Seeing Obstacles Through God’s Eyes

  • September 22, 2019
Sunday 22

Joshua 2:1-24

Jericho was the first city the Israelites needed to conquer in their quest for the land of Canaan. When sending a pair of spies to check it out, Joshua probably didn’t realize that he would receive a glimpse of the Lord’s impressive behind-the-scenes activity.

We must remember to look at every obstacle through the lens of God’s unlimited strength and resources. Anything that appears to block His plans is an opportunity for Him to demonstrate His sovereign power. Just because we don’t see anything happening, that doesn’t mean He’s inactive. God is at work on the other side of our obstacles, arranging the details and bringing His plans to fruition.

When the spies returned to Joshua, they reported that the people of Jericho were scared to death. Having heard about the Jews’ deliverance from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea, they were gripped by fear of the Lord. The stage was set for the conquest, though by that point, Joshua hadn’t done a thing. Sometimes we think we need to be involved in the solution to our problem, but God is not limited with regard to whom or what He can use to accomplish His will. In this case, He worked in the hearts of the opposition by instilling demoralizing fear.

For the Christian, great obstacles need not be reasons for discouragement. Although much of the Lord’s activity is silent and invisible, we can be sure He is dynamically working out His will for our life. When the pieces of His plan are in place, He will move us on to victory.

Bible in One Year: Amos 5-9

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1 Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, Go, view the land, especially Jericho." So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there.

2 It was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land."

3 And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land."

4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from.

5 It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them."

6 But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof.

7 So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords; and as soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate.

8 Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof,

9 and said to the men, I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.

10 For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.

11 When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.

12 Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father's household, and give me a pledge of truth,

13 and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death."

14 So the men said to her, Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you."

15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall, so that she was living on the wall.

16 She said to them, Go to the hill country, so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may go on your way."

17 The men said to her, We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear,

18 unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father's household.

19 It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him.

20 But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear."

21 She said, According to your words, so be it." So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

22 They departed and came to the hill country, and remained there for three days until the pursuers returned. Now the pursuers had sought them all along the road, but had not found them.

23 Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them.

24 They said to Joshua, Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us."

1 Hear this word which I take up for you as a dirge, O house of Israel:

2 She has fallen, she will not rise again-- The virgin Israel. She lies neglected on her land; There is none to raise her up.

3 For thus says the Lord GOD, The city which goes forth a thousand strong Will have a hundred left, And the one which goes forth a hundred strong Will have ten left to the house of Israel."

4 For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel, Seek Me that you may live.

5 But do not resort to Bethel And do not come to Gilgal, Nor cross over to Beersheba; For Gilgal will certainly go into captivity And Bethel will come to trouble.

6 Seek the LORD that you may live, Or He will break forth like a fire, O house of Joseph, And it will consume with none to quench it for Bethel,

7 For those who turn justice into wormwood And cast righteousness down to the earth."

8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion And changes deep darkness into morning, Who also darkens day into night, Who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the surface of the earth, The LORD is His name.

9 It is He who flashes forth with destruction upon the strong, So that destruction comes upon the fortress.

10 They hate him who reproves in the gate, And they abhor him who speaks with integrity.

11 Therefore because you impose heavy rent on the poor And exact a tribute of grain from them, Though you have built houses of well-hewn stone, Yet you will not live in them; You have planted pleasant vineyards, yet you will not drink their wine.

12 For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great, You who distress the righteous and accept bribes And turn aside the poor in the gate.

13 Therefore at such a time the prudent person keeps silent, for it is an evil time.

14 Seek good and not evil, that you may live; And thus may the LORD God of hosts be with you, Just as you have said!

15 Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the LORD God of hosts May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

16 Therefore thus says the LORD God of hosts, the Lord, There is wailing in all the plazas, And in all the streets they say, `Alas! Alas!' They also call the farmer to mourning And professional mourners to lamentation.

