Welcome to Expound. Our verse by verse study of God's Word. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God by explaining the Word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.
Joshua 9-- we're going to be in Joshua 9 and 10. Ha! You say-- or I say. Well, let's see what happens.
Father, we want to thank you for a chance to get together to just simply open this book and read it, and apply certain truths as we go through the verses, the chapters, and see how your principles work for us today. I pray that you would comfort those in that need comforting tonight, challenge those that need challenging, I pray that you would teach all of us, instruct all of us, exhort all of us. Have your way, Lord, in our lives-- especially those of us who have been exposed to truth for years, and we need a fresh word from you. We need to let our guard down. And even if it's not down, I pray you just sneak something in, and grab a hold of us, and reveal yourself to us. In Jesus' name, amen.
Well, the children of Israel finally made it. They're in the land-- they're in the Promised Land. One of my favorite texts of scripture, found in Deuteronomy, the book before Joshua, is in Deuteronomy 6, when Moses said to the children of Israel about ready to go into that land, he said, God brought you out from there that He might bring you in. I love that. I love it because he could point one direction and then point the other direction. God brought you out from there that He might bring you in. That is always God's purpose in bringing you out of something-- He wants to bring you into something else-- something better.
And God, unlike a lot of us, He always finishes what He starts. He's called the author and the finisher of our faith. So He brought them out of Egypt, not to let them languish and die in the wilderness, though many of them did, but that new generation poised on the brink of the Promised Land, and on the bank of the Jordan River, were brought out of Egypt that God might bring them in to Canaan.
Now, you just think about your own life and what God is trying to bring you an I into-- a land, a new place, new experiences, to further our walk with Him, further our relationship with Him. And some of you in your journey might be questioning-- or you might be struggling-- but one of my favorite psalms is Psalm 138:8, where the Psalmist says the Lord will perfect that which concerns me. He'll bring to a completion, He'll finish the work. He'll bring us all the way in. He'll perfect that which concerns me and you.
And so He brings them into the Promised Land. However, the Promised Land is also a problem land. The Promised Land is not a problem-free land because once they get in there's enemies, there's territory to conquer. They get to shout and walls fall down, but they've got to get their swords out. And they'll have to settle the cities, and fight battles. So it is the Promised Land, but it's not a hassle-free zone-- it's not a problem-free zone. And they're going to have to cooperate with God's power and God's strength to settle and take all that God has for them.
So it is with the Christian life. We are not in a playground. We are in a battleground. How many of you know that we are? How many of you experience the battles that go with this wonderful Christian life? We all do. That's why we need to come together. That's why we need to meet together frequently. That's why it's good, not only in large group instruction, but house to house in our connect groups-- because you can encourage me on how you fight the battle. I can encourage you how I fight the battle. And we'll grow and learn from each other mutually.
So the children of Israel are in the Promised Land, and in the problem land, because as we saw last week, they're in front of two mountains. Do you remember the names of them? Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. And there, according to what Moses said, they shouted out the blessings and the cursings. And the people heard the blessings and heard the cursings, and shouted amen to them. They were reviewing and reaffirming their relationship with God-- their covenant with God-- it was a great worship service. But while they were worshipping God, there were the kings of Canaan strategizing on how to destroy the children of Israel, so that as soon as church is over they face yet another battle.
You might face a battle as soon as you leave church tonight. You'll be driving down Osuna and some knucklehead will pull in front of you on the road. It could be me.
And you'll say, who is that lug pulling out in front of me like that? And it might have a tendency to rob you of joy. Or you're going to find out some news later on this week, perhaps-- I'm not being a prophet here. Don't get all spooked out.
But there are going to be battles that you and I will face. Well, as we get into chapter 9 I want to refresh you of a strategy. The strategy of Joshua is to divide and conquer. He wants to cut the land in half, effectively conquering the center swath of land. So Jericho is first, the city of Ai is second. He's moving westward. Gibeon, is going to be third, Bethel-- all of these cities that form a center section of strongholds in the land will effectively divide the south from the north. So he'll conquer the center, he'll look to the south and take the southern portion of the land, and then he'll move northward in a northern campaign. So he's going to divide and conquer.
But just a few miles away from them is a clever bunch of folks called the Gibeonites. Let's read about them in 9:1. It came to pass, when all the kings who were on this side of the Jordan, in the hills, in the lowland, and in all the coasts of the great sea-- that is the Mediterranean-- toward Lebanon, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzites, the Hivite, the termite-- no, the Jebusite, heard it.
That they gathered together to fight with Joshua and Israel with one accord. But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they worked craftily-- that is, cleverly, with subterfuge-- and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wine skins torn and mended, old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves. And all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy.
And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him-- and to the men of Israel-- we have come from a far country. Now they're only 15 miles away.
