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The Gibeonites

God commanded Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land and take possession of it.  He began by destroying Jericho and Ai.  Most of the other kings banded together to resist, but one group took a different approach.

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.”  (Joshua 9:3-6)

The Israelites believed the Gibeonites and made a covenant without asking God for guidance.  Afterward they learned the Gibeonites lived nearby. Read the rest of this entry

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Promises delayed

The Israelites spent 400 years in Egypt.  They were invited to settle in Egypt to escape the famine in their own land.  At first they were honored guests but that status changed.

Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 

Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses.  (Exodus 1:8-11)

The people prayed to God for freedom from their bondage and God chose Moses to answer their prayers.

Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”   (Exodus 3:7-10)
 

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Victory, defeat, and deception

When Joshua led the Israelites into the promised land they began their conquest with a victory over the city of Jericho.  If you aren’t familiar with the story you can read it here .

The next city they attacked was Ai.  The outcome was different.

Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” And the men went up and spied out Ai.

And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not have all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not make the whole people toil up there, for they are few.”

So about three thousand men went up there from the people. And they fled before the men of Ai, and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And the hearts of the people melted and became as water.
Joshua 7:2-5 

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A curse in disguise

When someone bad happens to someone but  good results from it the experience is sometimes called a blessing in disguise.  But often people experience something that at first seems good but has harmful results.  One example of this is people who have won a large amount of money in a lottery and then found their lives ruined as a result.  I have never heard anyone call such an event a curse in disguise but it would be an accurate description.

One time Jesus encountered a curse in disguise but wasn’t hurt by it because he recognized it for what it really was.

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