17 And in all the vineyards there is wailing, Because I will pass through the midst of you," says the LORD.

18 Alas, you who are longing for the day of the LORD, For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light;

19 As when a man flees from a lion And a bear meets him, Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall And a snake bites him.

20 Will not the day of the LORD be darkness instead of light, Even gloom with no brightness in it?

21 I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies.

22 Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings.

23 Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.

24 But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

25 Did you present Me with sacrifices and grain offerings in the wilderness for forty years, O house of Israel?

26 You also carried along Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves.

27 Therefore, I will make you go into exile beyond Damascus," says the LORD, whose name is the God of hosts.

1 Woe to those who are at ease in Zion And to those who feel secure in the mountain of Samaria, The distinguished men of the foremost of nations, To whom the house of Israel comes.

2 Go over to Calneh and look, And go from there to Hamath the great, Then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are they better than these kingdoms, Or is their territory greater than yours?

3 Do you put off the day of calamity, And would you bring near the seat of violence?

4 Those who recline on beds of ivory And sprawl on their couches, And eat lambs from the flock And calves from the midst of the stall,

5 Who improvise to the sound of the harp, And like David have composed songs for themselves,

6 Who drink wine from sacrificial bowls While they anoint themselves with the finest of oils, Yet they have not grieved over the ruin of Joseph.

7 Therefore, they will now go into exile at the head of the exiles, And the sprawlers' banqueting will pass away.

8 The Lord GOD has sworn by Himself, the LORD God of hosts has declared: I loathe the arrogance of Jacob, And detest his citadels; Therefore I will deliver up the city and all it contains."

9 And it will be, if ten men are left in one house, they will die.

10 Then one's uncle, or his undertaker, will lift him up to carry out his bones from the house, and he will say to the one who is in the innermost part of the house, Is anyone else with you?" And that one will say, No one." Then he will answer, Keep quiet. For the name of the LORD is not to be mentioned."

11 For behold, the LORD is going to command that the great house be smashed to pieces and the small house to fragments.

12 Do horses run on rocks? Or does one plow them with oxen? Yet you have turned justice into poison And the fruit of righteousness into wormwood,

13 You who rejoice in Lodebar, And say, Have we not by our own strength taken Karnaim for ourselves?"

14 For behold, I am going to raise up a nation against you, O house of Israel," declares the LORD God of hosts, And they will afflict you from the entrance of Hamath To the brook of the Arabah."

1 Thus the Lord GOD showed me, and behold, He was forming a locust-swarm when the spring crop began to sprout. And behold, the spring crop was after the king's mowing.

2 And it came about, when it had finished eating the vegetation of the land, that I said, Lord GOD, please pardon! How can Jacob stand, For he is small?"

3 The LORD changed His mind about this. It shall not be," said the LORD.

4 Thus the Lord GOD showed me, and behold, the Lord GOD was calling to contend with them by fire, and it consumed the great deep and began to consume the farm land.

5 Then I said, Lord GOD, please stop! How can Jacob stand, for he is small?"

6 The LORD changed His mind about this. This too shall not be," said the Lord GOD.

7 Thus He showed me, and behold, the Lord was standing by a vertical wall with a plumb line in His hand.

8 The LORD said to me, What do you see, Amos?" And I said, A plumb line." Then the Lord said, Behold I am about to put a plumb line In the midst of My people Israel. I will spare them no longer.

9 The high places of Isaac will be desolated And the sanctuaries of Israel laid waste. Then I will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with the sword."

10 Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent word to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel; the land is unable to endure all his words.

11 For thus Amos says, `Jeroboam will die by the sword and Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.'"

12 Then Amaziah said to Amos, Go, you seer, flee away to the land of Judah and there eat bread and there do your prophesying!

13 But no longer prophesy at Bethel, for it is a sanctuary of the king and a royal residence."

14 Then Amos replied to Amaziah, I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet; for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs.

