Well, I feel I rather drew the short straw at ASLP on Sunday with Joshua 11-12 as my passage – but then actually, each of the sections in the series has had its moments, so I realise I wasn’t alone! But this section provides a summary of Israel’s conquest of the Land in the preceding 10 chapters, concluding with its triumphant list of 31 indigenous kings beaten and executed. Not only that, but in passing it has all kinds of profoundly difficult lines, not least Joshua 11:6 and Joshua 11:20.

The fact of the matter is that it precisely these kinds of passages that cause the likes of Steve Chalke to reject their authority (in the traditional understanding of the word) with good reason (as he does in this recent article here). I really sympathise with him. But I also profoundly disagree with the conclusions he draws. And if we are to disagree with him, we have to put our money where our mouth is and handle these sorts of passages somehow, with integrity and charity. But I do take as a helpful corrective to glib oversimplification, this challenging paragraph from Thomas Merton

There is, in a word, nothing comfortable about the Bible – until we manage to get so used to it that we make it comfortable for ourselves… Have we ceased to question the book and be questioned by it? Have we ceased to fight it? Then perhaps our reading is no longer serious. For most people, the understanding of the Bible is, and should be, a struggle: not merely to find meanings that can be looked up in books of reference, but to come to terms personally with the stark scandal in the Bible itself… Let us not be too sure we know the Bible just because we have learned not to be astonished at it, just because we have learned not to have problems with it.

map-01c-conquest-of-canaanSo this was my provisional and flawed attempt on Sunday. It became a talk of 3s! You can download the audio here

  • With texts like this we have 3 options
    • to ignore them (what most Christians do)
    • to reject them
    • to wrestle with them
  • Deuteronomy provides crucial background to the conquest
    • Deut 6:1-12 – A Gift of Grace
    • Deut 9:4-5 – An Act of Justice
    • Deut 20:16-18 – A sign of Protection
  • Exodus provides crucial background to the hardening of the Canaanite kings hearts
    • Pharaoh’s heart ‘became/was’ hard (Ex 7:13, 7:22, 8:19)
    • Pharaoh hardened his heart (Ex 8:15, 8:32, 9:34)
    • The LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Ex 9:12, 10:20, 10:27, 14:8)
  • 3 Main headings:
    • A Victory Promised
    • A Total Obedience
    • A Promise Fulfilled

John Martin - Joshua commanding Sun standing Still

John Martin: Joshua commanding the Sun to Stand Still

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