MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE

Rahab welcomes the spies sent by Joshua

She knew the risk of hiding the Israelite spies. But because she made the right choice and believed in the Lord God of Israel, she and her family were saved.

JOSHUA CHOSE TWO MEN AS SPIES and sent them from their camp at Acacia with these instructions: “God across the river and find out as much as you can about the whole region, especially about the town of Jericho.”  

The two spies left the Israelite camp at Acacia and went to Jericho, where they decided to spend the night at the house of a prostitute named Rahab.

But someone found out about them and told the king of Jericho, “Some Israelite men came here tonight, and they are spies.” So the king sent soldiers to Rahab’s house to arrest the spies.

Meanwhile, Rahab had taken the men up to the flat roof of her house and had hidden them under some piles of flax plants that she had put there to dry.

The soldiers came to her door and demanded, “Let us have the men who are staying at your house. They are spies.”

She answered, “Some men did come to my house, but I didn’t know where they had come from. They left after sunset, just before it was time to close the town gate. I don’t know where they were going, but if you hurry, maybe you can catch them.”

The guards at the town gate let the soldiers leave Jericho, but they closed the gate as soon as the soldiers went through. Then the soldiers headed toward the Jordan River to look for the spies at the place where people cross the river.

Rahab went back up to her roof. The spies were still awake, so she told them:

I know that the LORD has given Israel this land. Everyone shakes with fear because of you. We heard how the LORD dried up the Red Sea so you could leave Egypt. And we heard how you destroyed Sihon and Og, those two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River. We know that the LORD your God rules heaven and earth, and we’ve lost our courage and our will to fight.

Please promise me in the LORD’s name that you will be as kind to my family as I have been to you. Do something to show that you won’t let your people kill my father and mother and my brothers and sisters and their families.

“Rahab,” the spies answered, “if you keep quiet about what we’re doing, we promise to be kind to you when the LORD gives us this land. We pray that the LORD will kill us if we don’t keep our promise!”

Rahab’s house was built into the town wall, and one of the windows in her house faced outside the wall. She gave the spies a rope, showed them the window, and said, “Use this rope to let yourselves down to the ground outside the wall. Then hide in the hills. The men who are looking for you won’t be able to find you there. They’ll give up and come back after a few days, and you can be on your way.”

The spies said:

“You made us promise to let you and your family live. We will keep our promise, but you can’t tell anyone why we were here. You must tie this red rope on your window when we attack, and your father and mother, your brothers, and everyone else in your family must be here with you. We’ll take the blame if anyone who stays in this house gets hurt. But anyone who leaves our house will be killed, and it won’t be our fault.

“I’ll do exactly what you said,” Rahab promised. Then she sent them on their way and tied the red rope to the window.


Quoted from Joshua 2:1-21 Contemporary English Version)

 

David & Goliath

FAITHFUL, NO MATTER WHAT

For a young shepherd boy, fighting a giant battle-hardened warrior might seem daunting, almost insurmountable task. But David faced and defeated Goliath because of his faith in what God can do for him and His people. 

DAVID OBEYED HIS FATHER. He got up early the next morning and left someone else in charge of the sheep; then he loaded the supplies and started off. He reached the army camp just as the soldiers were taking their places and shouting the battle cry. The army of Israel and the Philistine army stood there facing each other.

David left his things with the man in charge of supplies and ran up to the battle line to ask his brothers if they were well. While David was talking with them, Goliath came out from the line of Philistines and started boasting as usual. David heard him.

When the Israelite soldiers saw Goliath, they were scared and ran off. They said to each other, “Look how he keeps coming out to insult us. The king is offering a big reward to the man who kills Goliath. That man will even get to marry the king’s daughter, and no one in his family will ever have to pay taxes again.”

David asked some soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and stopping him from insulting our people? Who does that worthless Philistine think he is? He’s making fun of the army of the living God!”

The soldiers told David what the king would give the man who killed Goliath.

