Joshua 10: JUST DO IT!
In today’s lesson, we will see two eternal truths emerge:
- God is able to work all things together for good for those who love the Lord and are the called according to His purpose. ( Romans 8:28)
- Nothing is impossible for the Lord.
The Israelites had taken Jericho by a miracle; Ai by a military strategy (after an embarrassing defeat); and Gibeon had been taken by surrender. And as noted in Chapter 9, the Gibeonites had perpetrated a deceitful hoax. Israel had blundered and without inquiring of the Lord took the Gibeonites at their word. Yet God would work this together for good. For Christians, remember no mistake we make is so final for God to still be able to turn it into a blessing. The enemy thought on that fateful day, Jesus was crucified he had defeated God. Yet it was the greatest victory of all times and a colossal defeat for the enemy from which it would never recover.
Joshua’s name means “Jehovah is Savior.” Gibeon and its people were headed for defeat and destruction, but they turned to Joshua for mercy and help. And we will see in today’s lesson, they trusted Joshua to keep his word.
The king of Jerusalem had heard the city of Gibeon had surrendered to Joshua and Israel without a fight. Since Gibeon was a major city, they could not allow it to be taken by the enemy. The king of Jerusalem has formed an alliance with four other major cities, referred to as the ‘royal cities.’ The king of Jerusalem encouraged them ‘to come up and help me attack Gibeon, because it has made a pact with Joshua and the Israelites.’
In response, the people of Gibeon sent word to Joshua and urged him to come quickly and save us because all the Amorite kings have joined forces against us!
Here is our application: our enemies have arrayed themselves against us. They are using physical attacks as Christians are being persecuted in the world today like never before. Persecuted simply because they are Christians. In our own society they are attacking us in more subtle ways, taking away our Sword- the Word of God from the public arena. They want to disarm us. We should be as adamant about keeping our weapons as the NRA is about the right to bear arms. Our weapons are mighty and are necessary in this spiritual battle we wage. The enemy wants marginalize our presence in the communities and in the shaping of the laws of the land. We are being treated like children- to be seen but not heard from. We are treated as intellectually inferior because we believe the Word of God is the absolute truth. Science and logic are for a large and growing segment of our population – their gods. For others their appetites are their gods. The government exists to reinforce their will and their beliefs and belittle and neutralize those who believe otherwise. There is no fear of a Holy God and there is no fear of His people. Pick on a Christian, bully them, they are weak. Yet when I am weak, I am strong. Jesus said his strength is made perfect in weakness.
Like the people of Gibeon, we must look to our Joshua, the Lord Jesus for help, for a strategy as to how to battle this enemy. Last week we looked at the weapons and the armor we possess which enables us to stand against the enemy. We need to understand the enemy’s strategy and the forces we are dealing with.
Notice in each engagement there are three factors which give Joshua and the Israelites success:
- Believing a promise from God.
- Using a sound strategy.
- Calling on the Lord in prayer.
Keep in mind, faith must be accompanied by works. Faith without works is dead. Joshua was careful to do exactly what the Lord tells him to do.
It starts with a promise from the Lord.
“Do not be afraid of them, I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to stand against you.” (Joshua 10: 8) In response to this promise, Joshua and the army marched all night from Gilgal. It was a hard march of 20 miles in rugged hill country.
“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17 But faith without works is dead. *(James 2)
Putting his faith into action, Joshua will embark on an all night march of over 20 miles through the hill country to attack the enemy. These armies moved on their feet, not chariots and horses.
THE SPIRITUAL SIGNFICANCE OF FEET.
Remember one of the pieces of armor which we must put on in preparation for the battle is our appropriate footwear. Our feet are to be shod, fitted with the Gospel of Peace.
Think about how we refer to our feet to portray certain truths:
- Cold feet- back out of something because you changed your mind
- Foot-in-the-mouth- saying the wrong thing at the wrong time
- Put your foot down- portrayal of being strong and firm
- Get back on your feet- getting established or re-established after a setback.
- Stepping on toes- a picture of talk which makes people feel guilty or convicted.
- Putting your foot on the neck of the enemy- a picture of total defeat; making a footstool of the enemy. Complete submission.
Feet are referred to in Isaiah 52:7: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “your God reigns”
Nike – the most popular footwear in the world derives its name from the Greek goddess of victory. Victory over an enemy was portrayed as by placing one’s foot on the enemy’s neck, as Joshua and his men do to these 5 kings. And like Nike’s famous slogan- we must as Christians when it comes to God’s Word: JUST DO IT!
The Bible uses such ordinary things in life to teach us spiritual truths- we find this to be so with our feet. A part of the body which is used to signify our walk with God as well as our conduct.
*Worship- “Do not come any closer, God said to Moses, “take off your sandals, for the place you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3- The Burning Bush) God wants us to remove those things which makes us less holy and keep us from experiencing an intimate relationship with Him.
*Reverence- it was a sign of reverence to kiss one’s feet. As the woman did to Jesus at the home of Simon in Luke 7.
*Service and humility_- sitting at one’s feet was a signs of respect and receiving teaching/instruction; washing another’s feet represented humility in service.
*Defeat of the enemy- putting one’s foot on the neck of the enemy was a picture of victory.
