Life-Study of Joshua, Judges & Ruthby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
To study the Old Testament histories and prophecies we need a full scope, a full view, of the entire Scriptures concerning God’s economy for Christ and the church which consummates in the New Jerusalem. My burden in this message is to apply this principle to Joshua 9 so that we may see the intrinsic significance of this chapter.
Joshua 9 is a record of how the children of Israel were deceived by the Gibeonites. They were deceived because they were like a wife who forgot her husband. What they did here was exactly the same as what Eve did in Genesis 3. The subtle serpent wanted to tempt, to seduce, Adam, yet he did not dare to go to him directly. Instead, Satan went to Adam’s counterpart, a female, because he knows that it is easier to deceive a female (2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:14).
The Bible reveals that in the universe there is a divine romance between God and His elect. The Bible is the record of a romance, in the most pure and holy sense, of a universal couple. The male of this couple is God Himself, and the female is God’s redeemed people as a corporate being. The Bible shows us that we, as God’s elect, are His wife and that between Him and us there must be a marriage union based upon mutual love. The universe, therefore, is a wedding place, the place where the Husband, the processed and consummated Triune God, is being joined in marriage to the redeemed, regenerated, sanctified, transformed, and glorified tripartite man. The Husband is triune and the wife is tripartite, and thus they match each other very well to live together as the unique couple in the entire universe. The consummation of this romance, of this married life, is seen in Revelation 21 and 22, two chapters that we need to read again and again until we have a clear view of the married life of this universal couple.
This divine romance is revealed repeatedly throughout the Bible. After man fell, God selected one man, Abraham. This one with all of his descendants, both Jewish and Gentile, became God’s wife. In the Old Testament God often refers to Himself as the Husband and to His people as the wife (Isa. 54:5; 62:5; Jer. 2:2; 3:1, 14; 31:32; Ezek. 16:8; 23:5; Hosea 2:7,19). Eventually, the Bible ends with the New Jerusalem as the ultimate consummation of God’s elect in the new heaven and new earth, as the universal wife for eternity (Rev. 21:9-10).
In Jeremiah 2:2 Jehovah said to Israel, “I remember concerning you... / The love of your bridal days.” There were some “bridal days,” a period of time in which God “courted” Israel. By the time God had brought Israel out of Egypt to Sinai, surely she had “fallen in love” with this universal Man, this unique Hero. Whatever Israel wanted, He could do. What they needed, He had. He had the wisdom, the capacity, the ability, the strength, the might, the power, and the authority to do everything. He seemed to say to Israel, “I am the unique One for you, and I am sufficient for you. Since I am the best One, you should not go to anyone else but just take Me. I am the loving One, and you are My beloved.” I believe that when Israel arrived at Sinai they made a definite determination to “marry” this One.
At Sinai they were married, and they went on together as a couple. Wherever they went, they were a couple walking together—the husband and the wife, the Triune God and His elect, walking as one. That was a picture of the God-man, partly God and partly man. The part that is God is the Husband, and the part that is man is the wife.
A wife should never leave her husband. Rather, she should always rely upon him and be one with him. If Eve had kept this principle when Satan came to seduce her, she would have run away to her husband. That would have been her protection, her safeguard.
Suppose I am a wife and a poor woman comes to me asking for some help. As a wife, should I do something directly, on my own, for this poor woman? Since this seems to be an insignificant matter, I might just give her a little money or some bread without asking my husband about it. This is what happened in Joshua 9. The Gibeonites came to Israel like a poor woman coming to a rich lady from a strong, high-ranking family. Israel, the wife, should have gone to her Husband and checked with Him. But Israel “did not ask for the counsel of Jehovah” (v. 14). Instead, Israel was deceived by the Gibeonites and made a covenant with them. Once the people of Israel had made this covenant, swearing to the Gibeonites by the name of Jehovah, the covenant could not be altered, and the Israelites could not touch the Gibeonites.
The real married life is when the wife is co-living with her husband, always one with him. This means that the only way to have a pleasant married life is for the wife to be one with her husband. However, this dear wife, Israel, never learned to be habitual in this matter. At Ai they suffered a defeat and learned the lesson to be one with the Lord, but they did not learn it fully. In chapter nine the Gibeonites came to them in a different way. Whereas the people of Ai fought against Israel strongly, the Gibeonites came to them begging to be their servants. The result was that Israel, this independent, individualistic wife, was deceived. She had no protection, no safeguard. From this chapter we need to learn that, as the Lord’s wife, we should be one with Him all the time. This is the intrinsic significance of Joshua chapter nine.
Now that we have seen the intrinsic significance of this chapter, let us go on to consider what it says concerning the saving of Gibeon.
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