David’s older brother Eliab heard him talking with the soldiers. Eliab was angry at him and said, “What are you doing here, anyway? Who’s taking care of that little flock of sheep out in the desert? … You came here just to watch the fighting, didn’t you?”

“Now what have I done?” David answered. “Can’t I even ask a question?” Then he turned and asked another soldier the same thing he had asked the others, and he got he same answer.

Some soldiers overheard David talking, so they told Saul what David had said. Saul sent for David, and David came. “Your majesty,” he said, “this Philistine shouldn’t turn us into cowards. I’ll go out and fight him myself!”

“You don’t have a chance against him,” Saul replied. “You’re only a boy, and he’s been a soldier all his life.”

But David told him:
   Your Majesty, I take care of my father’s sheep. And when one of them is
dragged off by a lion or a bear, I go after it and beat the wild animal until it lets the sheep go. If the wild animal turns and attacks me, I grab it by the
throat and kill it.
   Sir, I have killed lions and bears that way, and I can kill this worthless Philistine. He shouldn’t have made fun of the army of the living God! The LORD had rescued me from the claws of lions and bears, and he will keep me safe from the hands of this Philistine.

“All right,” Saul answered, “go ahead and fight him. And I hope the LORD will help you.”

Saul had his own military clothes and armor put on David, and he gave David a bronze helmet to wear. David strapped on sword and tried to walk around, but he was not used to wearing those things.

“I can’t move with all this all this stuff on,” David said. “I’m just not used to it.”

David took off the armor and picked up his shepherd’s stick. He went out to a stream and picked up five smooth rocks and put them in his leather bag. Then with his sling in his hand, he went straight toward Goliath.

Goliath came toward David, walking behind the soldier who was carrying his shield. When Goliath saw that David was just a healthy, good-looking boy, he made fun of him. “Do you think I’m a dog?” Goliath asked. “Is that why you’ve come after me with a stick?” He cursed David in the name of the Philistine gods and shouted, “Come on! When I’m finished with you, I’ll feed you to the birds and wild animals!”

David answered:
 You’ve come out to fight me with a sword and a spear and a dagger. But
I’ve come out to fight you in the name of the LORD All-Powerful. He is the
God of Israel’s army, and you have insulted him too!
   Today the LORD will help me defeat you. I’ll knock you down and cut off
your head, and I’ll feed the bodies of the other Philistine soldiers to the birds and wild animals. Then the whole world will know that Israel has a real God.
   Everybody here will see that the LORD doesn’t need swords or spears to save his people. The LORD always wins his battles, and he will help us defeat you.

When Goliath started forward, David ran toward him. He put a rock in his sling around by his straps. When he let go of one strap, the rock flew out and hit Goliath on the forehead. It cracked his skull, and he fell facedown on the ground. David defeated Goliath with a sling and a rock. He killed him without even using a sword.


(Quoted from I Samuel 17:20-50 Contemporary English Version)

Moses and Aaron ask the King of Egypt to free the Israelites

SO MOSES AND AARON went to Egypt and gathered all the Israelite leaders together Aaron told them everything that the LORD had said to Moses, and then Moses performed all the miracles in front of the people. They believed, and when they heard that the LORD had come to them and had seen how they were being treated cruelly, they bowed down and worshiped.   

Then Moses and Aaron wen to the king of Egypt and said, “The LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘Let my people go, so that they can hold a festival in the desert to honor me’.”SO MOSES AND AARON went to Egypt and gathered all the Israelite leaders together Aaron told them everything that the LORD had said to Moses, and then Moses performed all the miracles in front of the people. They believed, and when they heard that the LORD had come to them and had seen how they were being treated cruelly, they bowed down and worshiped.

“Who is the LORD?” the king demanded. “Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD; and I will not let Israel go.”

Moses and Aaron replied, “The God of the Hebrews has revealed himself to us. Allow us to travel three days into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God. If we don’t do so, he will kill us with disease or by war.”

