Friday, October 19, 2012

Bible Study: Be Strong and Courageous - Joshua Chapter 9

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Joshua, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, summer 2009, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Stay strong and very courageous. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 9 of the Old Testament book of Joshua. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

9:1-2 – The “ites” joined forces to make war with Israel.

9:3-6 – The Gibeonites laid an elaborate plot to trick Israel into making a treaty with them.

9:3 – The Gibeonites were afraid because they heard of what happened at Jericho and Ai.

Why do you think this made them nervous? Gibeon (aka Gibeah) was 8 miles northwest of Jerusalem, and about the same distance south of Ai.

9:7 – Why does Israel think the are talking to Hivites? Were the Gibeonites a sub-group of the Hivites? Hivites were found in Gibeon and other cities.

9:8 – “We are your servants” – false humility? Trickery? Seeking to be under Israel’s protection? This claim turns out to be prophetic!

9:9-10 – The Gibeonites knew a lot about Israel: all that the Lord did in Egypt, what happened to Sihon and Og. Can you recall these stories? Can you name all that the Lord did in Egypt? If not, look these things up. If the Gibeonites knew these things, shouldn’t we?

Notice that the Gibeonites didn’t mention what happened at Jericho and Ai. This adds authenticity to their claim that they were from a far away land since these events were fairly recent and a normal scouting party wouldn’t have gotten such information back to them, yet. Or perhaps this omission is a tell-tale sign of deception because there would have been a scouting party ahead of the main traveling group. Either way, these Gibeonites are crafty. What do you think?

9:11-13 – The Gibeonites convinced Israel that they were from far away with some old clothes, stale bread and cracked wineskins.

9:14-15 – Joshua commits a fatal mistake again (see 7:2-3) by not inquiring of the Lord before making the treaty. I wonder why he didn’t. Perhaps he thought that the Lord would initiate contact like He did in Achan’s case. But even in that instance, damage was done prior to Israel getting right with God.

Do you inquire of Him so you don’t end up suffering unwanted consequences? Do you wait on His answer before proceeding? I still struggle with putting both of these into practice.

9:16 – Three days after the treaty was made, Israel heard that the Gibeonites were their neighbors.

9:17-18 – When Israel came upon the Gibeonite cities, they didn’t attack because of the treaty. This made the people grumble against the leaders. Grumbling is bad even if there are squatters on your land and you are powerless to remove them because of a promise.

9:19-21 – The leaders kept their promise not to kill the Gibeonites, but put them to work as water carriers and wood cutters.

This may seem harmless and even a bit beneficial for Israel, but what negative affects can you see besides losing some land and mingling with one of the “ites”?

9:22-27 – When Joshua confronted the Gibeonites about the deception, they explained that they were clearly told about how the Lord commanded Moses to give this land to Israel and wipe out the inhabitants. They deceived Israel to save their lives and were willing to accept the “curse” of servitude. Look back at 9:3. When the Gibeonites heard that Israel had conquered Jericho and Ai, do you think they saw the Lord moving against them and getting closer?

• The book of Joshua teaches us many things including the fact that we must pursue a relationship with the Lord for ourselves rather than leaning on others’ relationships with Him. Joshua followed Moses as leader of Israel, after all. What have you learned and applied to your life from today’s reading that will help you persevere in your relationship with Christ?
• How do you observe God proving to Israel that He is with Joshua as He was with Moses in today’s text? How does it apply to your own life and relationship with Him?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

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