Spiritual Rants: April 14 “And Don’t Call Me ‘Sunny’!” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Joshua 9:3-10:43 Luke 16:19-17:10 Psalm 83:1-18 Proverbs 13:4

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Old Testament:  Joshua 9:3-10:43

The world, the flesh, and the devil are the enemies of the Jews, hopefully none you will choose.

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Joshua 9:3-10:43    Posers

Joshua has already  conquered Jericho and Ai.  Jericho stands for the world, Ai for the flesh.  The Gibeonites stand for the devil.  The world, the flesh, and the devil are the three enemies of the Christian.

Joshua used faith to conquer the world and the flesh.  More accurately, his faith unleashed the power of God against these two enemies.  He was defeated by Ai at first because he didn’t consult God.  Then there was trouble.  Guess what?  He does the same thing with the Gibeonites and has the same result.

He allows himself to be bamboozled by the Gibeonites.  They knew they couldn’t defeat the Israelites so they bluffed.  They posed as foreigners from a far-away place (v. 6).  They came with “worn-out” sacks, wineskins, clothes, and sandals.  Their bread was dry and moldy.

Joshua had a hunch but didn’t follow up on it properly.  “Perhaps you are living within our land . . .” (v. 7).  They lied to Joshua and he accepted the lie.  He made a covenant with them but only allowed them to provide fuel (wood and water) for the temple.  Three days later (v. 16) Joshua realized he had been duped.  The people wanted to off them all but the leaders wouldn’t allow it since they had made a pact with them.  When Joshua questioned the Gibeonites, they said they lied to save their lives.  So Joshua let them live but only as wood and water butlers.

This is how Satan works in the lives of believers.  He has no power over them because the Lord has conquered Satan (cf. Col. 2:15, “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him”).  Since Satan has already lost his power, his only recourse is to bluff.  Christians in the NT are repeatedly commanded to “stand” against the “wiles” of the devil (cf. Eph. 6:11, 13-14; 1 Pet. 5:9; James 4:7 Note:  “resist” = stand).  We are told to stand because the devil will retreat when we stand.  Joshua had been commanded to stand against the people in the land and annihilate them.  He did not and as a result the enemy infiltrated them.  The devil, through the Gibeonites, had fooled him.

Joshua 10:1-15  And Don’t Call Me “Sunny”!

When the king of Jerusalem had heard that the Gibeonites had made a treaty with Israel, his eyes bugged out further than Marty Feldman’s (cf. Marty Feldman).  Adoni-zedek, the king of Jerusalem, summoned the other four kings of the Amorites ( from Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon) to attack Gibeon.  The Gibeonites sent this word to Joshua, “HELPPPPP!”

Yahweh told Joshua to go ahead and attack the five kings.  The Amorites had had 420 years to turn to Yahweh but didn’t.  If Rahab knew what she should do, the word also had spread into the rest of Canaan.  McGee says, “Israel had to stay out of the land 420 years until the inquiry of the Amorites was full. That time had now come.”

Joshua marched all night and surprised the kings.  “The Lord confounded them” (v. 10). Yahweh tossed large hailstones on them while they were fleeing.  This was when there was no hail insurance!  More of the enemy was killed by hail than by the Israelite swords! (v. 11).  You’ve heard of “smart bombs.”  This must’ve been “smart hail.”  The hail knew which soldiers to off and which to leave alive!  Think of that next time you wonder if God is in control of your life or not!

Joshua didn’t have enough time to destroy them all so He asked for an extension.  The Lord granted an extension.  (It’s interesting that I’m writing this on April 14!)   Joshua asked for the sun to stand still.  Scripture says it stopped right in the “middle of the sky,” that is, at noon.  It got hung up there for 24 hours!  I guess when Jesus said we could ask and have mountains fall into the sea, He wasn’t kidding!  (Matt. 21: 21, 23).  Of course, it has to be a request that is in God’s will, as Joshua’s was (1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him”).

A lot of people have speculated on how the sun could have “stood still” for a day.  Here’s how:  It was a miracle.

Joshua 10:16-28  The Hole-y Kings

Remember when Saddam Hussein was found hiding in a hole?  Someone asked me back then why we hadn’t also found Osama Bin Laden.  I said he was probably also hiding in a hole somewhere.  Of course, I was wrong.  He was hiding in a compound.  Oh, well.  I was close.

