104-1012-Joshua Chapter 11
King Jabin was the King of the city state of Hazor. Hazor was the principle city to the north. It was located on the international trade route and was the most populace in Northern Canaan. News of Israel’s victories in the south had been heard by the leaders of the north. The King of Jabin called together a coalition to defeat the threat of the Israelite invasion into the land of Canaan. The northern kings had superior forces and arms than the southern kings and would present a greater challenge to the Israelites.
The armies that Joshua and the Israelites would face were of greater number, referred to in the Scripture as numbered with the sand. Also they had a technological advantage over the south as well. Because the ground that Israel would be fighting on was flatter the use of Chariots were the heavier weaponry of the north. Israel had not thus far faced armed men in Chariots. These Chariots of the north had armed the wheels with scathes which when driven into the opposing forces would mow them down as wheat in the field. They were very effective against infantry which is all the Israelite army was.
From the first battle at Jericho to the battles in the south the challenges were great for the Israelites which had no real formal trained army. Now as they set their sights upon the north the challenges are going to be much more difficult. This is also true in the walk of the Christian. As we walk with the Lord each step may present greater challenge. God will use previous victory to springboard us into greater victories. What we have in faith faced in the past will be the lesson learned for the greater challenges of the future.
In spite of the new and greater challenge facing Israel Joshua needed confirmation from God that He would deliver the enemy into Israel’s hand. God is faithful and He pledged that the victory would be given to Israel by His hand. Often we will find ourselves in seeming impossible situations, yet if we step out in faith upon God’s Word we will see that He is faithful and true.
God told the Israelites not to fear. This must have meant that He knew they were fearful of the present danger of attacking such a mighty force. Therefore, God’s reassuring word must have been a great encouragement to the people of God. Also Joshua was told to hamstring the horses and to burn the Chariots. Hamstringing the horses was to cripple them by cutting the sinew on the back of their legs thus making them useless for further use against them or any enemy. Burning the Chariots was to lose a great asset that would have come into their possession. The further engagements of the Israelite’s would then be dependent upon God for victory and not that of their own achievement. God wants us to know that it is by His hand that we are victorious, least we should boast.
King Jabin wanted to gather all the forces available to him at Merom and then move southward to better ground for battle. Joshua and the Israelites moved quickly and attacked before the armies were fully ready and surprised them with an unexpected ambush.
Joshua did as the Lord had instructed enjoying the fruits of obedience to the Lord. Joshua destroyed all the chariots with fire and crippled their horses. There is a lesson here for the Christian to learn by this example. Many Christians today are tempted to take the horse and chariots of the devil for their own use. Taking the devil’s spiritual tools for our own use against what God has told us to do is always a serious mistake. The battles ahead may not be fought on the same levels of the battle of this day. Any spiritual battle we face can only be fought on one level, the level of complete trust in God.
Neither did Joshua leave work undone. He fought with commitment and passion. He did not contain nor degrade the enemy but destroyed them so there were none left remaining. When we do the Lord’s ministry we must complete the work which He has given us to do. That which we leave undone can either be a loss for His kingdom, which we will be held accountable for, or a snare which we have to our rear that can cause us pain and suffering in the future.
The work of Joshua and the Israelites was complete according to what God had told them to do. There were none left of the kings of the north or their people. All had been destroyed. The reward was that all the plunder was for the use of the Israelite people. Only the city of Hazor was burned and the rest became a possession of the Israelite people. Thus, they had cities which they had not built and vineyards with they did not plant. This is a good example of the completeness of God’s judgment. The destruction of the depraved Canaanites and the reward for obedience to God’s Word.
In the defense of the Canaanites some will say that because God had hardened their hearts they were not given the free choice to submit to the Israelites. For many years God had allowed the Canaanites the opportunity to return unto Him and they refused. Much as to day all have the opportunity to turn to God yet they remain in rebellion to His Word. Let us be clear on what the hardening of the heart is. If man desires to live in a sinful manner with no conviction to return to the truth then God will give them over to their own sinful desire. (Romans 1:24-28) Also living in this manner opens the door for Satan to come in and blind the heart of man against the Word of God. Only through a heart of repentance can a man’s heart be reawakened to the truth of God’s Word. God does not prohibit a man from repentance, or prohibits man from seeing the truth, man does this himself by his own love affair with his sinful actions. The Canaanites hearts were hardened by God in that they had been given over by their own desires.
We need not think that God had purposefully set the Canaanites aside for destruction but they by their own choice had done so. God is not partial to any man, He deals with the hearts of men in the same way towards all men. God’s grace either hardens the heart or softens the heart of men, it is their choice as to how they respond to the grace of God.
Joshua now was to deal with the Anakim. It was the Anakim that ten of the twelve spies were afraid of back in the days of Moses. Their fear persuaded the Israelites to not want to capture the Promised Land and therefore were to wander in the wilderness for forty years. (Numbers 13:27-33) Now the foes of forty years ago fall to the Israelites under Joshua and the direction of God.
The Anakim were saved to the last. Perhaps so that God could train the men of war by the campaigns of the past years in battle for Canaan. The Israelites of the past had refused to take on the challenge of the Anakims and God had managed their conquest so at last they would have to meet this difficult challenge. God knows how to manage the battles in our lives. With each battle we are in training for the next battle to come. This perhaps is so we can face the greater challenges ahead. As we gain the victory through Jesus the adversary will place greater tasks before us. This is why we should always let God manage when and where. If we in our own self-sufficiency go off to fight the Anakim first we may not have the value of the lessons learned from the lessor foes.
When this final leg of the conquest of Canaan was complete the Anakim only remained in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod. From the Anakim the giant Goliath came. (1 Samuel 17:4)
All of the kings of Canaan had been defeated. The Israelites were now the nation in power in the land of Canaan. Therefore Joshua had taken the whole land as God had directed Moses, and Moses had directed Joshua. Yet, not every town and village had been subdued. This would be the responsibility of the individual tribes of Israel. Each tribe would be responsible to clean out any remaining resistance.
“Much territory was yet to be possessed, but it was left to each tribe to possess what potentially it had received through the conquest of the whole people in which it had taken part. Each tribe was to apply individually the lessons it had learned in united war if it was to possess its inheritance. That the tribes failed to do so was not a reflection on the power of God, but on the failure to take for themselves what Joshua had given and allotted to each one of them.” (Redpath)