Bible Readings for July 8th
In Joshua 9, Israel fails to ask God before entering into a covenant with the Gibeonites. This is a serious breach in their obedience to Yahweh’s commandments, and in today’s reading, we find that Israel’s actions bring severe consequences—but that Yahweh nevertheless redeems Israel’s sin for his own glory.
In the geopolitical landscape of Joshua’s day, Israel does not yet possess the city of Jerusalem. In fact, Adoni-zedek, the king of Jerusalem, identifies Israel as his enemy. When Adoni-zedek discovers that the mighty city of Gibeon had made a covenant with Israel, he fears that his options are running out to protect himself from the Israelites and their God, Yahweh (Josh. 10:1–2).
So, Adoni-zedek forms an alliance with the other major kings of southern Canaan, and those five kings gather their armies together against Gibeon (Josh. 10:3–5). Gibeon immediately sends to Israel, pleading for their assistance in the battle. Now, this was a conflict that Israel had no business involving themselves in, except for the fact that they had sworn a covenant with Gibeon. So, to honor their agreement, Israel marches up against the five Amorite kings through the night (Josh. 10:9).
Through their entire march, Israel had to be wondering whether Yahweh would fight for them when they arrived. They were fulfilling obligations from a sinful, foolish mistake they had made, so would Yahweh protect them? Or would he turn them over to their own strength such that they would have to fight the armies of five kings after a sleepless night of marching?
Mercifully, Yahweh does fight for his people. Yahweh throws the armies of the Amorite kings into a panic, and he sends large hailstones from heaven, killing more of Israel’s enemies than Israel killed with the sword (Josh. 10:10–11). Finally, when the sun starts to set, which would have allowed some of the Amorites to escape, Yahweh keeps the sun up for an entire additional day (Josh. 10:12–14).
But something else comes out of this—since the five largest armies of southern Canaan were destroyed all at once in this single battle, the rest of southern Canaan was wide open for Israel to conquer. So, in Joshua 10:29–43, we read that the Israelites destroyed each defenseless city whose armies had just been defeated: Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, along with a couple other, smaller cities like Gezer and Debir (Josh. 10:29–43).
Yahweh, in other words, used Israel’s sin to expedite the conquering of the Promised Land by defeating all those armies at once because Yahweh is able to use even our sin for his own glory. Obedience is always better, but our God is powerful enough to use our shame and our scars for building the kingdom of Jesus Christ on this earth.
How have you seen God using your sinful past for his own glory?
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.