Goodness…. there’s a whole lotta fighting going on!! As you either did your reading or read it after the blog, keep in mind that GOD has a reason for it all. GOD WANTS HIS people set apart. HE WANTS HIS people to live in the Promised Land. He WANTS HIS people to live pure, holy lives dedicated to HIM. As we have read in the previous days Joshua is a foreshadow of the Christ to come. Joshua in Greek is Jesus and means “Lord is Salvation.” Joshua was CHOSEN. Joshua was a man of FAITH. I point this out again today because as you read and witness God keeping HIS promise to HIS people … it can be easy to lose sight of WHY all the fighting happened. I thought I would include a beautiful song here for you to worship the LORD right here, right now so your focus is on the BIG picture. The music will be familiar, but the words may be different from the ones you are used to hearing. The song is “Hallelujah” with Kelly Mooney.
Chapter 9 — MORE fighting and conquering!! Why?? We must remember that SIN is REAL, the enemy is REAL, and GOD HATES SIN!! HE can NOT be in the presence of SIN which is why SIN separates us from HIM. God’s judgment is very REAL and very necessary. He is reclaiming the World from Satan, and the battle will continue until the LORD returns. Deuteronomy 20 details the rules for the Israelites for going to war. Deuteronomy 20:16-17 God made it very clear:
However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance DO NOT LEAVE ALIVE ANY THING THAT BREATHES. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the LORD your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God.
ALL these nations that were coming together to make war against Joshua and Israel were worshipers of Baal, god of weather and fertility and Ashtoreth, his goddess of love and war, as well as MANY other minor gods. Egypt had their own names for the gods they worshiped. And LOOK at all the gods that the ancient Greeks and Romans worshiped …. All with different names … but unfortunately … all pagan gods…. And NONE of them from the enemy… NOT the ONE TRUE GOD. Meanwhile… back in Canaan and the surrounding area … these people practiced rituals that were detestable to the Lord, such as sacrificing their own babies.
Verse 3 – The Gibeonites resorted to a ruse to trick Joshua and the Israelites into saving them….. and it worked!!! This is the ONLY human error the Israelites made here was “not inquiring of the Lord” (verse 14) and deciding in their own “wisdom” to sign the treaty with the Gibeonites (in disguise). This could serve as a reminder to us today that the enemy can look very convincing and appear very truthful….but is NOT. “Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath”. (9:15). Did you find yourself yelling at him going .. NO NO NO Joshua!! For more Scripture as to what God said on this topic Click here for 5 additional past passages.
Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. (Ex 34:12)
Once Joshua and the Israelites discovered the identity of the Gibeonites they did not attack them because they had made the treaty. The did grumble (rut row), but Joshua seemed to squelch that quickly by telling the Gibeonites they would live BUT they would live under a curse … they would ONLY be their woodcutters and water carriers for the house of “MY God”… in other words, not only would the Gibeonites have these “lowly jobs” but they would NOT be allowed to worship their own gods. They agreed because they were so afraid of dying.
The beautiful part about the Gibeonites is God KNEW it would happen this way. He was not sitting in heaven with a SHOCK face!! It is because of these “little” things happening like the Gibeonites which makes the GOSPEL not just for the Jews but for ALL people…. “the foreigners, the aliens, the GENTILES, YOU AND ME”….included from the beginning!!!! Don’t you just LOVE HIM for showing us these things???? 🙂
Chapter 10 – FIVE kings of the Amorites — the kings of JERUSALEM — formed an alliance with plans to kill the Gibeonites for having made a treaty with the Israelites. Once again the Lord was with Joshua. Joshua and his men caught the armies of the five kings by surprise and they all went into confusion. The LORD hurled large hailstones at them. Joshua prayed that the sun would stand still so the day would be longer so the Israelites could complete their mission with the 5 kings of the Amorites. God answered in HIS miraculous way so the day became longer and destroyed EVERY one in the opposing armies including the kings. Joshua did everything the LORD commanded. Joshua was ridding the land of allllllllll sin … as God had commanded!!
Chapter 11 — MORE???? —- yepper!!! If Joshua would have simply looked at the circumstances with these any of these armies … he may have thought twice about attacking. BUT… HIS FAITH… kept him focused. I did notice God continued to tell him to “be strong and courageous.” God ALWAYS KNOWS what we need from HIM, and I LOVE the way God’s love and grace tenderly reminded Joshua to be strong and courageous. Joshua was RELENTLESS in his calling. He totally destroyed all the armies he went up against in these chapters. HE did all God asked of him (except… the Gibeonites) as did the Israelites. He obeyed God and did as instructed.
Israel fought hard. They were ACTIVE in TAKING the Promised Land that the Lord had given them. Yet as hard as Israel fought….the BATTLE WAS THE LORD’s!! This was a HOLY WAR (meaning The LORD is FIGHTING the BATTLE.) There used to be a song and the words went something like: “Glory Jesus Glory you do the fighting for me, Praise you Jesus Praise you…” I wish I could find it so you could listen to it … most appropriate praise song for this lesson. HOW do we KNOW God did the FIGHTING??? …. The water stopped flowing so they could cross the river Jordan. They witnessed the walls of Jericho FALLING simply through their OBEDIENCE to God. God answered Joshua’s prayer of “asking for the sun to stand still” which miraculously extended the length of the day. ALL of these were MIRACLES…MIRACLES that demonstrated that the BATTLE BELONGED TO THE LORD. ALL the Lord asked of them was obedience, strength, courage, and faith. They DID and HE DID!!!
Then the land had rest from war. (verse 23) 🙂