That was next on the hit list. Let's go to Gibeon and take it. That was the idea. That's part of that central swath of four cities. We've come from a far country. And now, therefore, make a covenant with us. Some of the commentators that I have read over the years have noted that the children of Israel had three enemies when they came into the Promised Land. Number one, Jericho, number two, Ai, number three, Gibeon. The commentators are quick to say that Jericho represents the world, the city of Ai represents the flesh, but the men of Gibeon represent the Devil.
And I don't want to force too much interpretation into it, but I do understand and I do see the representation-- because they lie, and Satan is the Father of all lies. He's a liar and the Father of it, Jesus said. And Satan, like the Gibeonites, works off of a premise. And the premise goes like this-- if you can't beat them, join them. If you can't beat them outright, they're coming to get you, just fit in and act like you are one of them. So let's get the enemy on the inside-- that's Satan's thinking. I'll work among them. So he seeks to join them by forging an alliance.
The Gibeonites are understanding what's happening here. The children of Israel are the new kids in town. They're here to take no prisoners, to kill everybody, take over our land, and so they're looking for options. They're looking for loopholes. And so their option that they come up with is, let's pretend that we are from a foreign country-- We'll pretend that we are ambassadors or envoys from a foreign land-- and we'll appeal to their pride, as you will see when we get down to verse 9. How they say it will appeal to-- it'll make them sound like they have heard of their fame, and they've heard of the greatness of their God, and they're amazed by God, and amazed by the children of Israel, and it's enough to make anybody kind of go, I am pretty cool.
And so that's their only option. They know they're backed into a corner, so it's survival mode. So they resort to treachery. And Satan does work that way-- not always, but sometimes. In fact, most often. You know, it was Peter who noted that our enemy the Devil, 1 Peter 5 is like a roaring what?
Lion. Seeking whom he may devour. That is true. But he doesn't always come like a roaring lion. Sometimes he comes, not like a roaring lion, but like a resting lamb-- a wolf in sheep's clothing. He comes up to the sheepfold and he's got the voice down. Bah. And he's so sweet and so nice, so everybody goes, well, he must be a sheep, and he's a nice one too. Sometimes he's a roaring lion, but other times it's trickery.
What did Paul say to the Corinthians? He said Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. So it's no Marvel that his ministers can do the same. And so the Gibeonites come, and they have a story, and they say make a treaty with us. But the men of Israel said to the Hivites, perhaps you dwell among us-- maybe you're really not from afar-- maybe you're really from next door. And they were. How can we make a covenant with you?
And they said to Joshua, we are your servants. And Joshua said to them, who are you and where do you come from? A direct question. And so they said to him, not only are we from a far country, but from a very far country. Your servants have come because of the name of the Lord your God. Listen to their talk. For we have heard of His fame, and all that He did in Egypt, and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan-- to Sihon the King of Heshbon and all Og the king of Bashan who was at Ashtaroth.
Question, why did they mention those two events? Why did they mention these two kings and what God did in Egypt? Why didn't they mention what God did at Jericho or at Ai? It would blow their cover. They didn't have CNN or Fox News. They didn't have anything on their little iPhone to-- newsflash, this just happened. News travelled slow back then. If they were to said, hey, we heard what happened over at Ai, and we heard about Jericho, the children of Israel wouldn't have fallen for it because there's no way they could have known about it if they're from a far country.
So they're trying to go way back in the newspapers. Yeah, we remember what happened a long time ago in Egypt, and what happened on the other side with those two kings. Therefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us saying, take previsions with you for the journey and go to meet them, and say to them, we are your servants. Now therefore make a covenant with us.
Verse 9 is a telling verse. We've heard of the fame of your God. We've heard about you people. We're amazed at your God. I am sure in hearing that they thought, well, maybe these guys are legit. After all, that's what happened to Jericho. Rahab said all the inhabitants of our city-- our hearts melted when we heard how great your God is.
But isn't it interesting how the average Christian gets duped by anyone who mentions God or mentions Jesus. And it's almost like we are looking for our movie stars, or our rock musicians, or our politicians, to just say God. They just mention God, or God bless you, and they go, see, He's a Christian. They just said God bless you. OK? So? But if a person mentions Jesus, it's almost like, that's good enough. I'll fall for it. You must be a believer.
Not so fast. Dig a little deeper, watch the lifestyle, see if there's a life change. So they had all the right vocabulary down. Verse 12, this bread of ours we took hot for our provision from our houses on the day that we departed to come to you. But now look, it's dry and moldy. And these wine skins, which we filled, were new. And see they're torn. And these our garments and our sandals have become old because of the very long journey.
Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions-- but notice where the problem lies-- but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. Now, they've made this mistake before, you'll recall. So Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them to let them live, and the rulers of the congregation swore to them.
