taking the land

Joshua - 1

taking the land

Joshua 12:7-8 (JDV)

Joshua 12:7 Joshua and the Israelites struck down these kings of the land beyond the Jordan to the west, from Baal-gad in the Valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which ascends toward Seir (Joshua gave their land as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel according to their allotments:
Joshua 12:8 the hill country, the Judean foothills, the Arabah, the slopes, the wilderness, and the Negev – the lands of the Hethites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites):

taking the land

Irving L. Jensen writes: “Faith and obedience to instructions from God will see the fortress of the enemy of the soul crumble under the mighty hand of the Lord. For this purpose the ‘Son of God [was] manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil’ (1 John 3:8)” (Joshua: Rest-land Won, 63).

God keeps his promises to us, and Jesus is going to destroy all his enemies and give us an eternal land of rest. But right now, we have to do warfare for each piece of land. Our warfare is different than that of the Israelites under Joshua because we battle for the minds and hearts of the lost. But we have enemies that must be defeated as well.

Lord, may we be busy and diligent in taking the land that belongs to you.

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what land belongs

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what land belongs

Joshua 12:1-6 (JDV)

Joshua 12:1 The Israelites struck down these kings of the land and took possession of their land beyond the Jordan to the east and from the Arnon River to Mount Hermon, including all the Arabah eastward:
Joshua 12:2 King Sihon of the Amorites lived in Heshbon. He ruled from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon River, along the middle of the valley, and half of Gilead up to the Jabbok River (the border of the Ammonites),
Joshua 12:3 the Arabah east of the Sea of Chinnereth to the Sea of Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea), eastward through Beth-jeshimoth and southward below the slopes of Pisgah.
Joshua 12:4 King Og of Bashan, of the remnant of the Rephaim, lived in Ashtaroth and Edrei.
Joshua 12:5 He ruled over Mount Hermon, Salecah, all Bashan up to the Geshurite and Maacathite border, and half of Gilead to the border of King Sihon of Heshbon.
Joshua 12:6 Moses Yahveh’s servant and the Israelites struck them down. And Moses Yahveh’s servant gave their land as an inheritance to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh.

what land belongs

Commenting on this passage, David Guzik writes “This list only seems tedious to us because we do not live in the land. For those who received their inheritance there, these were essential matters that touched everyday life, answering the question: “What land belongs to Israel?””(https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/joshua-12/)

All the kings and all the land of this planet belongs to our King, Jesus, whose kingdom is going to come down from the sky. He is the rightful ruler of the nations, and he has sent us ahead as his ambassadors to prepare the nations for his coming.

Coming King, instill in us a perpetual awareness that the nations belong to you.

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a symbol of the future life

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a symbol of the future life

Joshua 11:21-23 (JDV)

Joshua 11:21 At that time Joshua proceeded to exterminate the Anakim from the hill country – Hebron, Debir, Anab – all the hill country of Judah and of Israel. Joshua completely destroyed them with their cities.
Joshua 11:22 No Anakim were left in the land of the Israelites, except for some remaining in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod.
Joshua 11:23 So Joshua took the entire land, in keeping with all that Yahveh had told Moses. Joshua then gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. After this, the land had rest from war.

a symbol of the future life

The events described in the book of Joshua really happened. This is not a myth, contrived to make a theological statement or to produce an emotional or psychological frame of mind. This is history.

As such, today’s text gives its original audience a confidence that the land in which they live was promised by God, and the battles securing that land were fought and won.

But as I have been suggesting in this study, it also speaks to the theological issue of the future state of the righteous. The promised land was a symbol of the future life of believers in Christ.

Like the future life of the believer, the promised land was to be won in battle.
Like the future life of the believer, the promised land was to be free from opposition.
Like the future life of the believer, the promised land was to be a place and time for renewal.

Lord, we are seeking a land of blessing and freedom from sin.

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no neutral territories

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no neutral territories

Joshua 11:16-20 (JDV)

Joshua 11:16 So Joshua took all this land – the hill country, all the Negev, all the land of Goshen, the foothills, the Arabah, and the hill country of Israel with its foothills –
Joshua 11:17 from Mount Halak, which ascends to Seir, as far as Baal-gad in the Valley of Lebanon at the foot of Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and struck them down, putting them to death.
Joshua 11:18 Joshua waged war with all these kings for a long time.
Joshua 11:19 No city made a peace treaty with the Israelites except the Hivites who inhabited Gibeon; all of them were taken in battle.
Joshua 11:20 You see, it was Yahveh’s intention to harden their hearts, so that they would engage Israel in battle, be completely destroyed without mercy, and be annihilated, just like Yahveh had commanded Moses.

no neutral territories

Just like Pharaoh, God hardened the hearts of kings of these peoples, so that they would not choose peace. Thus we have an example of the principle that those who will not fear God, will choose to hate him instead. There is no neutral ground. Either you join with God and his plan, or you will become an example of what happens to those who reject him.

