Saturday, September 24, 2005

While everyone else was fleeing South Texas, we were going in. On Thursday, we loaded the Little Woman's car and headed for College Station, the Mother Ship of Aggies. The College Daughter was set to receive her senior ring.

If you know us, you know the Little Woman is the adventurer. She was determined to make this trip and nothing as insignificant as a Category 5 hurricane could stop her. So, off we went.

As we drove south from Waco on Highwayy 6, there was an ever increasing stream of cars going north. I wondered what they thought, seeing us as one of the 5 cars going south.

We arrived Aggieland to 107 degree heat, checked into an oddly vacant Hilton Hotel, picked up some maroon and white flowers we had ordered, picked up the Baby and her roommate, and found the College Girl.

We got the ring, took pictures, and the Little Woman cried. The ring is really beautiful.

I think I'll have it paid off in 2010.

We ate dinner at the Little Woman's favorite place, Texas Road House, and went to the football game. I met a young man who is stationed with the Marines at the Naval Air Station. He was going back after the game, around midnight, and I asked him to call me about the traffic. I was planning on taking a route back through some smaller roads I remembered from college, as he was.

Well, he called me at 5:30 the next morning and said not to go that way. It had taken him 5 hours to make it to Waco. So, we took the regular route. Miraculously, the traffic was not bad. I guess the evacuees had already gone past, and the rest were stuck on I-45. It took us about an hour longer than usualy, but we made the trip back in four hours. Thanks Chris, for calling.

So, of course, the Little Woman feels totally vindicated in her optimism.

Really, the fact is, she lives a charmed life. If I had made the trip alone, I would have been caught in traffic and ridden out the storm in my car, treading water on the side of the road.

However, once again, the Little Woman proved how boring my life was and is without her.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

For those of you who are not in the Bible study group I teach, there will be no lessons in Joshua for 6 weeks. That is because our church is studying "The Purpose Driven Church" by Rick Warren in Sunday School for six weeks, beginning today.

I may, however, post some thoughts about this study as we go through it.
A young friend in college has lots of questions about the faith. Upon the recommendation of a friend, we put him in contact with a college professor. The young friend asked "Why did God make us, what is our purpose?" Unfortunately, the professor answered "I don't know".

Since that is second question, after "How do you know God exists?", it is a question you should be ready to answer. Here is my answer.

Why did God create us? He created us for his glory. In Isaiah 43:7, God refers to his people as “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made”. He made us and he made us for his glory.

The first question of the Westminster Catechism deals with this. It asks “What is the chief and highest end of man?” The answer is “Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.”

The Westminster Confession puts it this way “It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.”

Since we were created for God’s glory, we should live in a way that brings glory to him. Paul said, In 1 Corinthians 10:31, to do it all to the glory of God. In Matthew 5:16, Jesus said “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise (or give glory to) your Father in heaven.” It is not that we add anything to God’s glory, but that we reveal it to the world.

In contrast, Paul describes the world as those who “although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Because we are created to bring glory to God and to enjoy him, or to be satisfied in him, we are only fulfilled when we do. When we live a life that seeks to glorify ourselves, we feel empty and unfulfilled. The great philosopher and theologian Augustine said “You have made us and directed us toward yourself and our heart is restless until we rest in you.” (Confessions 1:1).

Sunday, September 11, 2005


7:1 Israel Breaks Faith With God

But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the LORD's anger burned against Israel.

Despite the very specific instruction of the Lord, communicated by Joshua and the leaders of Israel, Achan took some of the devoted items contrary to the command of the Lord. The devoted items were to be either destroyed or put in the treasury of the Lord (Joshua 6:18). His action caused Israel to be unfaithful to the Lord. This disobedience made the Lord angry. Unfortunately, no one was sufficiently attuned to God to notice.

7:2-5 The Consequence of Sin

Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, "Go up and spy out the region." So the men went up and spied out Ai. When they returned to Joshua, they said, "Not all the people will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary all the people, for only a few men are there." So about three thousand men went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted and became like water.

The Israelites were in the old stomping grounds of Abraham. After Abraham left Ur and came to Canaan, as recorded in Genesis 12, he came to Shechem and Canaanites were there. The Lord promised him that land. Then Abraham went and pitched his tent between Bethel and Ai, and built an altar there.

As is often the case, everything here looked fine on the surface. Achan had hidden his sin from the Israelites and thought he had hidden it from God. You cannot hide your sin from God, though. My mother always used to say “your sins will find you out”. I thought she made that up, but Debbie Malone, wife of Dr. Fred Malone, pointed out to me that it is Numbers 32:23.

