Message 20th Sept 2020

The old testament book of Joshua is about how the Israelites
conquered land that had been promised to their ancestor
Abraham.
Their forbears had escaped from Egypt, but had not followed
God, so the whole generation that left Egypt had died in the
desert. This left the children (of Israel) to conquer Canaan,
under the leadership of Joshua. Joshua had a great military
mind, was very organised and was absolutely loyal to God and
dependant on Him.
The land of Canaan had many cities, each with its own king and
army. Many cities had high strong walls, so Joshua and his army
had to defeat them one by one, for example the famous battle of
Jericho.
We join them after the battle of Jericho, and after they have
destroyed the city of Ai. (Joshua Chapters 9 and 10).
Part 1
Some people from the city of Gibeon had heard what Joshua had
done to the city of Ai. They decided to trick the Israelites. They
gathered together old sacks and old cracked wine bags and put
them on their donkeys. They put old sandals on their feet and
took some old mouldy bread. This made them appear to have
travelled a long way. They went to Joshua at his camp near
Gilgal. They told Joshua that they came from a far-off land and
that their elders had asked them to travel to his camp and make
a peace agreement because of the fame of the Lord. They
showed Joshua the old cracked wine bags, the dry mouldy bread
and their old clothes and sandals as proof that they had travelled
a long way. The men of Israel tasted the bread but they did not
ask the Lord what to do. Joshua agreed to make peace with the
Gibeonites and to let them live. The leaders of the Israelites
swore an oath to keep the agreement.
Was Joshua right to make the peace agreement?
Do you think that Joshua should have asked the Lord what to
do?
Have you ever met someone who is not what they appear to be?
What did you do?
What do you think Joshua will do if he finds out?
Part 2
Three days after making the agreement, the Israelites learned
that the Gibeonites actually lived close by. So they travelled to
where they came from, and on the third day they arrived at their
cities, including the city of Gibeon. But the Israelites did not
attack those cities because of the peace agreement they had
made. The Israelites grumbled to their leaders, but the leaders
said ‘We have given our promise before the Lord, so we cannot
attack them. We must let them live, otherwise God’s anger will
be against us for breaking the oath.’ Then Joshua called for the
original group of Gibeonites. He asked them why they had
deceived him by making out that they came from a far-off land.
They answered ‘We lied to you because we were afraid you
would kill us. We heard that the Lord your God commanded His
servant Moses to give you all of this land and to kill all of the
people who lived in it. That is why we did this.’ So Joshua saved
their lives but he made them slaves. So they cut wood and
carried water for the Israelites, and for the alter of the Lord,
wherever he chose it to be. They are still doing this today.
Had Joshua actually made the peace agreement before God?
Was Joshua right to make them slaves?
Did the Gibeonite’s plan work?

https://youtube.com/watch?v=XtwIT8JjddM%3Fstart%3D12

Prayer Points – Father we approach you boldly with our prayers,
knowing that you are there for us and will listen. Firstly we bring
thank for all that we have. We say thank you for your son Jesus
and the awesome sacrifice that he made for every one of us. Even
so Father we don’t always do as you ask us, and quite often try to
cope in our own way without turning to you. Father we ask for
your forgiveness. (pause).
We pray that the new restrictions and local lockdowns will be
enough to slow the spread of the virus and save lives. Please bless
all who are living and working with it, trying to control it, treating
it and doing all they can to prevent it. Also those who are
researching and testing a vaccine. We pray that this will be
successful. Once more we ask that you will give comfort and
peace to every bereaved family as we are reminded of the number
who have lost their lives.
Father we are working towards reopening our church for worship
and praise to you. Please bless, strengthen and look after all who
are involved in this process, so that they are full of your power to
meet every eventuality and situation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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