AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH     

 

LIVING BY COVENANTAL FAITH  3

A CONTINUATION OF THE THRUST AND BASE OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
OF AUSTRALIA ON BIBLICAL LINES
 Ö SERMON NOTES Joshua 9-10
 Ö July 23, 2006 

 

GIBEON - THE REWARDS OF DECEIT  Joshua 9

The victories,  triumphs, sometimes enormous in scope, reflected in the victories noted in the Tel el Amarna correspondence, have a close relationship to the invasion of Joshua's day. Such is the case according to Professor Gleason Archer, presented with diligent and sound reasoning.  Set around 1400 and on, these letters speak at times of an overwhelming invasion force of Habiru, a name relating closely to Hebrew, though one which may have been shared by others. What now follows likewise ILLUSTRATES just how famous was the insurgency of Israel in its own day.

The sheer terror and consternation of those asking Egypt for help against these invaders reminds one of the feeling of those stranded in Beirut! It is precisely this sort of thing that Achan's error could have compromised; and he paid dearly for his breach of covenant.

It was in view of this insurgent power that the people of Gibeon became subtle. Since Joshua was cleaning up the peoples and kings, and evidently was planning to bring judgment on the locale, they decided to 'work craftily' and pretend, and sent some with old clothes and possessions as if coming from a far country, seeking a covenant as ambassadors. Perhaps you are to be of this location ? asked Joshua. Oh no, said they, we have come as those who have heard of the wonders the Lord did for you in Egypt, and all He did since; and we come to make peace with you. Joshua, too impetuous, agreed, with the elders.

Hearing in THREE days of the deception, they HONOURED the covenant  (9:18), and so deputed this people to be woodcutters and water carriers for all the (enormous) congregation - a position of virtual slavery. Well, they said, since God clearly commanded you to take all this land, so be it, we are in your hands, your servants. They served the congregation and the supply needs of the altar. So does sin seek to gain entrance into one's life, with formal religion, sacramentalism or pseudo-faith, to find a place to rest, to secure acceptance; but it brings only curse in its craftiness, and servitude to the soul that seeks to entertain it. Jesus declared FREEDOM to be the result of knowing Him; and entertaining strangers in the life of the soul, however attractive, outside the faith and word of God, because they seem suitable and serviceable and praise God with lip, is like honouring adders about the neck.

The work of Jesus Christ is the greatest of all invasion forces, and we make peace with NONE in covenantal arrangements of deceptive alliance, whether it be some almost right theological -ism, or clearly false radical religious disaster error, imported into the faith. What it takes, let us do! and add NOTHING to His word (Mark 7:7ff.). 

 

 

II THE SUN NOT DONE - The Plan of Man and the Answer of God Joshua 10:1-15

Then five kings allied themselves to deal with the invasion of Israel, just as many theological and religious forces today seek syncretism, as in alliance of Pentecostal and Roman tongues galas. Seizing local forces, they decide to confront Joshua, who not for one moment will allow such local cultural forces to intimidate, nor will he do other than fight. First there was a test of simple reliability. Would Joshua forsake the covenant with Gibeonites, because of their evil, and hone down his hindrances ? Far from it: for he had spoken and now he had to pay. Mercifully,  he first delivered them according to covenant and then confronted the enemy - Joshua 10:4-11. Note his all night march FOLLOWED by a skirmish and major victory, as a word to us of ENDURANCE and tireless labour for Christ (10:7ff.). Such courage amazed and succeeded in being eloquent in victory!

Such was the victory indeed that Joshua asked the sun not to hasten in its going down, and to quiesce. For 'the space of a whole day' it did not 'hasten' in its setting, while the victory became triumph, and the alliance of 5 kings became a testimony, some being shut in a cave, and on their necks did some of Israel place their feet. That was one evidence of victory; and history has supplied much the same in another light concerning that amazing day.

As with the flood*4, there appears extensive, varied and integrable evidence from many ancient sources which relate to such an incident, which may of course have resulted from alteration of the diffraction of light for any cause, direct or indirect, or from gravitational or magnetic forces, orbital impacts or other dynamics, not least the guiding power of the all-controlling Lord.

Thus, many results flowed, and one in the field of verification is this.

