Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. Joshua 10:42
Joshua was a great man, a strategic military leader yet the Scripture makes clear that the victories of Israel over rival kings and kingdoms was not due to Joshua’s expertise but rather ‘because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel’. Do you realize there is a message encoded in that verse that applies to all of us?
Life has its battles. We all face struggles at one time or another in various ways and for various reasons. Our tendency is to withdraw into ourselves and exert undue energy trying to figure out the solutions ourselves, too often forgetting to seek the wisdom and guidance of the LORD Who knows far more than we do about the situation! He understands us when we don’t understand ourselves; He knows what is going on in the lives of others who may be part of our ‘dilemma’. And He – and only He – sees the true picture. We see only a part.
David as well as Joshua set the example for us in how many times during his life, the scripture tells us: ‘And David inquired of the LORD.’
Having served Moses for some 37 years, Joshua had learned the lesson well that to achieve victory in any area of life, the wisdom and guidance of the LORD must be sought after. It is written that after Moses would leave the tabernacle, Joshua would linger there in the presence of the LORD. The testimony of Moses’ life loomed large and powerfully in Joshua’s consciousness as he assumed the leadership of Israel and led the nation into battle over and over again.
In Joshua 11 we read, ‘A huge army went to war with Israel’. (vs. 4-5) Israel went to battle with a promise of victory for God had said He would give them the land. How long did it take?
How long is a long time?? – a long time! – years!
As we apply this principle to our lives today, sometimes God will call us to battle something for a long, long time; as a matter of fact, the spiritual battle within us to become godly lasts a lifetime until we reach our eternal promised land.
And so: How did Joshua know what to do??
In v15 & 23: God instructed Moses; Moses instructed Joshua; then Joshua instructed God’s people! In v23 we learn the result: After a long time of battle, God gave Israel rest!
The story can be summarized in 4 simple truths:
1. God commanded the Israelites to conquer Canaan. The battle was God ordained for the glory of God. So are ours.
2. God’s instructions were passed on from generation to generation. God’s message did not change as it was passed on from one generation to the next. The Word of God must never be altered! Joshua and the 3 million Israelites could have ignored what God said to Moses, whom they never met, but they did not; they trusted and obeyed. It is our responsibility to teach our children and grandchildren to seek the LORD, to trust His Word and to obey Him.
3. As the Israelites obeyed God, victory was given by God. As we obey, victory is also ours.
4. God gave rest to His people. To walk through life with the peace of God that sustains us through good days and bad is a wonderful thing.
When difficulties or trials come our way, we are given opportunity to follow the example of our forefathers: to turn to the LORD for wisdom and guidance, to conquer evil with good (for, as the saying goes, two wrongs never make one right!) and to recognize that it is the LORD, the God of Israel, who equips us to overcome fear with faith in His everlasting kindness and mercies.
Joshua led the children of Israel in battles against an impressive number of kings and armies. They consistently won when they sought the LORD and His direction and then obeyed what He told them to do.
It is no different for us. Whatever ‘battle’ or hardship we face, the LORD has promised that He is always with us, that He never forsakes us, that He is aware of every detail of our life and that His love compels Him to respond to those who seek Him.
Let us then go to Him confidently, like Joshua, and enter into His abiding peace.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose mind is fixed on You.. Isaiah 26:3