You took care of the cause of your issues. You cleared the air on why it happened. Now will you take up the charge to get it done the right way? Don’t be afraid of what is to come because of a past failure! Learn from the failures and move forward from them! Stick close to God and follow His direction and wisdom! Be bold and courageous! Don’t be afraid! Don’t be worried! Don’t be dismayed!
Today’s reading begins with Joshua after having taken care of the issue that caused the defeat against Ai in Joshua 7. Now God calls them to go against Ai again but this time after they defeat them like they did in Jericho, they are allowed to take the spoils of victory…
1Then Adonai said to Joshua: “Do not be afraid or dismayed. Take all the people of war with you and arise, go up to Ai. Behold, I have given the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land into your hand. 2Then you will do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king—except you will take its spoil and its cattle as plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it.” 3So Joshua and all the people of war arose to go up to Ai. Joshua selected 30,000 men, valiant warriors, and sent them at night. 4He commanded them saying: “Look, you are going to ambush the city from behind it. Don’t go too far from the city, but all of you be ready. 5Then I and all the troops with me will approach the city. Then it will be when they come out against us, like the first time, that we will flee before them. 6So they will come out after us until we have drawn them away from the city. For they will think, ‘They are fleeing before us like the first time.’ While we are fleeing before them, 7you will rise up from the ambush and take possession of the city, for Adonai your God will give it into your hand. 8Now when you have seized the city, you will set the city on fire—according to the word of Adonai you must do. See that you do as I have ordered you.” 9So Joshua sent them off, and they went to the ambush site, taking position between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai. But Joshua spent that night among the people. 10Then Joshua rose up early in the morning and mustered the people. He and the elders of Israel marched before the people to Ai. 11All the people of war with him went up, advanced, and came in front of the city. They camped to the north of Ai, with a valley between him and Ai. 12But he had taken about 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city. 13So they stationed the people, the main army that was to the north of the city, and its rear guard to the west of the city. Then Joshua walked that night in the midst of the valley. 14So it came to pass when the king of Ai saw this, the men of the city hurried and rose up early, and went out to meet Israel in battle, he and all his people at the appointed place facing the Arabah. But he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city. 15So Joshua and all Israel pretended to be beaten before them and fled by the way of the wilderness. 16Then all the people who were in Ai were summoned to pursue them, so they pursued Joshua and were drawn away from the city. 17Not a man was left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel, so they left the city open as they chased after Israel. 18Then Adonai said to Joshua, “Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.” So Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city. 19As soon as he stretched out his hand, the ambush arose quickly from their place, ran and entered the city and captured it; and immediately set the city on fire. 20Now the men of Ai looked back and saw, behold, the smoke of the city rising up to the sky! They had no place to flee this way or that, since the people who had been fleeing to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers. 21When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city and that the smoke of the city rose up, they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. 22The others also came out of the city against them, so they were surrounded by Israel, some on this side and some on that side. They struck them down until not one survivor or fugitive was left. 23But they captured the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua. 24After Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the field in the wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them were fallen by the edge of the sword until they were consumed, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it with the edge of the sword. 25All who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000—all the people of Ai. 26For Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. 27Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of Adonai which He had commanded Joshua. 28So Joshua burnt Ai and made it a permanent heap of desolation to this day. 29Then he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. At sunset Joshua commanded that they take his carcass down from the tree, cast it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and piled over it a great heap of stones, which remains to this day. 30Then Joshua built an altar to Adonai, God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, 31as Moses the servant of Adonai had commanded Bnei-Yisrael, as written in the scroll of the Torah of Moses, an altar of uncut stones on which no man had wielded any iron tool. They offered on it burnt offerings to Adonai and sacrificed fellowship offerings. 32 There on the stones he wrote a copy of the Torah of Moses, which he had written, in the presence of Bnei-Yisrael. 33Then all Israel, with their elders and officials, and their judges, were standing on both sides of the ark facing the Levitical kohanim carrying the ark of the covenant of Adonai—the outsider as well as the native-born. Half of them stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal—just as Moses the servant of Adonai had commanded before—in order to bless the people of Israel. 34Then afterward he read all the words of the Torah—the blessing and the curse—according to all that is written in the book of the Torah. 35There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, including the women and the little ones and the outsiders walking among them.
–from Joshua 8
Remember where you hope comes from and don’t jump into anything without first consulting with God! Things may not be as they seem and it may be a trick or a trap! Some people may be out to deceive or trick you! Some people may be trying to fool you! So in order to make sure, seek God’s wisdom before making any big decisions, any small decisions, and any decisions somewhere in between to make sure He’s got your back! Don’t just assume because you know that has a tendency to do!
