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.
Father, we do come before You. And we know that while we're praying, these aren't just words that we say before we teach a Bible study. We are now addressing the very Creator of the universe. The one who holds the galaxies, who maintains order in this cosmos we call our world. We're addressing you, Lord, you're our maker. You gave us life.
Moreover, we come boldly. We don't come sheepishly. We don't come any other way other than we are in Your presence because of what Jesus did for us. We don't deserve it, but we come boldly because He brought us there. He made a way for us. So, Father, we are asking for these things. We're asking for grace to help in time of need.
And there are some here who are in great need. And so we come and we ask. We pray that you'd open up our minds, open up our understanding to receive truth as we go through this historical narrative of Joshua, and the children of Israel, and the Promised Land, the battles they fought. Some of us are facing some very difficult battles.
Go before us. Show us, Lord. Encourage us by the enemies vanquished in these chapters.
And then do, Lord, for us, in our lives, what you did for them. In Jesus's name. Amen.
I want to begin tonight with a poem, do you mind? Because I thought of you when I saw this. "I suppose I knew my Bible. Reading a piecemeal. Hit and miss. Now a bit of John or Matthew. Now a snatch of Genesis. Certain chapters of Isaiah. Certain psalms, the 23rd. 12th of Romans. First of Proverbs. Yes, I thought I knew the word. But I found that thorough reading was a different thing to do. And the way was unfamiliar when I read the Bible true.
You who like to play at Bible dip and dabble here and there just before you kneel a-weary and yawn through a hurried prayer. You who treat the crown of writings as you treat no other book. Just a paragraph disjointed. Just a crude impatient look. Try a worthier procedure. Try a broad and steady view. You will kneel in very rapture when you read the Bible through."
This is why I love you so much, because you love to read the Bible through. And you'd not only want to read the Bible through, you want the Bible to flow through you. And Charles Spurgeon said that he liked the person who read it so much his very blood was what he called "bibline" blood. That's the type. What type do you have? "Bibline." It's just part of my system.
And, let me encourage you, in just under a year we're planning another trip to Israel. Wednesday night people are the best suited for a trip to Israel because they know so much of the Bible already. And when you see it in two weeks, it all comes together so that when you read your Bible, you'll never read it the same. You then visualize it. You see it. And some of the places we're even mentioning here are places some of you will be able to visualize because you have been there.
Well, we are in Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 of the book of Joshua, God willing. And we see that Joshua was a very skillful leader. A tenacious warrior. Have you heard the story of Winston Churchill when he was in his last days of his life? He went to visit the boys preparatory school where he himself had been a student. And the headmaster told the class, Winston Churchill is going to come next week, students. He is one of the greatest orators in history. I strongly suggest that you listen very carefully to what he has to say and take very detailed notes to the message he brings.
Well, the day came. And Sir Winston Churchill stepped out of his limousine, and came into the school, and was introduced with a very flowery, long introduction. The students had pencil and paper ready. And Winston Churchill came up behind the podium and he said, "Young gentlemen, never give up. Never give up. Never. Never. Never. Never." And he turned and he sat down.
That was his message. That was all of his message. But it's an unforgettable message. You wouldn't really have to take many notes. I memorized the whole thing just by reading it once. But they would never forget that message. Never give up. And if you know much of the story of England during those dark years, you know what an inspiration and a light Sir Winston Churchill was to the British people.
Joshua was a lot like Sir Winston Churchill. He was the kind to never give up. He had been waiting to go into the Promised Land. If you remember, 45 years earlier than where we are at in the book of Joshua, 45 years before this, a scouting team went into the Promised Land to just look it over and to see how possible it was to take over this gift from Heaven. This new piece of real estate. So 12 spies went into the land. Joshua was one of them. Caleb was another one. You'll read about him, Lord willing, next week.
