Moving from Plan A to Plan A+ (part 5)

Moving from Plan A to Plan A+ (part 5)

From Plan A to Plan A+ (part 5)

 

When something very bad happens, whether we did it, they did it, or someone else did it, we usually respond with the thought that all is completely lost.

Well that happened to the very best leader in the book (apart from Jesus that is). His name was Joshua… He had hit home run after home run. He took Israel in to conquer and inhabit the promised land. All the people in Canaan land were to be defeated—and their evil practices (such as regular child sacrifice) were to be eliminated.

  • Joshua crossed the Jordan River by miracle.
  • He persuaded his army to march around a major city silently for six days in a row, and seven times on day 7… At their shout the walls of Jericho fell down, and the city was defeated.
  • After a set-back in the little city of Ai, Joshua led the people in repentance, and conquered that town.

Not too bad!

Then a terrified town made a deceptive plan—and succeeded in fooling not only old warrior Joshua, but also the elders of the land and all the people. They dressed up in old clothes and brought stale provisions and worn-out sacks and gloves. The claimed to be from far-away, spoke eloquently of their admiration of the God of Israel; they asked to be given a covenant.

Joshua and the elders did “due diligence”—they met them, checked out their claims, looked at their stale provisions and tattered clothing—then,

They failed to do what they needed to have done at the very start:

They didn’t talk to God at all…

So the men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not ask for the counsel of the Lord. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them (Joshua 9:14-15 NASB).

This failure was grim. They did do some research… Then Joshua and the elders did something very serious—they made a covenant. In the Hebrew Scripture, a covenant is much more serious that our handshake agreements and written promises of intent.

A covenant is eternal.

A covenant binds not only the original parties,

but every generation of their family lines forever.

An agreement expires.

A covenant could never end, while any family member lived.

Only death could end a covenant.  

  • To “cut covenant together”, the two parties would select choice animals, and split them in two.
  • Then the two parties would
    • walk between the animal pieces,
    • invoke the names of their gods and
    • declare what they were agreeing to do,
    • bind their generation, and all generations, as long as both families continued.
  • If either party broke faith and abandoned the covenant, the other party had the right to do to them as they had done to the animals.
  • Old Testament covenants were so strong that even those whose parents made them could not escape them except by dying…
  • So Israel made a covenant with a lying, deceptive enemy in disguise—and were forever bound to seek their best and for their children’s children…

Then Israel discovered that these people were the sworn enemies of their people! Imagine it is WW 2. This would be the Allied Armies making a peace treaty with people they thought were peaceful conquered nationals, who turned out to be Nazis, even as they were about to attack. And now, they were in a peace treaty with the foe they swore to defeat.

  1. In our culture, a deceptive deal goes to court, the lying jerks are cross-examined and the bad deal is tossed out.
  2. In Hebrew culture, once you split the animals, even if the deal was formed in deception with an evil motive, it could not be revoked! To say that Israel was “ticked off” would be understatement.

But when plan A got smashed, it didn’t go to plan B or plan C. God had a plan A+.  

All the cities that Joshua was about to conquer ganged up on Gibeon. They sent word to Joshua—“Help! We are surrounded by a huge army. WE MADE A COVENANT TOGETHER—Defend us!”

Joshua brought his failure to the Lord and asked God what to do with the slimy covenant…

God told him to uphold it… even to his hurt.

Joshua marched his armies through the night (and that was when there were no electric lights), surprized the armies at dawn, and defeated the gathered armies so thoroughly that it became THE major offensive of his entrance into the Promised Land.

He needed more time to get the job done. He prayed one of the strongest prayers in the history of the Bible. Upholding a covenant he never should have made, Joshua prays in the thick of the unexpected battle. Joshua told the sun to stand still in the name of the God who upholds the covenant!

And the sun stood still… (See Joshua 10:12-14)

God took his atrociously unwise, ill-informed, foolish decision, and turned it into a platform for the astonishing…

He will do that for us too! 

In fact, if we follow the logic, God can take an awful decision made by your parents, your child, your spouse, or your leader in the Sunday School and do this amazing thing:

 

God can and will turn a bad decision into the beginning of your greatest calling…

God can move from Plan A to Plan A+.