The “Five Kings of Orient Aren’t” hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah.  This is not to be confused with Marrakesh where there is an express.  There was not a way in or out of this cave, the same as OBL’s compound.  They were stuck.  Joshua’s soldiers were now freed up to pursue the rest of the armies and slay them.  When they came back to the cave, they let the kings out and strung them up.  Again, they took them down at sunset according to the law (cf. Deut. 21:23; Gal. 3: 13).  The hanging was to make an example of them.  They had also put their feet  on the king’s necks to encourage the people.  Their dead bodies were thrown back into the cave and sealed off for a remembrance (Ps. 77:11; 143:5).

Joshua obeyed the Lord.  There were no survivors.

Joshua 10:29-43  Debir or credit?

Joshua moved on from Makkedah to Libnah and Lachish.  They obliterated everyone there, too.  The old Gezers and their king came to help Lachish and they also got offed (v. 33).  Then he crushed Eglon’s best (get it Eglon’s best?).  Debir or credit?  The answer was Debir (v. 38).  They got paid off.

Joshua cleaned things up from Kadesh-barnea all the way to Gaza.  Yahweh was fighting with Joshua.  They rested at Gilgal.

New Testament:  Luke 16:19-17:10

A poor man, one rich and their end, which one would you suppose would ascend?

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Luke 16:19-31  A Dandy And The Destitute

Jesus tells the story of a dapper man and a poor man.  This appears to be a true story.  There are no disclaimers that it is a parable.

The rich man dressed nicely and lived in a mansion.  A poor man who could only shop at Lazarus slept at his gate every night.  Wait, no, his name was Lazarus.  The guy was kind of gross.  He had sores all over his body that the dogs would lick and crumby meals from the rich guy’s garbage.  It’s no wonder the poor man gave up the ghost.  The rich man also croaked.  The rich guy could see Lazarus off in the distance.  In the OT everyone went into a holding tank called Hades.  Hell hadn’t been created yet and was supposed to only be for the devil and his angels (cf. Matt. 25:41, “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;” Rev. 20:10, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever”).  There was a “chasm” between the two of them.  Word has it that Jesus freed those who were on the good side of Hades so they could be in Paradise (generally assumed from Eph. 4:8-10).  Later, all of the unbelieving dead will be coughed up to be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment (cf. Rev. 20:11-15).  Then Hades will be empty.

The unnamed rich man who had so much in this world had no clout in the nether regions.  He asked Abraham to warn his five brothers.  He also asked him for just a drop of water to parch his thirst.  Both requests were denied (v. 24, 28).  Abraham told the rich guy he had had his chances.  Now it was Lazarus’ turn to enjoy comfort.  As for the rich guy’s brothers, Abraham said they could read their Old Testaments, Moses and the Prophets.  That would be enough of a witness to them.  The rich guy pleaded that someone coming back from the dead might be a better witness to them.  Was he volunteering himself?  Abraham said even someone coming back from the dead wouldn’t be any more of a witness than a Bible from the local Barnes and Noble.  In fact, a guy named Lazarus did come back from the dead.  His welcome back present?  They tried to delete him (cf. John 11).  Not a lot of people listen to another fella who came back from the dead:  Jesus.  There are no second chances.  Everyone has one probation period called life and only one lifetime to respond to Christ.  That’s it!

Luke 17:1-9  The Happy Roofers

Jesus taught his disciples in preparation for his vanish-ment.  He said it’d be better for someone to be fitted with cement overshoes than to cause a child to be misled about Heaven.

He said that if someone repented of his sins he should be forgiven.  If not, he should be rebuked.  The limit on sin was seven a day.  But I think he was using a figure of speech meaning like “infinity plus one.”

The disciples asked Jesus to put their faith on steroids.  But Jesus told them if they had faith the size of one of those little grains of mustard they sell from the Holy Land, they’d be fine.  They’d have enough faith to uproot mulberry trees and have them thrown into the sea.  Don’t tell any landscapers!

When the roofers (slaves, servants, workers, Greek= doulos) are done with your roof, you don’t usually invite them in to eat as a reward.  It’s just what’s expected of them.   Jesus said we were like the roofers, we should just do what He wants us to and be happy. 

Psalm 83:1-18    A Lament By Asaph

The psalmist asks God that their enemies be wiped out, he voiced his complaint without doubt.

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Psalm 83:1-18    Asaph, Circa 2016

This is an interesting psalm.  It is the last one written by Asaph (cf. 50, 73-83) but has no historical correspondence except, perhaps, for the attack of Judah by a confederation of Arab nations circa 896 (cf. 2 Chron. 20:1-19) during the reign of Jehoshaphat.  It’s as if this psalm was written in 2016 (cf. v. 4).  Nations have been trying to wipe out Israel for ages.