10 others also went and they gave a very grim surmisal of their scouting expedition. Don't go, they said, there's giants in this land. There's no way they're going to eat us for lunch. We're dead meat. Joshua and Caleb said, aw, I know they're big giants. They're big people. They're huge folks. But the way I see it, the bigger the person, the easier the target. Easier to hit. The smaller they are, it's harder to hit. But these are big targets. No problem. Let's go in and take the land. So he had been waiting. And now he's here. And Joshua, as I mentioned, was a very skillful leader. A skillfull military leader.
What do I mean by that? None of the battles that Joshua fights, recorded in the book of Joshua, are defensive battles. Always they are offensive battles. That is, you never see Joshua just waiting around to get attacked. He is on the attack himself. And when he hears that there's a group of enemy that are mounting an attack, he decides, I'm going to attack first before they attack.
Which brings us to the second mark of his leadership, the element of surprise. These people would gather together and they'd come up with their strategy, but before they could hatch, before they could launch their strategy, there's Joshua. Before they could even rally their troops, there's Joshua with his men. And brought to them the element of surprise.
And a third mark of his military leadership is that Joshua, in all of the battles in this book, seemed to have a contingent of soldiers who would chase down any of the remnant of the enemy. They would chase down those who were fleeing so that they wouldn't be able to regroup and attack them again.
So Joshua had been in the wilderness a long time. He tried to get in there 45 years before that. The rest of the people gave a bad report. You know that story. But now he's here. And ever since he hit the land, he hit the land running. He ran toward Jericho, and Ai, and Bethel. And he defeated the southern kings.
Now, in this chapter, we take a turn northward. Now, I mentioned to you, early on in this book, that there are three major divisions to the book of Joshua.
The entering of the land. The conquering of the land. The distribution of the land. That's how the book is divided. Chapters 1 through 5 is how they entered the land. Chapters 6 through 12 is the conquering of the land. And, God willing, we will finish that section of the book tonight.
You say, Skip, I'm not betting on it. You haven't even started verse 1 yet.
But have faith.
And then chapters 13 to 24, the distribution of the land to all of the tribes of Israel. They had been waiting for those allotments to be apportioned out to them. Chapters 13 on will record that.
Well, we're in chapter 11, verse 1 and here's what you get if we were to have read chapter 10 into chapter 11. Now we took a break, and a week has gone by, but there's really no rest for Joshua. He finishes a successful, and vigorous, and exhausting, I might add, southern campaign. He has divided the land in two by conquering Jericho, Ai, Bethel. The Gibeonites, they formed a treaty with him. But he has cut the land in two. And he has conquered the midsection and the southern section. Now he is going north.
"And it came to pass--" verse 1, here we go. "It came to pass when Jabin, the king of Hazor heard these things, that he sent to Jobab the king of Madon, to the king of Shimron, to the king of Achshaph, to the kings who were from the north in the mountains, in the plain south of Chinneroth--" that's how we would probably, most of us pronounce it. I'll get back to that in a moment-- "in the lowland and in the heights of Dor on the west, to the Canaanite in the east, and in the west, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite in the mountains, the Hivites below Hermon--" or Hermon it would be pronounced in Hebrew-- "in the land of Mizpeh.
And so they went out, and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore in multitude with very many horses and chariots. And when all these kings had met together, they came and camped together at the waters of Merom to fight against Israel." The victories of Joshua and the children of Israel have gone viral. The kings of the land have heard about it. And they are in panic mode.
They send messengers, at least the king of Hazor-- that's the largest city in the northern part of the land. It was huge for a city of that era-- well he sees what's happening. He hears what has happened. So messengers are sent in virtually every direction to get a coalition of troops to defeat Israel.
Now this happened down south. Five kings banded together to attack the Gibeonites when they heard what had happened with Israel and Gibeon so that they could defeat Israel. That was unsuccessful. The victory has gone viral.