Although you might not see the consequences coming, they are.

So, they continued with business as usual. Joshua sent out spies as he had at Jericho. Their confidence was buoyed by their recent victory, so they counseled sending a small force to conquer Ai. You’ll notice a complete absence of consultation with the Lord or instructions from the Lord as they had at Jericho. I think this is partly because they did not ask and partly because God withheld his instruction and his blessing due to the sin of the Israelites. Had they consulted God first, he might have informed them he would not help them while they were in breach of faith.

Ai was not a large city, but they routed the Israelite force and killed some of them. They chased them off and the Israelites immediately lost their confidence. Since they thought God would give them victory over all the Canaanites, they were stunned to lose. Now they were the ones whose hearts melted.

7:6-9 Before The Lord

Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the LORD, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads. And Joshua said, "Ah, Sovereign LORD, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! O Lord, what can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?"

After the defeat, Joshua did what he should have done before the attack. He went to God. He went before the Ark, where God’s presence dwelled, and sought answers from the Lord. He was in anguish and afraid, but he still went to God as the source of relief and explanation. His anguish is because he is afraid it is God who is being unfaithful, since he does not know Israel has been unfaithful.

Joshua appealed to God to help them for the glory of his own name. Our failures diminish the perception of God’s glory among the lost, for they do not know the difference between the failure of God and the failure of God’s people. But God is so concerned with complete obedience and purity, that he will suffer the loss of his own reputation rather than reward sin in his own people.

7:10 The Lord Answers

The LORD said to Joshua, "Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.

The Lord informed Joshua of the problem, the breach of the covenant. He listed the sins of Israel for Joshua. The Israelites (1) took devoted things; (2) they stole; (3) they lied; (4) the commingled the devoted things with their own.

There are some things to notice here. First, one sin begets another. You might have only thought of the one sin Achan committed in taking the devoted things. But, the Lord said they stole from Him by taking what was his, they lied by saying they had obeyed the covenant, and they put his stuff with their stuff as if it were theirs. This is like lying, when you have to tell more lies to keep the story going, or stealing and having to lie and cover it up.

Second, the Lord really means it when he says something is devoted to him. Do not take what has been dedicated to the Lord.

Third, despite our American ideas of individualism, God often deals with us in groups, or corporately. He often dealt with families, he kept promises to the descendants of Israel, and he dealt with them as a nation more than he dealt with them as individuals. He did that here.
Only one man took the devoted items, and we do not know if anyone else even knew about it. But, God treated the covenant with the whole nation as violated.

God is concerned about purity and obedience in the church now also. One person living in sin may affect the whole body. 1 Corinthians 5:6 says “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.”

7:13 Repentance

"Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, 'Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it." 'In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe that the LORD takes shall come forward clan by clan; the clan that the LORD takes shall come forward family by family; and the family that the LORD takes shall come forward man by man. He who is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the LORD and has done a disgraceful thing in Israel!' "

God instructed the people to prepare themselves for his work. They were again told to consecrate themselves, so you know God was about to do something special. In this case, he was about to reveal the transgressor to the nation.

The procedure called for the Israelites to present themselves before the Lord by tribes, then by clans, then by families, and, finally, man by man. At each stage, God would reveal the guilty.
After God revealed the guilty person, he expected the nation to destroy the devoted things as they were supposed to be destroyed. In addition, they were to destroy all the man had.

7:16-19 Israel obeyed

Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was taken. The clans of Judah came forward, and he took the Zerahites. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was taken. Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me."

The Lord revealed the transgressor. Zerah was the son of Judah and Tamar, not an illustrious lineage. One of his brothers was so bad, God killed him. Joshua instructed Achan to confess and to acknowledge the Lord in glory and praise. This is a way of encouraging Achan to tell the truth. The Jews used it in John 9:24 when they urged the man born blind to tell the truth about Jesus. It especially fits here, though, since it was the Lord that revealed Achan as the transgressor. To deny it would be to deny God’s power and truthfulness.

Notice that Achan never repented. He only confessed when he was found out. All during the day when Joshua and the Elders lay on the ground before the Lord, he said nothing and neither did his family. All night long when the other Israelites consecrated themselves, he said nothing. All the next day, as God narrowed the group down, he said nothing. It was as if he thought God might not make it to him. He did not reveal himself. He was revealed.

