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Chinese8/5/2005English
經文:約書亞記一至二章
鑰節:「這律法書不可離開你的口,總要晝夜思想,好使你謹守遵行這書上所寫的一切話。如此你……就可以亨通。」(1:8)
提要

        「摩西死了以後……耶和華曉諭約書亞」(1:1)。上帝偉大的僕人死了,但上帝的工作不死。上帝永遠會興起另一個人來接續祂的工作,因為祂不會使自己在地上沒有見證人。以色列人哀悼夠了(申34:8),現在是他們順服上帝,往前行的時候。

        約書亞記在屬靈和軍事領導統馭的事上協助摩西已有好多年了,現在摩西先走一步,上帝便向約書亞保證:「我怎樣與摩西同在,也必照樣與你同在,我必不撇下你,也不丟棄你」(1:5)。這些話使約書亞有力量去實現他「起來」、「前去」、「得迦南地為業」的神聖使命。上帝也三次用以下的話大大鼓勵他:「你當剛強壯膽」(1:6、7、9)。約書亞不只在參戰時需要這股力量,他在「遵行律法」、「晝夜思想」一事上,也需要剛強。這樣將不僅使他在戰場上得勝,也會使他在生活的各個領域埵貐q(1:8)。

        約書亞領受了上帝的任命,立刻開始組織軍隊,預備征戰。首先,他提醒流便、迦得、和瑪拿西半支派,他們曾發的誓,敦促他們要過約旦河幫助其他支派征戰,直到他們在那埵w頓下來。這三個支派也熱情的同意了,又宣誓效忠約書亞,像他們效忠摩西一樣,如此,大大提高了所有以色列人屬靈和軍事的士氣。

        接下來,約書亞派遣兩個探子去搜集情報。上帝當然會與以色列人同在,為他們爭戰,但他們也必須做他們分內的工作,有好的預備和組織。探子的任務可能是要去查看以色列的軍隊怎樣過約旦河最好(因為那時正值河水漲溢的時候,3:15;代上12:15),如何攻下耶利哥城,以及刺探當地居民的心理狀態。

        探子過約旦河西往耶利哥的路程約有八公里之遙。自然會有人問,他們為什麼要進入妓女喇合的家。聖經並沒有暗示他們有任何不道德的企圖。喇合可能兼營茶館或旅舍,陌生人是不太知道底蘊的;再說去這類公共場所,探子也比較容易得到他們想要的情報。

        在那樣一個異教文化堙A喇合的職業並不被認為錯誤或不道德。事實上,在他們的宗教堿あ僋晹頃q妓一職!不過,在喇合與探子的對話中,喇合明顯表現出一種屬靈的覺醒,也表達了她對以色列上帝一種不平凡的信心。這點使她的性命得以保全,後來更使她得著屬靈的救恩,因她成了以色列之上帝的信徒和僕人。她的生命說明了上帝的恩典和赦罪的憐憫。的確,上帝甚至能改變最邪惡的罪人。喇合在希伯來書被列為信心英雄(來11:31),她的善行得著稱讚(雅2:25)。她也是出現在耶穌家譜中的少數幾位女性之一(太1:5)。

        探子在發誓保護喇合,又囑咐她用紅線繩作標記後,便從城牆上的窗戶逃走了(耶利哥古城的挖掘證明,這種建在城牆上的房屋確實是存在的)。在喇合好心的建議下,探子往耶利哥以西約一公里的山上去躲藏了三天──這是與以色列軍營相反的方向,但卻是明智之舉,因為耶利哥王的士兵可能在城東地區尋找他們。當一切安全無虞後,他們就回到自己的營地,提出具有鼓勵性的報告,告訴約書亞,他們從喇合得知,迦南人正懼怕以色列人。上帝的百姓現已備妥,要順服上帝,前去征戰。

禱告

        主啊,謝謝您帶領我們進入這兩年的讀經之旅。我們也像約書亞一樣,不斷在您特別啟示的話語上發現「應許之地」。求您幫助我們日夜忠心的默想您的話,靠主的恩典,遵行這書上所寫的一切。奉主耶穌聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Joshua 1 & 2
Key Verse:“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it… then you will have good success.”(Joshua 1:8)
Overview

        “After the death of Moses… the Lord spoke to Joshua” (1:1). Indeed, even though great men of God die, God’s work never dies. The Lord always raises up another to carry on His ministry, for He never leaves Himself without a witness. Enough mourning (Deuteronomy 34:8), it was now time for Israel to move on in obedience to God.

        Joshua had been Moses’ assistant in both spiritual and military leadership for many years, but now that Moses was gone, the Lord assured him: “as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you” (1:5). These words would give Joshua strength to fulfill his divine commission to arise, go forth, and take the land of Canaan. God also strongly encouraged him three times with the words: “be strong and of good courage” (1:6, 7, 9). This strength according to all the law” (1:7) and constantly keep it in mind. This would be the way to success in every area of his life, not only on the battlefield (1:8).

        Charged by God, Joshua immediately started to organize and prepare for conquest. Firstly, he reminded the tribes of Reuben, God, and half Manasseh (remaining in the land east of the Jordan, Numbers 32:20-22, 33) of their obligatory oath to cross over and help the other tribes in battle until they were peacefully settled. These three tribes enthusiastically agreed and pledged allegiance to Joshua, just as they had to Moses, thus providing both the military and spiritual morale necessary for all Israel.

        Next, Joshua sent out the two pies on an intelligence-gathering mission. Of course God would be with Israel and fight for them, but they first had to do their part and be a well-prepared and organized army. The spies were probably sent to find out how the army could best cross the Jordan (since it was the time of flooding, 3:15; 1 Chron.12:15) and how they could best overtake the city of Jericho, as well as discover the inhabitants’ state of mind.

        The spies headed for Jericho, an oasis about eight kilometers west of the Jordan River. It is natural for one to question why they would go to the home of Rahab, the harlot. There is no indication of any immorality on their part. Rahab also have run a cafe or an inn where strangers in town would be less likely noticed; in such a public place the spies might easily find out the information they were seeking.

        In that pagan culture, her occupation was not considered wrong or immoral In fact, their heathen religion even had temple prostitutes! Yet in her conversation, Rahab showed evidence of a Israel. This led to her salvation, both physically and later spiritually, for she became a believer and a servant of the God of Israel. Her life illustrates the grace and forgiving mercy of God. Indeed, God can change even the vilest of sinners. Rahab was mentioned as a heroine of faith (heb.11:31) and praised for her good works (James 2:25). She is one of the three women whose name are listed in the genealogy of Jesus (Matt.1:5).

        After giving Rahab a vow of protection and the scarlet cord that would identify and save her household, the spies escaped from her window that was a part of the city wall (excavations of the ancient city at Jericho have proved that homes built in such a way actually existed). Following her good advice, the spies set out to hide for three days in the cliffs that are about one kilometer west of Jericho – the opposite direction of their camp, but a wise move, for the king’s soldiers were probably looking for them east of the city. When it was safe, they returned with an encouraging report, telling Joshua about Rahab’s words concerning the fear Israel had brought upon the Canaanites. The people of God were now ready to obey God and conquer.

Prayer

        Lord, we thank You for leading us into this two-year journey through Your Word. We, like Joshua, are discovering the Promised Land of Your special written revelation. Please keep me faithful in meditating in Your Word day and night, observing to do according to all that is written in it, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


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