Sunday, September 25 – Start of Week 10
Do you like your name? Any clue what it means? Working as a labor & delivery nurse opened my eyes to many interesting names. Here are a few that stand out over 20 years: “7” (yes, the number), Anakin Skywalker, Luke Sky Welker, Kal-el Krypton, Beau Ty, A-a (pronounced A-dash-a), Sonny Boy, Sunshine, Tequila, Serenity Bliss (also the name of an incontinence product), Yaz (after the birth control pill that failed), and Benjamin James, The Sequel (not “Jr.” or “II”). Some of these parents created names, hoping to lead them into a specific character or vocation. Some were placing blame. 7’s mom was hoping for a rock star, she said.
Hebrew names given to people & places were more than just labels. Joshua was renamed by Moses (Numbers 13:16), anticipating his later life mission. “The LORD Saves” was a great name, and great reminder that Joshua would be completing the mission of redemption that the LORD started with Moses. As we read Joshua 8 we get a glimpse at God’s specific, military direction, and how much better life plays out when everyone follows God’s game plan, not their own. We get to read the excitement that goes with hiding, ambush, and claiming their promised land. We also see how God blesses his army with wealth by giving permission, this time, to carry off the plunder and livestock they find.
In Exodus 23:32 the Israelites had been forewarned not to form any alliance with local people. Joshua had been working hard at living out the destiny Moses prepared him for. He was a problem solver, military leader, and spiritual mentor. As we all do, he made a mistake. When a group of people approached him requesting a treaty, he did not inquire of the LORD. They showed up carrying mended wineskins and moldy bread, dressed in worn out clothes and patched sandals. It appeared they had traveled quite a distance and were not a “local people,” but it was all a scam. They were “local people,” only five or six miles away. Joshua formed a treaty with these deceptive Gibeonites. Once he realized the sham, he reduced them to being woodcutters and water carriers. This reminds me that I intentionally need to consult God, not just think “this seems okay, everything looks good”. We read that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). The meaning of his evil name is “adversary/one who resists”.
As Joshua continues his calling, he follows what is asked of him by God’s people (and those he’s become responsible for). Conflict and conquest seem to become a theme for our brave leader. Chapter 10 describes one of my favorite military strategies. Who hasn’t ever wished for more time in their day? Joshua, with complete confidence, knows what will help his men and boldly asks the LORD to have the sun stand still. The sun stopped and delayed going down about a full day. Joshua had an all-night march with his men and then took them by surprise. The LORD threw them into confusion, fought with them by hurling large hailstones from the sky, and gave His people a great victory.
What a blessing to watch someone fulfill their God given purpose. Joshua’s parents spoke life over him with his birth name, Hoshea. This name meant Salvation. Starting with a foundation of “Salvation” and exchanging that name (and need) with “The LORD Saves” (the answer), became a great foreshadowing for his life. How does your name suit you? Regardless of the interesting names we were all given at birth, Oh how sweet to know God wants to bless us (like his army), and will call us by name! Isaiah 45:3 says, “I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.”