Your Name Means WHAT?!? (Joshua 8-10)

Sunday, September 25 – Start of Week 10

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Nikki Green

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.”

 

Nikki Green considers it a blessing to come from a family of believers.  She’s the daughter of Steve & Betsy (Mattison) Moore.  She married her HS sweetheart, Greg, and they have 3 kiddos (Justin, Natali, & Brendan).  She enjoys teaching Jr. Church, which she’s done since 1989 and loves spending time with her family.  She plays piano at Troy View, while her husband leads worship, and feels blessed to have Dan (& Rachel) Cain leading their congregation.  She loves working as camp nurse-even though most injuries seem to be the FUEL staff! 🙂 She relies on God daily and prays He will use her to further His kingdom.

 

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Jericho! (Joshua 5-7)

Saturday, September 24

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By Jill McClain

God told Joshua that the Israelites were going to use a very unusual strategy to conquer the walled city of Jericho. The Israelites marched around the city once every day, for six days.  Then on the seventh day they marched around the city seven times.  On the seventh time around the city they played their trumpets and shouted, and then miraculously the walls surrounding the city came crashing down, so the Israelite army could enter the city and destroy every living thing in the city, except for Rahab and her family. Rahab was spared because she had faithfully assisted the spies that Joshua had earlier sent to the city. God had his people conquer the city of Jericho in such a unique way, so that there would be no doubt that God had been in control and caused the victory.  Do you have a something in your life that seems too large or difficult to overcome?  Do you need to turn your issue over to the Lord and let him help you win the battle?  Listen carefully for signs from God about how you should proceed with your problem.  We read earlier in Joshua that God wants you to remain strong and courageous in your battles against the world and that he will never leave your side.  However, just like the Lord’s army had to obediently march around the city for seven days, there may be actions that the Lord requires of you before you can be victorious in your own battles.

Following the successful battle at Jericho, Joshua sent a portion of the army on to the region of Ai.  There were only a few people living in Ai, so Joshua assumed that it should be an easy victory for his army. However, the Israelites lost 36 of their soldiers in the battle and were quickly defeated and chased out of Ai. At first, Joshua was devastated by their loss and could not understand why God would allow his chosen people to face defeat. Then God revealed to Joshua that one of the Israelites, Achan, had stolen plunder from Jericho for himself, despite God’s specific commands to destroy everything in Jericho. God allowed the Israelites to be defeated at Ai because Achan had been deliberately disobedient.   Are there sins in your own life that you need to seek repentance for?  Are there areas in your life that you need to turn over to God so that you can experience all of his blessings?

 

 

(Note from GROW16BibleReading – feel like some Saturday morning cartoons – here’s a 60 second story of The Battle of Jericho from Taylormation – Enjoy!

If you were making the cartoon, what would you have included?  AND – how can you use each and every one of your talents to please God and spread His Word? )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94ltRveQVJY

 

 

 

Learning From Joshua (Joshua 1-4)

Friday, September 23

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By Jill McClain

With the death of Moses, Joshua becomes the new leader of God’s chosen people.  The book of Joshua records Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land.  God quickly reminds Joshua that it is imperative that Joshua and his people remain faithful and then they will succeed in finally entering Canaan.  “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8)  God has lovingly given us a book that contains instructions for how we are to live our lives.  However, it is up to each of us to thoroughly study his word day and night, so that we will know how to do just as it says, not veering to the right or left of what has been written.  Hopefully, these devotions have encouraged you to read your Bible daily. Meditating on the Bible is an important first step, but that must be followed up with obedience to all that is taught in God’s word.

Leading God’s people out of the desert that they had been wandering in for 40 years was a challenging assignment.  Yet, Joshua bravely and with calm determination stepped up and became the strong leader that the Israelites needed.  Joshua was able to act courageously because for years he had witnessed God’s faithfulness and he knew that God would always be with him.  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)  What is something that you are facing that requires you to be strong and courageous?

In chapter two Rahab stepped out in faith to help the spies.  Rahab had heard how God had led his people out of Egypt and through the Red Sea.  She had heard stories of God’s protection of his people, and she knew that he must be the one, true God.  Because of Rahab’s faith, God was able to use her, a prostitute from Jericho, to help keep his people safe.  Think of a way that God may be calling you to step out in faith?

In the following chapter, God caused the Jordan River to stop flowing so that his people could walk across. He used this miracle to demonstrate once again that he was with his people.  Then in chapter four the people created a memorial from stones to serve as a reminder of God’s always present help.

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The Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32-34)

Thursday, September 22

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By Jill McClain

Moses lived an incredible life, but at 120 years of age he realizes that he is about to die. He names Joshua as the next leader of the Israelites.  Then Moses teaches the people a song.  The song reminds the people of their history with God. It tells of the people’s repeated failures to follow and trust God, despite his repeated faithfulness and protection.  The song tells again of the punishment that awaits people that do not follow the commands of their Heavenly Father, but it also tells of God’s grace when his people repent and return to him.