The king said to Moses and Aaron, “What do you mean by making the people neglect their work? Get those slaves back to work? Get those slaves back to work! You people have become more numerous than the Egyptians And now you want to stop working!”

That same day the king commanded the Egyptian slave drivers and the Israelite foremen: “Stop giving the people straw for making bricks Make them go and find it for themselves. But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before, not one brick less. They don’t have enough work to do, and that is why they keep asking me to let them go and offer sacrifices to their God! Make these men work harder and keep them busy, so that they won’t have time to listen to a pack of lies…”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you are going to see what I will do to the king. I will force him to let my people go In fact, I will force him to drive them out of his land.”

God spoke to Moses and said, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as Almighty God, but I did not make myself known to them by my holy name, the LORD. also made my covenant with them, promising to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they had lived as foreigners. Now I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians have enslaved, and I have remembered my covenant. So tell the Israelites that I say to them, ‘I am the LORD; I will rescue you and set you free from your slavery to the Egyptians. I will raise my mighty arm to bring terrible punishment upon them, and I will save you. I will make you my own people, and will be your God. You will know that I am the LORD your God when I set you free from slavery in Egypt. I will bring you to the land that I solemnly promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as your own possession. I am the LORD.’…”

Then the LORD said to Moses “Go and tell the king of Egypt that he must let the Israelites leave his land…”

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “If the king demands that you prove yourselves by performing a miracle, tell Aaron to take his walking stick and throw it down in front of the king, and it will turn into a snake.” So Moses and Aaron went to the king and did as the LORD had commanded Aaron threw his walking stick down in front of the king and his officers, and it turned into a snake. Then the king called for his wise men and magicians, and by their magic they did the same thing. They threw down their walking sticks, and the sticks turned into snakes But Aaron’s stick swallowed theirs. The king, however, remained stubborn and just as the LORD had said, the king would not listen to Moses and Aaron.

MEN OF INTEGRITY

Joshua and Caleb

THEY WERE THREATENED TO BE KILLED WITH STONES BECAUSE THEY REPORTED THE TRUTH AND REMAINED FIRMLY BELIEVING IN WHAT GOD CAN DO FOR HIS PEOPLE. BECAUSE OF THIS, THEY WERE DEEMED WORTHY IN THE SIGHT OF GOD.
“The land we went to explore is very good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he … will give us that land where much food grows. Don’t turn against the Lord! Don’t be afraid of the people in that land! We will chew them up. They have no protection, but we have the Lord. So don’t be afraid of them.”
PROLOGUE

After being saved from slavery in Egypt and receiving the Ten Commandments, The Israelites were on their way to the promised land—the land of Canaan. So, God commanded that the land be explored. After choosing 12 tribal leaders from Israel’s camp in Paran desert—two of them are Joshua and Caleb—and giving them instructions, Moses sent them as 12 spies. The men returned to the camp after 40 days of exploring the land 
(Num. 13:1-25).

THEY CAME BACK to Moses and Aaron and all the Israelites at Kadesh. This was in the desert of Paran. The men reported to them and showed everybody the fruit from the land They told Moses, “We went to the land where you sent us. It is a land where much food grows! Here is some of its fruit. But the people who live there are strong. Their cities are walled and large. We even saw some Anakites there. The Amalekites live in the southern area. The Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the mountains. The Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan River.

      Then Caleb told the people near Moses to be quiet. Caleb said, “We should go up and take the land for ourselves. We can do it.”

      But the men who had gone with him said, “We can’t attack those people. They are stronger than we are.” And those men gave the Israelites a bad report about the land they explored. They said, “The land would eat us up. All the people we saw are very tall. We saw the Nephilim people there. (The Anakites come from the Nephilim people.) We felt like grasshoppers. And we looked like grasshoppers to them.”