Henry Morris in his Science and the Bible, cites a book by  T. W. Doane,  Bible Myths (New York: Truth Seeker, 1882, p.91) describing accounts of a long day or long night in the Orphic hymns and in the legends of the Hindus, the Buddhists, the Chinese, the ancient Mexicans, and others, and then notes how that author strangely argues that that fact proves the biblical record to be merely a myth! On the contrary, it is simply a broadsheet of verification.

Morris further cites a 1945 report to the Smithsonian Institution, where M. W. Stirling notes that many American Indian tribes have a legend about the theft of the sun for a day. We learn that a similar legend is found among the Polynesians. The Greek legend of Phaeton, who disrupted the sunís course for a day, could readily have been derived from this event. The Greek historian Herodotus states that the priests of Egypt showed him records of such a day. The sheer persistence of the testimony, the variety of forms forged, is one of the clearest phases of the attestation of the event.

The specialist here is Dr Velikovsky of vast fame, a personal friend of Einstein and man of immense learning of challenging if sometimes too rationalistic writings. He has collected an amazing array of accounts across the world, involving in myth or other account, this strange delay in the sun's rule that day; and has shown that in terms of LOCATION ON the surface of the earth, so is the TIMING, day or night, which is reported, for this event. It is, in natural terms, consistent, the time and the place of the extension: a feature which forms one of the foci of any verification.

In 1950, Immanuel Velikovsky published his controversial book, Worlds in Collision, noted as 'based on the premise that the account of the long day in Joshua is accurate, accounting for many other unsolved scientific mysteries'. The depth, imagination, scope and scholarship shown in this work in many phases of its presentation, has incited controversy; but some of its major approaches seem to be achieving an enhanced standing, with time. With considerable knowledge, he makes the case for what became Venus moving from Jupiter in an eruption which led to its incorporation in the solar system with serious consequences for the orderly orbiting of the earth. The fact that Joshua 10:11 describes the Lord sending down 'large stones from heaven', killing MORE than the sword, is a perfect collateral to such an event.

Assuredly, the Lord is not subject to such things, but on the contrary, can induce or providentially prepare them, His option, for the events He determines for testimony, deliverance or judgment.

In the Exodus, the Lord may have used feats of this magnitude likewise! The point, as always, is this. God can use creative engineering to act as He will, deploying what exists or intervening direct, as even man can do at his own little level, in any system within his competence. The Lord controls His creation, not vice versa, and deals for His desires, as He will. Prophecy attests the fact. Science picks up the pieces.

Of course this is not to fiddle with a divine miracle, but it deals with possible means and attestations worldwide, which in fact are astonishingly numerous and consistent.

Thus NEVER doubt the power of God beyond ALL thought (as in Ephesians 3:20), to answer prayer, to deliver and to direct.

 

III MIRACLES MAKE FOR MORE VICTORY,
 NOT CESSATION OF LABOUR
Joshua 10:16-43

 

Following this miracle, Joshua made the most of the event in exposing to public awareness,  the kings who sought by combination to conquer him: in the Lord, the enemy was most certainly beatable! He then embarked on such a travel of triumph over numerous foes as makes amazing reading in Joshua 10:28ff., as he conquered from Kadesh Barnea (the site of the original fear to enter the 'rest' of the Lord, prepared and provided), to Gaza!

So do we seek in New Testament time, always to ABOUND in the work of the Lord, in warfare spiritual, in battles personal, in triumphs of grace and in the peace of perseverance, knowing our labour is not in vain in the Lord (I Corinthians 15:58).

As for us, we look not merely to a vast exhibition of divine judgment on one region of the earth, one at last unleashed as in Joshua: a thing awaited from Abraham's day (Genesis 15). We look to a vast salvation, salvage from a world's wickedness, wrought by judgment on Christ, the just for the unjust to being us to God. This forsaken, then not a 2 millenia removal of Israel's sovereignty ensues, but destruction, and that of the entire earth (II Peter 3), following the final burst of testimony in the Lord's advent with His saints (I Thessalonians 3:13, Zechariah 14:5, Revelation 19, Isaiah 11).

The stakes are more than life and death: salvation and damnation are on offer, and not Joshua but Jesus is the deliverer, not in time alone, but for eternity.