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- the Israelites were constantly at risk when they entered Canaan due to the numerous tribes that inhabited the region - the Israelites were exposed to false gods, such as Baal, the Canaanite nature god of fertility - the Israelites were often tempted to worship false gods, especially when they had poor harvest, for they were desert people and didnt know much about farming - but even so, God demanded absolute and exclusive fidelity (being faithful), for he was their liberator. If they were unfaithful, they would risk losing their land to their unity, and risk losing their unity as the true people of God - it took Israel 50 years to completely occupy Canaan for it was not easy. They relied heavily on Gods support and guidance to prevail over their enemies - God led the Israelites through this hard time by choosing worthy leaders such as JOSHUA - the settlement of Canaan represented Gods desire to establish a new society where justice, freedom, and fidelity to Him

Obedience: Joshuas Secret for Success

Joshua (YAHWEH IS SALVATION) - won battles over superior foes and successfully led the Israelites into Canaan - his strong leadership was not characterized by superior military strategy but by constant obedience to Gods will - a man of faith who boldly led his people against incredible odds because he believed in Gods promise that He would be with him - Joshuas life demonstrates how God is ever faithful to His covenant and how were supposed to respond to our mission through faith 1. God calls Joshua to lead the Israelites (Nm 27: 12-22, Dt 31: 23, Jos 1: 1-9)

- since Moses was slowly aging, he asked God for a successor, then God chose Joshua. Take Joshua, son of Nun, a man of spirit, and lay your hand upon him. (Nm 27: 18) - Joshua was the most qualified and deserving candidate to be Moses successor for he was very faithful to God and his teachings - God commissioned Joshua: Be brave and steadfast, for it is you who must bring the Israelites into the land which I promised them on oath. (Dt 31: 23) - Like Moses, Joshua did not know exactly how to accomplish his mission but God assured him that He would support him - Joshua consulted God before every major endeavor 2. Joshua leads the Israelites in crossing the River Jordan (Jos 3-4) - Israels first problem was crossing the River Jordan and establishing a foothold in Canaan. God told Joshua to send the Ark of the Covenant into the river first, and then the water receded, which allowed the Israelites to cross. - this event was considered miraculous by the Israelites, which can be also known as a plague. - the Israelites believed that this miracle came from Gods power. in order that all peoples of the earth may learn that the hand of the Lord is mighty. (Jos 4: 24) 3. The Israelites experience victory at Jericho (Jos 5: 13-15, Jos 6) - since Joshua knew that they could not afford to be caught between two or more enemy tribes, he knew they had to conquer the city of Jericho first, before the highlands of Canaan. - before the Israelites crossed the River Jordan, Joshua sent 2 spies to explore Jericho and its surroundings. The spies were almost captured, but a woman named Rahab helped them escape. - God intervened and assured Joshua of victory. I have delivered Jericho and its king into your power. (Jos 6: 2) - God told Joshua to do the following: 1. Have all the soldiers circle the city and march around it once. 2. Do this for 6 days with seven priests carrying rams horns ahead of the ark. 3. On the 7th day, march around the city 7 times and have the priests blow the horns. 4. Have all the people shout aloud when the priests give a long blast on their rams horns.

5. When the city walls collapse, make a frontal attack. - the walls of Jericho indeed fell, which the Israelites believed once again, to be one of His works. - the Israelites were able to take over Jericho and then Canaan, all through Gods intervention - when Joshua had finished his last task for God, he gathered the people at Shechem to renew their covenant with Yahweh
The Israelites fell into a cycle of sin, punishment, repentance, and deliverance. This cycle became a way of life for them in the OT. They kept forgetting one simple truth--to survive in Canaan, they had only to remain faithful to God. Like the Israelites, we need to realize that we can overcome our weaknesses only through faithful cooperation with God's grace. Through sincere prayer and a conscious moral effort on our part, we can slowly break the vicious cycle of sin that enslaves us. The judges in the OT were not interpreters of law like in the present. Rather, they were military and spiritual leaders called by God to protect His Chosen People and to keep them faithful to the covenant. They were heroes inspired by the Holy Spirit to be God's instruments. Gideon and His Dedication to God The Israelites began to worship other gods. This distracted them and gave the Midianites the chance to invade their land. 1. God calls Gideon to lead his people (Jgs 6) - Gideon was called by Yahweh through an angel: "The Lord is with you, O champion!" (Jgs 6:12) - Gideon at first didn't believe it, but God was patient with him. Even if Gideon felt that he was insignificant and felt reluctant to heed God's call, God reassured him by saying, "I shall be with you." (Jgs 6:16) 2. Gideon leads in the defeat of Midian (Jgs 7) - Gideon sent messengers to various tribes and gathered an army of 1000 Israelites, but God only told him he only needed 200 - instead of using swords or shields, Gideon was told by God to use trumpets, torches, and pots - At a given signal, they uncovered their torches and blew their trumpets, shouting "For the Lord and for Gideon!", then they broke the pots - the Midianites awoke in total confusion and panic. They began fighting and killing each other, then fled. They were defeated as God promised. God once again gave strange instructions to His chosen leader. This again proves that God's ways are very different from our ways. Gideon was called the brave and mighty man of God. But when the Israelites invited him to be their king, Gideon responded with humility by saying, "I will not rule over