      That night all the people in the camp began crying loudly. All the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron. All the people said to them, “We should have died in Egypt. Or we should have died in the desert. Why is the Lord bringing us to this land? We will be killed with swords. Our wives and children will be taken away. We would be better off going back to Egypt. They said to each other, “Let’s get a leader and go back to Egypt.

      Then Moses and Aaron bowed facedown in front of all the Israelites and gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh were among those who had explored the land. They tore their clothes. They said to all of the Israelites, “The land we went to explore is very good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land. He will give us that land where much food grows. Don’t turn against the Lord! Don’t be afraid of the people in that land! We will chew them up. They have no protection, but we have the Lord. So don’t be afraid of them.”

      Then all the people talked about killing them with stones. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the Meeting Tent to the Israelites. The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people ignore me? How long will it be before they believe me? I have done miracles among them. I will give them a terrible sickness. I will destroy them. But I will make you into a great nation. It will be stronger than they are.

      Then Moses said to the Lord, “The Egyptians will hear about it! You brought these people from there by your great power.

      The nations have heard about your power. If you put to death your people all at once, the nations will talk. They will say, ‘The Lord was not able to bring them into the land he promised them. So he killed them in the desert.’

      Show your great love. Forgive these people’s sin. Forgive them as you have from the time they left Egypt until now.”

      The Lord answered, “I have forgiven them as you asked. But, as surely as I live, I make this promise. As sure as my glory fills the whole earth, I make this promise. All these men saw my glory. They saw the miracles I did in Egypt and in the desert. But they disobeyed me and tested me 10 times. So not one will see the land I promised to their ancestors. No one who angered me will see that land. But my servant Caleb has a different spirit. He follows me completely. So I will bring him into the land he has already seen. And his children will own that land.

      Not one of you will enter and live in the and I promised to you. Only Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun will go in.”


(Quoted from Numbers 13:26-33; 14:1-13, 15-16, 19-24, 30 of the International Children’s Bible)

Illustrations by MARCO GILBERT LARDIZABAL

Miracles and Graven Images

Are miracles attributed to graven
images a manifestation of God’s power?

It is not the Almighty God’s power that is behind the miracles purportedly manifested by graven images of saints, because He Himself declared that “I will not give My glory to another. … Nor My praise to graven images” (Isa. 48:11; 42:8 New King James Version).

“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.” (Exod. 20:3-5 NKJV)

Even in the Christian Era, “God’s anger is revealed … against all the sin and evil of the people” who “know God, but they do not give him the honor that belongs to him … instead of worshiping the immortal God, they worship images made to look like mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles … they worship and serve what God has created instead of the Creator himself” (Rom. 1:18, 21, 23, 25 Today’s English Version).

According to the apostles, these alleged miracles with graven images fall under the workings of the devil: “The Wicked One will come with the power of Satan and perform all kinds of false miracles and wonders, and use every kind of wicked deceit” (II Thess. 2:9-10 TEV).

Such miracles will also be used by preachers in order to attract people, but according to the Lord Jesus Christ, “For false Messiahs and false prophets will appear; they will perform great miracles and wonders in order to deceive even God’s chosen people, if possible” (Matt. 24:24 TEV).

People should therefore be wary, rather than afraid, of these supposedly miraculous idols because the Lord God said, “Their ways are futile and foolish. They cut down a tree and carve an idol, and decorate it with gold and silver and fasten it securely in place with hammer and nails, so that it won’t fall over, and there stands their god … It cannot speak, and it must be carried, for it cannot walk. Don’t be afraid of such a god for it can neither harm nor help, or do you any good” (Jer. 10:3-5 Living Bible). For being wickedly deceived by “false miracles and wonders,” idolaters will not be saved, but instead they “will perish because they did not welcome and love the truth” (II Thess. 2:9-10 TEV).


