BobCaldwell: "Discover the Promises of God "

Friday, February 25, 2011

Discover the Promises of God

(Joshua 10:1-43)

 "And the LORD said to Joshua, 'Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.'" -Joshua 10:8

You will notice in reading Joshua 10:8 something that we have seen already. God spoke of future victories as if they were past tense. God's ordained will and promises were that sure. The battles that Joshua was about to face can be seen in an entirely different light had God had not already "won" them before the battle had ever begun. This is often the case for us in Christ when we see our lives in light of what God has already declared as our victory and blessing in Christ.

Consider Ephesians 1:3 as an example. There we are told that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ. These blessings are already ours. They are referred to in the past tense. If we, like Joshua, approach these blessings the way Joshua did his battles, we cannot help but believe many of us will be experiencing personal blessings that have until now been lying dormant, waiting to simply be appropriated. The battle was already won for Joshua, but that didn't mean he could stay in camp. No, he still had to take that victory as his own. Until we step out in obedient faith, our past tense blessings will never become a present-day reality.

When you look at God's promises that way, I assure you, you will begin to experience the fulfillment of those promises. But if you are not willing to fight the "good fight of faith," you can only blame yourself for the defeat and self-imposed limits you entrap yourself in. Seek God. Discover His promises, and go out to "battle" for them. There are victories waiting to be taken.

NKJV Bible Text

Joshua 10:1-43

 The Sun Stands Still

1 Now it came to pass when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai and had utterly destroyed it—as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king—and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, 2 that they 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 mighty. 3 Therefore Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish, and Debir king of Eglon, saying, 4 "Come up to me and help me, that we may attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel." 5 Therefore 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 together and went up, they and all their armies, and camped before Gibeon and made war against it.

6 And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, saying, "Do not forsake your servants; come up to us quickly, save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us."

The Sun Stands Still

v. 1 Adoni-Zedek – This means "Lord of Righteousness." Melchizedek was referred to in Genesis 14 as a priest and king from the same location. Melchizedek means "King of Righteousness." It seems this became a general term for the ruler of this city, regardless of the level of ruler's true righteousness.

Jerusalem – The word "Jerusalem" means "fountain of peace." In Melchizedek's time, the city was simply called Salem, or peace. Melchizedek was referred to in the book of Hebrews as a godly picture of Christ. What we learn here is that a nation or group may have, in subsequent times, maintained the titles of what represented God but in practice completely opposed what their true history and titles represented, as seen in Adoni-Zedek's opposition to God's people.

Feared Greatly – The King of Jerusalem realized that it was an extremely dangerous sign to the Canaanites for Gibeon to surrender to Israel, because Gibeon was known as a powerful city-state with renowned warriors.

v. 3 Therefore – Adoni-zedek determined that the only action left was to pull together a coalition of Canaanite cities and punish the Gibeonites in such a way as to hopefully strike fear of Canaanite retaliation if any other cities surrendered to Israel.

King Of Hebron – This city had been an important center of local power for generations (Gen. 23:2; 35:27).

King Of Jarmuth – This city is mentioned in 15:35 and Nehemiah 11:29.

King Of Lachish – This was a city in the Shephelah, which later became a part of the lowland territory of Judah.

Eglon – Present-day Ajlan, it was located near Lachish.

v. 4 Come Up – All of these cities were located in the lowlands or the hills of what would later be called Judea.

v. 6 Quickly – Joshua responded to this cry for help by immediately calling together his forces and setting out on a forced march that put the army on the battle lines within a day. It was 15 miles in a direct line but would have been about a 25-mile march based on the normal route taken.

Dwell In the Mountains – This referred to the leader of the coalition, the king from Jerusalem.

7 So Joshua ascended 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 delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you." 9 Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal. 10 So the LORD routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword.

12 Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel:

"Sun, stand still over Gibeon;
And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon."

13 So the sun stood still,
And the moon stopped,
Till the people had revenge
Upon their enemies.

Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.

14 And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the LORD heeded the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.

15 Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.

v. 8 Do Not Fear Them – This battle represented the most challenging conflict by far for the children of Israel. God therefore dealt with the fear that sought to take over Joshua's heart and mind.

v. 9 Upon Them Suddenly – The Amorite confederacy would not have expected such a quick response of help from the Israelites.

v. 10 Chased Them – The pursuit was extensive, going all the way to Makkredah in the lowlands.

v. 11 Descent Of Beth Horon – Beth Horon here was a different Beth Horon than that referred to in v. 10 as there was a lower and upper Beth Horon. The first in v. 10 had a rocky path that was so rugged that steps had been cut into the rocks to assist in going down to the lower Beth Horon mentioned in v. 11.

v. 11 Hailstones – Great hailstones fell, assisting Israel in their defeat of this five-city army. It was historically recorded that hailstones had this possible lethal , once in May of 1888 in Moradah, India, when 250 lives were lost.

