It's a Fixed Fight
March 17, 2019 Speaker: Ted Detiveaux Series: Joshua-Strong, Courageous, Faith
Topic: Faith Scripture: Joshua 10:1– :13
It’s a Fixed Fight
Joshua 10:1-13 (ESV) (object lesson to be determined)
The Sun Stands Still
1 As soon as Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured Ai and had devoted it to destruction, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, 2 he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were warriors. 3 So Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, to Piram king of Jarmuth, to Japhia king of Lachish, and to Debir king of Eglon, saying, 4 “Come up to me and help me, and let us strike Gibeon. For it has made peace with Joshua and with the people of Israel.” 5 Then the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered their forces and went up with all their armies and encamped against Gibeon and made war against it.
6 And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, saying, “Do not relax your hand from your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the hill country are gathered against us.”
Joshua finds himself in a dilemma as the Gibeonites ask for Joshua’s assistance. If it were one of the tribes of Israel being attacked there would have been no question that it was Joshua’s duty to protect and defend them. However, it was Gibeonites who is asking for the favor who in the previous chapter deceived Joshua into making a covenant (treaty) with them.
The Gibeonites pretended to come from a distant land. They took with them old crusty bread, old wine skins, raggedy clothes and shoes and told Joshua that the bread was fresh and the wineskins and clothing were new when they left to illustrate they have been on a long journey. Which was not the case at all.
It was clever on their part because Joshua was commanded to kill all the inhabitants of the land, which included the Gibeonites. Consequently, the Gibeonites felt like they had to do something as the Israelites were advancing quickly upon them.
In chapter 9 verse 14-15 we see a very big mistake made by Joshua and the Israelites it says “but did not ask counsel from the Lord.15 And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.”
It was later found out that the Gibeonites dwelt among them and did not come from a distant land as they suggested. However, to honor his word, Joshua kept his covenant and made the Gibeonites to be servants for the rest of their lives.
These same Gibeonites are now pleading with Joshua in chapter 10 to help them as they are being attacked by the five kings of the Amorites. Joshua comes to their rescue.
This is a picture of grace. If it were up to most of us, we would probably say “Oh well, they got what they deserved.” But Grace gives us what we do not deserve.
Grace comes to our defense even when we don’t deserve it. At least the Gibeonites recognized their own weakness, that they could not possibly stand against God.
They had at least acknowledged that He was greater than they were and were even willing to submit themselves as servants to the Israelites. They were humbled, and for their humility their lives were spared.
But now their battle has become Joshua’s battle. Their fears were now Joshua’s responsibility.
- How might things have been different if Joshua had inquired counsel from the Lord?
- Would Joshua even have to fight this battle that was not his to fight?
- Do we add to ourselves additional battles because we do not inquire of the Lord first?
Think about it,
- Do we make big purchases and put ourselves in financial trouble because we did not consult the Lord to see whether or not it was ok to do so?
- Do we jump into relationships without first consulting the Lord for His infinite wisdom?
- Do we lash out upon people that we love without first seeking counsel from the Lord on how to handle the conflict?
- Do we put ourselves in certain environments without asking the Lord about what He thinks about it?
Then we wonder why it did not work, and why we are facing some additional battles when it may have been avoided by seeking the Lord’s wisdom in the first place.
Here is Joshua, facing an additional battle, a battle that was not his to fight.
We are all imperfect people, trying to live a life that is pleasing to a perfect God. Thankfully, the Lord has a great way of turning around our mess ups for our good.
7 So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor.8 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.”
The Lord affirms Joshua that the battle he is about to engage in is a just battle and that He will be fighting on Joshua’s side.
He tells Joshua not to fear, which seems to be a reoccurring command from the Lord, and that He has given his enemies into his hands. In a sense God tells Joshua this is a fixed fight. We already know the outcome of how this battle will go down.
That is how it is when we have the Lord of Host on our side. Every battle that we engage with Him on our side is a fixed fight. There is no way you can lose, we already know the outcome.