Now these northern kings that formed this coalition would have had a better chance had they joined the southern coalition in chapter 10. Then you wouldn't have had five kings, you would have had 10 kings against Joshua and this ragtag army of the children of Israel. But that didn't happen. They probably thought that the southern kings will mop up this pest called Israel and that they won't advance north. But that is not true.
So they gather. Now if you have been with us to Israel, some of these names stand out to you. One is Hermon. That's the mountain up north. That's the mountain you see on the day when we drive north from the Sea of Galilee. And you can see it in the distance. And when we go, it's snow-capped. It's 10,000 feet. There's skiing on Mount Hermon. It's the highest mountain in the Middle East. So that designates way far up north.
Then would you notice in verse 2 that word I drew attention to a moment ago-- Chinneroth. That's really not how it's pronounced, even though it's spelled that way. It is pronounced [SPEAKING HEBREW] not that that's important, my pronunciation at least. But Chinneroth is the ancient name-- and by the way, it is the modern name today, it is called the lake of Kinneret. And Kinneret it is the Sea of Galilee. So when you read Chinneroth, that's the Sea of Galilee. That's its ancient name [SPEAKING HEBREW].
Now Kinneret means a harp. And that is probably because this lake, the Sea of Galilee, from an aerial view looks like a harp. It's a trapezoidal shape. It's 13 miles long. At its widest, it's probably six or seven miles across. And it's shaped like a harp. And Kinneret in Hebrew means a harp.
The closest we have to it in the New Testament, this rendering of it is in Luke 5 when it say. Jesus and the disciples went to the plain of Gennesareth. Gennesareth is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew Kinneret. So that's just an FYI as you're reading through the New Testament and you come to Gennesareth, that's a plane where they grew crops by the Sea of Galilee. So that is familiar.
Then notice in verse 5, this is the place they gather together for the battle. It says the waters of Merom. Now the waters of Merom do not exist today at all. But on your Bible maps that you have, many of you in the back of your Bible, if you have it on your iPhone or iPad, good luck.
But at the back of your Bible, you have a little string of water running from the Dead Sea. And it touches the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. That's the Jordan River. You can see the Sea of Galilee sort of in the middle toward the north, then the large body of water down south. That's the Dead Sea. But if you were to go north about 10 miles, 15, 20 miles from the Sea of Galilee, in your Bible map you have the waters of Merom.
Now they don't exist today. It was a shallow lake in antiquity. And before Israel resettled the land in the '40s, 1948 they came back into the land, that whole area called the Hula Valley and the waters of Merom were mosquito ridden. The shallow lake was a swamp. And they planted eucalyptus trees throughout that whole valley to drain the swamp. And I don't mean politically, I mean literally drain the swamp, get rid of the mosquitoes, get rid of the threat. So effectively, now, since the land has been settled and farmed, the waters of Merom no longer exist.
It was in this valley that they all converge north of the Sea of Galilee for a battle. Verse 6, "But the Lord said to Joshua do not be afraid." I hope you have underlined or paid attention to, in the book of Joshua, how often the Lord has said this. This is the fourth time He has said do not be afraid to Joshua.
Now, typically, I've discovered whenever God says don't be afraid it's because we're afraid. Right? So to not be afraid, you usually don't walk up to somebody who is bold and courageous and say, hey, don't be afraid, because he'd look at you like you're weird. So typically, God would say it when you're a bit uncertain. And even though Joshua was on the offensive. And he was like Winston Churchill, never give up, never give up, he had just had five kings against him. Now, the biggest city up north, Hazor, it controlled the trade routes. It was wealthy. It was large. 20,000 people lived in that city at its height, at its peak.
Hazor and all of the cities are rallying together with its leaders to defeat him. So he's a bit unnerved. So the Lord said "do not be afraid because of them. For tomorrow, about this time--" I like how God does that-- "about this time tomorrow--" so keep your watch wound, Joshua, keep your iPhone with you so you can check the time. "But this time tomorrow, I will deliver all of them slain before Israel. You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire. So Joshua and all the people of war with him came against them suddenly by the waters of Merom.