7:20 Achan’s Response

Achan replied, "It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath."

Achan finally confessed his sin after he was revealed by the Lord. He took a Babylonian robe (literally, a mantle of Shinar), silver and gold. He said he coveted them and, therefore, took them. Coveting the things of others can lead us to other sins. 1 Timothy 6:10 says for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. Sadly, God wanted to give Achan an inheritance in the promised land. Achan wanted to settle for a pretty robe and some cash. He could not even wear the robe, as it would have revealed his sin. Achan’s heart was hardened by sin.

7:22 Achan’s Punishment

So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the LORD. Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today."

Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.

This is church discipline as you have never seen it. Not only was Achan identified as a sinner in front of the whole congregation, the evidence of his sin was also displayed. The items he coveted were revealed. How would you like to have your sins displayed before the whole congregation of your church during the worship service?

Then, Achan and all that was tied to him was removed from the camp so that it’s purity could be maintained. He was cut off from God’s people. Also, he was removed so that his execution would not make the camp unclean.

Achan was killed and destroyed, as were all his possessions. Theologians argue as to whether his children were also killed and, if so, why. The theories are: (1) they were not killed, since it says they stoned “him” and “the rest” refers to his possessions; (2) they stoned the children also, but because they had knowledge of the sin and did not report it; and (3) they stoned the children and they bore the same punishment as the head of the family.

If only the animals had been stoned, the passage should have mentioned it, since it is otherwise clear that they have taken everything related to Achan out of the camp to destroy. The children were not questioned, although it would not seem Achan could hide the spoils in his tent without his family knowing something was wrong.

The emphasis here is on the sin of Achan in taking the devoted things. I think the children were destroyed for Achan’s sin, as he was head of the family, and he and all traces of him were excised from the camp. He was completely removed from the congregation. God also dealt with this family based on his sin. God described himself in Exodus 20:5 as one who punished the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Matthew Henry agrees on this point.

Remember, also, that God was already punishing the entire nation, and holding that the entire nation was in breach of the covenant, because of the sin of Achan.

After Achan and his family was removed from the camp, the Lord’s anger abated and the Israelites moved again into obedience of the covenant. They built a second memorial. The first memorial was built to the faithfulness of the Lord. Shamefully, the second memorial was built to the unfaithfulness of Israel.

The place was even renamed the Valley of Achor, or trouble, and Achan was later referred to as Achor. It kept that name. Isaiah 65:10 refers to it by that name, as does Hosea 2:15.

There is some resemblance here to the punishment of a blasphemer in the camp. In Leviticus 24:13, the Lord told Moses to take a blasphemer outside the camp and have the entire assembly stone him to death.

I have to admit, this makes me think of the last judgment, in Revelation, when all appear before the throne, and the unbelievers are cast out and into hell forever. We must remember that, although we, as believers, live in a blessed state of forgiveness, God still hates sin and will not tolerate it. The same God who decreed this punishment for Achan will decree punishment for the unbelieving at the final judgment. He still hates sin as vehemently as he did in ancient times, and will again punish it severely.

Believe in Jesus today, repent of your sin, and be saved. It is the only way to escape this terrible judgment.
David Heddle has posted a new entry in his series on church history. This one is a good summary of the life of John Calvin. Read it here.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Battle of the Bulge is occurring in Oregon.

There is a bulge that is about 100 square miles in size and growing. This is about the size of the city of Portland. It might be a new volcano or a major shift of molten rock under the center of the Cascade Range. The bulge began around 1997 and has grown about one and one half inches per year. I empathize. They actually first saw it from space. So, I guess it is true that you can be so close to something you cannot see the truth.

The size of the bulge could indicate a pool of magma that is one mile across and 65 feet deep. That is a hunka hunka burnin' love. This “lake” of magma rises about 10 feet per year, causing the surface to bulge upward. If it is not a lake of magma, it could be the formation of a new volcano. That would be pretty exciting to scientists.

Oregon already has four of the 18 most active volcanoes in the nation. They are Mount Hood, Crater Lake, Newberry and South Sister. Scientists do not expect any damage from this new one. It make a good scenario for a movie, however.

Next door, in Washington, there is also some activity. Mount St. Helens has been building new lava domes. They usually collapse. Also, a series of strong earthquakes, greater than magnitude 3, have occurred recently about 50 miles south of the mountain. Last Thursday there was a magnitude 3.1 quake early that caused a rockfall. To continue the metaphor, that is a whole lotta shakin goin on. These rockfalls that result from earthquakes send up plumes of ash. One reached 30,000 feet this year.