I don’t understand why these psalmists don’t believe that God hears them (v. 1).  Wait, yes, I do. They are being intense and earnest.  Asaph asks God once again to hear him and to act.  This is another imprecatory psalm.  The psalmist is asking God to hurt his enemies which are also His enemies (v. 2).  They are disrespecting God and that irritates Asaph. It irritates me, too, doesn’t it you?   I have to remind myself that they are ignorant.  Hey, Asaph does the same thing.

God’s enemies think they are smart and shrewd, they think they can outmaneuver God if they band together in conspiracies (vv. 5).  That’s been going on since the Tower of Babel (cf. Gen. 11:9).

The nations listed in verses 6-8 represent a circle drawn around Israel.  This is the current scenario.  Israel is surrounded and even their most ardent supporters in the West seem to have deserted them.  This is an end-times scenario.  It’s as if Asaph just wrote this and the ink is still drying on his parchment.

Asaph cites some incidents out of Israel’s history illustrating God’s harsh judgment of His enemies (vv. 9-12).  Ouch.  Sisera, Jabin’s commander, ended up with such a headache (cf. Judg. 4, see I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!).  Oreo and Zeeb were commanders of the Midianite army (v.11a).  Zebah and Zalmunna were Midianite kings (v. 11b, cf. Judg. 7:25-8:21).   They all believed in su pastura, mi pastura.  But God proved otherwise.

Asaph asks God to make His enemies like a dust storm and a forest fire (vv. 13-14).  He asks that God hit them with a tornado (v. 15).  He asks that they be humiliated and dishonored (vv. 16-17).

You would think God’s provision and love would be enough to draw men to Himself (cf. Matt. 5:45; 6:25-33).  Unfortunately, it is His wrath and pain that usually awakens men to their need of Him (v. 18).  But sometimes even that doesn’t move them.  It is simply amazing that at the end and in the midst of the destruction of the world, men will actually shake their fists at God (cf. Rev. 9:20-21).

Proverbs 13:4   Starving Spiritually

Laze around spending every penny, you’ll miss out on having plenty.

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If anyone thinks that any political party is going to bring Utopia to earth, they are sadly mistaken.  Political parties are filled with sinful human beings.  Probably more so now that the church is so run down.  We won’t have Utopia until Jesus comes back (unless you are referring to Todd Rundgren’s rock group).

There are those who need help from somewhere and sometimes the state provides that.  In a system like that, you are going to have people who cheat and take advantage.  That won’t happen when Jesus rules but it will happen until then.

So for the time being, there will be those who are lazy and want things and actually get things because they are dishonest.  I know that runs contrary to verse 4, but verse 4 was written before Franklin Delano Roosevelt and welfare.

The rule in the early church was, ” . . . if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either” 2 Thess. 3:10).

The government should be providing an environment where people can work hard and prosper (v. 4b).  But we don’t have that exactly now, either.

The church should be providing help in the name of the Lord to those who need it and some are.  Some aren’t.  What a shame.  Lost opportunities to promote the Lord.

Choose Life: Scripture:   Luke 17:3   NASB    “A Foregone Conclusion”

“Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.”   Luke 17:3

Years ago I read an expositor who put the emphasis in this verse on “if he repents.”  The idea was that if someone didn’t repent, we shouldn’t forgive the offender.  But the emphasis of this portion of Scripture is on forgiveness.  Jesus is telling us to emphasize forgiveness, not repentance.  In fact, the very next verse says that we are to forgive up to seven times a day (the religious leaders taught someone should be forgiven up to three times but notice in Mt. 18:22, Jesus commands the disciples to forgive up to seventy times seven times).  The disciples’ response is “Increase our faith” (v. 5).  They were shocked that Jesus would command that they should exhibit such absolution.

We should stand with open arms towards those who forgive us.  Our attitude should not be one of having the other person “toe the line.”

This does not mean that we should not expect the sinning person to change.  The sinner is to change his perspective and get in line with God.  Repentance literally is a “change of mind.”

Is there anyone that God would have you forgive today?

If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:   

The Holy Spirit came to convict us of sin (John 16:8).  If there is someone that God wants you to forgive, the Holy Spirit will let you know.  Is there someone?  Deal with it today (cf. Matt. 5:23-24).

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   Don’t Call Me Sunny

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