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Iron Chariots

New words:
Canaan: A place in the Middle East.
Chariot: A cart with two wheels pulled by horses and used in war.
Iron: The kind of metal from which steel is made. It's chemical sign is Fe.
Tempt: To make someone wish to do wrong

There was a place in old Israel named Crying. Crying was where God told the world’s best army it would not win any more. God told his people “You did not follow me all the way. Now you can go your own way. You are on your own, and you will destroy yourselves.” It is no surprise the people cried at his words.

This sad story was happy when it started. God promised to give Israel the land of Canaan. He said he would make the nations that lived there run away or die. God's promise had come true until now.

People in Canaan heard about the people of Israel long before they came. They heard about Israel and Egypt. Egypt was a very strong nation. The king of Egypt tried to keep the people of Israel for slaves. God sent bad troubles to Egypt. The troubles almost destroyed the country. The king of Egypt saw the troubles and let Israel go. The king changed his mind after they went. He and his army tried to catch them. God made the wind blow on the Red Sea. The wind made the sea into two parts. There was a dry place like a road between the two parts. The people of Israel walked through the sea on this dry ground. They got away from the army. The army tried to cross the sea in the same way. God caused the water to come back. The army of Egypt died.

Other nations fought Israel also. God's power was too much for them. One king hired a spiritual man to ask God to hurt Israel. It didn't work. God told the spiritual man he would help Israel. Two other kings and their armies fought Israel unfairly. They fought just before Israel came to the land God promised them. They died, and the people of Israel took their land. The men of Israel were not very good fighters. They won because God was on their side.

Surprising things happened when Israel came to Canaan. The Jordan River ran along the edge of Canaan. There was a flood in the river. The religious leaders of Israel walked into the flood water. The river stood still when the leaders stepped into the water. The river bottom became dry where they stood. The water became deep behind them. The people of Israel walked across the dry river. The water moved again when the religious leaders left the river.

Jericho was the first city Israel saw in Canaan. A tall stone wall ran around Jericho. Strong fighters lived in Jericho. Israel did not fight Jericho the way most armies fought cities. The people of Israel marched around the city once each day. They marched this way for one week. They marched around Jericho seven times on the seventh day. Then they shouted. The tall stone wall broke and fell down. The people of Israel fought the people of Jericho. Israel won the war. Then they burned the city.

Strong nations lived in Canaan. The biggest and meanest fighters won wars in those days. The soldiers of Canaan were big. They were mean. Some of them even had war tanks. Well, they weren't really tanks. They had chariots made of iron. An iron chariot was like a tank in that kind of war.

The people of Canaan were angry. They did not like it when Israel beat Jericho. They did not like it when another city asked Israel for peace. The kings in Canaan came together. They brought their strong armies to fight near Jericho. God helped Israel beat them. Israel won fight after fight.

Once, Israel was still fighting late in the day. It was hard to fight at night. They needed more time to win. The leader of Israel asked God to do something very unusual. He asked God to make the sun stand still. God heard his prayer. The sun stopped where it was in the sky. The day lasted as long as another whole day. Israel beat the Canaanites in that fight too.

We do not know how God made the sun stand still. Maybe he caused the light from the sun to bend. Maybe he caused the earth to stop turning. Maybe he caused the sun to move with the earth. We know things had to change all over the world. Most people did not know what happened. Only God and His people knew. The whole world changed for one day, to help God's people win.

Israel beat the armies of Canaan near Jericho. The enemy came to them and lost to them. There were not many fighters from Canaan left. They did not have good leaders now. It would be easy to beat them. It was time for the people of Israel to live in their new home.

The leader of Israel called all the people. It was time to give each family part of Canaan. The people asked God to help them. Then they gave land to each tribe. There were twelve tribes. The tribes were made of families. The leaders gave each family its own land. Parents could leave their land for their children. Some of the fighters went back to the land on the other side of the Jordan River. It was the land Israel took from the kings who fought them unfairly. Each tribe must beat the people of Canaan who were on their land. They could live in their new homes when the people of Canaan were gone. God said he would send stinging insects to chase away the people of Canaan.

Today we have a hard time thinking God asked people to kill whole nations. What God told Israel to do in Canaan was unusual. The people of Canaan were very evil. They slowly became more and more evil. God made Israel wait 400 years before giving them the land. The people of Canaan were very, very bad after 400 years. The men and women of Canaan did very bad things with each other. They also killed children as part of their religion. The people of Canaan needed very strong punishment. God sent Israel to give that punishment.

God wanted to do more than punish the people of Canaan. He also wanted to make his people safe. The religion of Canaan helped make people evil. God told Israel to take away all the religious things in Canaan. They must break the wood and stone gods. They must tear down the places of worship. God did not want anything left to tempt his people. They must do away with everything that could help them become bad.

The tribes of Judah and Simeon had land next to each other. They worked together to get the enemy out of their land. They did a good job, but they did not finish. They did not believe they could beat the iron chariots. They did not try. They gave up. They only lived where there were no iron chariots.

The other people of Israel beat some of the people of Canaan. They did not do very well. God had helped them win the big war. Now they did not believe in him to help win small fights. They stopped wanting God's help. They did not break down the places of worship. They did not break the gods of Canaan. We don't know why they kept these things. Maybe they did not want to make the people of Canaan angry. Maybe they wanted to use the places of worship. Maybe they were afraid of the gods. They did not have enough faith to fight gods that were not real. They kept things that caused them to sin.

Israel did not chase away the people God told them to. They were not strong enough to beat all the people of Canaan at first. The armies of Israel became strong later. They could beat the iron chariots then. They did not fight after they became strong. It was too easy to get along with evil people. It was too easy to get money from them. Israel wanted to rest and have a good time. They quit fighting before they had done what God told them to do.

God was not happy with his people. God took them from all other people. He made them his very own people. He asked them to belong only to him. Now, they did not go all the way with God. God made them free when they were slaves. They did not let him keep them spiritually free. God had done unusual things to help them beat strong enemies. They did not have faith in him to help them beat weak enemies. His holy people kept evil things. They would soon marry people from Canaan. These new husbands and wives would ask them to worship their gods. They would ask them to kill their own children for these gods. God wanted them to love and obey Him. They did not love God. They did not obey Him. They went farther and farther away from God. Their nation went down because they did not love and obey God.

Now we see why God sent his angel to the place called Crying. The words the angel said were not happy words. God's people would not get any more unusual help. It was always hard to beat iron chariots. Now they could not beat the iron chariots at all. The little army that no one could beat saw things go bad. The fighters and everyone else cried. They cried, but it was too late. The iron chariots did not really stop them. They stopped winning because they were not faithful.


God does not ask us to fight or kill people for Him today. Only Jesus' blood can make us right with God. We do not need the blood of evil people. God still asks us to come to him by faith. We do not have iron chariots to fight against our faith. There are still many things that fight our faith. These things are spiritual, but they are strong.

These enemies are not too strong for us. The arguments against our faith are not very good. The sins that tempt us are not a better way to live. We do not need to be afraid of the things that fight our faith. We must be careful with our own hearts. Will we have enough faith to obey God when there is trouble? Will we agree with a world that doesn't like God? We do not need to be strong and smart to do well spiritually. We only need to be true to God.

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1)

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