 

From Plan A to Plan A+ (part 5)

 

When something very bad happens, whether we did it, they did it, or someone else did it, we usually respond with the thought that all is completely lost.

 

Well that happened to the very best leader in the book (apart from Jesus that is). His name was Joshua… He had hit home run after home run. He took Israel in to conquer and inhabit the promised land. All the people in Canaan land were to be defeated—and their evil practices (like regular child sacrifice) were to be eliminated.

 

Joshua crossed the Jordan River by miracle.

He persuaded his army to march around a major city silently for six days in a row, and seven times on day 7… At their shout the walls of Jericho fell down, and the city was defeated.

After a set-back in the little city of Ai, Joshua led the people in repentance, and conquered that town.

Not too bad!

 

Then a terrified town made a deceptive plan—and succeeded in fooling not only old warrior Joshua, but also the elders of the land and all the people. They dressed up in old clothes and brought stale provisions and worn-out sacks and gloves. The claimed to be from far-away, spoke eloquently of their admiration of their faith and their God and asked to be given a covenant with them.

 

Joshua and the elders did “due diligence”—they met them, checked out their claims, looked at their stale provisions and tattered clothing—then,

 

They failed to do what they needed to have done at the very start.

 

They didn’t talk to God at all…

 

So the men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not ask for the counsel of the Lord. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them (Joshua 9:14-15 NASB).

This failure was grim. They did do some research… Then Joshua and the elders did something very serious—they made a covenant. In the Hebrew Scripture, a covenant is much more serious that our handshake agreements and written promises of intent.

 

A covenant is eternal.

A covenant binds not only the original parties,

but every generation of their family lines forever.

An agreement expires.

A covenant could never end, while any family member lived.

Only death could end a covenant.  

  • To “cut covenant together”, the two parties would select choice animals, and split them in two.
  • Then the two parties would
    • walk between the animal pieces,
    • invoke the names of their gods and
    • declare what they were agreeing to do,
    • bind their generation, and all generations, as long as both families continued.
  • If either party broke faith and abandoned the covenant, the other party had the right to do to them as they had done to the animals.
  • Old Testament covenants were so strong that even those whose parents made them could not escape them except by dying…
  • So Israel made a covenant with a lying, deceptive enemy in disguise—and were forever bound to seek their best and for their children’s children…

Then Israel discovered that these people were the sworn enemies of their people!

 

Imagine it is WW 2. This would be the Allied Armies making a peace treaty with people they thought were peaceful conquered nationals, who turned out to be Nazis, even as they were about to attack. And now, they were in a peace treaty.

 

In our culture, a deceptive deal goes to court, the lying jerks are cross-examined and the bad deal is tossed out.

 

In Hebrew culture, once you split the animals, even if the deal was formed in deception with an evil motive, it could not be revoked! To say that Israel was “ticked off” would be understatement.

 

But when plan A got smashed, it didn’t go to plan B or plan C. God had a plan A+.  

 

All the cities that Joshua was about to conquer ganged up on Gibeon. They sent word to Joshua—“Help! We are surrounded by a huge army. WE MADE A COVENANT TOGETHER—Defend us!”

 

Joshua brought his failure to the Lord and asked God what to do with the slimy covenant…

God told him to uphold it… even to his hurt.

 

Joshua marched his armies through the night (and that was when there were no electric lights), surprized the armies at dawn, and defeated the gathered armies so thoroughly that it became THE major offensive of his entrance into the Promised Land.

 

He needed more time to get the job done. He prayed one of the strongest prayers in the history of the Bible. Upholding a covenant he never should have made, prays in the thick of the unexpected battle. Joshua told the sun to stand still in the name of the God who upholds the covenant!

 

And the sun stood still… (See Joshua 10:12-14)

 

God took his atrociously ill-informed, foolish decision, and turned it into a platform for the astonishing…

 

In fact, if we follow the logic, God can take an awful decision made by your parents, your child, your spouse, or your leader in the Sunday School and do this amazing thing:

 

God can and will turn a bad decision into the beginning of your greatest calling…

God can move from Plan A to Plan A+.

© David Chotka, 2020



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