Courage (Part 2)

Joshua 2:1-11  Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia. He instructed them, “Spy out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho.” So the two men set out and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there that night. But someone told the king of Jericho, “Some Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab: “Bring out the men who have come into your house. They are spies sent here to discover the best way to attack us.” Rahab, who had hidden the two men, replied, “The men were here earlier, but I didn’t know where they were from. They left the city at dusk, as the city gates were about to close, and I don’t know where they went. If you hurry, you can probably catch up with them.” (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them beneath piles of flax.) So the king’s men went looking for the spies along the road leading to the shallow crossing places of the Jordan River. And as soon as the king’s men had left, the city gate was shut. Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them. “I know the Lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone is living in terror. For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.”

Joshua 7:2-12a  Joshua sent some of his men from Jericho to spy out the city of Ai, east of Bethel, near Beth-aven. When they returned, they told Joshua, “It’s a small town, and it won’t take more than two or three thousand of us to destroy it. There’s no need for all of us to go there.” So approximately three thousand warriors were sent, but they were soundly defeated. The men of Ai chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the quarries, and they killed about thirty-six who were retreating down the slope. The Israelites were paralyzed with fear at this turn of events, and their courage melted away. Joshua and the leaders of Israel tore their clothing in dismay, threw dust on their heads, and bowed down facing the Ark of the Lord until evening. Then Joshua cried out, “Sovereign Lord, why did you bring us across the Jordan River if you are going to let the Amorites kill us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side! Lord, what am I to say, now that Israel has fled from its enemies? For when the Canaanites and all the other people living in the land hear about it, they will surround us and wipe us off the face of the earth. And then what will happen to the honor of your great name?” But the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? Israel has sinned and broken My covenant! They have stolen the things that I commanded to be set apart for Me. And they have not only stolen them; they have also lied about it and hidden the things among their belongings. That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat.”

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