Category Archives: Joshua

Judges 16:20 – He did not know that the lord had departed from him…

“And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.” ‭‭Judges‬ ‭16:20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Samson did not realise that the LORD had departed from him. Let us ask several questions related to this matter:

Is Samson a believer, a Christian in the Old Testament?

Heb 11:32 named Samson as one of the heroes of faith. This confirms that he was a believer, an Old Testament saint. The scriptures tell us that his life does not reflect well of a believer. Yet, God used him to bless Israel. But God also heavily chastised him to bring him back to the right path. This is a key sign of a believer – he will repent of his sins because God will work is us to do so.

What does it mean that God “departed” from him?

If we believe that Samson was a believer, how could it be that the LORD departed from him? Would the Holy Spirit ever leave a believer? No! But a believer can be living in sin and grieving the Holy Spirit. In this case, his sense of the presence of God in His life can be so weak that it could feel as if God was not with Him at all. The Holy Spirit could be grieved and withhold His grace in influencing us. How sad a situation! Samson did not even realise that the LORD was not with him. May God help us that we do not decline to such a state.

How can we avoid this experience of Samson?

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” ‭‭James‬ ‭4:7-8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬.

JuJThe bible teaches us to “put off” our old ways and “put on” Godly practices. We are not to “put off” and be left with a void. We are to actively “put on” that which is good. The Apostle James teaches us to “resist and flee from the devil”. He did not stop there. He exhorted us to “draw near to God”. This is the simple prescription to avoid the sad state that Samson fell into.

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Josh 9:14 – Do you seek God’s counsel in all your decisions?

Josh 9:14 ” So the men took some of their provisions but did not ask counsel from the LORD.”

This verse gives us a solemn reminder of the consequences of taking actions without consulting God. The entire account in Joshua 9 also reminds us not to react negatively to single incidents. The story did end with Joshua 9. We need to trust God that He can work overall good out of seemingly negative incidents for us when we continue to obey Him relentlessly. And that we see in Joshua 10.

We read at the beginning of Josh 9 that a coalition of pagan nations gathered against Israel. This should have prompted Israel to be ever more diligent in prayer. But as it often happens, confidence from recent victory resulted in complacency. Josh 9:14 says that “…the men….did not ask counsel from the LORD.” The result? Israel was tricked into making a covenant with the Gibeonites. The consequences could have been very severe. V18b “..Then all the congregation murmured against the leaders.”

When we encounter similar issues in our lives, we must not be short-term minded in how we view the matter. The covenant with the Gibeonites resulted in Israel having to fight a war against a coalition of enemies that took the Gibeonites as “ransom”. But out of duty to keep their covenant, Joshua set out with the armies of Israel to defend the Gibeonites. Israel was effectively fighting a war that became theirs only because of an apparent “mistake” made earlier. But what resulted when they were faithful in keeping their covenant, was a resounding victory that effectively wiped out the enemy forces. It also resulted in an amazing miracle of the sun “standing still” so that Joshua had enough daylight to complete his mopping-up operation. All these were recorded for us in Joshua 10. We must not stop at Joshua 9.

Our God is a covenant keeping God. He promised in Gen 3:15 that the “…Seed of the woman will bruise the serpents’ head…”. Christ came and laid down His life for His people. In what appeared to be a loss for the Seed of the woman, our faithful covenant keeping God raised Jesus from the dead in a resounding victory over Satan and redeemed all His people effectually.

Joshua 23:10-11 – Be very careful to love the LORD your God…

Joshua 23:10-11 “One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the LORD your God who fights for you, just as he promised you. Be very careful, therefore, to love the LORD your God.”

How is it possible for one man to fight a thousand? How can it be that he even pursues them in flight? Unless “it is the LORD your God who fights for you…” 

And if He does that for you, it is only right that you be very careful to love the LORD your God. The logic is straightforward. No one should disagree. But as sinful people, there is that constant tendency for us to forget the LORD. Hence, the exhortation “Be very careful,…” 

Have you just experienced a victory over sin? Have you experienced success in business? Have you just done very well in your exams? Remember that these were brought to pass by our merciful God. “Be very careful, therefore, to love the LORD your God.”

Josh 24:13 – All that we have are from God….

Joshua 24:13 “I gave you a land on which you had not laboured and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.”

These words were recorded towards the end of the book of Joshua. The Israelites had conquered many different nations that dwelt in Canaan. They were now settling down, having divided the land amongst the tribes. And God reminded them through Joshua “I gave you a land on which you had not laboured and cities that you had not built…” 

This is a solemn reminder that what they now possess was not a result of their own labour. Yes, they fought the battles. But if not for the will of God that He wanted to give them that land, they would not have found success in their battles. It is therefore necessary that they realise & remember that all that they possessed came from God. And if that be the case, then they ought to be grateful to Him. They ought to continue to be faithful to the God who gave all these to them. 

The same is true for all believers in the Lord. “But by the grace of God I am what I am,…” 1 Cor 15:10. We must not for any moment think that we deserve any good from God. We are but unprofitable servants who deserve nothing but hell. Yet, He gave us Jesus to redeem and reconcile us to Himself so that we can receive the fullness of His blessings in Jesus Christ. 

Therefore, the only appropriate response from us is to give thanks and worship the God who has brought us thus far. We ought to serve Him and Him only. We ought to use what He has given to us to honour Him. 

Josh 7:12b – God does not tolerate secret sins

Josh 7:12b “I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.”

Israel just had a resounding victory over Jericho in Joshua 6. Their next objective was the city of Ai. It would have been an easy battle. Ai was a smaller city. They had a smaller army. But Israel was defeated at Ai. Why? Because there was hidden sin amongst Israel.

Achan had hidden some forbidden spoil from the battle at Jericho. Israel was explicitly commanded not to keep any of the spoil. Unfortunately, Achan was tempted. He kept some of the items which were attractive to keep as possessions. He hid them under his tent. He thought no one would find out. For some reason, he had the perception that he could hide it from God. 

Isn’t it true for many of us? We think we can hide our sins in the inner recesses of our heart; we forgot that our God is omniscient, omnipresent & omnipotent. We forgot that He sees all & knows all. 

Josh 7:12b “I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.” This was the clear direction God provided to Joshua. Sin has to be confessed & repented of, else we cannot the presence of God with us. Achan’s sin had to be dealt with & eradicated before God would bless Israel with His presence. 

What is the situation with you today? Have you confessed and repented of your sins? Are there secret sins lingering in your life? Remember what God said to Joshua “I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.” Take heed!