It's a two-fold problem here. There is the false pretenses of the Gibeonites and there's the failure to pray by the Israelites. Both of them are problems-- one is a liar, but the others neglect asking God about it. If they would have prayed and sought the Lord, like they did before Jericho-- like Joshua did before Jericho-- in that private communion, in that private moment, God could have given them behind the scenes counsel. He would have been faithful to do that. And the problem is outlined here. They did not seek the counsel from the Lord.
So what did they do? Well, they act very logical and they examine the bread and the wine, and they hear the story, and they talked it over with each other, and they make a logical deduction, and they make a deliberation. The only problem is they're wrong in their logical deduction and their examination. And had they prayed, they could have been spared.
What does James say? You have not because you ask not. And how often do we-- we don't really say it, but our attitude seems to be, Lord, I got this. I mean, you're good and stuff, but you know, there's bigger fish to fry for you in this universe. You've got a lot of important things to do. You've got ISIS to take care of, and you've got the politics in Washington, and you've got stuff going on down the street with that family. They're in a bad-- but this is-- I'll handle this. And we don't even ask Him. We don't even consider Him in a failure like this, to bring it before the Lord.
So I'm going to bring up one of your favorite verses, and I bet you'll be able to finish it. From Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he Will direct your path. See, you know that. I know that. We all are familiar with that premise, and yet, it's the in all your ways stuff we're not always great at. If we were to rewrite that the way we live, it's in a lot of our ways acknowledge the Lord, or in some of your ways acknowledge-- or even most of your ways. But in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.
Make it part of your fabric, your fiber, to just ask the Lord, thank the Lord, bring it up before the Lord. Just that ongoing praying without ceasing. You're never bothering God. God never looks and goes, oh, you again? Really? Never. He loves it, and He loves to reveal Himself to us. You say, but I've already prayed about and I've asked him a dozen times. Ask him two dozen times, three dozen times.
There's an old Jewish proverb that says it's better to ask the way ten times than to go down the wrong road once. So it's, Lord, did I get you on that one? What is that again? Would you just-- what are those directions? Re-orient me. What's the GPS thing going on? Just bring that before the Lord-- better than going the wrong way.
But it says, verse 15, so Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them to let them live. And the rulers of the congregation swore to them. OK, so let me tell you what's going on. Back in Deuteronomy there were two different commandments given. Moses said when you enter the land make no peace treaty at all with the inhabitants of Canaan. However, if there are foreigners from other countries who want to let you settle in this land and be peaceful neighbors, you can make a peace treaty with them, but not the inhabitants of this land.
And that is because back in Genesis, the Lord spoke about the iniquity of the Amorites. He said the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. But Abraham, your offspring and their offspring are going to go down to Egypt for 400 years-- actually a total of 420 years-- from the time God spoke that promise to the time that they settle the land. And I think that's a long time for God to be patient with anybody. I'm going to give you 420 years to hear about me, to hear about my fame and what I can do, and for you-- in hearing that-- to turn from your false gods, turn from your sins, and believe in me. And some did. Rahab did and others did. 420 years God was patient with the Amorites-- the people that populated the Promised Land. 420 years is up.
But the Gibeonites were successful in duping the children of Israel. Can I just say that before you form any alliance with anybody, that you consult the Lord? Whether it's a business deal, if you're going to go into business with someone, make sure you're not unequally yoked with that person. If you're dating somebody, and, oh-- but he's so cute. He's got to be from God. Look at her, she dropped out of heaven. Yeah, check under the hair. There may be some horns.
Am I right? OK. So you just want to make sure that-- you're making a long-term commitment, and a lifetime commitment when it comes to a marriage relationship-- make sure that person, that they're not Gibeonites. Oh, but look at the bread-- it's stale, and the wine, it's old.
Let me just say something else. There is a trend today, especially among younger people, to become enamored with the early church fathers-- like third and fourth century, and sort of the ideas, the high church, the old church, and it's just become kind of cool and hip to kind of look back in church history. Whether it was the Reformation, or before the Reformation, whether it's a Augustine, or the writings of any of these early guys. And I think that's a mistake. I think that's just looking at old stale bread an old wine, and thinking that's so cool. I'm just going to camp on this.
Because you're not going back far enough. Those eras of church history-- do your study-- were filled with problems. For that matter, any era of church history was filled with problems in the church. There is only one model that the Lord tells you to look at to model your church after, and it's not Calvin, or Svinglee, or Arminius, or Eusebius, or any of the church fathers origin. It's the book of Acts. You've got it in your Bible. That is the model the Lord gave. That's as near perfection as it gets. And there were even problems going on, but you see how the Lord dealt with them.
