104-1011-Joshua Chapter 10
The king of Jerusalem king Adoni-Zedek had heard of the victories of the Israelites and Joshua. He had also heard that the king of Gibeon had made a treaty with the Israelites. The king’s name, Adoni-Zedek means “Lord of Righteousness” through in reality he is the exact opposite. He was not a believer in the Lord God of Israel. There was another king of Jerusalem of long ago named Melchizedek who was a priest of God Most High. We were introduced to him as a friend of Abraham. (Genesis 14:18-20) King Adoni-Zedek was not a friend to Joshua or the Israelites. In comparison king Adoni-Zedek was an example of the Anti-Christ whereas Joshua was representative to Christ. Adoni-Zedek, (the false Lord of Righteousness) as representing the anti-Christ leads many nations against Joshua and the children of Israel, a representation to the end times.
King Adoni-Zedek and the other five nations that came against Israel feared them greatly. But like the spiritual enemies of God and his people they do not retreat when they are afraid. Their attacks are even the more boldly as like a wild animal might be when it feels under attack. Even though they are afraid of Israel they still attack the Israelites vassal the Gibeonites.
The city state of Gibeon was not a weak city and the men of the city were called mighty. It is said that the city of Gibeon was a greater city than Ai and was as one of the Royal Cities. We must remind ourselves that the Gibeonites did not submit to Israel out of fear or a position of weakness but because of their honor towards the God of Israel. For this reason they were content to be in perpetual service to His tabernacle.
When the Gibeonites were attacked by King Adoni-Zedek and his allies the Gibeonites called upon Joshua to come to their aid. They were not too proud to call upon their protectors for help. Neither should we be too proud to call upon our protector the Lord God Almighty in time of need.
In Joshua 9:1-27 we saw that the leaders of Israel had made a bad vow to the Gibeonites but being faithful to their vow they were willing to come to the aid of the Gibeonites. Yet, in their faithfulness Joshua and the Israelite leaders went a step further. If they had allowed the Gibeonites to be destroyed they would have been released from the vow they had made with them. But this would have been dishonorable and a disgrace to their God.
We as Christians should have the same sense of honor. From time to time we also make vows that are not to our own advantage, yet, we should go on and honor them as this is pleasing to the Lord. His Word is true and as His representatives our word should also be true.
Joshua has good reason to fear as he now faces a confederation of five kings in battle. Yet God comforts him with the command “Do not fear them.” Fear can cripple our ability to fight the battles that lay before us. Even as we will face strong enemies we must remember the command of God, “Fear not, for I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20) As we often see in Scripture the command of God is followed with a promise. “I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.” We need not fear when obeying God’s commands as we also have the promise of victory. Therefore, fear is unbelief. We are to trust God at His Word and act upon it in faith.
With the assurance of the Promise of God Joshua did not wait but moved his forces through the night towards their enemy. Joshua was confident that he was in the will of God and quickly worked out his participation in God’s will. Moving the Israelite forces through the night was hard work. The ground from Gilgal to Gibeon was a climb of 3,000 feet and a distance of about 20 miles. It was a hard forced march and took the whole of the night. God will often wait to see our initiative and our willingness to work with Him before He reveals what He will do. It is not the same as God will only help those who help themselves but rather God’s wants His people to work in partnership with Him.
The work of God in partnership with the Israelites routed their enemies before them. The hailstones which came down upon the Canaanites was obviously miraculous. It may have been a natural phenomenon but the timing and accurately was a clear display of the hand of God. “The Canaanites, who worshipped nature deities, must have thought that their own gods were aiding the Israelites.” (Madvig)
In Joshua’s partnership with God he did all that he could do and God did only what God can do. Joshua seeing the miraculous hand of God emboldened Joshua to ask for an even more amazing miracle. In order to have enough time to keep the battle going and prevent the enemy from regrouping Joshua asked God to lengthen the day by causing the sun and moon to stay still. This would allow Joshua and the Israelites time to gain the victory before the darkness of the night forced an end to the battle.
God answered Joshua’s request and the sun stood still in the midst of heaven and did not go down for a day’s length. By the hand of God Israel was able to complete its battle and gain the victory. Some have criticized the possibility of this unexplainable event. I myself would not attempt to speculate how this could have happened. Only to state the obvious truth, “Nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)
Joshua had not asked God to do the fighting for him and the Israelites but God in His faithfulness did fight for His chosen people. All Joshua has asked was that God would provide the time to give him the opportunity to finish the fight.
When we stay in tune with God and hold onto our base like the place of Gilgal, the place where God has conquered us, then through us God can and will do amazing things. Then we too will be able to say, “There has been no day like that.”
Placing large stones lessened the need to spar men to guard the kings and the mighty men of Israel continued to pursue the enemy by attacking the rear guard. Joshua was not to allow anything to delay the completion of Israel’s victory.
There is a similar story in the book of Revelation. There not only does a false lord of righteousness lead a group of nations against Joshua but in the midst of their defeat they hide in caves. (Revelation 6:15-16)
The people of Canaan now know that the God of Israel is a mighty God. Their fear and respect for the Israelite nation is so great that none spoke against the children of Israel. Just like Israel the Church should be feared and respected that in the same sense people should know that this is where people will be conquered by God. They should know that if they attend in God’s Church He will eventually conquer them into submission. Too many Churches present God as a harmless God who does not demand the surrender of His people.
Joshua executes the five kings so that it is clear that no accommodation will be given to the kings of Canaan. According to this pattern we as Christians cannot allow any place in our lives for rest to our spiritual enemies. All ground belongs to Jesus and must be taken for Him. The idea that God will work in partnership with His people is repeated in Joshua 10:25. The promise of God is victory over all your enemies with whom you fight the good fight.
During several weeks Joshua saw six cities that were defeated without loss to Israel. Each battle was a test, as none were easy, but under the leadership of God and Joshua all were victorious.
It is the desire of God that we too should enjoy the same degree of victory in our lives serving Him. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
All of this land in the southern part of Canaan and their kings was taken because the God of Israel fought for His people. The victories that the Israelites won were fought one battle at a time. So many times we want to obtain all the victory at once. We often give into Satan’s strategy to bring us into a state of discouragement. We must remember that God operates in His time and not that of our own time. The Lord God Almighty knows the end from the beginning. (Isaiah 46:10) He knows which battles to fight and when to fight them in order to assure victory. These six cities were not the only cities in Canaan but they were the military strongholds of the region. God knew which cities to battle and when to battle them.
The most important key to remember is that the Lord God fought the battles for the Israelite people. This is also true in our spiritual battles. We as men are not able to battle the evil spiritual forces but our Lord is able and will give us the victory if we partnership with Him.
We have to come to realize that the victory was won at the Cross. God is able to disarm our spiritual enemies. “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” (Colossians 2:15) God loves His Children and will give us the victories that He has won for us. “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) If in our daily battle we find disappointment it is because we have trusted in ourselves. It shows that we tried to fight the battle our self and with our own resources and not the Lord’s already won victory.
Joshua and the Israelite nation then returned to Gilgal which remained their base of operation. All the victories of Israel came out of Gilgal. This was the place where they renewed their total faith in the Lord. Here they reinforced their commitment to God and had fellowship with Him. Gilgal was their sanctuary and the place where God had conquered them.