Tag Archives: Joshua

Numbers 13: A bad report, a promise delayed

Here again we have a list of names, one man from each tribe (except Levi) who Moses appointed as spies to check out the land of Canaan. These men are not the same men as those appointed as leaders and elders of Israel in prior chapters. God appointed those men. 

Be careful about saying that Moses did a lousy job at choosing the spies. This is an object lesson in this chapter on what happens to a nation when the leadership are called by God to move and they do not move. When we refuse to move when God tells us to move, we can block God’s blessing. When we do not do what God wants us to go, God’s blessing won’t flow to us. 

They were sent to spy out the land for 40 days. These men are recorded for a reason. 

What and who was God testing with this spy mission? The one trait that most of these spies lacked was courage. 

Some of the names have obvious and easily ascertained meanings, others are “unknown.” Here are the spies (tribe: spy, family):

  • Reuben: Shammua (renowned, be desolate, to be stunned, appalled or angry) the son of Zaccur (memory, mindful)
  • Simeon: Shaphat (he has been judged, to perish, to enter into controversy, execution of judgement) the son of Hori (cave dweller, dwelling in a dark place)
  • Judah: Caleb (a dog that attacks, to come with force) the son of Jephunneh (“God is turned”, prepare, reconcile) 
  • Issachar: Igal (“He redeems”, redeemer) the son of Joseph (God adds, increase)
  • Ephraim: Hoshea* (deliverer) the son of Nun (offspring, prosperity)
  • Benjamin: Palti (“my deliverance”) the son of Raphu (remedy, healer, medicine)
  • Zebulun: Gaddiel (“El is my fortune”) the son of Sodi (“intimate with Yah”)
  • Joseph: from the tribe of Manasseh: Gaddi (substance,existence) the son of Susi (to come to an end, perish, die in epidemic);
  • Dan: Ammiel (my kinsman is God) the son of Gemalli (become abundant)
  • Asher: Sethur (the hidden things, to shelter) the son of Michael (Who is like God?)
  • Naphtali: Nahbi (faint-hearted) the son of Vophsi (meaning unk)
  • Gad: Geuel (the majesty of God) the son of Machi (someone who sells himself for wages).

*Moses later changed his name to יְהוֹשֻׁעַ Yehoshua/Yahushua/Yahshua (Joshua), which means salvation or deliverance.

Joshua is not known for saving people but for being a fierce leader who executed people. He was not a “push-over.” He was as feared and revered as Moses. His job was to deliver them into the Promised Land. 

Why did Moses change Hoshea’s name? It’s because the name Joshua makes it clear that God is salvation, God is the deliverer. 

Is God’s only goal to deliver you out of sin? No, God also wants to deliver you into life. God wants to deliver us from sin and move us into a better place. God delivered them from death and God was wanting to take them into life to thrive. 

God was delivering them into a land they were supposed to conquer but they were too scared to do the job. 

Except for Caleb and Joshua, these men died in the wilderness, they did not live up to their names. They didn’t trust or believe God.

The fact that there isn’t much of a pattern to the names in this list showed me that if you don’t live up to your name, then your name is not relevant, it has no meaning. 

Moses gave the spies a certain charge: 

“When Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, he said to them, “Go up there into the Negev; then go up into the hill country. “See what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many. “How is the land in which they live, is it good or bad? And how are the cities in which they live, are they like open camps or with fortifications? “How is the land, is it fat or lean? Are there trees in it or not? Make an effort then to get some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes.” (Numbers 13:17–20 NASB)

The spies obeyed the letter of Moses’ decree. They traveled across the land and learned about the inhabitants of the land, the layout of the cities and brought back fruit from the land. 

They were afraid of the giants. There are times when we have to face our own giants and we have to make a decision that is not pleasant and face them head-on. The 10 spies to spread the report did not want to fight the giants. They challenged God’s wisdom. God knew what He was doing to give them that land and they doubted God’s provision. 

The Canaanites were a very wicked people, whose cultural and religious practices were abhorrent to God but they were more scared of the “giants” than they were of God. They considered God untrustworthy.

We all have a fear of those who are bigger or more powerful than we are. It’s easier to judge them than to put ourselves in their shoes. It’s easier to dismiss them as “cowards.” 

Instead of facing what we fear, we want to cower and back away, but you will lose if you don’t walk forward when God tells you to walk. 

When you walk where God wants you to walk, you might lose your job, your friends, even your family yet you have to make the unpleasant decision sometimes. 