Sun Stand Still – Joshua prayed to God in the process of this battle for the light he needed to complete his defeat of the Amorite coalition. Whatever happened was an obvious miracle. Commentators have sought to come up with solutions to the natural impossibility of this account. However, it remains clear that there is no natural explanation this account. It had to have been supernatural. God either overruled the catastrophic results of the earth ceasing to rotate around the sun, or He simply caused an appearance locally at Gibeon that provided the light needed throughout the night. We don't know. What we do know is that what happened appeared to be just as it is recorded.

v. 13 Book Of Jasher – This may be the same as what is referred to in Numbers 21:14 as the book called "Wars of the Lord." The book of Jasher is also referred to in 2 Samuel 1:18-27.

The Amorite Kings Executed

16 But these five kings had fled and hidden themselves in a cave at Makkedah. 17 And it was told Joshua, saying, "The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah."

18 So Joshua said, "Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and set men by it to guard them. 19 And do not stay there yourselves, but pursue your enemies, and attack their rear guard. Do not allow them to enter their cities, for the LORD your God has delivered them into your hand." 20 Then it happened, while Joshua and the children of Israel made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they had finished, that those who escaped entered fortified cities. 21 And all the people returned to the camp, to Joshua at Makkedah, in peace.
No one moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel.

22 Then Joshua said, "Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings to me from the cave." 23 And they did so, and brought out those five kings to him from the cave: the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon.

24 So it was, when they brought out those kings to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the captains of the men of war who went with him, "Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings." And they drew near and put their feet on their necks. 25 Then Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies against whom you fight." 26 And afterward Joshua struck them and killed them, and hanged them on five trees; and they were hanging on the trees until evening. 27 So it was at the time of the going down of the sun that Joshua commanded, and they took them down from the trees, cast them into the cave where they had been hidden, and laid large stones against the cave's mouth, which remain until this very day.

The Amorite Kings Executed

v. 18 Roll Large Stones – The five kings who had hid themselves were discovered in this cave (v. 16-17). Joshua did not want to suspend the pursuit of these fleeing armies, so he trapped these kings in this cave until the pursuit was over.

Fortified Cities – The only ones to escape the Israelites were those who were fast enough to return to their walled cities.

v. 24 Feet On Their Necks – It was a common practice to symbolize authority and victory over a defeated foe.

v. 26 Hanged Them – After they were slain, they were hanged as a further sign of authority over an enemy, a common practice in all known cultures of this region.

Conquest of the Southland

28 On that day Joshua took Makkedah, and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword. He utterly destroyed them—all the people who were in it. He let none remain. He also did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.

29 Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, to Libnah; and they fought against Libnah. 30 And the LORD also delivered it and its king into the hand of Israel; he struck it and all the people who were in it with the edge of the sword. He let none remain in it, but did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.

31 Then Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, to Lachish; and they encamped against it and fought against it. 32 And the LORD delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, who took it on the second day, and struck it and all the people who were in it with the edge of the sword, according to all that he had done to Libnah. 33 Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua struck him and his people, until he left him none remaining.

34 From Lachish Joshua passed to Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it and fought against it. 35 They took it on that day and struck it with the edge of the sword; all the people who were in it he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.

36 So Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, to Hebron; and they fought against it. 37 And they took it and struck it with the edge of the sword—its king, all its cities, and all the people who were in it; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon, but utterly destroyed it and all the people who were in it.

38 Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and they fought against it. 39 And he took it and its king and all its cities; they struck them with the edge of the sword and utterly destroyed all the people who were in it. He left none remaining; as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and its king, as he had done also to Libnah and its king.

40 So Joshua conquered all the land: the mountain country and the South and the lowland and the wilderness slopes, and all their kings; he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel had commanded. 41 And Joshua conquered them from Kadesh Barnea as far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even as far as Gibeon. 42 All these kings and their land Joshua took at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel. 43 Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.

Conquest Of The Southland

v. 28 Joshua Took – Verses 28-39 are a brief account of Joshua's victories in the southern lowlands and mountains. The cities conquered included Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, and Debir.

v. 33 King Of Gezer – This king came down from northern Canaan which Joshua had not yet begun to overthrow.

v. 40 Conquered All the Land – This referred to the land of Negev, Shephelah, and all the hill country south of Jerusalem between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

v. 41 Kadesh Barnea As Far As Gaza – At this point, the conquest had not included Gaza, but just up to Gaza.

Goshen – This is to say that Joshua's conquest had not included Goshen in Egypt, but just went down to Goshen in Egypt.

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