And you can be sure- a 20 mile night march at probably double time over rugged terrain took not only stamina, but good feet fitted with good footwear.
“After an all night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise.” Now watch what the Lord does: “The Lord threw them in confusion before Israel, who defeated them in a great victory in Gibeon.” (Joshua 10: 9, 10)
One must wonder how did these men, weary to the point of exhaustion after a night’s march of 20 miles in hill country have the strength and energy to attack such a great alliance of armies?
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow weary and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40)
What kept them going? Their hope was in the Lord. They believed His promise the victory was theirs. They had followed a sound strategy- marching all night using the element of surprise. Now notice who steps in to assure the victory and actually destroys more of the enemy than the armies of Israel did. As the enemy fled, ‘the Lord hurled large hailstorms down on them from the sky, and more of the enemy died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.’ (Joshua 10: 11)
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills-from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved. He who keeps you will not slumber, Behold He who keeps Israel shall neither sleep nor slumber. The Lord is your keeper.” (Psalm121) The Lord was with them the whole night- He did not sleep nor slumber. He kept watch over them.
This same mighty God, the Everlasting God who created all things- the sun, the moon, the stars, the universe. Who stored hail in the high places of heaven just for such a time as to unleash an attack from heaven on the enemy- is My Keeper! When I cannot sleep at night and the enemy comes to attack me- the Lord is my Keeper. He is my present help in times of trouble. He will preserve me from evil, He shall preserve my going out and coming in FROM THIS TIME AND EVEN FOREVERMORE!
They had a promise, a strong strategy and this prayer which comes forth I believe was placed in Joshua’s heart by the Spirit of God. What a mighty prayer, what mighty request, what great faith in the Only True and Living God for whom nothing is impossible!
This is the last miracle in the book and story of Joshua. It is certainly the greatest. There was never one like it before or since. Joshua prayed the Lord would have the sun stand still and the moon stop to give them a longer day to finish the battle. Science will look at us and say how can you believe such nonsense? This is impossible.
The Bible tells us nothing is impossible for the Lord. Day and night belong to Him. This is His creation and it obeys its Creator. If God cannot perform this miracle, then what He has created is greater than He is.
Why even try to explain this miracle? My life is a miracle as is all life. Being born again is even a greater miracle. God explained the creation of the heavens and the earth in ten words in Genesis 1:1. He explains His forming of the mighty stars and galaxies in a simple five word sentence: “He made the stars also.” (Genesis 1) Yet, God would take over 50 chapters and hundreds of verses to describe in details the tabernacle and its furnishings. A portable tent used in the wilderness. Why such detail and so many verses? Because the tabernacle and everything about it speaks of salvation and the greatest sacrifice ever, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. When God created the universe and everything in it; it was an easy day’s work for Him. But when He saved my soul and made me whole it took a miracle of love and grace. It was God giving His Only Son and since He and the Son are one and the same- God gave us, He gave me His all so that He could be my all in all.
Miracle of a longer day, a sun which does not set when it is supposed to set- that is an easy work for God. In fact one day, we will no longer even need the sun, the Lord will be our everlasting light, and our days of sorrow will end and we will possess the land forever.
TAKING THE PROMISED LAND AND WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE BEAUTIFUL FEET
It was interesting what the Lord told Moses in Exodus 23: “I will not drive out the enemy in a single year, because it would leave the land desolate and the wild animals would take over. Little by little I will drive out before you until you have increased enough to take possession.”
No shortcuts- says the Lord. You take possession of the Promised Land a little by little. Step by step. This how the promised abundant life is lived- step by step; precept upon precept. We grow in strength as we are transformed by our obedience to the Word of God.
You take it step by step. Your feet are beautiful to the Lord when you take the steps ordered by Him.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He takes delight in his way. Though he stumble, he will not be cast down for the Lord holds him with his hand.” (Psalm 37)
You are to walk by faith and not by sight. You are to walk in the light as He is in the light; you are to walk in the truth.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING TOMORROW AND NEXT WEEK AND NEXT YEAR?
“I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, Here am I – send me. (Isaiah 6:8)
Will you be faithful to share the gospel with the unsaved? How will you do it? Do you have a promise from God? Do you have a strategy? Are you praying for God to do a mighty work?
What about the poor, those who are hungry, in need of help from physical needs to spiritual needs? Are you willing to give to those who cannot give back? Matthew 25, the Lord Jesus tells us when we do it to the least of these, we do it unto Him.
Want to see our communities and country restored and rebuilt? Let us make 2016 the Year of the Lord. “Let us proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of a spirit of despair. They will renew their ruined cities which have been devastated for generations.” (Isaiah 61
Listen to the simple instructions from Lord Jesus’ mother as he was about to perform his first miracle at his mother’s request. We find the story in John 2 which finds Jesus and his disciples attending a wedding in Cana in Galilee. His mother comes to tell him they have run out of wine, implying he needs to do something about it. There is much to observe from this first miracle. It was a wedding. He would turn the water used for ceremonial cleansing into wine. Listen to what his mother said and allow me to paraphrase to make the point clear.
She summoned the servants then told them: “Whatever He (Jesus) tells you to do- JUST DO IT!