Joshua (Part 7)

Last week we took a look at what happens when we get over confident in ourselves and underestimate our enemy. We talked about what happens when we take sin lightly and how this can enable the the enemy to have a foothold in our lives that can derail us. We must always look to the Lord before we move forward in His plans. We are going to look at other situations that wasn’t handled perfectly, but Joshua grew in Lord and took more territory in spite of his mistakes.

I. Israel's second mistake

Joshua 9:18-21: The people of Israel grumbled against their leaders because of the treaty. But the leaders replied, “Since we have sworn an oath in the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel, we cannot touch them. This is what we must do. We must let them live, for divine anger would come upon us if we broke our oath. Let them live.” So they made them woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community, as the Israelite leaders directed.

The Gibeonites had heard of the defeat of Jericho and Ai. They knew that they would be on the radar soon and came up with a plan to trick the Israelites. They made it look like they were from a far away country though they were really only about 19 miles away. They wanted to make a treaty with Israel so that they would not be destroyed. Joshua again made a decision without consulting God and now this was going to affect them moving forward.

Why would Joshua make a treaty without seeking the Lord? There was no pressure for them to do so. Israel made an oath in the presence of the Lord and they had to keep it or it would keep them from inheriting the promised land.

God is true and faithful. This is His nature and He cannot go against it or He would not be God. When He makes a covenant He keeps it, even the we are unfaithful to Him. We are made in His image and we are His representatives to the world around us. We we make promises or oaths we need to keep them. He expects that of us.

Joshua Chapter 10 Background:

Five of the Amorite kings came together to attack Gibeon because of their treaty with Israel. Gibeon sent word to Joshua and asked for Israel to come and help them out.

Joshua 10:7-8: So Joshua and his entire army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal and set out for Gibeon. “Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.”

Joshua made a treaty with Gibeon against God's direction. Gibeon is now being attacked and ask for Israels help. Joshua honors his oath with Gibeon and gathers his troops to go a fight with Gibeon.

What does God do? He tells Joshua not to be afraid of them and that they would be victorious. What a great picture of grace! You messed this up, but now that you are honoring your word and you are reflecting my nature tot he world. I am fighting for you.

2 Samuel 21:1: There was a famine during David’s reign that lasted for three years, so David asked the Lord about it. And the Lord said, “The famine has come because Saul and his family are guilty of murdering the Gibeonites.”

God's Word is eternal. His vows and covenant are eternal and they don’t expire over time.

II. Bold Prayers

The Israelites had traveled all night. This battle was fierce and long and we see God fighting for them. God sent a hail storm and killed more people that way than Israel did with their swords. The Amorite armies were on the run trying to hide in the mountains, and sun was beginning to set. Joshua wanted to finish this battle. He completely destroyed these armies as God told him to. Joshua prayed this bold prayer in front of all the people of Israel.

What would make Joshua pray this kind of prayer? Maybe it was inspired by the spirit of God. He just didn’t just pray it quietly to the Lord - He prayed it boldly with authority. I believe something was changing in Joshua each day he moved forward in the promised land.

Joshua 10:12-14: On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said, “Let the sun stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies. Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day. There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day!

Just because God has never done something does’t mean that He can do it. Our God is all-powerful. He works outside of the confinement of time and space. Nothing is Impossible for HIm! You may be at place right now where you feel like it may be too late for God to answer your prayer, or the situation just got worse. You might identify with this next story.

Mark 5:35-36: While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.” But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith."

Jarius's daughter is dying and he asks Jesus to come to his house and pray for her. Jesus gets stopped by the woman with the bleeding issue along the way. This delayed His arrival to the girl's house and she dies before He gets there. The messengers tell Jarius not to bother Jesus now that she is already dead. Jesus overhears them and tells Jarius to have faith!

III. Transformation in battle

Joshua 10:22-26: Then Joshua said, “Remove the rocks covering the opening of the cave, and bring the five kings to me.” So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. When they brought them out, Joshua told the commanders of his army, “Come and put your feet on the kings’ necks.” And they did as they were told. “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men. “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord is going to do this to all of your enemies.”

We can learn a lot from Joshua. Hopefully we have learned not to do anything without seeking direction from the Lord. We can also look at how stepping out in faith enables us to experience God in ways that we can never imagine. This causes our faith and trust to grow in Him. Joshua speaks the same words to his men that God spoke to him when he took over as the leader of Israel: “Be strong and courageous.”

He brings the five kings out and tells his men to put their feet on their necks. Putting your feet on the necks of your enemy was a symbol of complete subjugation, and expressed total victory over them. He called for his officers to put their feet on the necks of the kings, symbolic not only of the past victory but also of the victories the Lord would give His people in the days ahead.

You may be at a place in your life that you did not consult God on some choices you made and now you are not sure how you are going to move in the things He has for you. Maybe you are not confident in hearing His voice and knowing His plan for your life. Regardless of where you are today, God will make His will known to you by simply asking Him to do so. It's not complicated.

Ainsley is getting excited about Easter and has been asking me to hide Easter eggs around the house so that she can find them. I want her to find them so I put them in places that she can find them easily. The Father is the same way - He makes His ways easy for us to find. You just have to commit to seeking Him and trusting and doing what He asks of you. You can’t go wrong by doing that.

Whatever commitment you have made, stick to it and God will see you through. Make sure you never limit God! He may be stirring a bold prayer on your heart right now so that you may know the God of the impossible. Let's take time and seek Him and see what He wants us to do next.