And they attacked them. And the Lord delivered them into the hands of Israel who defeated them and chased them to greater Zidon--" way up toward Lebanon-- "to the brook Misrephtoh to the valley of Mizpeh eastward. And they attacked them until they left none of them remaining. So Joshua did to them as the Lord had told him. He hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire."
To hamstring a horse means to sever a tendon in the leg. Now when that is done, what that effectively does it incapacitates the horse. It renders the horse unable to charge. It takes some of the strength away. It can still be used for farming, but it cannot be used for fighting. So hamstring the horses, so they can only be used for farming, not for fighting. And then it says burn all the chariots with fire.
Now stop for a moment. When we read this, we may be tempted to sort of scratch our heads and lift our thoughts toward heaven and say, God, are you sure you want that done? Are you really being logical about this, Lord? I told you before that I've counseled the Lord on many occasions.
It's never a good idea. I don't recommend it. But you get tempted to at this point because you think now, the children of Israel had no chariots. They really had no chariots and horses. They were a ragtag group of wanderers through the desert, newly in this land. The only really spoils that they got were from the city of Ai and Gibeon. So they don't have chariots and horses.
You would think, Lord, why don't you get economic about this? Why don't you have them take the chariots, take the horses, and use them for their battles? Why would God say hamstring the horses? You can't render them for battle anymore and then burn their chariots with fire. These are implements of war.
Well two reasons. Reason number one, the Canaanites used their horses as a part of their worship system, their cultic worship system. But number two, Israel could get tempted to trust in their armaments, their military buildup. Ooh, now we've got chariots, now we've got horses, we're invincible.
Because David will write in Psalm 20:7, "Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord, our God." So you don't need them. You've got me, God says.
What did you do Jericho? You walked around it and blew a horn. You didn't really do much. If you would have prayed to Me, the city of Ai would have been a lot easier than it was. If you would have prayed to Me, there would have been no treaty with the Gibeonites. But just incapacitate the horses, burn the chariots, trust Me. I'll take you through this land and in this land.
So he did that. And then verse 10, "Joshua turned back at that time and took Hazor and struck it with its king with the sword. For Hazor or was formerly the head of those kingdoms. And he struck all the people who were in it with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them. There was none left breathing. And then he burned Hazor with fire."
Now we have touched on this before, so I don't want to get too deeply into it. But I'm not confident that everybody was at all of our Wednesday night Bible studies when we covered this. So from time to time, we need to bring this up. Was God immoral in telling the children of Israel to destroy the Canaanites?
This is what the unbelievers will say, including all the new atheists who write all those books that sell so much. Dawkins and his ilk will say if this is the God of the Old Testament, He was immoral. He was wrong. He was a murderer.
Well do a little research historically and you will discover that the Canaanites committed the worst kind of atrocities including bestiality-- it's on record-- having sexual relations with farm animals. I have to say that because not everybody may know the name or the meaning of that term. And they would take their children and burn their children in the fire as part of a sacrifice. That was all Canaanite activity. So they were a scourge. And I'll show you in a moment God had given them hundreds of years to repent and they did not do that.
You know it's interesting. The same unbelievers who would squawk at God doing this or telling the children of Israel to do this, God is immoral, this is wrong, the same unbelievers will look around at the world, and see atrocities and people committing horrible acts, like ISIS and so forth. And then they'll say, well, if there's a God, why doesn't He do something about that? Why doesn't He intervene from heaven? And then the moment God intervenes from heaven, they go, well I can't believe God would intervene from heaven, how immoral.
So God just did something about all the atrocities. And they were taken off the earth. Now Jacob does this to Hazor. There's no record that he did this to every single city. You will see this as we go through Joshua. Why Hazor? Hazor was large, as I said. It was the largest city in that area. It was the capital of the northern kingdoms of the land.