9 So Joshua came upon them suddenly, having marched up all night from Gilgal.
Notice Joshua had to start moving, even though God had promised to hand over his enemies, Joshua still had to engage in the battle. He had to do his part. He had to round up the troops, and he had to march.
Often, we are wanting God to wave his magic wand and fix our situations, when He has called you to march. He has already given you the victory through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but as a test of your faith to see whether you believe in His promises, he is wanting to see action accompanied with your faith. So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17)
Joshua still had to march, he still had to prepare for battle. He still had to engage with the enemy. But He could do so knowing that it was a fixed fight, and that he would be victorious.
Watch what happens when the Lord is fighting on your side.
10 And the Lord threw them into a panic before Israel, who struck them with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 And as they fled before Israel, while they were going down the ascent of Beth-horon, the Lord threw down large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died because of the hailstones than the sons of Israel killed with the sword.
Anyone ever played Forge of Empires,
It is a game in which you build your city on a grid. Players can choose to expand their empire on the continent map by trading with the rulers of other lands, or by fighting them in combat. When fighting, the player must choose his army. Each troop has its own weaknesses, strengths, health and the way they attack, and so proper strategy must be used to ensure a victory. If the player is victorious, they get that sector.
If I’m playing that game and have a choice to pick my army, I choose the Lord who rains down large hail stones from heaven with pinpoint accuracy and with velocity upon his enemy. Winner every time. Where can you go to escape hailstones?
Beth-horon lay north of Gibeon, Azekah and Makkedah lay south, so that whichever way they fled, the hail-stones pursued them, and met them at every turn.
God did not miss His targets. He not only did not miss, but His hits were accompanied with a great deal of force so that when they were hit, they were killed.
Now think about God’s grace upon your own life. Knowing the sin you have committed and the lifestyle that you have lived that was in direct opposition to God’s ways, yet He lets you live. He holds your life in his hands. When He says it is over, then it is over.
Then it gets even better. As Joshua saw that the Lord was prevailing upon his enemy, he also took notice that daylight was running out. At the same time there was a great deal of fighting still to be done.
So, Joshua prays a prayer, that could only be inspired by God Himself, to pray.
12 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
“Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
His reputation was at stake when he prayed such a prayer, if nothing happened then he would appear to be nothing more than a mad man. Perhaps the men of Israel would have lost their confidence in his ability to lead. But if his prayer was answered, then Israel would completely destroy their enemies.
Only when you have the confidence that God is sovereign and in control of everything in nature that you can pray a prayer like Joshua prayed that day.
But he knew very well God would own and answer a prayer which he himself inspired and therefore Joshua was not afraid to declare such things before all Israel.
Joshua had faith. The book of Hebrews tells us what faith is.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith is hoping and believing for it, even when you do not see it. Faith is living in the natural world but believing in a Supernatural God who can defy nature.
We live in a world of limits, but we serve a limitless God.
Because of Joshua’s faith and because the prayer was inspired by God, God answered Joshua’s prayer.
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.
The day was lengthened so that the purposes of God will be fulfilled that day. That day God revealed His power in a great way so that all, including the Gibeonites, could see and know that He is God and that He is in control of all things including the sun and moon.
Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. 14 There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel.
15 So Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.
God had indeed fought for Israel. He turned Israel’s mess up into blessing. Joshua did not need to individually attack these countries, God had brought them all together and handed them over to Joshua and the Israelites.
- What about you?
- Are you facing some unnecessary battles because of poor choices that you have made?
- What battles are you facing in which you need the Lord’s help?
- Joshua had to march before he would see the defeat of his enemies.What action is the Lord requiring of you today so that you too will experience victory in your life?
- How much better would it be if the Lord was fighting your battles rather than fighting them on your own?
- Are you confident that God is Sovereign over the natural situation that you are facing?
- What needs to change in your life so that you can pray bold prayers as Joshua prayed?
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