In Deuteronomy 32:48-52, Moses is told to climb Mount Nebo where he will be able to see the Promised Land that God is giving to his chosen people.  However, God reminds Moses that he is not going to enter Canaan because of a sin that he committed earlier.  God loved Moses throughout his entire life, even in the midst of his sins.  God never left Moses side, but there were still consequences for his sin.  The same is true for us.  God has offered us grace and forgiveness when we fail and sometimes when we make poor choices we are able to avoid all possible negative effects.  However, other times, like Moses, we may have to face the negative consequences of our errors, but God still loves us and will always be with us through it all.

In chapter 33 Moses blesses each of the tribes of Israel.  Then in chapter 34 Moses climbs Mount Nebo and after seeing the Promised Land he dies.  “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt – to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land.  For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12)

 

The Choice is Yours (Deuteronomy 30 & 31)

 

Wednesday, September 21

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By Jill McClain

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”  Deuteronomy 30:19-20

We have been given a simple choice.  Do we choose blessings and life or curses and death?  There are no other alternatives.  It seems like the choice should be an easy one, set up with a clear best answer.  And yet so often we lose our way, and make the wrong choice.  We may suggest that obedience is just too hard or that we cannot know how to obey because we do not understand what is expected of us.  However, that is certainly not the case.  God’s laws are clearly given to us in the Bible.  “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach…No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” (Deuteronomy 30:11 & 14)  God does not force us to act in accordance with his commands, because he wants us to freely choose to love and obey him.  He wants us to have a relationship with him that will in turn lead to a desire to please him.  In verse 16 we are commanded to not only obey, but also to love our Heavenly Father. “For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws.” (Deuteronomy 30:6) We offer our obedience to God, as an act of love.

The choice is yours to make.  Will you choose blessings and life or curses and death? It is a choice that everyone must make for themselves.  Furthermore, it is the most important choice you will ever make, with life or death consequences.  The good news is, if you have made the wrong choice in the past, God is abounding in mercy.  It is not too late, to start over and make the correct choice. What about you?  Have you chose blessings and life or curses and death?

Consequences (Deuteronomy 28 & 29)

Tuesday, September 20

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By Jill McClain

Moses had previously told the people all of God’s directions and commands.  He gave them very detailed instructions about what type of behavior God expects.  Next Moses lays out the consequences for either following or disobeying God’s rules.  God has created all humans with a free will.  We are free to walk in his ways or to defy his directions.  However, there are definite consequences for the choices we make.  Chapter 28 first lists a series of blessings that the people will receive if they observe God’s decrees.  There are blessings for individuals and the entire nation.  Crops, livestock and children will all flourish, enemies will be defeated, and the people will be granted “abundant prosperity” (verse 11).  Conversely, there is also a list of curses that the people will face if they are disobedient.  Diseases, plagues, famine, and the loss of their land are just some of the curses listed.  Ultimately, God’s people are always free to choose if they will follow in his ways, but there will be consequences for their actions.

Forty years earlier God and his people had made a covenant.  God promised to bless the Israelites, and they in turn, vowed to love and obey God.  In Chapter 29, Moses once again urges the people to honor their commitment.  The chapter concludes with verse 29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”  There are some secrets that God has not revealed to us.  However, he has shared with us all that we need to know to have eternal life. It is up to us to diligently study the Bible and apply all we have learned to our own lives.

 

How to Please God, The Promise Keeper (Deuteronomy 24-26)

Monday, September 19

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By Jill McClain

Moses gives more instructions to the Israelites about what they should and should not do to please God in Deuteronomy 24-25. He gives some clear directives about what should be done under some specific situations.  Then in chapter 26 the people are instructed to give a special tithe to the Lord when they enter into the Promised Land.  

Following many chapters of instructions and laws, the people are explicitly reminded that they must follow all of these laws.

 “The LORD your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.  You have declared this day that the LORD is your God and that you will walk in his ways, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws, and that you will obey him.  And the LORD has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands.  He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised.”  (Deuteronomy 2:16-19)  

When God had initially led his people out of Egypt he had set up a special covenant with them.  There were vows taken by both God and his people that must be kept by both sides.  The LORD promised that if he was their God and they walked in his ways, then they would be his special people. Now in this passage the next generation of God’s chosen people were again repeating the promises of their covenant relationship before they entered the Promised Land.  Humans are extremely forgetful. By nature we often forget about the important commitments that we make to others, even important commitments to those we care deeply about.  On occasion, married couples will choose to renew their marriage vows.  The renewal of vows by a married couple do not make them “more married”, but it can serve as an important reminder of their commitment to each other.  In Deuteronomy 26 God’s chosen people are remembering the special commitment they have to God.  God is a promise keeper.  He will always be true to the promises he has made.  Are you keeping your commitments to God?  Are you following his decrees and walking in his ways?