You see Hazor, geographically, was 200 acres. That's a sizable city in antiquity. If you compare that to Megiddo-- some of you have been with us on a trip to Israel. You've been to the valley of Armageddon and the city of Megiddo-- that's 14 acres. Jericho in antiquity was about 8 acres. Hazor was 200 acres. It was enormous, huge. So the idea is to make them an example. If I can do this to Hazor, we can do this to any other city. So this would this would give all of the other kings pause.
Verse 12, "So all the cities of those kings and their kings, Joshua took and struck with the edge of the sword. He utterly destroyed them as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded. But as for the cities that stood on their mounds, Israel burned none of them except Hazor only which Joshua burned. And all the spoil of these cities and the livestock, the children of Israel took as spoil--" translated here booty.
And I explained in the past because that term has been so warped in our culture, I like spoils just a little bit better-- "for themselves. But they struck every man with the edge of the sword until they had destroyed them. And they left none breathing, as the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses."
Now let me just say at this point that God had been enormously patient with the Canaanite civilizations. Enormously. You know God says that He is slow to anger. That means He has a long fuse. That fuse has to burn a long time before God will act. But He will act. And He announces this.
I am reading to you, I'm refreshing your memory, with Genesis 15 where God is speaking to grandpa Abraham. "And He said to Abram, know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs and will serve them and will afflict them 400 years." So Abram is in the land of Canaan where Joshua is. But He says, you're not going to last long. Your descendants are going into a foreign land. They're going to be there 400 years. They were in Egypt for 400 years.
"And also the nation whom they serve, I will judge. Afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you should go to your fathers in peace. You shall be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation, they shall return here to the land of Canaan, the promised land." Listen to this. "For the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete."
In other words, God said I'm going to wait 400 years before I bring the people of Israel out of Egypt and into this land to judge the Canaanites. So is God a patient God if He waits 400 years before He does something? I mean do you know any landlord that would let somebody not pay rent for 400 years? You think of all the atrocities of the people of Canaan, all the things they committed.
"For the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." That's an interesting phrase. It's as if to say, I am so patient with people. And I'm just going to let their sin build up and accumulate until it reaches a level that is so high that My judgment must eclipse My mercy.
So I'll wait. And I'll let that fuse burn. I'll be slow to anger. And I'll be merciful. And I'm going to wait 400 years. I'm not going to collect rent. I'm not going to judge them. I'm going to let them go. But eventually, it's going to reach a point where My judgment must eclipse My mercy. Genesis 6:3 "for the spirit of God will not always strive with man."
Now the Canaanites, by the way, the Canaanites had been in Canaan already 400 years when Abraham was given this. Now it's going to be another 400 years. So technically, God let them skate for 800 years. And they got no better with time.
Now they had heard of the children of Israel's exploits. They heard of the Jordan River. They heard what happened back in Egypt. They had heard about the opening of the Red Sea. We know this from Rahab in Jericho. They heard all about that. They heard all the reports over the years. They heard about the Jordan River opening up. They heard about the kings on the other side of the river getting beat up and destroyed by the children of Israel and what God did.
And so you would think that they would turn. They've heard revelation about God. They didn't turn. One did. What was her name? Rahab, a harlot. She turned and she believed in the God of Israel. But the rest didn't.
God waits 400 years. And now He says, I'm done. Now I'm going to judge this nation. And He uses the children of Israel to do so.
Verse 16 is now a summary. "So Joshua took all this land, the mountain country, the south, all the land of Goshen--" that's way down south-- "the lowlands, and the Jordan plain." Some of your translations say the Arabah. The Jordan plain is called the Arabah. That is the entire length of the Jordan Valley from the Sea of Galilee down to the Dead Sea, technically it's all under sea level. And then below the Dead Sea, all of that is called the Arabah, the lowlands.