If you're going to go back, go all the way back. Don't stop third century, oh, I'm cool, I'm like in the fourth century. First of all, you're in a bad century. Keep going back to the book of Acts. And don't say, well, you know Calvin said this-- who cares? He's dead.
Well Arminius-- he's dead too. Jesus is alive. Listen to him. I'll build my church, He said.
And let's look at His living Word, not stale bread and old wine, and say that's cool. No, it's just cool because you believe some idiot that said that's cool, but it's not that cool. Go stick with the Word. OK, off the soap box, Skip.
There, good boy. OK.
Verse 16, and it happened at the end of three days, after they made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors who dwelt near them. Those crafty neighbors. I wonder if you really know your neighbors? Then the children of Israel journeyed and came to their cities on the third day. Now the cities were Gibeon, Chephira, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim If you want to pronounce it like a Hebrew.
But the children of Israel did not attack them because the rulers of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the rulers. Then the rulers said to the congregation, we have sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel. Now therefore, we may not touch them. Their word was their bond. They made a mistake, yes. But now they made a promise-- they made a covenant. Once you make a covenant, a promise, you've got to stick with it. You've got to be a person of integrity-- whether you say I do at an altar, or whether you sign a contract to pay off a car, you keep your covenants.
Proverbs 6, you know the seven things the Lord hates-- a lying tongue is one of them, and a false witness who speaks lies. So, yeah, they made a mistake, but they said, you know what? We made a promise, So our word must now be our bond. Now just once again, before we move on from this, your enemy and mine, the Devil, like the Gibeonites, is clever, deceptive. And the apostle Paul says, and we are not ignorant of his devices. Well, thank you for the vote of confidence, Paul, but the truth is many of us are ignorant of his devices, truth be told.
We're flat out ignorant of Satan's devices. He's got so many of them. And he's been around for thousands of years, you know? He has studied humanity quite in depth. He has a long history of studying what makes people tick and what makes people fall. So don't think, well, he doesn't know how smart I am. You're not too smart if you think that. So we're not ignorant of his devices. How do you get wised up to his devices? What is it that could strengthen you to be perceptive in Satan's attacks?
It's proximity to the Lord. Same with the children of Israel. Satanic strategy is overcome by divine proximity. Get close to the Lord, and the closer you are to Him, you won't be immune from attacks, but you'll be aware of them. You're abiding in Him. So to overcome Satanic strategy, employ divine proximity. Get close to Him. So the Bible says submit unto the Lord. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. Both of those are important. You submit to God-- that's proximity-- then you have the strength to resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.
Verse 20, this we will do to them. We will let them live, lest wrath be upon us because of the oath which we swore to them. And the rulers said to them, let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for all the congregation, as the rulers had promised them. And Joshua called for them, and he spoke to them saying, why have you deceived us saying we are very far from you, when you dwell near us-- you wiley neighbors? Now therefore you are cursed, and none of you shall be freed from being slaves-- woodcutters and water carriers-- for the house of my God.
Now, what is the house of my God? What's that?
Anybody? Where is it eventually going to be? Jerusalem. It's going to be the temple. So it's the Tabernacle, later on it will be the temple. That's the house of the Lord-- that's where the Lord dwells in a special way among His people in the Old Testament.
So they answered Joshua and they said, because it was certainly told your servants that the Lord your God commanded his servants Moses to give you all the land and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you. Therefore we were very much afraid for our lives. Because of you, and that's why we've done this thing. And now, here we are in your hands. Do with us as seems good and right to do to us. So he did to them and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, so that they did not kill them. And that day Joshua made them woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord in the place that he would choose-- that will be Jerusalem eventually-- even to this day-- or the day that this was written.
So I find this fascinating. The whole reason they were told to get rid of the Canaanites is so that the Canaanites would not defile the children of Israel with their horrible, idolatrous, brutal practices. It was like cutting a cancer out of a human body so the body would live. But but now you've got the Gibeonites, with all of their treachery, and all of their falseness, and all of their idolatry, living among the children of Israel. So what do you do? You make them work in the Tabernacle.
In the Tabernacle they are going to be exposed to the worship of Yahweh, the true God. They are going to be influenced, probably, by what they see and what they hear because they're going to live in close proximity to those sacrifices. They have to get wood for that altar to be burning all the time, that altar of sacrifice in the outer courtyard, they have to provide water to wash the blood away in all the sacrifices that will be enacted. So it's a good strategy. You're going to come close enough to be influenced by the true worship system.
Now why is this important? Because later on, we will discover when Joshua apportions the land-- Joshua 18-- that Gibeon, that area will be given to the Benjamites. So Benjamites will take the territory, Gibeon included. Also, in Joshua 18, the city of Gibeon will become a Levite town-- a levitical city. So the priests are going to be living in that. You're going to have the teachers of the law, the teachers of the Word, around those-- it's like putting salt, the salt of the earth, in their town.
