Scripture Focus: Joshua 10.6-10
6 The Gibeonites then sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: “Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us.”
7 So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. 8 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.”
9 After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. 10 The Lord threw them into confusion before Israel, so Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah.

Student Writers Month:
This month, The Park Forum welcomes college and seminary student writers pursuing ministry careers. For more info about our yearly Student Writer program, see our website.

Reflection: Chasing God’s Promises
By Joshua Fikkert

The book of Joshua is challenging to contemporary readers, but not always for the reasons we might expect. The deepest challenge of the book of Joshua lies not in its violence but in the question it poses for its readers: Where do you stand with God? Are you for him or against him? (Joshua 5:13-15; 24:24-15). There is no fence-sitting when it comes to the Lord (Matthew 12:30). In Joshua 10, a coalition of Canaanite kings makes it clear where they stand. They attack the neighboring Gibeonites for siding with Israel and their God (Joshua 10:1-5). Despite knowing the stories of Israel’s victories, these Canaanite kings foolishly set out against Gibeon in full-fledged defiance of God. 

Such brazen opposition to God’s reign is unthinkable for many of us. Yet far subtler forms of disobedience still tempt us to reject his rule. While we often avoid blatant sins that will broadcast the darkness of our hearts, we easily fall prey to off-camera sins like lust, greed, jealousy, bitterness, anger, envy, and the like. These secret sins readily invade our thoughts and wage silent rebellion against the Lord.

In response to the Canaanite kings’ assault on Gibeon, Israel could have allowed  Gibeon to fall and gotten even with Gibeon for tricking them into a peace treaty (Joshua 9:14-16). This certainly would have been a popular option in the Israelite camp (Joshua 9:18-26). Passively allowing Gibeon to be destroyed would have been easy to justify since Israel’s agreement didn’t say anything about protecting Gibeon from other Canaanites (Joshua 9:15). 

However, hair splitting and self-justification are not the trademarks of obedient faith. Rather, obedient faith hears the word of the Lord and acts on it (James 1:22-25). This is what Joshua does. Upon hearing the Lord’s gracious promise of victory despite Israel’s earlier failure, Joshua embarks on an uphill, all-night march, obediently chasing after the promises of God (Joshua 10:8-9). 

Yet the glory of the gospel is that, even when we do not chase after God’s promises, the promises of God chase us.  The same Lord who made the sun to stand still for Joshua (Joshua 10:13), allowed the sun to darken on Jesus (Matthew 27:45) so that we might experience the victory and the fulfillment of all God’s promises (2 Corinthians 1:20). The God of Israel has already won victory for us in the true and better Joshua, but we must put our weapons down and surrender all to him. 

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous stumble. — Psalm 55.24

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Joshua 10 (Listen – 7:23)
Psalm 142-143 (Listen – 2:44)

Read More about Readers’ Choice 2021
It is time to hear from you about the posts from the past eleven months (September 2020 – July 2021) that have challenged, comforted, and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

Read more about This Present Age—Readers’ Choice
May we be sound in our faith and in our love for others, and carry out the work of the gospel.