A Gathering of Mad Men

Sin can make you crazy. Yes, you.

Joshua 10 (1)

Now it came to pass when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai and had utterly destroyed it—as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king—and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, that they feared greatly, because Gibeon 
wasa great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty. Therefore Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish, and Debir king of Eglon, saying, “Come up to me and help me, that we may attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.” Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they and all their armies, and camped before Gibeon and made war against it. And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, saying, “Do not forsake your servants; come up to us quickly, save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us.” Joshua 10.1-6

1.  Slavery to sin and false gods can make a person crazy. How can you see that in the actions of these kings?

2.  How can you see that God used the covenant with Gibeon for the larger purposes of His covenant?

Think about it.
God uses the covenant with Gibeon to bless His people in an unusual way. The Canaanite kings, who were normally wary of, and frequently at war with, one another, ban together to give the Gibeonites their come-uppance for aligning with Israel. Their combined forces represent a sizeable chunk of the southern sector of the land of promise. Rather than Israel needing to march on each of these nations separately, they come together in one place, thinking to punish the people of Gibeon.

That would prove to be a tactical error of the first magnitude.

The people of Gibeon took their covenant relationship with Israel seriously. They send messengers to Joshua, calling on him to come and deliver the servants of Israel. Having aligned themselves with the people of God, they fully expect to know the protections God gives to those who rest in Him, even those who are the lowest of His servants.

We might ask: Why didn’t these five kings follow the lead of Gibeon and pursue peace with Israel? They knew that Gibeon had made peace, and they also knew – and feared – that the Lord was with Joshua and Israel. Nevertheless, blinded by their self-wills, cherishing their autonomy and the false religions that propped them up, they believed they could punish the Gibeonites and then defeat Israel, if necessary. They knew God; but they believed themselves greater than God. And they determined to resist God with all the might they could muster.

It’s the problem every unbeliever faces today, and nothing short of the grace of God can overcome the madness of sin.

Meditate and discuss.
1.  Do you agree that sin makes a person crazy? In what ways?

2.  Look at Revelation 19.19. Jesus is returning, and “the kings of the earth, and their armies” can see Him, and all the host of those who have made peace with Him! And yet they “gathered together to make war against Him.” How insane is that! How does it help us in working our Personal Mission Field to understand the blinding power of sin?

3.  The law of sin still operates in every believer, too (Rom. 7.21-25), which means that we are at all times susceptible to the blinding power and madness of sin. How should we guard against succumbing to this?

“There is no doubt that when a human soul associates itself with the Word of God, it is immediately going to have enemies, and that those it once considered friends will be changed into adversaries. The soul should not only expect to suffer this from humans, but it should also know that such will likewise be forthcoming from opposing powers and spiritual iniquities. Thus it happens that whoever longs for friendship with Jesus knows he must tolerate the hostilities of many…” Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD)

Lord, keep me from the madness of sin! Help me to cling to my covenant relationship with You, to trust in You, rest in You, and…

Pray Psalm 53.
Pray for the lost people in your Personal Mission Field. They don’t understand the Gospel, and they aren’t seeking the Lord. They can even be a little hostile toward you. But remember: You were once God’s enemy, just like they are (Rom. 5.10). Ask the Lord to revive you, so that His salvation will flow from you to many.

Psalm 53 (Leoni: The God of Abraham Praise)
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God at all!” 
Corrupt are they in whole and part, unjust and small. 
Not one of them does good; God sees their wicked ways. 
None understands the Word of God or gives Him praise. 

Have all these wicked men no knowledge of God’s grace? 
The Church they hate with passion and seek not God’s face. 
Lord, strike their hearts with fear, where fear was not before. 
And scatter all who camp so near Your holy door. 

The wicked flee in shame; their ways our God rejects. 
Renew Your people in Your Name with great effects! 
Let great rejoicing sound once we renewed have been, 
And let salvation’s Word resound from us again!

T. M. Moore

The Kingdom advances through all the small encounters and tasks we’re involved in every day. Our current ReVision series, “The Small Stuff,” can help you to bring every aspect of your life into your mission for Christ and His Kingdom. If you’re not yet a subscriber to ReVision, use the pop-up on our home page, www.ailbe.org, to upgrade your subscriptions.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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