Later on in 1 Chronicles, the tabernacle itself will rest on a hill in Gibeon. And then much later on, when the children of Israel return to rebuild the temple under Nehemiah, in chapter 3, some of the people helping to rebuild the city of Jerusalem or the Gibeonites. I like that. I love that. It's almost as if it was for a reason, and that reason was realized. They did become influence, and they did become helpers.
So here's the principle. I don't want you to miss this. When you make a mistake, make your mistake work for you. They made a mistake with the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites are going to work for them the rest of their lives in the Tabernacle. When you make a mistake, make your mistake work for you. Use that mistake-- not only grow from it, but now it becomes a part of your story, your testimony. You can actually use that to help other people. Make your mistake work for you, as they did.
Chapter 10, now it came to pass-- see, look it, we're in chapter 10. Come on, that's--
Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
It came to pass, when Adonizedek, the king of Jerusalem-- don't name your kids that, by the way. You're looking for Bible names, some of you? You may want to take it a little too far-- Adonizedek would be proof of that. When he heard how Joshua, he's the king of Jerusalem, had taken Ai and 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, 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 of its men were mighty.
Therefore, Adonizedek, the king of Jerusalem, sent to Hoham, the king of Hebron, Piram, the king of Jarmuth, Japhia the king of Lachish, and Debir king of Eglon, saying come up to me and help me, that we may attack Gibbon. For it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel. Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, king of Hebron, king of Jarmuth,] king of Lachish, king of Eglon, gathered together and went up. And all their armies encamped before Gibeon and made war against it.
Now here's their thinking, Gibeon was a big city. It's a big town, it was a great city, bigger than Ai. A notable, formidable city. If they have fallen as servants to the children of Israel-- that's three cities that are down-- they are becoming unstoppable. Unless we form a coalition, we will not be able to stop their advancement into the land. We have to take steps to recover a city that has been lost. So if they have surrendered, then we'll just go attack them. Destroy them and take over their fortified city and it'll be ours. So let's go back and let's get it.
Now, it does sound, to be so far like, oh man, it's going from bad to worse. You know? You've got all these cities fighting against the children of Israel. Now you have a coalition of five kings banded together to attack the children of Israel. But what I want you to see- this is God's sense of humor. God is allowing this to help the children of Israel advance and accelerate taking over the land. You go, I don't get it. How are they going to advance and accelerate?
Simple. Instead of going after five city-states separately-- one battle, two battle, three battle, four battle, five battle-- God will have all the battles at one time, on one day. So He'll knock five of them out. Bam, it's over. So I love God's economy. What seems to you to be like an uh-oh moment could be an aha moment. So that's why, like we mentioned Sunday, when something like this happens, you go, what's God up to? What's He up to? What's He doing? He's up to something. So before you raise the white flag and say, it's over. Goodbye cruel world. Look up and see what God is up to.
So God uses this. It's a Romans 8:28 moment. He turns their blunders into blessings. The men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, saying, do not forsake your servants. The Gibeonites now have a covenant with the children of Israel. The enemies come unto Gibeon to take over Gibeon, to destroy it. So now they're cashing it in. Men of Gibeon said to Joshua, the camp of Gilgal, 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. So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor.
Now I'm going to flip the coin for a moment. I want you to consider something. I want you to consider that the men of Gibeon did the right thing. As far as Gibeonites are concerned, they made the right move. They know they're headed for destruction because these five kings are coming after them. So what do they do? They call upon Joshua. Joshua, Yeshua, it's the Old Testament form of Jesus-- it means Jehovah or God is salvation. So headed for destruction, they call upon Joshua, Yeshua. They form a covenant with him. They believe a promise that he made them, and they turn all of their worries and problems over to Joshua. And they rest in the promise Joshua gave them.
So this is a good strategy to do. You have a covenant with Joshua, Yeshua, Jesus. You have secured a promise from Jesus-- He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. You've got problems, so you turn those problems over to Him and you rest in the promise that He made you. So in that regard, they were wise.
And the Lord said to Joshua, do not fear them. For I have-- past tense-- delivered them into your hand, and not a man of them shall stand before you. How can God say this? The battle hasn't even begun. Well, this is God's prerogative is it not? This is called omniscience. This is God's whole economy-- God's whole MO is based on this principle, this trait that He has. God knows everything from the beginning, so when He looks at the future it's done. It's over. It's past tense. That's why prophecy is easy for Him. That's why He can give such detail in advance because to Him it's as good as done.
I have given-- no one will stand before you. Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal. It's about a 15 to 20 mile march uphill in the dark to surprise them in the morning-- the element of surprise.