Yeshua also verbally attacked His opponents when they were interpreting the bible in such a way as to oppress others. He also defended the defenseless against those who were oppressed. Yeshua’s only job is not to deliver us from sin, He is also going to bring us to the Kingdom of God.

King and Kings and Lord of Lords are two functions: one to save and one to deliver. Save from sin and deliver to the promised land. 

The first thing the Son of God had to do for us was to deliver us out of the hands of the liar, the destroyer. 

The land that God was going to give them was a land of abundance. The blessings were shown to them to show us that He can give His people food, prosperity, wealth, blessing which they did not sow or reap. It was already done for them, all they had to do was walk in and take it, but they would have to work for it to appreciate it. 

We did not sow or reap our lives. God does that. We did not chose to be born, we can not choose when we die. It is God who sows and it will be God who will resurrect and reap us in His time. 

When the Israelites doubted God’s word, He took the blessing away from the majority of that generation of forever. They never entered into the Promise. But for Caleb and Joshua, the promise was delayed to them for 40 years. Joshua and Caleb paid a price for the cowardice and unbelief of their peers. 

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.

Journey to the 10 — Israel thirsts, discovers bitterness within

We are continuing our “Journey to the 10 (commandments)” as our ancestors of old went the first time. We see God’s “high hand” redeem our ancestors from the Egyptians once and for all. Then they continue for three more days until they reached Marah on the 24th of Aviv.

Continue reading Journey to the 10 — Israel thirsts, discovers bitterness within

Joshua 23-24

Reader: Jeff
Teacher: Daniel Agee

Thought questions

  • Which part of the Book of the Law (Genesis–Deuteronomy) did Yehoshua (Joshua) contribute to?
    • How do we know?
  • What is meant by Yehoshua’s rock bearing witness?
    • How is this related to Abel’s blood crying out from the ground?
    • What does this say about the importance of history in faith?
  • What have they people seen in the several years since Israel moved from the wilderness east of the Yarden (Jordan) River in the Promised Land west of the river?
    • Which key figures were continually presente when all these miracles were happening?
    • What two situations weren’t Moshe (Moses) and Yehoshua involved with?
    • What then is Yehoshua’s dilemma when he faces his death? (See Deut. 23:3.)
    • Who will the people look to for guidance?
    • What then is the object of Yehoshua’s speech in Josh. 23-24?
    • Why did he point out certain details?
  • How long did Moshe and Yehoshua live?
    • Didn’t God promise to bless Yehoshua as much as Moshe?
    • Did that mean Yehoshua wasn’t as good enough in doing his mission?
  • Why wasn’t Yehoshua to live as long as Moshe, according to Deut. 18:18?
    • Who is referred to in that prophecy?
  • Was Yehoshua supposed to have all Moshe’s blessings?
    • Does that indeed mean Yehoshua wasn’t good enough?
  • What were the shortcomings for each tribe in fulfilling their duties in conquering their territories (Deut. 23:5-10)?
  • What were Yehoshua’s three tasks mentioned in Josh. 1?
    • Be strong and courageous.
    • Love God.
    • Don’t waver.
  • Did he fulfill them?
  • What does "cling" mean in relation to the people’s relationship with God? (See Deut. 23:8.)
    • What were the shortcomings later for the tribes of the northern Kingdom of Israel in this relationship?
    • What were two consequences of "clinging" to other nations and their gods? (See Deut. 23:11-16.)
      • Was the deal a no-winner for Israel?
      • When was Israel’s "point of no return" in deal-making with God?
  • Did Yehoshua assemble Israel in Shechem or Shioh? (Compare Josh. 24:1 with Josh. 22:12.)
  • What is the history of Shechem?
    • What does the Hebrew name mean?
      • What Bible concept is connected to that city?
    • What did Abram do there when he arrived from Mesopotamia? (See Gen. 12:6-7.)
      • What was the element of his past?
    • What did Jacob do there on his return? What did he bury? (See Gen. 35:1-5.)
    • What happened to Yosef (Joseph) there? (See Gen. 37:13.)
      • How was Yosef associated with idols with his dreams and life in Egypt?
      • What did Yehoshua tell the people to do with Yosef’s bones and the people’s idols? (See Josh. 24:32.)
    • Where did the Samaritans do in Shechem 1,300 years later? (See Jer. 41.)
      • Were they exclusive in their devotion to the LORD?
      • What did they build there in addition to the one built in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem)?
    • What two significant mountains of worship were on either side of Shechem?
    • What did the kings later do there related to idols?
    • What was Shechem’s father’s name?
      • What does Hamor mean?
      • What does the donkey represent in the Bible?
    • What was Shechem used for in its whole history as a place of worship?
      • What was so unique about its location?
    • How many times did Moshe and Yehoshua reaffirm God’s covenant with Israel?
    • How does choice at Shechem to leave behind their idols relate to Messiah’s warning to "count the cost" of following Him?
  • Why doesn’t Yehoshua bring up the rebellions and failings of the people in his final speech?
    • How does that speak to God’s forgive-and-forget approach?
  • What was Yehoshua’s response to the people’s agreement to follow God because of the blessings they’ve received? (See Josh. 24:15.)
    • Didn’t the people of Israel earlier agree to put away their idols?
    • How soon after Yehoshua’s death did the people go after idols?