The volcano, that erupted in 1980 and killed 57 people, became active again last September. Tons of rock is being extruded into the crater. The new dome is 7,600 feet high, as of this spring. In addition to these strong earthquakes, there have been constant temblors of magnitude 1 or 2, constant as in occuring every four to seven minutes.

Further south along the coast, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger shook things up when said he will veto a bill that would have made California the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Schwarzenegger said the legislation conflicts with the intent of voters as expressed in an initiative five years ago. Proposition 22 prevented California from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states or countries. It specifically states “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California”. I guess the Legislature does not care what the people want. Most of them are liberals, so I am sure they feel they know what the people need better than the people do. Liberals believe in government for the people, but not by the people. Many judges agree with the liberals. In Massachusetts and Vermont, for example, the courts recognized homosexual marriage without any legislation at all. Thousands of years of consesus about the definition of marriage had no impact on them at all. California may follow suit, pardon the pun. A lower court has already ruled this year overturning Proposition 22 and a 1978 law that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. That is on appeal, as homosexual marriage is not appealing to most Californians, as liberal as they are. It is nice to know even Californians have limits, even if federal judges do not.

Democratic Assemblyman Paul Koretz had called bans on gay marriage “the last frontier of bigotry and discrimination.” And I thought that applied to liberal thinking about Christians.

Swinging around to Texas, the Mexican army has invaded again. It is not quite the same as the invasion of 1846. A Mexican army convoy crossed into the United States a few days ago bringing aid to hurricane victims. Way to go, amigos. After all the tensions between our countries, I am truly impressed by this sympathetic action. 45 vehicles brought water treatment plants and kitchens to San Antonio, where the soldiers will feed and help the evacuees. The Mexican government has also promised more aid.

I am truly impressed.
Sometimes we are inclined to think that a very great portion of modern revivalism has been more a curse than a blessing, because it has led thousands to a kind of peace before they have known their misery; restoring the prodigal to the Father’s house, and never leading him to say ‘Father I have sinned.’ How can he be healed who is not sick? Or he be satisfied with the bread of life who is not hungry? The old fashioned sense of sin is despised, and consequently religion is run up before the foundations are dug out. Everything in this age is shallow. Deep sea fishing is almost and extinct business so far as men’s souls are concerned. The consequence is that men leap into religion, and then leap out again. Unhumbled they came to the church, unhumbled they remained in it, and unhumbled they go from it.

From Charles Spurgeon, The Sword and Trowel, 1882.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


5:2-8 Circumcising the Nation

2 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, Â?Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.Â? 3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth. [1] 4 And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way after they had come out of Egypt. 5 Though all the people who came out had been circumcised, yet all the people who were born on the way in the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised. 6 For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord; the Lord swore to them that he would not let them see the land that the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7 So it was their children, whom he raised up in their place, that Joshua circumcised. For they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way. 8 When the circumcising of the whole nation was finished, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. 9 And the Lord said to Joshua, Â?Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.Â? And so the name of that place is called Gilgal [2] to this day.
The emphasis continues to be on spiritual preparation. The premise is that the Lord will give them the land, so they must be spiritually prepared to follow the Lord and receive his provision.

Circumcision was a sign of the covenant between God and the descendants of Abraham. See Genesis 17:3-14. The covenant had been broken by Israel. When an individual broke the covenant, he was cut off from the people. When the whole nation broke the covenant, it was cut off from the land.

This passage in Joshua tells us that the men who came out of Egypt were circumcised, but those who were born during their wanderings in the desert had not. Moses recorded this factdeterminednomy 2:14-15. So, all of the men were circumcised and they remained in the camp until they healed. This took faith, in addition to obedience, because they were camped in enemy territory. They might even have remembered the story of how JacobÂ?s sons tricked the men of Shechem into being circumcised, the slaughtered them to avenge their sister Dinah. This story is in Genesis 34. It also shows that the strategies we might adopt in human wisdom are not necessarily in agreement with GodÂ?s plan. Since verse 1 told ucommunitiesanites were fearful since the God parted the Jordan for the Israelites, human wisdom would say to attack immediately. But, God had the battle plans in order. What he wanted from the Israelites was spiritual preparation and obedience.

They were circumcised with flint knives, just as Zipporah circumcised her son in Exodus 4:25, when Moses had not done it.