Verse 10, so the Lord routed them before Israel and 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. Notice those four verbs, and who is the subject of those four verbs. Who's the subject? God, the Lord. It says the Lord routed them. And by implication it's the Lord that killed them. And again, by linguistic implication it's the Lord who chased them along the road, and it's the Lord who struck them.
So, yeah, the children of Israel are out there with their swords and their element of surprise, and they're engaged in the battle, but the Lord is the one securing the victory-- working with us to get the job done. And it happened, as they fled before Israel-- by the way, I love when God fights. He brought, that day, a divinely caused panic. He routed them. He confused them. They panicked. God fights so much better than I fight.
Now sometimes I'm in the mood, when somebody is really cantankerous, to like-- I'll give it back to them. I kind of want to do that-- it's just sort of in my nature. But it's much more rewarding for me to pull back and let God into the battle. He's so much better at it than I am and more creative.
And so as people attack you, you can defend yourself, but it will wear you out. Or you can let the Lord defend you. It's a lot more fun. You get to watch Him work, you get to cheer Him on. It happened as they fled before the children of Israel on the descent of Bethoron, that the Lord cast down large hail stones from heaven on them, as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the children of Israel killed with the sword.
This is a miraculous event that occurred. I have read commentaries trying to figure out, trying to give you natural explanations for this. There's really no way to look at this other than it's miraculous-- because the source is from God. The object is selective. If this is a natural phenomena, isn't it interesting that they only hit the bad guys? That's a quite a coincidence, isn't it? That natural occurrence that could happen at any moment just happened to get all the bad guys. And not only the source, and not only the selectivity, but also the sum-- the total number. God hit more than the children of Israel did. I say God is a better fighter than we are. Yeah, they're out there with a sword, but God scored higher points than the children of Israel that day.
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 Aijalone. So the sun stood still and the moon stopped until the people had revenge upon their enemies. Is this not written in the book of Jasher? And so the sun stood still in the midst of heaven and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.
It's interesting to read supposed explanations of this event-- and I've read a bundle. I've read that on that day the earth tilted to bring a prolonged lighting effect on that part of the earth, it just gave a little more tilt. That doesn't take away the miraculous, certainly. Others have said it was simply a localized refraction of sunlight, like in Exodus 10, there was darkness over the land of Egypt-- it was a localized darkness in the land of the Egyptians, that whole delta region. They say this is a localized effect of light being refracted in a local way.
Others, usually most people just explain it saying, it didn't really happen, it's a poetic description. The children of Israel were given strength by the Lord and they could get twice the work done in one day. So the fancy, poetic words of Joshua aren't to be taken literally.
I disagree. You know me, I have no problem if it says that, to take it at face value. But it is interesting that in ancient times the calendar seems to have changed around 701 BC. The ancient calendars were based on a 360-day year, but that around 701 something changed. The Romans added 5 and 1/2 months to their calendar-- well, excuse me, 5 and 1/2 days to their year. The Jewish calendar added a month, and it occurred seven times over 19 years. They had a flex month. I told you a little bit about that in the Pentateuch. I'm not going to rehash that.
But it is interesting that in antiquity, in the writings of virtually every single continent, on all continents except Antarctica, there are the writings that there is a long day that happened in history. So that is interesting that you have all these different sources, all these different writings, all attesting to a very unusual event at around the time of the long day of Joshua. And that is an unexplained long day. There was even a professor Pickering from Harvard University who, in looking back and looking forward at calendars, noticed that around the time of Joshua is a missing day.
And scientists at the University of Maryland, in doing computerized projections of earth, moon, and sun, planets, because they're trying to project the next 100 years where to place satellites, have in looking at the future, but also looking back on these computer models, have also noticed a missing day-- almost. 23 hours and 20 minutes, to be precise. So they've noted something happened back then. We're missing 23 hours and 20 minutes. And I bring that up because if you'll just notice, I find it interesting at least, in verse 13, it says, is this not written in the Book of Jasher? I guess. So I wouldn't know, I've never read it. So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven and did not hasten to go down-- notice this-- for about a whole day. And could that about a whole day be the 23 hours and 20 minutes that those Maryland scientists are looking for?
Now let me throw something else into the mix. I want to spend a lot of time on this, but a couple of scientists have written that at one time they believed-- and this could have accounted for some of the calendar malfunction or change-- is that at one time that the trajectory of the earth, the rotation of the Earth around the sun, and the rotation of Mars, were on resonant orbits. So one 365 and a third rotations around the sun in a year, Mars 720. But because they were on resonant orbits, they sometimes came very, very close to one another. And when there was that near pass it caused catastrophic events to occur on the earth.
You can-- there's a few books, some more reputable than others. But it's an interesting thought, nonetheless, and it could possibly account for this. But it's just put in a very simple way that for about a day. But then look at this, and-- verse 14-- 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. Then Joshua returned and all Israel with him to the camp at Gilgal. But these five kings fled and hidden themselves in a cave at Makkedah.