Lessons from the book of Joshua

  • Josh. 8: Achan sins at Yerikho and many in the army dies at Ai. The deal was to follow God. The sin of the few can affect many.
  • Josh. 9: On the mountains of Ebal and Gerazim the choice is, Who will you serve?
  • Josh. 10: Gibeonites make a deal. What didn’t Yehoshua do before making the deal?
  • Josh. 11: The sun stands still so Yehoshua can complete the fight. A miracle for an individual can affect people around you and perhaps the world.
  • Josh. 12: A seemingly boring list of names contains a prophecy of Messiah. Lists in the Bible are there for a purpose.
  • Josh. 13: The northern tribes encounter troubles. Pray that God will expose enemies so they will be cut down.
  • Josh. 14: Caleb lives large. He took Hebron, which was occupied by giants. With God on your side, you can do anything.
  • Josh. 15: The Promised Land is distributed. The tribes fell as a nation because they did not conquer all cities and chose slaves and money over hard work.
  • Josh. 16-17: Shiloh is established. Simeon and Levi are divided among the tribes to fulfill prophecy of Gen. 48.
  • Josh. 18-19: Once the territories are established, justice is established.
  • Josh. 20: Cities of refuge were set up so there would be no personal vengeance.
  • Josh. 21: Reuben and Gad set up a replica altar east of the Yarden River of the one in the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They show that though separated by the river they are connected to the people of Israel and their mission.

Joshua 22

Reader: Jeff.
Teacher: Daniel Agee.

Thought Questions

  • Was the altar the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manesseh erected ever used?
    • Why did they build it?
    • Why were they concerned about being left out of the people of Israel?
  • Where these tribes "selfish" by wanting the land east of the Jordan? (Josh. 22:2)
    • How long were these 2.5 tribes gone?
    • How many of the fighting men were sent to fight for the other tribes?
    • What instructions did Yehoshua give to Reuben, Gad and half-tribe of Manesseh before discharging them from the army? (Josh. 22:5)
    • Did they get rest?
  • How well did Yehoshua fulfill his instructions from Deut. 10 in obeying the Law?
    • Where did Reuben, Gad and half-tribe build their "replica" altar according to Joshua 22:11?
    • Why did it bother the other 9.5 tribes?
    • What did High Priest Phineas think would happen because of the altar?
    • How does uncleaness factor into this worry? (Josh.22:19)
  • Which side of the Yarden River was blessed by God?
    • Did the other tribes have altars in their territories?
    • If so, what was so offensive about the one on the East side of the Yarden?
  • What example did Yehoshua give the 2 1/2 tribes about how to commemorate important places and events?
  • What happened with Aachan at Ba’al Peor (Numb. 25:1-9)?
    • How did the punishment of the many for hte foibles of the few affect Phineas?
    • What did he mean by saying that the sin of Peor not being cleansed yet?
    • Didn’t Phineas stop the plague, bringing atonement?
    • What more cleansing was needed? (see. Lev. 16)
    • Why did Phineas go to meet the 2.5 tribes instead of Yehoshua?
  • What lessons have been learned in the book of Yehoshua?
    1. Yehoshua was strong and courageous in conquering and dividing the land and in following Torah.
    2. Rahab’s faith in a foreign God saved herself and her family. Our faith in spite of being "unclean."
    3. Circumcision personally marks God on our lives as permanently belonging to God.
    4. The conquest of Yerikho (Jericho) taught that God fights for you in seemingly overwhelming odds if we obey Him. If God does your fighting in your spiritual life, it’s no longer your fight. God will fight our first battle, then He expects us to pick up the "sword" He gives us.
    5. The Commander of the LORD’s Army emphasized that the Promised Land was the LORD’s not ours. God brings us to where we are today, so we aren’t ours. Permission to accept worship and talk to Him.