15 But the LORD took me from following the flock and the LORD said to me, `Go prophesy to My people Israel.'

16 Now hear the word of the LORD: you are saying, `You shall not prophesy against Israel nor shall you speak against the house of Isaac.'

17 Therefore, thus says the LORD, `Your wife will become a harlot in the city, your sons and your daughters will fall by the sword, your land will be parceled up by a measuring line and you yourself will die upon unclean soil. Moreover, Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.'"

1 Thus the Lord GOD showed me, and behold, there was a basket of summer fruit.

2 He said, What do you see, Amos?" And I said, A basket of summer fruit." Then the LORD said to me, The end has come for My people Israel. I will spare them no longer.

3 The songs of the palace will turn to wailing in that day," declares the Lord GOD. Many will be the corpses; in every place they will cast them forth in silence."

4 Hear this, you who trample the needy, to do away with the humble of the land,

5 saying, When will the new moon be over, So that we may sell grain, And the sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, To make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, And to cheat with dishonest scales,

6 So as to buy the helpless for money And the needy for a pair of sandals, And that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?"

7 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob, Indeed, I will never forget any of their deeds.

8 Because of this will not the land quake And everyone who dwells in it mourn? Indeed, all of it will rise up like the Nile, And it will be tossed about And subside like the Nile of Egypt.

9 It will come about in that day," declares the Lord GOD, That I will make the sun go down at noon And make the earth dark in broad daylight.

10 Then I will turn your festivals into mourning And all your songs into lamentation; And I will bring sackcloth on everyone's loins And baldness on every head. And I will make it like a time of mourning for an only son, And the end of it will be like a bitter day.

11 Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord GOD, When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD.

12 People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find it.

13 In that day the beautiful virgins And the young men will faint from thirst.

14 As for those who swear by the guilt of Samaria, Who say, `As your god lives, O Dan,' And, `As the way of Beersheba lives,' They will fall and not rise again."

1 I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and He said, Smite the capitals so that the thresholds will shake, And break them on the heads of them all! Then I will slay the rest of them with the sword; They will not have a fugitive who will flee, Or a refugee who will escape.

2 Though they dig into Sheol, From there will My hand take them; And though they ascend to heaven, From there will I bring them down.

3 Though they hide on the summit of Carmel, I will search them out and take them from there; And though they conceal themselves from My sight on the floor of the sea, From there I will command the serpent and it will bite them.

4 And though they go into captivity before their enemies, From there I will command the sword that it slay them, And I will set My eyes against them for evil and not for good."

5 The Lord GOD of hosts, The One who touches the land so that it melts, And all those who dwell in it mourn, And all of it rises up like the Nile And subsides like the Nile of Egypt;

6 The One who builds His upper chambers in the heavens And has founded His vaulted dome over the earth, He who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the face of the earth, The LORD is His name.

7 Are you not as the sons of Ethiopia to Me, O sons of Israel?" declares the LORD. Have I not brought up Israel from the land of Egypt, And the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?

8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are on the sinful kingdom, And I will destroy it from the face of the earth; Nevertheless, I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob," Declares the LORD.

9 For behold, I am commanding, And I will shake the house of Israel among all nations As grain is shaken in a sieve, But not a kernel will fall to the ground.

10 All the sinners of My people will die by the sword, Those who say, `The calamity will not overtake or confront us.'

11 In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, And wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins And rebuild it as in the days of old;

12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom And all the nations who are called by My name," Declares the LORD who does this.

13 Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, When the plowman will overtake the reaper And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; When the mountains will drip sweet wine And all the hills will be dissolved.

14 Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, And they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them; They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, And make gardens and eat their fruit.

15 I will also plant them on their land, And they will not again be rooted out from their land Which I have given them," Says the LORD your God.

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Publish Date September 22, 2019
Seeing Obstacles Through God’s Eyes

What we see as hindrances are no obstacle for God. We can trust in His power.

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