Now let me just give you a little principle. Let me tell you how to lengthen your day. Speak to the Son-- not the S-U-N, but the S-O-N. When you feel like you can't get enough done and you feel pressured-- what am I going to do-- pause and talk to the Son. Lay that before Him. Ask Him if that's something He wants you to get involved in or not. Ask Him for wisdom. Ask Him for how to proceed. Talk to the Son and you'll find that as the day is, so shall your strength be.
It was told Joshua, verse 17, the five kings were found and hid in the cave in Makkedah. So Joshua said roll large stones against the mouth of the cave and set a man to guard it. So these are the Rolling Stones.
The first ones. Although the recent ones are about as old.
And do not stay there yourselves, but pursue your enemies and attack their rear ranks, and do not allow them to enter their cities. For the Lord your God has delivered them into your hands. Then it happened while Joshua and the children of Israel made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter until they had finished, that those who escaped entered fortified cities. 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.
Then Joshua said, open the mouth of the cave and bring out those five kings to me from the cave. And they did so, and brought out those five kings to him from the cave, and the king of Jerusalem, king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon. So it was, when they brought out those kings to Joshua, Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the captains of the men of war who were with him, come near and put your feet on the necks of these kings. And they drew near and put their feet on their necks. 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.
And afterward Joshua struck them and killed them and hanged them on five trees, and they were hanging on the trees until evening. 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. So that would be quite a boost to the rulers. It would be a very graphic illustration, but these men of war, in defeating their enemies this way, would have probably brought great courage to them. I know it sounds gross, but you and I aren't fighting men.
Verse 28-- now beginning in verse 28, we're going to move through this very rapidly and just make a few highlights, because what this is now is a summary-- beginning in verse 28-- of the southern conquest. Remember, he divides this land in half. Now this is a summary of taking those kings and other kings down south, and defeating them-- conquering all those city-states.
So verse 28, on that day Joshua took Makkedah. Verse 29, Joshua passed from Makkedah all the children of Israel to Libnah, and he fought against Libnah Verse 31, Joshua passed from Libnah, all the children of Israel with him to Lachish. And they came against it. Verse 33, then Hiram, the king of Gezer-- he must have been an old guy-- came up to help Lachish and Joshua-- thank you for putting up with all my lame jokes.
Verse 34, from Lachish, Joshua passed to Eglon, all the children of Israel with him. They encamped against it. Verse 36, they went to Hebron, fought against it. And just, in verse 37, they took it and struck it-- and this is a repeated phrase we did not notice in all these verses-- but it says they took it with the edge of the sword. It's king, all that cities, all the people who were in it. He left none remaining according to all that he had done in Eglon, utterly destroyed it and all the people who were in it.
How'd they do it? With the edge of the sword. Do you have a sword? This is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Sharper than any two-edged sword-- the writer of Hebrews said. Take your sword out. Use it. Know the scripture. Memorize the scripture. Speak about the principles. Apply those principles. Take out the sword-- unsheath that sword and use it this week-- that is, the Word of God, the Bible.
Then Joshua returned to Debir, verse 38, and fought against it. Verse 40, here's the summary verse. So Joshua conquered all the land, the mountain country and the south, and the lowlands, the wilderness slopes, all their kings, left none remaining. Utterly destroyed all that breathe as the Lord God of Israel commanded. And Joshua conquered them from Kadesh Barnea-- way, way down south-- as far as Gaza-- that's the southern desert-- and all the country of Goshen as far as Gibeon. So the central portion of the land is now all conquered.
And all these kings in their land Joshua took at one time because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel. Notice that? It took him one time instead of five different battles, and then five more battles. It just took him all of one time. Just mop it up. Then Joshua returned and all of Israel with him to camp at Gilgal.
7: 59, we be done with two chapters.
It's funny when you got to clap for a preacher who ends on time. That's just a sad state of affairs. I'm just listening that going, I've gotten that bad.
He's on time. Hallelujah!
Let's pray. Father, thank you for just the family gathering together. This environment is just so warm and friendly and fun, and yet we've dealt with some very real and radical subjects-- topics-- that are as real today as they were to Joshua and his soldiers then. That is, there are enemies around us that want to destroy us, that are mounting against us. And I don't mean in a human level, but in a spiritual level. Principalities, powers, using temptations, using weakness in our flesh, trying to destroy us. And one of the ways-- the principal way-- is deception.
Like it was then, oh how the Devil deceives us. And he may have even deceived people who are here tonight into just being secure right where they are-- to not make any move, just let things go as they are. When your Word, the Bible, tells us to stop, to turn around, to repent, to turn to Jesus Christ-- our Joshua-- the only one who is a Savior. And to turn to Him and ask Jesus to save us from our sin. To enter into a relationship with Him by simple faith in Him, believing that the work that He did for us on the cross is enough-- it's enough. We can't earn it, we can't work for your love, we can't earn salvation. It's a free gift. And what Jesus did in securing that, once and for all, it's enough. It's finished.
