Today’s reading: Josh 10:16–11:23, 2 Cor 11:1–6, Ps 51:1–19
Today’s theme: Pride is the enemy
In today’s reading we come across a strange word; “Merom” which at its root represents pride. The lesson is that one of our greatest enemies is our own pride. The only way to defeat this enemy is to continually humble ourselves before God, put your foot on the enemy’s neck today by casting pride aside. Be a humble servant in God’s hands.
The enemy is under our feet
And Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and courageous. For thus the LORD will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.” Joshua 10:25 (ESV)
Joshua uses the same words of encouragement that he received from Moses and God, to encourage the people to be strong and courageous. As he speaks to the leaders he tells them to put their feet on the enemy kings’ necks.
We can learn from this, that we too should be strong in the Lord and courageous as we battle the enemy, knowing that the enemy is under our feet. See Luke 10:19 and Romans 16:20
The enemy of pride
And all these kings joined their forces and came and encamped together at the waters of Merom to fight against Israel. Joshua 11:5 (ESV)
The word ‘Merom’ has the following meaning: “heights, (place) on high, being in an elevated position; by extension: pride, haughtiness, arrogance, an improperly high opinion of oneself; exaltation, high in honour and status” (Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words).
This helps us to see a parallel truth, which is that attacks will often come in the form of or from a place of pride. Knowing this will help us to defeat the enemy, especially when that enemy is our own prideful flesh. We can win the battle by humbling ourselves. See 1 Peter 5:6
Finish the work
Just as the LORD had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses. Joshua 11:15 (ESV)
Joshua like Jesus, finished the work he had been sent to do (John 17:4). This gives us a great example of determined faithfulness, we should not procrastinate but should wholly follow the Lord and finish the work He has called each of us to do.
Take time today to stop and think about anything the Lord has called you to do which you have left half done. Determine in your heart to finish it, pray, make a plan and finish it. See Paul’s resolve in Acts 20:24.
God is sovereign over the enemy
For it was the LORD’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the LORD commanded Moses. Joshua 11:20 (ESV)
God hardens the heart of these people like He did to Pharaoh, to accomplish His purpose, this was not open to multiple outcomes or just random. God was orchestrating these coalitions so that they could be judged and destroyed by Joshua.
In the same way, as part of God’s sovereign plan, the hearts of the leaders were hardened against Jesus, leading to the cross and ultimate victory. God is so sovereign that He even uses the wicked, stubborn and cold in heart as a part of the wider accomplishment of His plans. See Romans 9:18
2 Corinthians 11:1–6
A pure and devoted people
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3 (ESV)
The false teachers that had come against Paul in Corinth were doing the work of Satan by seducing the church with a new “false / inadequate” gospel.
In the same way that Jesus is the last Adam, the Church is the last Eve. Like the narrative in the garden, we (the church) need to guard ourselves from the type of seducing deception that lured Eve into apostasy.
Again, this is a battle for the minds of the body of Christ, it is through thoughts that Satan seeks to lead believers astray from single-mindedness in Christ. We must defend the biblical and orthodox interpretation of the scriptures, and the Gospel handed down to us from those who went on before us.
We should fully embrace the idea of being the bride of Christ and therefore be faithful in our thoughts and actions to our loving husband, Christ.
The other gospels
For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. 2 Corinthians 11:4 (ESV)
Paul was being very clear here. Jesus, Spirit and Gospel are each core elements of our Faith.
The true Jesus Christ who was crucified and rose from the dead. The True Holy Spirit given as a gift from God, as the fulfilment of the promise and the pledge of inheritance. The real Gospel of forgiveness and reconciliation in Christ.
Paul knew that these three elements stand or fall together. “Another Jesus” would mean a “different Spirit,” since the Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:9 and Philippians. 1:19), and a “different gospel,” since the gospel is about Jesus (2 Corinthians 2:12 and 9:13).
In Paul’s time, the different Gospel likely focused on health and wealth, possibly along the lines “the more law you keep the more blessed you will be.” These opponents were opposed to Paul’s message of weakness, suffering and servanthood in Christ.
Your sin is your fault
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Psalm 51:4 (ESV)
We must take responsibility for our own sin and recognise that we have sinned against God. Our culture subtly teaches us that it is never ultimately our fault… but it is.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17 (ESV)
As mentioned earlier, cast pride aside and humbly bow before God.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on 2 Corinthians 11