Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 27, 2015

“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace”

Today’s devotion comes from Joshua Chapter 11 which covers Israel’s conquest of northern Palestine through the LORD’s deliverance.

Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua%2011&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“1 Then it came about, when Jabin king of Hazor heard of it, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon and to the king of Shimron and to the king of Achshaph, 2 and to the kings who were of the north in the hill country, and in the Arabah—south of Chinneroth and in the lowland and on the heights of Dor on the west— 3 to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Jebusite in the hill country, and the Hivite at the foot of Hermon in the land of Mizpeh.  4 They came out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots.  5 So all of these kings having agreed to meet, came and encamped together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.

6 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow at this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel; you shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.”  7 So Joshua and all the people of war with him came upon them suddenly by the waters of Merom, and attacked them.  8 The Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, so that they defeated them, and pursued them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim and the valley of Mizpeh to the east;  and they struck them until no survivor was left to them.  9 Joshua did to them as the Lord had told him; he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire.

16 Thus Joshua took all that land:  the hill country and all the Negev, all that land of Goshen, the lowland, the Arabah, the hill country of Israel and its lowland 17 from Mount Halak, that rises toward Seir, even as far as Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon at the foot of Mount Hermon.  And he captured all their kings and struck them down and put them to death.  18 Joshua waged war a long time with all these kings.  19 There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon;  they took them all in battle. 20 For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.”  Joshua Chapter 11:  Verses 1-9 and 16-20.

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Nothing escapes the LORD’s attention and sovereign plan.

We read in today’s Scripture that He even hardened the hearts of Israel’s enemies so that they would meet Israel in battle in order that He might utterly destroy them.  This should cause readers to question alleged free-will which is part of so many doctrines, but which is refuted by Reformed Doctrine!

And, even though Israel was foolish in not seeking the counsel of the LORD in how to deal with the Gibeonites as we read in Joshua 9:14, and we may think destruction of everyone except the Gibeonites was good enough, we know that even the covenant and peace with the Gibeonites was part of the LORD’s sovereign plan.

We came to understand at least one of the reasons when we read Joshua Chapter 10 in which we saw how the presence of the Gideonites (and Israel’s covenant with them) drew Israel into war with the five kings of the Amorites and how the LORD used it to give victory to Israel over the five kings of the Amorites.

But, I think today’s Scripture may give us another reason why the LORD allowed the Gibeonites to survive.  By the use of the phrase “that they might receive no mercy” in verse 20, our attention is drawn to the contrasting fact that the Gibeonites did receive mercy.

Maybe, one of the reasons why the Gibeonites did receive mercy is that it would give Gentiles hope that maybe the LORD would also show mercy to them.

“Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.  And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near;  for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”  Ephesians 2:11-20.


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