So I pray, Lord, that those who have gathered with us tonight who don't personally know Jesus yet, you'd stop them dead in their tracks and bring them in your love. Draw them to you, to real, rich, but radical relationship with the living God. If they played church up to this point, that they'd just stop that and get real with the living God. If they have trusted in their upbringing and their church background, to stop and trust in the living God. If they have wandered away from You, to stop and to come back home to the place of acceptance and forgiveness.
Our heads are bowed, our eyes are closed, we're praying right now. But I'm asking you, if you don't really personally yet know the Lord but you want to be forgiven and enter into a real relationship with him, so that you can know every single day of your life that when your life comes to an end-- whether at the end of this week or at the end of 50 years-- that on that day you'll be directly taken into heaven. If you want to know that for sure-- if you are unsure tonight, but you need to either come back to Him or come to Him for the first time, if you're willing to give your life to Christ, I'm going to keep my eyes open.
Our heads are bowed, our eyes are closed. Mine will be open. I want you to raise your hand up in the air if you're going to give your life to Christ. God bless you. Anybody else? You need to come to Him for the first time, or you need to come running back home into His arms, you raise your hand up. I want to pray for you, but I need to know who I'm praying for.
Anybody else? Raise that hand up. Raise it up high in the air, please. God bless you in the balcony. Yes sir, right there toward the left side. Anybody else? Anybody in the family room? Just raise it up. Raise it up high. Yes ma'am. God bless you. Anyone else? We're about to close. If God is speaking to your heart, just-- God bless you to my far right.
Father, I do pray-- we do pray for these who have raised a hand in different parts of this auditorium, let alone people who might be listening by radio or internet. We just thank you, Lord, for these individuals that you have brought to be among us to hear Dominic, to hear the message from the Word and to respond to the living God who is in this place. Strengthen them. Help them as they turn to You to be forgiven, and to be a child-- a son or daughter-- of the living God. Fill them with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. In Jesus' name, amen.
Let's stand to our feet. Dominic is going to close in a song before we're dismissed. If you raised your hand up, I'm going to ask you to get up from where you're standing, if you're in the balcony I'm going to ask you to come down those steps. We're going to wait for you, but we want you to come, and I'm going to lead you in a word of prayer to receive Christ in just a moment, as you come. You just make your way here.
We're going to encourage you as you come. You're going to hear it. We're going to encourage you with our applause.
We're going to welcome you into God's family. If you take that step. Jesus called people publicly. I'm calling you publicly like I think He would. So you come down and just stand right here. No matter where you raised your hand at, you come and stand right here. God bless you, man.
Come right on up. If you're on the far side, just come-- it'll just take a moment. And for the rest of us, let's watch this new birth take place.
God bless you. Welcome. That's right. It's party time in heaven. Anybody else? Come on forward. Come on up.
Yep, we'll wait for you. Again, if you're in that balcony just take those steps down. Don't hide up there. Come on down.
I love it. We're so stoked that you're here. Come on up.
Anybody else? I saw hands go up in different parts of the auditorium. Please don't hide in the shadows and just go away. God has been trying to get a hold of some of you for a long time. This is your night. This is an appointment you have with the living God. It's time to keep it, so come on. We'll wait just another little bit. Anybody else?
I can almost guarantee you that you that have come forward, you didn't expect to come to church and hear about a bunch of Gibeonites, and you didn't expect to be standing up here giving your life to Christ. I bet those two things are true. And yet they both happened. You heard about Gibeonites and you're giving your life to Jesus Christ. How all that works, I'm not quite sure, but here you are. But you've realized that you need God, and you're giving Him your life.
So I'm going to lead you in a prayer. I'm going to ask you to say this prayer out loud after me. Say these words from your heart. Say these to the Lord. OK? Say, Lord, I give you my life.
Lord, I give you my life,
I know that I'm a sinner.
I know that I'm a sinner.
I believe in Jesus Christ.
I believe in Jesus Christ.
I believe He died for me--
I believe He died for me--
--that He shed His blood for my sins,
--that He shed His blood for my sins,
And that He rose again from the dead.
And that He rose again from the dead.
I turn from my sin.
I turn from my sin.
I repent of it.
I repent of it.
I want to leave it in the past.
I want to leave it in the past.
I turn to Jesus as my Savior--
I turn to Jesus as my Savior--
--and as the Lord of my life.
--and as the Lord of my life.
In Jesus' name,
In Jesus' name,
For more resources from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig visit calvaryabq.org.