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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.


as a faith building exercise.

Joshua 7:12–15 (ESV)

Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you. Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow; for thus says the LORD, God of Israel, “There are devoted things in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.” In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. And the tribe that the LORD takes by lot shall come near by clans. And the clan that the LORD takes shall come near by households. And the household that the LORD takes shall come near man by man. And he who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he has done an outrageous thing in Israel.’”

Thus begins a manhunt for the perpetrator. Nowadays, we’d use a metal detector or something. These guys do it by casting lots. God will show them the way.

Thus, the search becomes another faith-building exercise. The perpetrator(s) must be hoping that the search doesn’t work. Their faith clearly has some holes in it. If they thought they’d be caught, they wouldn’t have stolen the devoted things1 in the first place.

But if the search by lots does work, then everyone will see everything confirmed. Someone really did take some of the devoted things. The LORD knows who it is and can reveal this through lots. That really is why they lost the battle (and thirty-six men).

No joke.

It’s curious how faith needs “booster shots.” These people have seen many spectacular miracles. You’d think that would have built their faith up plenty, yet the LORD orders up a booster.

One of the great beauties of the Old Testament is how it paints a detailed portrait of sinful human nature and of how that sinful nature messes up everything. We see astounding goof-up after goof-up and wonder, “How can anyone be like that?”

Then it hits us. We’re no better. The Old Testament is a portrait of human nature—not somebody else’s nature.

We need boosters too.

1Note: the reader may wonder why the accursed things in previous DEEPs are called devoted things in today’s. They’re the same; the difference is a change in translation. The Hebrew word translated in the ESV here as devoted things (חֵרֶם kher-eem) is translated as accursed things in the NKJV, which was used previously. The ESV translation is preferred for today’s DEEP because it includes the implied detail, “by lot,” in verse 14. The NKJV is the standard translation for the DEEP.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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