God also said he had rolled away the reproach of Egypt. Their redemption from slavery in Egypt was not complete until they reached the promised land of Canaan. There is also some thought that Egypt would hold Israel in reproach for wandering in the desert, as that was an indication God had forsaken them. That is what Moses said would happen in Exodus 32:12.

5:10-11 First Passover in Canaan

10 While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho. 11 And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain.

The second spiritual preparation the Israelites made was to celebrate the Passover. They had not observed Passover since their encounter with God at Mt. Sinai in Numbers 9:1-5. So, while they stayed in the desert under GodÂ?s condemnation, they did not celebrate Passover or circumcise their children. They had disobeyed God by refusing to enter Canaan and they were in a state of broken covenant with God. This is recorded in Numbers 14. In Leviticus 20:40 et seq, God told them that, after they rebelled and were punished, they would confess their sins. When their uncircumcised hearts were humbled, he would remember his covenant with them. That has evidently occurred here.

The date is given here, because they were commanded to celebrate it on that date. In Exodus 12:2 and Deuteronomy 16:1, God said that month was to be the first month of their year. They called it Abib (Nisan?) and Passover was to be on the 14th of the month. At twilight, they were to slaughter a lamb, (put the blood on the lamp posts on the first occasion), then eat the lamb, bread without yeast, and bitter herbs. So, on the evening of the 14th, the Israelites celebrated Passover according the LordÂ?s command.

5:12 Change In Provisions

12 And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
An interesting thing happened the day after the Passover. For the first time, the Israelites ate produce from the promised land. After that, the manna no longer appeared.

5:13-15 The Commander of the Lord's Army

13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, Â?Are you for us, or for our adversaries?Â? 14 And he said, Â?No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.Â? And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, Â?What does my lord say to his servant?Â? 15 And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, Â?Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.Â? And Joshua did so.

Finally, after the consecration of the people, the crossing of the Jordan, the circumcision of the men and the celebration of the Passover, the Lord appears to Joshua. Joshua apparently was going to get a first hand look at Jericho. The Lord appears as a commander, meaning he is ready to lead Israel to military victory.

Joshua was instructed to take off his shoes on the holy ground, just as Moses was at the burning bush in Exodus 3. In Leviticus 19:2, God said be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy. Notice that God is with Joshua just as he was with Moses, as he promised Joshua he would be.

Some think this person was an angel, maybe the Â?angel of the LordÂ? mentioned many times in the Old Testament. Some think this was not an angel, but the Lord who appeared. Note that he does not tell Joshua not to worship him and he instructs him that he is on holy ground. (The NIV says he Â?fell facedown to the ground in reverenceÂ? rather than use the word Â?worshipÂ?), which may indicate an uncertainty on the part of the translators on this very issue.

When Joshua asked for instructions, the Commander did not give him military instruction, but instruction on reverence.

Lessons To Be Learned From Joshua 5:

GodÂ?s people need spiritual preparation for battle.

Success is measured in terms of adherence and obedience to GodÂ?s word, rather than earthly accomplishment.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The efforts of the Democrats to court religious people have failed so far. The Pew Research Center released a poll yesterday that shows fewer people see Democrats as friendly to religion than did one year ago.

One year ago, 40 percent of Americans felt Democrats were friendly to religion. Now, only 29 percent feel that way. This is despite meetings with clergy and hiring a coordinator for religious outreach. Maybe the problem is this: Democrats are not friendly to religion.

Democrats routinely confuse religion with values. They say they need to do a better job of talking about their values and showing that people share their values. Values may be a religion to Democrats, but not to religious people. For religious people, values flow from religion, but religion means worship of God and obedience to his commands.

So, the Democratic leader says, look, we support a higher minimum wage and that is a value, a good value. Therefore, we are just like religious people. At the same time, the same leader supports groups that seek to remove religion, especially Christianity, from public life. They support abortion and want to force people who find it abhorrand to pay for it with their tax dollars. The want to force homosexuality on religious people and give it the same place in society as traditional marriage.

Those are not the values that will sell with religious people.

But, those are Democrat values.
In response to Levi's comment, I was thinking more along the lines of Proverbs 22:15:
15: Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Did Jesus really exist? Does anyone outside Christianity believe it. Yes!

Maimonides, famous 12th century Jewish scholar, in his "Epistle to Yemen," wrote "Jesus of Nazareth . . . interpreted the Torah and its precepts in such a fashion as to lead to their total annulment. The sages, of blessed memory, having become aware of his plans before his reputation spread among our people, meted out fitting punishment to him."