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2016.Jul.
31 Sun
 
Fallen Man, Faithful God
[ Joshua 9:16 - 9:27 ]
 
16. Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them.
17. So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim.
18. But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders,
19. but all the leaders answered, "We have given them our oath by the LORD, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now.
20. This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them."
21. They continued, "Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community." So the leaders' promise to them was kept.
22. Then Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said, "Why did you deceive us by saying, 'We live a long way from you,' while actually you live near us?
23. You are now under a curse: You will never cease to serve as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God."
24. They answered Joshua, "Your servants were clearly told how the LORD your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this.
25. We are now in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and right to you."
26. So Joshua saved them from the Israelites, and they did not kill them.
27. That day he made the Gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers for the community and for the altar of the LORD at the place the LORD would choose. And that is what they are to this day.
 

Reflection
Costly Promises (9:16–21)
The truth is finally revealed, and the Gibeonites ruse is exposed. Naturally, the Israelites are upset. They set out, presumably in anger, to locate the Gibeonites. But an oath made before the LORD cannot be broken. Keeping this oath proves costly for Joshua and the leaders. It arouses the anger of their people, and they must deal with the consequences of acting contrary to Gods commands and come up with a strategy for how to deal with the Gibeonites in the future. In spite of this, Joshua is determined to protect his oath before God. Rather than break it, he places the Gibeonites under a curse of servitude. Many years later, Jesus—the new Joshua—would fulfill the most costly promise of all, taking on the curse of sin and liberating mankind from death so that we might enjoy the blessings of the covenant.

Gods Sovereign Grace (9:22–27)
There is a lot that goes wrong in this story: a deceptive enemy, a foolish leader, an oath made in disobedience to God, an inter-generational curse. The people have reason to be angry. Their leaders have let them down, and they are stuck living in close quarters with an enemy nation. But over and above all of this is Gods abundant grace. Though Joshua and the Israelite leaders do suffer some consequences for their failure to consult God, they are spared the greater punishment they deserve for breaking Gods command to destroy the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites are also saved from destruction, despite their deceit. God withholds His hand of judgment, and His unmerited grace overflows.

Application
- Are you good at keeping promises? Being faithful to our word is often a costly exercise. Let Jesus example inspire you to faithfulness.

- Do you sometimes take Gods abundant generosity of undeserved grace for granted? Pray for a greater awareness of His mercy and an attitude of gratitude.

A Letter to
God
The Unreached (joshuaproject.net)
People Name: Turk
Country: Kosovo
Primary Religion: Islam

The Nations
Modern-day Turks are descendants of the Ottoman Turks who ruled over a vast empire in the thirteenth century. The majority of Turks live in Turkey, but several million also live throughout Europe and North America. Turks are predominantly Sunni Muslim, and thus, despite the availability of Christian resources in the Turkish language, this vast people group remains mostly unreached. Pray that the Gospel would break through the strongholds of Islam and bring salvation to Turks all over the world.
 
 
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