) and only judged by what their eyes could see. They were deceived. However, Joshua 10 well illustrates the verse, “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called by his name,” (Romans 8:28, NIV). Some good came to the Israelites despite their unwise treaty. This incident brought the five kings of the Amorite hill country together to fight against Gibeon for making peace with Israel. Israel came to her rescue and destroyed all five armies at one time. After that battle, Israel continued to completely destroy everyone in their kingdoms as the LORD instructed Joshua. Though this may sound harsh and cruel, we have to remember that these were extremely wicked nations, and the LORD had already extended his mercy to them for 800 years after Genesis 15:13-16 was prophesied. They had time to repent. All nations are accountable to our Sovereign God.

The LORD fought for Israel in three ways against the five Kings who fought them and the Gibeonites (Joshua 10:9-14). First, he threw them into confusion before Israel. Second, he hurled large hailstones on them, killing more in this manner than by the sword. Third, he delayed the descent and ascent of the sun and moon, respectively, for a whole day so that the Israelites might have more time to defeat these kings and their armies. Many theories have been proposed as to how this could have happened. The Bible seems to suggest in Joshua 10:12b-13a that God slowed the rotation of the earth so that the earth's rotation that day was forty-eight hours instead of twenty-four. If he did it this way, then he also miraculously stopped the resulting tidal waves of the sea and everything from flying around. The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament, by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p. 351 points out that the Sun and Moon were principle deities of the Canaanites. When they saw their gods subject to Israel's God they testified, “Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!” (Joshua 10:14b, NIV). God will help us win in such a way that he is glorified.

God also gave victory to Joshua in the southern and northern battle campaigns. Joshua demonstrated his complete obedience to the LORD's will in these campaigns by completely destroying these wicked, unrepentant nations (Joshua 10:28 - 11:15). Here is a principle for us: Complete victory can only be won by complete obedience.

God told Joshua to hamstring the horses of the northern territorial kings (hamstring means to cut their leg tendons to cripple them) and burn their chariots. Why? The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament, by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p.353 says God gave these instructions because the Canaanites used horses in their pagan worship, and horses and chariots were a sign of their military strength (Psalm 20:7). Again, God showed his strength over their pagan gods and military might and received the glory.

The LORD hardened the hearts of the kings of Canaan so that Joshua and his army would exterminate all of them (Joshua 11:19-20). In all, thirty-one kings and their armies were completely destroyed.

Lessons to live by:

  • God can use even our mistakes to help us win. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV) Do you know God? He can give you forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...).
  • All nations are accountable to our Sovereign God.
  • God will help us win in such a way that he is glorified.
  • Complete victory can only be won by complete obedience.

Today's Bible memory verse:

Deuteronomy 28:13:

The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. (NIV)

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