Gibeonites Connive a Treaty
1Now when all the kings who were west of the Jordan, in the hill country, in the lowland and along the shore of the Great Sea to the vicinity of Lebanon—the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites—heard about it, 2they gathered themselves together as a unified alliance to fight against Joshua and Israel. 3But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4they acted craftily. They went and traveled as ambassadors, took worn-out sacks for their donkeys and worn-out wine skins, cracked and patched up, 5along with worn-out, patched up sandals on their feet and worn-out clothes on them. All the bread of their provision was dry and had become crumbly. 6Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country. So now, make a treaty-covenant with us.” 7Then the men of Israel said to the Hivites: “Perhaps you are living among us. How then should we make a covenant with you?” 8But they said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” Then Joshua asked them, “Who are you? Where do you come from?” 9So they replied to him: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the Name of Adonai your God. For we have heard the report of Him and all that He did in Egypt, 10and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan—to King Sihon of Heshbon and to King Og of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth. 11 So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us saying, ‘Take provisions in your hand for the journey, go to meet them and say to them: “We will be your subjects, so now make a treaty-covenant with us.’” 12This is our bread, which was hot when we took it for our provision from our homes on the day we left to come to you, but now behold, it is dry and crumbly. 13And these wineskins, which we were new when we filled them, but now see, they are cracked. Also these our garments and our sandals are worn-out because of the very long journey.” 14So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not seek counsel from Adonai’s mouth. 15So Joshua made peace with them and cut a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the community swore to them. 16But it came about at the end of three days after they had cut a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors, and were living among them. 17So Bnei-Yisrael journeyed and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. 18But Bnei-Yisrael did not strike them, because the leaders of the community had sworn to them by Adonai, God of Israel. Then the entire community murmured against the leaders, 19but all the leaders answered the entire community, “We have sworn to them by Adonai, God of Israel, so now we cannot touch them. 20This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, lest wrath be upon us because of the oath which we swore to them.” 21“Yes, let them live,” the leaders said further, “but let them chop wood and draw water for the entire community.” So the leaders decreed concerning them. 22Then Joshua summoned them and he spoke to them saying: “Why have you deceived us saying: ‘We are very far from you,’ when you are living among us?23Now therefore, you are cursed, and you will never cease to be servants, wood-choppers and water-carriers for the House of my God.” 24So they answered Joshua and said: “It was because your servants were clearly told that Adonai your God had commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land before you. So we were very afraid for our lives because of you, and so we did this. 25Now behold, we are in your hand. Whatever seems good and right in your eyes to do to us, do.” 26Thus he did to them, delivering them from the hand of Bnei-Yisrael, so they did not slay them. 27 On that day Joshua made them wood-choppers and water-carriers for the community, and for the altar of Adonai in the place which He would choose. So it is to this day.
–from Joshua 9
So how do we make the team stronger? Unity! How do we keep everyone on track and accountable? Unity! How will we come together as a group? In unity! We each have a purpose and are part of God’s plan! When we stick together we are stronger than we are alone! When we come together in unity with each other and with God, there is no limit to what God can and will do in and through our lives! Let’s put away our old ways and tendencies and let’s go forward in God’s!
Unity of the Body and of God
1Therefore I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you were called— 2with complete humility and gentleness, with patience, putting up with one another in love, 3making every effort to keep the unity of the Ruach in the bond of shalom. 4There is one body and one Ruach, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling; 5one Lord, one faith, one immersion; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7But to each one of us grace was given in keeping with the measure of Messiah’s gift. 8Therefore it says, “When He went up on high, He led captive a troop of captives and gave gifts to his people.” 9Now what does “He went up” mean, except that He first went down to the lower regions of the earth? 10The One who came down is the same One who went up far above all the heavens, in order to fill all things. 11He Himself gave some to be emissaries, some as prophets, some as proclaimers of the Good News, and some as shepherds and teachers— 12to equip the kedoshim for the work of service, for building up the body of Messiah. 13This will continue until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of Ben-Elohim—to mature adulthood, to the measure of the stature of Messiah’s fullness. 14As a result, we are no longer to be like children, tossed around by the waves and blown all over by every wind of teaching, by the trickery of men with cunning in deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all ways into Messiah, who is the Head. 16From Him the whole body is fitted and held together by every supporting ligament. The proper working of each individual part produces the body’s growth, for building itself up in love.
Put Off The Old, Put On The New
17So I tell you this, indeed I insist on it in the Lord—walk no longer as the pagans do, stumbling around in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance in them due to the hardness of their heart. 19Since they are past feeling, they have turned themselves over to indecency for the practice of every kind of immorality, with greed for more. 20However, you did not learn Messiah in this way— 21if indeed you have heard Him and were taught in Him, as the truth is in Yeshua. 22With respect to your former lifestyle, you are to lay aside the old self corrupted by its deceitful desires, 23be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self—created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25So lay aside lying and “each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26“Be angry, yet do not sin.” Do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27nor give the devil a foothold. 28The one who steals must steal no longer—instead he must work, doing something useful with his own hands, so he may have something to share with the one who has need. 29Let no harmful word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for building others up according to the need, so that it gives grace to those who hear it. 30Do not grieve the Ruach ha-Kodesh of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness and rage and anger and quarreling and slander, along with all malice. 32Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other just as God in Messiah also forgave you.
–from Ephesians 4