Source: God’s Message Magazine, April 2018

THE VALUE OF COMPLETE OBEDIENCE

 

The Fall of Jericho

Though it seemed impossible to conquer the city of Jericho, the Israelites, led by Joshua, completely followed God’s instructions. By faith and complete obedience, the walls of the city fell down.

PROLOGUE

Before receiving instructions from God on how to conquer the city of Jericho Joshua saw the commander of the army of the Lord standing some distance in front of him holding a sword. Joshua ell to his knees and bowed down to the ground. After asking the commander what to do, Joshua took off his sandals. Meanwhile, the people of Jericho had been locking the gates in their town wall because they were afraid of the Israelites. No one could go out or come in (Josh. 5:13-15; 6:1).

The fall of Jericho

THE LORD SAID TO JOSHUA:   With my help, you and your army will defeat the king of Jericho and his army, and you will capture the town. Here is how to do it: March slowly around Jericho once a day for six days. Take along the sacred chest and have seven priests walk in front of it, carrying trumpets. But on the seventh day, march slowly around the town seven times while the priests blow their trumpets. Then the priests will blast on their trumpets, and everyone else will shout. The wall will fall down, and your soldiers can go straight in from ever side. Joshua called the priests together and said, Take the chest and have seven priests carry trumpets and march ahead of it.”

Next, he gave the army their orders: March slowly around Jericho. A few of you will go ahead of the chest to guard it, but most of you will follow it. Don’t shout the battle cry or yell or even talk until the day I tell you to. The let out a shout!”

As soon as Joshua finished giving the orders, the army started marching. One group of soldiers led the way, with seven priests marching behind them and bowing trumpets. Then came the priests carrying the chest, followed by the rest of the soldiers. They obeyed Joshua’s orders and carried the chest once around the town before returning to camp for the night.

Early next morning, Joshua and everyone else started marching around Jericho in the same ore as the day before One group o soldiers was in front, followed by the seven priests with trumpets and the priests who carried the chest. The rest of the army came next. The seven priests blew their trumpets while everyone marched slowly around Jericho and back to camp. They did this once a day for six days.

On the seventh day, the army got up at daybreak. They marched slowly around Jericho the same as they had done for the past six days, except on this day they went around seven times. Then the priests blew the trumpets, and Joshua yelled:

Get ready to shout! The LORD will let you capture this town. But you must destroy it and everything in it, to show that it now belongs to the LORD. The woman Rahab helped the spies we sent, so protect her and the others who are inside her house. But kill everyone else in the town. The silver and gold and everything made of bronze and iron belong to the LORD and must be put in his treasury. Be careful to follow these instructions, because if you see something you want and take it, the LORD will destroy Israel. And it will be all your fault.

The priests blew their trumpets again, and the soldiers shouted as loud as they could. The walls of Jericho fell flat. Then the soldiers rushed up the hill, went straight into the town, and captured it. They killed everyone, men and women, young and old, everyone except Rahab and the others in her house. They even killed every cow, sheep, and donkey.

Joshua said to the two men who had been spies, “Ragab kept you safe when I sent you to Jericho. We promised to protect her and her family, and we will keep that promise. Now go into her house and bring them out.”

The two men went into Rahab’s house and brought her out, along with her father and mother, her brothers, and her other relative. Rahab and he family had to stay in a place just outside the Israelite army camp. But later they were allowed to live among the Israelites, and her descendants still do.

The Israelites took the silver and gold and the things made of bronze and iron and put them with the rest of the treasure that was kept at the LORD’s house. Finally, they set fire to Jericho and everything in it.

After Jericho was destroyed, Joshua warned the people, “Someday a man will rebuild Jericho, but the LORD will put a curse on him, and the man’s oldest son will die when he starts to build the town wall. And by the time he finishes the wall and puts gates in it, all his children will be dead.” The LORD helped Joshua in everything he did and Joshua was famous everywhere in Canaan.


(Quoted from Joshua 6:2-27 Contemporary English Version)
Illustration by Nestor G Malgapo Sr.