you, nor shall my son rule over you. The Lord must rule over you." (Jgs 8:23) Samson and His Reliance on Spiritual Power The Philistines were the most persistent and threatening of all the Israelites' enemies. Their oppression of the Israelites was the longest and the worst. 1. God fulfills a promise in the birth of Samson (Jgs 13:1-23) - Samson was the fulfillment of a prophecy about a baby boy who would become a great warrior - at Samson's birth, angels appeared signifying God's presence and intervention. - he was offered to God and consecrated as a Nazarite (Nazarite Vow = uncut hair, no drinking wine) 2. Samson fights the Philistines (Jgs 15) - Samson was a very strong man. To keep his strength, he just had to maintain his Nazarite vow, which was a sign of one's dedication to God - it was Samson's strength that protected Israel from the Philistines - Samson, however, was not a military hero. He did not gather any warriors to fight with him but waged war alone 3. Samson succumbs to a human weakness (Jgs 16) - Samson was also overconfident and overly proud of his abilities (weakness) - the Philistines learned that Samson had a human weakness through a woman named Delilah - Samson fell in love with Delilah. At first, Samson didn't tell Delilah his secret, but when Delilah pretended to be very hurt, Samson told Delilah about his Nazarite vow - Delilah cut Samson's hair, and Samson was captured by the Philistines - they tortured Samson; chained him, gouged out his eyes, and enslaved him - the Philistines though didn't notice that Samson's hair had slowly grown back. So Samson prayed to God and asked for strength one last time - using all his regained Strength, Samson pushed against the pillars and cried: "Let me die with the Philistines!" (Jgs 16:30) Samson had offered his life to save Israel and shown Yahweh's power against the Philistines. He was able to fulfill his mission. Samuel and His Strong Prayer Life Many judges had come and gone but Israel continued to be unfaithful. The Philistines continued to pose a threat to the Israelites. The Israelites thought about having a human king, just like the other nations, who could save them from their enemies permanently. At that time they were waiting for another judge to deliver them, little did they know that Samuel would be the last judge. 1. God answers a mother's prayer. (1 Sm 1:11) - a woman named Hannah, who was barren, prayed to God for a male child, and promised God that he will be consecrated as a Nazarite (Nazareth) - God heard her plea, and gave her a son, whom she named Samuel, which meant

"Asked of God" - as she promised, Hannah offered Samuel to God; she took care of him first then gave him to Eli, the high priest, to serve in the temple. - Hannah wanted Samuel's life to be dedicated to God for as long as he lived 2. God calls Samuel (1 Sm 3) - Under Eli, Samuel learned the importance of faith in God and the way to live a holy life - one night when he was sleeping near the Ark of the Covenant, Samuel heard someone calling him. Thinking it was Eli calling him, Samuel came to him. When God called Samuel a 2nd and 3rd time, Eli realized it was God calling Samuel so he told Samuel to reply, "Speak Lord, for Your servant hears." (1 Sm 3:9) - Samuel followed Eli's instructions, and the Lord spoke to him and called Samuel to his service

