Joshua and Judges: Joshua's southern campaign, part 5; Jos 10.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Joshua's southern campaign, part 5; Jos 10.  


Announcements / opening prayer:


JOS 10:40 Thus Joshua struck all the land, the hill country and the Negev and the lowland and the slopes and all their kings. He left no survivor, but he utterly destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded.


Some of the tribes of Israel seem to rather remain as nomads around peaceful Shiloh for a time rather than running out and taking possession of the permanent land, needing to be cleared of the heathen, that was allotted to them.


The sons of Joseph were afraid to take the rich, fertile land that was given to them because the hill country, thickly forested, was still in the possession of the Perrizites and the Rephaim. The sons of Joseph argued for an additional portion so they could avoid clearing out these people who still possessed iron chariots. Jealousies arose between the tribes as some land was easier to take than others. Joshua had to call for a full assembly of the representatives of the tribes and he admonished them for their slackness in taking possession of the land.


JOS 18:3

So Joshua said to the sons of Israel, "How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?"


One may imagine that some of them thought that they had already been fighting long enough and preferred the peace of Shiloh to fighting the very weak inhabitants of their inheritance.


They are all used to being nomads of the wilderness and have not yet lived in permanent lands of their own, which they have to fight for, cultivate, and protect.


The believer must be ready and willing for the changes that God is going to bring into his life. The situation of life is not going to continue unaltered. Changes will be small and great. Everyone seems to like the status quo if it has become personally comfortable, but God will not always will for you to remain there. Some changes we seek for, and others are unavoidable, being made by the currents and ebbs and flows of life's circumstances. These God has willed in the believer's life and the believer must be ready to face them in faith, no matter how uncomfortable they may seem initially.


Israel must understand that the fighting is not over. They must remove the remaining Canaanites from their allotted lands and they must continue to defend them. This is, of course, all successfully accomplished by their faith in the Lord, but they still must fight. They are God's elected people and they will always have enemies. History has revealed this, century after century.


Neither their lives, nor the life of any Christian is completed in one battle. There are multiple battles of varying intensities. Throughout all of life we are key players in an invisible war and the potential for battle always lingers. We must be ready to fight at any time and vigorously do so. During the age of the church the battle is in the soul.


The good fight of faith does not consist of one battle, but many, we must not tire or grow weary.


HEB 12:3

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.


God always provides times of rest and prosperity. Few believers have faced a life of constant battle.


Christ has allowed us to enjoy the spoils of His victory by using the surpassing greatness of His power against a severely weakened foe who is one step away from final execution.


This is the picture in the Promised Land. Rather than seeing it as a chore to have to fight the remaining enemy, the tribes should see it as an opportunity to exercise the same power of faith as Joshua and the army had done. Sure, the natural minded man would rather walk into an empty city to occupy it, but the spiritual man would enjoy seeing the power of God at work in his own life as he fights God's enemy. The Christian needs to see this in life. It is of tantamount importance.


To be allowed to fight the good fight of faith is a privilege and a priceless opportunity. Without it we could never see and experience the real power of God in Christ Jesus.


Israel gets the land because God has given it to them. They would not be here and in this situation if God did not bring them and set them up magnificently. While it is true that they have to fight for the land, in reality it is God who is doing the real fighting. They find themselves squabbling over land, as we see in the case of the sons of Joseph, but they fail to understand and therefore see the true reward in all of this. We might conclude that the reward is the land, and it is in its own right, but the real reward for them is to see God in action on their behalf. The reward for the fight is the fight itself. This land is not their permanent dwelling place when all of eternity is taken into view. These several hundred years that they will possess it could not be compared with the thousand year reign of Christ to come, which will be the true fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. Their true source of prosperity and happiness is not the acreage or the fertility of the soil, but in their relationship to God. The reward in the fight is the fight. The reward in the land is knowing that it was given freely by God.


The reward to the one who has victory in the fight is victory in the fight, and really, the fight itself, since victory should really be a given, given the greatness of the power given by God.


Therefore the believer should avoid celebrating his victories, which can so easily lead to self-occupation, and instead celebrate the opportunity that God has given him, which is a fight and an arena, the invisible war on earth, in which to fight in. The fight is not self-induced but in the manner of the battles that Christ fought. It is light-years away from asceticism.


2CO 12:7 And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me —  to keep me from exalting myself!


2CO 12:8 Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me.


2CO 12:9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.


The sin nature would love to interpret this as "power is perfected in personal weakness," as in sin and failure, but this is certainly not the context. The weakness is the fight, the trial, the pressure, the adversity, the tribulation, the opposition to God attacking the believer.


"boast" - kauca,omai [kauchaomai (ka-how-ameye)] = to glory, to express an unusually high degree of confidence in something or someone. Paul gloried in the weakness (the test or battle).


2CO 12:10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties (all battles), for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.


The insults, distresses, persecutions, and difficulties were not caused by Paul. This is by no means a result of sin nature activity. They are brough to bear on the believer because they originate from the dark sources that oppose God.


Paul was content in his battles and gloried in them, since in them, he tapped into God's strength, which he clearly reveals is the grace of God.