Joshua 10: A very long day

asteroids-1017666_960_720By now the Israelites have demonstrated a pattern of military success.  Jericho and Ai were conquered.  They entered into a treaty with five Gibeonite cities.  Why was the Canaanite king Adoni Zadek so upset with the Gibeonite treaty (v2)? The security of his city was being threatened. Strategically the Israelites controlled a swath of land through the center of the Canaan, splitting the land in two .

Adoni Zadek seeks to quell his fury by attacking the Gibeonites.  He talks four other Canaanite kings into leaving their fortified cities and camp out in the open to fight against the Gibeonites (v7). Rather than let the Gibeonites pay for their earlier deception, Joshua honors the treaty and marches his troops all night over difficult terrain to engage the Canaanites in battle (v9).  The Israelites and the Gibeonites fight all five northern kings in open terrain rather than in secure fortified cities.

God is the warrior here.  He proclaims he has given the enemy into Joshua’s hands.  God throws the enemy into a panic when the battle begins and then sends great stones from heaven down upon the fleeing armies (10, 11).

The miracle of prayer – Joshua prays with great faith asking God to cause the sun and moon to stand still. It should be noted that the sun and moon were principle deities of the Canaanites and any disturbance in their orbits or times would cause fear and panic among them. God listens to Joshua’s prayer and fights for Israel.  The extended day enables the five northern kings to be completely defeated (v13, 14).

Lest we consider the account of the long day of Joshua to be a fable, one has to consider that the Inca’s, Aztec’s, Babylonian’s, Persian’s, Chinese and other ancient cultures make mention of singular long day event.  Did the earth stop spinning?  No. More likely the earth was tilted several degrees on it’s axis making one day longer than all the others.

The Israelite army marches south and six more towns (v28).  When Joshua and his army return home to Gilgal, they have effectively quelled any major threats from the surrounding countryside but they have yet to completely occupy all the land of Canaan (see Judges chapter 1).

After reading this account in Joshua chapter 10, one has to be puzzled as to why a loving God would instruct his people to kill all the Canaanites in their battles.  It’s certainly not because the Israelites were faultless or more spiritual than the Canaanites, they were far from perfect.  They did worship the living God.  When the Israelites turned their backs on Him they often paid of severe price, even.  This very land would be taken from them many centuries later.  On the other hand, the Canaanite pagan worship practices were very dark.  Their worship demeaned and degraded human life, which included child sacrifice and sexual exploitation of older children.

Today, Jesus Christ is the advocate of those who follow his teaching.  I am reminded of a saying I once heard, “God and you are always a majority” not matter what the odds are.

[For] If God is for us, who can be against us?  Romans 8:31

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The Gap is not a Theory!

51wiLF+hvNL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Occasionally I read a book to satisfy my curiosity or learn something more about a particular subject that interests me.  This is one of those great and informative reads.  The Gap is not a Theory! by Jack W. Langford seeks to tackle the issue of a possible time gap found in the opening chapter in the book of Genesis.  For the longest time I have suspected that those who claim the universe is billions of years old and those who believe the earth as we know it is only thousands of years old could both be right.  There are scientific measurements supporting both claims.

In this book the author lays out the case the heavens and earth were created (Genesis 1:1) long before the six day creation account beginning in Genesis 1:3.  The earth at some point in its past “became” formless and void (Genesis 1:2) as the result of a judgment of some kind.  It is proposed this judgment had to do with the fall of Lucifer (Satan).  I found this to be a fascinating study supported by scripture.  At times the discussion of scripture translations from the original Hebrew became laborious to read but the result was rewarding nonetheless.  Langford includes other arguments both for and against the Genesis gap.  

I came away from this read with my faith strengthened and deepened.  It is reassuring to know that the Holy Scriptures are still relevant and in harmony the discoveries of modern science.

Joshua 9: the ruse

potion-1860939_960_720Chapter nine of Joshua features the people of Gibeon.  The Israelites have miraculously crossed the Jordan River on dry land and defeated Jericho and Ai.  Word of the mighty works of God (v9) spread to the surrounding Canaanite towns.  A call went out for the Canaanites to set aside their differences and unite militarily.  The Gibeonites ignored the call, fearing they would be the next ones to be wiped out (v24).  They came up with a ruse intending to secure a peace treaty with the Israelites.  

The Gibeonites offer convincing proof that they are from a far off land showing the Israelites their moldy bread, old wine, worn out clothes as proof.  “We have traveled far,” they said.  The Israelites fell for the ruse and swore an oath.  Unknowingly they made a peace treaty with their neighbors.

God was never consulted before they swore an oath to strangers?  When the ruse was exposed, the Gibeonites were not killed but subjected to a life of servitude carrying water and cutting wood in tabernacle service.

How many of us have resorted to a ruse as a means to avoid trouble.  Ruses often become yokes, which we are forced to bear indefinitely.  What is to be gained with a lie draped around one’s neck?

“The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.”  Psalm 145:18 NLT

 

Can plants seek to grab your attention?

A few years back I planted some minature hens and chickens plants as part of a larger group of flowers intended to spruce up the walkway leading to the front door to our house.  Let’s face it, hens and chickens are unique plants…but are they really that exciting??  The flower spike rises almost 8 inches into the air.

Check this out!

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The Looming Storm

51nI4gHNrWL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Here’s another book I enjoyed reading, The Looming Storm.  It falls in the genre of Christian Thrillers.  It is coauthored by Diane and David Munson whose books are written in the style of John Grisham.  They have coauthored several other books, all of which are based on their real life experiences as U.S. government agents.  

This story features the Montanna family.  Mom is a federal ICE agent while Dad works as a press secretary for the Speaker of the House. The many seemingly unconnected events in the storyline keep expanding until they begin to overlap. It’s at that point the bad guys are identified and the action accelerates until the case gets solved.   

I enjoyed the unusual dynamic of having two spouses, each with high security clearances unable to tell the other matters of national security.  Faith and love for each family member holds them together in the midst of the storm.  Its a good summer read.

The best ground cover ever!

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Our house is situated on a small lot so we have to be creative with our gardening efforts.

I have been most impressed using strawberries as ground cover around the house.

Other plants we use for landscaping include rhubarb, asparagus, tomatoes, herbs, red raspberries and blueberries.