3. Samuel leads Israel in prayer (1 Sm 7) - when Samuel saw how disrespectful to the Ark of the Covenant the people had become, he gathered the people to pray for themselves and repent - when the Israelites wanted a king, Samuel prayed and asked God to help him. Before making major decisions, Samuel always prayed first; he took time to show the people how they had done wrong and he motivated them to turn back to God - Samuel's call was to be a priest and a prophet; as a priest, he was to be a model of faith and prayer. As a prophet, he was to tell the people of God's will for them - God would work through Samuel to help His people select their first king, and continue the lineage which would eventually lead to David and Jesus Christ 4. Israel desires a king (1 Sm 8) - the Israelites' desire for a king grew stronger. God told Samuel to warn the people about the right and power of a king - but the Israelites didn't listen. They continued to pressure Samuel to select a king for them - the Lord instructed Samuel to do as the Israelites wished. He consoled Samuel saying, "It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king" (1 Sm 8:7) - God also told Samuel, "At this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin whom you are to anoint as commander of my people Israel. He shall save my people from the clutches of the Philistines, for I have witnessed their misery and accepted their cry for help" (1 Sm 9:16) In Samuel, we see the importance of prayer in the life of a leader. Samuel always consulted God in prayer whenever he was to make important decisions. He prayed to find out what God wanted him to do. He also prayed for the Israelites and led them to repentance. The Lesson of Saul's Disobedience: His Failure as King - Saul was a sheperd from the south - He came to Ephraim to look for his father's lost donkeys. Saul and his servant went to Samuel, hoping that Israel's judge and prophet could help them find the donkeys - Samuel spotted Saul easily in the market for Saul was strikingly taller than anyone

else there - God told Samuel, "This is the man of whom I told you; he is to govern my people" (1 Sm 9:17) - Samuel told Saul that he was to be Israel's first king. Saul was shocked at this revelation. Eventually though, Saul trusted Samuel and reluctantly accepted the offer to be king - the next morning, Samuel privately anointed Saul as the first king of Israel. Anointing was a sign that Saul was God's choice. He was to rule over the Israelites as God's servant; the Spirit of the Lord was given to Saul so he could save God's people The Early Reign of Saul - Saul had all the qualities of a good king. He was a good and able-bodied man, and a capable mediator. He prevented the tribes from fighting one another. He successfully gathered men and formed an army, something the judges couldn't do - He claimed his first military victory over the Ammonites (1 Sm 11: 1-15) - inspired by his bravery, the Israelites folloiwed Saul into battle against their enemies. - Saul found favor with God. Under his leadership, Israel became united The Later Reign of Saul - as his duties grew, Saul be came temparemental and impatient. He began to have violent mood swings and make wrong decisions - the sacred writers often described Saul's tantrums by saying, "The spirit of the Lord had left him." Saul even quarreled often with Samuel, his closest adviser - one time, Saul performed religious ceremonies before battle even though he was told by Samuel not to do so - in another battle, he was instructed by God not to take anything from the defeated enemy, but Saul didn't listen and got the enemy's cattle - Saul's power gradually alienated him from his own people and threatened the existence of his kingdom - he had forgotten that kings are meant to serve other. He had grown corrupt and self-centered - the once reliable, humble, and resourceful young man had become ill-tempered, cruel, and disobedient. This struggle would be with him for the rest of his life Saul, initially a great leader, brought unity among the Israelites. Later on, however, his impatience and bad temper led him to disobey God's commands completely. Doctrine God showed His concern for His people by calling exemplary individuals to be the leaders of Israel. He was faithful to His promuse to remain always with the Israelites. Moral Trust in God and obedience to His laws were the reasons for the success of the Israelite leaders. We should learn from their examples and remain faithful to God. Worship The stories of Joshua and the judges of Israel show us the importance of prayer. Whenever their enemies attacked them, the Israelites cried out to God for