"From Mount Halak to the ascent to Seir as far as Baal-gad to the valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings, struck them down, and killed them. Joshua made war a long time with those kings. There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel except the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon--" we covered that last time. "All the other cities, they took in battle. For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle that he might utterly destroy them and that they might receive no mercy. But that He might destroy them as the Lord had commanded Moses."
Now somebody will read that and say that's not fair. It says right there God hardened their hearts. They were victims of God hardening their hearts. The word here for harden means to firm up, to make firm whatever condition it is presently in. And if you remember from previous studies throughout Exodus and Leviticus and Numbers, Pharaoh hardened his heart first. Then we are told God hardened his heart, that is He firmed up the decision that He made.
Now if he would have softened his heart, God would have firmed that decision up, hardened that decision, given him strength to be a softhearted, repentant individual. But he hardened his heart. So God said, OK, you are showing me five. I'm going to raise you 10. I'm going to firm up the choice that you have made. Then it says Pharaoh hardened his heart again, God hardened it again. Pharaoh hardened his heart again, and we see this back and forth.
Now again, the Lord hardened their hearts. And their heart toward God and toward His revelation, they heard all those things that happened in the past. Not only that, they sinned not only against God's revelation, they sinned against Nature. Psalm 19, "The heavens declare the glory of God, the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day they utter their speech, night unto night, they reveal knowledge. There is no speech, nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone throughout all the earth."
Now Paul picks up on this in Romans 1. Remember what he says? He says, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and all unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Therefore--" Paul says-- "they are without excuse." They sin against revelation. They sin against Nature. And God says, I'm done.
400 years and then another 400 years. And so their decision-- listen. Heaven's a big place. God loves to have anybody who wants to come in. It's not like when God invites people to come, it's not like there's limited space. Narrow is the way that goes to salvation, Jesus said, and broad is the way that leads to destruction. And many enter therein. But the gate toward salvation and heaven, He said, is very narrow and very few people find it.
And it's not because there's no space in heaven. It's because there is no space in people's hearts for heaven. They've hardened their hearts already. So God says, I will honor the choice you make. If you don't want to live with Me forever in My heaven, I won't force you.
You know it's one of the saddest things, but I've been around a lot of death over my lifetime. As a pastor I bury a lot of people. And I love doing the funerals of believers. I do not love doing the funerals of unbelievers. I don't.
But what I notice is that unbelieving family members, when an unbeliever dies, suddenly, for a 30 minute period suddenly talk like believers. They talk about their loved one now in heaven with God. Their loved one didn't care about God or heaven, their whole life. Golf course is always better than church. Other activities were more important than the Bible. They didn't want anything to do with God.
Suddenly, they die. And they're in heaven. As if the only requirement to get to heaven is to die.
And I've heard some funeral, I go, are you talking about this-- you got the right funeral? You must be thinking of the church down the street that's got somebody else they're burying, because it's not that guy.
So it's not that there is not room in heaven. There is no room in people's hearts. And the Canaanites hardened their hearts over and over and over again. They sinned against Nature. They sinned against revelation. They committed atrocity after atrocity. Judgment dropped.
God intervened from heaven in a very dramatic way. At that time, verse 21, we'll finish this up really quickly. "At that time, Joshua came and cut off the Anakim--" those are the big guys, giants-- "from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, from all the mountains of Judah. From the mountains of Israel, Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. None of the Anakim were left in the land of the children of Israel. They remained only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod."
OK. Quick memory refresh. Reel the tape back 45 years. 45 years, Joshua, Caleb, 10 other dudes, they're part of that party looking around the land checking it out. They notice there's giants, Anakim. They're there. They're big giants. Oh, we're so scared of the giants. Joshua and Caleb said, easy, come on. Let's just get them. This is God we're talking about. We can do this. Well, they didn't do it.
