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The Lessons of Gaza. 502. Dec 17, 2023.



KEY SCRIPTURE: Joshua 10:41, Joshua 15:20, 47

Joshua 10:41. And Joshua smote them from Kadeshbarnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon.


Joshua 15:20, 47. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families...Ashdod with her towns and her villages, Gaza with her towns and her villages, unto the river of Egypt, and the great sea, and the border thereof:


RELEVANCE

The recent Hamas terrorism and subsequent Israeli bombings of Gaza have raised the old argument of whose territory is Gaza.


Some say it is the Palestinian's territory. Even some uninformed Christians align with this thought. However, biblically, we must return to the Old Testament to learn what God initially determined. You won't find this part of its history in Wikipedia, as it is a very subjective website when it comes to certain biblical subjects. 


When we venture back to biblical times, it appears to be Philistine land, yet even they came from elsewhere to take it from those already there. (Jeremiah 47:4). 


Gaza features significantly in biblical history, but mostly for the wrong reasons. It was taken over by many people, including the Assyrians, Alexander the Great, the Muslim Ottoman Empire, and Great Britain as part of the Balfour Declaration, and in the end, Israel, but is currently run by Hamas, as the news declares.  


Yet, our key scriptures show that God gave it to the tribe of Judah for an inheritance as part of the takeover of Canaan promised to Abraham and led by Joshua around 1500 BC. That's 3500 years ago. After Judah conquered Gaza, the Philistines took back control and kept it for many years, yet God's promise to Judah still held.  Hence, we read a lot about its relationship with the Philistines. It was where Samson carried away their city gates after they sought to kill him. But was also where he was eventually blinded and imprisoned after he let himself be deceived by Delilah. Once his hair grew back, he pushed down the pillars of their temple of Dagon, killing lots of Philistines celebrating their sin.


From this point of Judah's inheritance, we find our lessons.


Let's not forget that Canaan was full to the brim of unimaginable iniquity and is set as an example of our lives before Christ enters. 


As a part of a Christian's spiritual inheritance, the Lord calls us to overcome the enemy, just as Judah had. In blog post 492, Are You a Passive or Active Christian? I wrote about overcoming. In fact, I write about it a lot, as it is one of the Bible's main topics throughout. 


When the tribe of Judah took Gaza, God meant for them to retain control as a portion of their inheritance, along with other sections of Canaan that God gave them. But the sinful Philistines wouldn't give up and took it back. 


When we overcome something unsavoury in our lives, we are meant to hold the line so God can continue his reign. But some of those demons don't surrender easily, returning to retake their lost ground. We rejoice when we live a godly life, but if we neglect our vigilance and compromise a little, we could be in for a battle. 


If you have read my book, FINDING MYSELF INSIDE, you'll see that I did exactly what Judah did—forfeited control of a major area of my life to the enemy. It took years and my brother's death to regain command for the Lord. Ok, God turned that experience into something good for His glory, but It was very costly and not at all the way He wanted my life and the life of my brother to go. He fixed up my mess. 


As we see today with Gaza, it is still a mess of an inheritance. The twisted Gaza history mirrors some Christian lives as they wrestle to keep spiritual control. They will find they haven't put all their effort into winning. When God sees 100% commitment from us, He will fight the battle, and the enemy will leave. Then, when we 'Stay In' in our thoughts and actions, God will protect us through the power of the Holy Spirit. 


The Gaza saga gives us a glimpse of the lifetime of difficulties, pain and suffering that can follow when we surrender our inherited blessings back to the Lord's adversaries.


PRAYER

Dear Lord, I praise you for what you have done in my life. But I don't forget my distorted history that you cleaned up. Sorry again, and thank you. Please help those who are struggling with Gaza-type battles. Show them what you need from them to win.

Photo by Ehimetalor (Metty) Akhere Unuabona

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