deliverance. When faced with big challenges, their leaders prated for enlightenment. We too must turn to God in times of distress, but we should not remember Him only when we have troubles. Prayer should help us see God in all experiences. Saul became disobedient to Samuel and to God. Guided by God, Samuel left at once to find and anoint Israel's next king. David's Call and Anointing (1 Sm 16:1-13) - Samuel was led by God to the house of Jesse of Bethlehem - Jesse presented his sons to Samuel, who were all tall, strong, and handsome. However, Yahweh told Samuel, "Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature.. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart" (1 Sm 16:7) - God was concerned with the inner qualities of a person. Just as he had reasons for choosing Moses, God had his reasons for choosing David over his siblings - Samuel asked Jesse if had anymore sons, so Jesse sent for his youngest son, David - when David came, God said to Samuel, " 'There--anoint him for this is he!' Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him.. and from that day on, the spirit of the Lord rushed upon David" (1 Sm 16:12-13) Although David was the youngest and least experienced among Jesse's sons, it was he who Samuel anointed to be next king of Israel. Though David had the blessing of God, Saul was still the king. He respected Saul so he waited for his own time to be king. The Young David David at the Court of Saul (1 Sm 16:17-23) - Saul often felt stressed and experienced bad moods, so he asked his servants to find a harpist whose music could calm him down - the servants found David who was good with the harp. His playing would calm Saul down - David's soothing melodies became such a great comfort to Saul that he asked David to remain in his service; David became one of Saul's armor-bearers - the Philistines continued to threaten the Israelites. There was a giant Philistine warrior named Goliath who no Israelite dared to fight - Goliath personified to the people the cruelty and intimidating presence of their enemies David's Victory over Goliath (1 Sm 17:41-54) With all his soldiers afraid to face Goliath, Saul became desperate. Saul even offered my and even his daughter to anyone who could defeat the giant, but no one took his offer. 1. Goliath dares the Israelites - for 40 days, Goliath waited for a challenger. During this time, David arrived at the Israelite camp to deliver food. He was surprised why no one challenged Goliath. He asked, "Who is Philistine.. that he should insult the armies of the living God?" (1 Sm 17:26) 2. David accepts Goliath's challenge

- instead of keeping quiet, David approached King Saul and offered to fight Goliath. The Philistines laughed when David came to the field, for he was so small and weak compared to Goliath. David only had a shepherd's staff, a sling, and 5 stones. - David was not afraid, for his confidence came from the conviction that God would decide the outcome of his battle. 3. David wins the battle - David took a stone and hurled it with a sling at Goliath's forehead. Goliath got knocked out. David then took Goliath's sword and killed him in front of the shocked Philistines. - David's incredible victory showed that Yahweh was the living God who gave courage to the weak and fearful, saved the opperessed, and made the impossible come true. - David's days as a shepherd were over. He was now a great warrior in Saul's army; Israel's new hero and greatest champion. 4. Saul became jealous of David (1 Sm 18:6-16) - when Saul and David returned from the Israelites' victorious battle, they were met by several women who sang, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands" (1 Sm 18:7) - Saul grew angry when he heard the song. He began to envy David's success and suddenly saw him as a threat to the throne. - Saul's jealousy grew so intense that he planned to kill David. Once, he aimed a spear at David while David was playing the harp. Saul also sent David into dangerous battles hoping that he would be killed in battle. David's Friendship with Jonathan - David became a close friend of Saul's son, Jonathan. Jonathan was a great warrior; he often helped David in battle - Jonathan learned about Saul's plot to kill David, so Jonathan warned David and helped him escape. Jonathan showed that he was a good friend and a good son by saving both David and Saul - David became a fugitive and traveled from one place to another to escape from Saul's pursuit David Spares Saul (1 Sm 24) - one night, Saul came upon the cave where David was hiding, and rested there - David saw the perfect opportunity to kill Saul, but instead of murdering Saul and ending his ordeal, David just cut off a piece of Saul's robe - when Saul woke up in the morning, David showed the cloth to Saul and said, "My lord the king! ... Why do you listen to those who say, 'David is trying to harm you'? You see for yourself today that the Lord just now delivered you into my grasp in the cave. I had some thought of killing you, but I took pity on you instead... I will not raise a hand against my lord, for he is the Lord's anointed and a father to me" - Saul was deeply moved; he felt ashamed for plotting to kill David. David had both reason and opportunity to kill Saul but wisely chose not to do so. David showed that he was still loyal to the king despite Saul's efforts to kill him - Saul returned to Canaan but quickly forgot the lesson he had learned. He again became jealous of David and wanted to hunt him down, but there were more serious problems this time. Samuel had died and the Philistines had invaded deep into Israelite territory - Jonathan fought valiantly to save his father but the Philistines had all Israelite forces surrounded. Soon after Jonathan died, Saul and his army were defeated.