Deuteronomy 9, Moses said it's because the people said who can stand before the children of Anak? Who can stand? Joshua and Caleb said I can, we can. So now they get defeated except-- except it says, they remained in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. Well that's going to come back to bite them, because there's going to be a giant from Gaza-- or from Gath, excuse me, named Goliah Goliath from Gath is one of the descendants of the Anakim who will defy the armies of the living God. But they're still around right now.
"So Joshua took the whole land according to all that the Lord had said to Moses. And Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their division. Then the land wrested from war." Now effectively, with this verse, all the conquest of the land is over. Chapter 12 is a detailed cataloging of the geography and the biography, the areas and the rulers who were in those areas. Up till now, we have had the highlight battles, the big battles. Not all the battles, but we've been told some of the highlights.
Now we have a cataloged account of the kings and the geography that was captured. So we're going to read parts of it, not all of it. And then we're to take the Lord's Supper.
"These are the kings of the land whom the children of Israel defeated and whose land they possess on the other side of the Jordan towards the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon to Mount Hermon, and all the eastern Jordan plain. Sihon, the king of the Amorites who dwelt in Heshbon and ruled half of Gilead from Aroer, which is on the bank of the river Arnon, from the middle of that river even as far as the river Jabbok, which is the border of the Ammonites." Now this is all east of the Jordan River where 2 and 1/2 tribes settled. So he's just recounting all the way back when Moses was around.
"And the eastern Jordan plane from the Sea of Chinneroth, Sea of Galilee, as far as the Sea of Arabah--" way down, the Dead Sea, the salt sea-- "The road to Beth-jeshimoth southward below the slopes of Pisgah." That's not far from Amman, Jordan. "Og--" don't you love that name?
Now Og is like a superhero, because he was a big dude. And this is a good name for a giant. He was a giant, if you remember. Og. You know, that's probably kind of what he sounded like too. Hey, how are you doing, Og? Og. One of those kind of big-- his bed, we are told in Deuteronomy, was about 13 and 1/2 feet long. That doesn't mean he was. But his he had the first king size bed. He was a king.
So the name fits.
Og. The king of Bashan, and his territory who is of the remainder of the giants who dwelt in Ashtaroth and at Edrei. He reigned over Mount Hermon over Salcah, over the Bashan as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maachathites, over half of Gilead as far as the border of Sihon, king of Heshbon.
Them Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the children of Israel had conquered. Moses the servant of the Lord had given it as a possession to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh." So you remember the 2.5 tribes that said can we settle east?
"And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel conquered on this side of the Jordan." This would be the west bank of the Jordan. On the west from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon as far as Mount Halak the descent to Seir, which Joshua gave to the tribe of Israel as a possession according to their divisions. In the mountain country, in the low lands, the Jordan plains, the slopes, the wilderness, the south, the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites.
And then the king of Jericho, one, the king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one, the king of Jerusalem, one." All the way down to verse 24, the king of Tirzah, one." And it says all the kings, 31. 16 northern kings, 15 southern kings, 31 kings.
Now I want to bring something up that I hope you have wondered about. If you haven't, well you won't, because I'll answer it. But how could it be that you could have all of these kings in a land that is only 150 miles long by 20 to 50 miles wide? That's a very little-- it's the size of Wales. It's the size of New Jersey. How do you get all these kings? Because the kings in those days wasn't like the King of England.
These cities were city-states, self-governed, little walled enclaves of a few acres with a wall around it. That's what Jericho was, 8 acres with a wall around it. Megiddo, big, big city, 14 acres with a wall around it. And some of them were much smaller. So you don't have a central government, you have independent, local rulers called kings of this little few acres. And the only way to stave off the enemy is to form a coalition with people that you don't even like in other cities. But you better do it. Otherwise bigger, badder enemies will come and get you. It was like a Banana Republic. So these are like enclaved villages, city-states.
And here's what I want you to close with before we take the Lord's Supper. How were they conquered? One by one. How do you get victory in your Christian life? How do you conquer your enemies? One by one. One day at a time. One struggle after another after another after another. Just keep marching. Never give up. Never, never, never.
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
One bite at a time. How do you conquer the whole land? One king at a time, one battle at a time. Jesus said don't even worry about tomorrow. Take no thought of tomorrow. Look, you have now, you have tonight, you have the Lord in your midst. Sufficient will be your strength tomorrow, because God will give you what you need when you face that giant or that city one day at a time.
I know that some of you are facing tremendous battles. For some of you, your battle lies within your own family. For others, you've got financial battles that they just keep coming and coming and coming. You don't know you're going to dig out of this debt you're in. Some of you feel like you're attacked spiritually from the enemy. You're feeling those attacks. And some of you, you're going yes, yes, and yes, all those three areas and more.
It seems unrelenting to you. Like all the kings of the north have gathered together in a coalition against you. And the Lord would say to you tonight, don't be afraid. By this time tomorrow, a lot of horses are going to just be working on the farm. Don't worry. Trust.
Dr. V. Raymond Edmond, who was at one time the president of Wheaton College, said-- he had a great saying, he said, "It's always too soon to quit." It's always too soon. I feel like I am going to give up tonight. It's always too soon to quit. Never give up. Never give up. Never, never, never.
Listen, don't just be a defensive Christian, go on the offensive. Tick the devil off. Go after him. I don't mean me personally, like I'm going to go fight the devil. But listen, listen, a lot of us, we live these lives, it's like I am afraid of everything in life. They're like the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. You're coming apart.
Don't just resist the devil. Because Jesus said, if you do, that the devil will flee from you. Don't just resist the devil, read your Bible more. Pray more. Witness more. He hates that. I love that. I love doing things that he hates.
I do. Aren't you afraid of the devil? What? Yeah, the devil, the big, bad wolf. A third of the angels fell with him. Well that's good news because 2/3 didn't. That means he's out numbered.
I'm on the winning team. And I got the living God of the universe on-- I'm on His side. So don't be afraid. The victory is yours.
Would you peel the very top, clear, layer off and get to the bread? And you hold that in your fingers. It takes us back to 2,000 years ago, a Passover of our Lord Jesus with His friends. And as He sat in their midst, He said with fervent desire, I have desired to take this Passover with you before I suffer. The bread was familiar to them, the bread of affliction that their forefathers ate in Egypt, the bread of promise, God promised deliverance and it came.
Jesus said this bread is My body, new significance now attached. This represents what a lamb did thousands of years ago for the people of Israel, your ancestors in Egypt. This is what the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world is going to do in a few hours. This is My body. It is broken for you. You remember Me when you take this and you take it together.
And so we hold this bread, and we say Father, thank you, for the suffering that Jesus went through. His body broken by a whip, His body broken by the fists of men who abused Him, taunted Him, put a crown of thorns that pierced that flesh, and then drove spikes through that skin, and into that wood. A gruesome sight, and yet a glorious sight, because that's the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the word.
And our sin is part of that. And so we take this bread in remembrance of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let's take it together.
And then peel off that perfectly opaque foil, get down to the juice. John said, it's the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son that cleanses a man, a person, a human, a man or woman from all sin. And Jesus also said do this in remembrance of me. He took that cup-- there were four cups-- He took that third cup of redemption and He held it up and said, this is going to mean something different in the future, boys. This is going to speak of My blood shed for you for the remission of sins. Remember Me when you take it.
And so Father, we are holding this element. We know who we are. We know what we have done. We know what we do. We know what we think. And You know it even better than we do, because You know our thoughts before we even think those thoughts. And before we fall into shame, Father, You also said to the prophet Jeremiah, I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord. And those are good thoughts, to give us a future and a hope.
So Father, we hold this cup and we remember You. And You made us worthy by Your work on the cross. And so we take this in remembrance of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let's take it together.
For more resources from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig visit calvaryabq.org.