David, who was far away, heard about the news and mourned the tragic deaths of Jonathan and Saul

King Davids Reign

With Saul gone, David became King of Israel. He knew very well that he needed Gods guidance more than ever. He asked God, Where shall I go? (2 Sm 2:1) God told him to go to Hebron, which was in the center of Judah. There, the men of Judah anointed David as their new king. They publicly recognized him as Gods choice.

Davids Accomplishments
David achieved much for Israelmilitary and political victories, religious stability, cultural advances, peace, and prosperity. Davids first problem was how to win back the northern tribes, who were still loyal to Saul. But after some months, David was able to unite all tribes of Israel into one nation. 1. David gains military and political victories The Israelites won successive victories over the Philistines and finally drove them out of Canaan. David also entered into a treaty with the Pheonician king. This expanded the borders of Israel as far as Assyria in the north and Egypt in the south. Never before had Israel experienced such political power. David brought a period of internal and external peace to his nation. 1. David establishes Jerusalem at the seat of power. David transferred the seat of power to Jerusalem. This gave his people a fresh start. David also gave due importance to the Ark of the Covenant which had been neglected during the time of Saul. He transferred the ark to Jerusalem so that all the tribes of Israel could worship Yahweh there. Jerusalem was transformed into a religious capital. This legacy of David began a tradition that would last a thousand years. 1. David encourages the writing of the OT books. Davids reign was characterized by peace, order, and justice and with such an atmosphere, scholars were encouraged to produce many of the great books of the OT such as the Pentateuch and the Book of Psalms. 1. David receives Gods promises. God promised greatness and immortality to Davids kingdom Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever (2 Sm 7:16) I will make your dynasty stand firm forever (Ps 89:5) God promised David that his family line would go on forever. The greatest gift God offered David was only seen generations later when Jesus Christ was the Messiah was born from Davids line.

King Davids Sin and Repentance

David was a great leader, but he was not perfect. Like Saul, he, too, succumbed to temptation and sin.

Davids Sins of Lust, Murder, and Adultery (2 Sm 11)

One day, David saw a beautiful woman named Bathsheba bathing, and asked his servant to bring her to him. She was the wife of Uriah, one of Davids trusted officers. Although David had many wives already, he still desired to have Bathsheba as well. It was legal at that time to have more than one wife, but marrying someone elses wife was illegal, for doing so was to commit adultery and was not allowed by Jewish law. So David sent Uriah to the frontlines of battle where he would surely be killed. With Uriah dead, David could then take Bathsheba as his wife. It was a clear case of lust, murder, and adultery.

Davids Repentance (2 Sm 12)

God was displeased with Davids sins so He sent the prophet Nathan to denounce his sinfulness. Nathan came into Davids palace and told him a story about a rich man who had many cattle, and a poor man who only had one lamb. The rich man received a visitor, but he would not take from his own flocks, so he just got the poor mans lamb instead. David got very angry with that man, but Nathan said David was that man. (2 Sm 12:1-7)

Nathan used a powerful story to point out Davids hidden sins and make him realize the great injustice he had committed. 1. David acknowledges his sins. David acknowledged the truth humbly: I have sinned against the Lord (2 Sm 12:13) He realized the seriousness of the evil he had done and remembered how good God had been to him. He wept in sorrow and awaited Gods punishment. 1. David faces his punishment. David saw chaos in his family and in his nation. His first son with Bathsheba died (2 Sm 12: 15-18), his other sons murdered each other (2 Sm 13), and his son Absalom plotted a rebellion against him (2 Sm 15). All these events brought him great sorrow so he begged for Gods forgiveness. God forgave David but David had to face the consequences of his sins. 1. David receives Gods saving grace. Its important to remember that even though David sinned, he repented. In the end, the brave and courageous David became a model of repentance Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense. Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.. A

clean heart create for me God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.. Restore my joy in Your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit. (Ps 51: 3-4, 12, 14) After his genuine repentance, David lived in Gods grace once again. He received tremendous blessings of prosperity from God. That is why the Scriptures refer to him as, a man made after Gods own heart. His kingdom grew more admirable in the eyes of people. His reign brought great peace and prosperity to Israel. Source: Called to Discover our Christian Roots