Lord, show us how to bring people to you to be reconciled. Help us to make it clear that there are no neutral territories in your kingdom.
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just keep doing it

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just keep doing it

Joshua 11:6-15 (JDV)

Joshua 11:6 Yahveh said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, for at this time tomorrow I will cause all of them to be killed in front of Israel. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.”
Joshua 11:7 So Joshua and all his troops surprised them at the Waters of Merom and attacked them.
Joshua 11:8 Yahveh handed them over to Israel, and they struck them down, pursuing them as far as greater Sidon and Misrephoth-maim, and to the east as far as the Valley of Mizpeh. They struck them down, leaving no survivors.
Joshua 11:9 Joshua treated them as Yahveh had told him; he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.
Joshua 11:10 At that time Joshua turned back, captured Hazor, and struck down its king with the sword, because Hazor had formerly been the leader of all these kingdoms.
Joshua 11:11 They struck down everyone in it with the sword, completely destroying them; he left no one breathing. Then he burned Hazor.
Joshua 11:12 Joshua captured all these kings and their cities and struck them down with the sword. He completely destroyed them, as Moses Yahveh’s servant had commanded.
Joshua 11:13 However, Israel did not burn any of the cities that stood on their mounds except Hazor, which Joshua burned.
Joshua 11:14 The Israelites plundered all the spoils and cattle of these cities for themselves. But they struck down every person with the sword until they had annihilated them, leaving no one breathing.
Joshua 11:15 just like Yahveh had commanded his servant Moses, Moses commanded Joshua. That is what Joshua did, leaving nothing undone of all that Yahveh had commanded Moses.

just keep doing it

Joshua was involved in leading a life-or-death struggle, and it had to cause him great anxiety. But he had a guideline that he chose to follow that helped him make decisions. He chose to follow the commands of God as they had been given by Moses, Joshua’s predecessor.

When you know what the right thing is to do, just keep doing it. God will bless your perseverance.

Lord, thank you for the commands you gave us in your word.
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the enemy’s escalation

the enemy’s escalation

Joshua 11:1-5 (JDV)

Joshua 11:1 When King Jabin of Hazor happened to hear this news, he sent a message to: King Jobab of Madon, the kings of Shimron and Achshaph,
Joshua 11:2 and the kings of the north in the hill country, the Arabah south of Chinnereth, the Judean foothills, and the Slopes of Dor to the west,
Joshua 11:3 the Canaanites in the east and west, the Amorites, Hethites, Perizzites, and Jebusites in the hill country, and the Hivites at the foot of Hermon in the land of Mizpah.
Joshua 11:4 They went out with all their armies – a crowd as numerous as the sand on the seashore – along with a vast number of horses and chariots.
Joshua 11:5 All these kings joined forces; they came and camped together at the Waters of Merom to attack Israel.

the enemy’s escalation

The conquest of the promised land is happening a bit differently than Joshua expected, because God is allowing the enemy kings to strike first. They are organizing vast, countless numbers in hopes of intimidating Israel into turning back and fleeing the fight. But it does not work. Instead, by organizing against Israel, those kings are stepping up the progress of the conquest.

When we face insurmountable odds, we need to keep in mind that the conflict will only serve to escalate God’s plan, which cannot be overturned.

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every breathing being

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every breathing being

Joshua 10:40-43 (JDV)

Joshua 10:40 So Joshua conquered the whole region – the hill country, the Negev, the Judean foothills, and the slopes – with all their kings, leaving no survivors. He completely destroyed every breathing being, as Yahveh, the God of Israel, had commanded.
Joshua 10:41 Joshua conquered everyone from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza, and all the land of Goshen as far as Gibeon.
Joshua 10:42 Joshua captured all these kings and their land in one campaign, because Yahveh, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.
Joshua 10:43 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.

every breathing being

The image of the Israelite captains with their feet on the necks of the Amorite kings (10:24) is fulfilled in the words of verse 40 “leaving no survivors. He completely destroyed every breathing being.” The word for “breathing” is neshemah, the same “breath of life” that God breathed into Adam, causing him to be alive (Genesis 2:7). In the flood, everyone not protected by the ark (in whose nostrils was the neshemah) died (Genesis 7:22). Moses had commanded the Israelites to not leave anyone in these cities alive who has the neshemah (Deuteronomy 20:16).

It was important that the Israelites carry out this policy for many reasons. One is that God was to create a new nation in that land, and the former nations would only sidetrack and distract the Israelites from that task.

Also, from the prophetic standpoint, this new nation was to be a symbol of God’s ultimate plan for a new creation at the end of the age, where the former things are all passed away.

Lord, help us to rid our lives of all the former things which are not to be our permanent destiny.

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thorn removal

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thorn removal

Joshua 10:28-39 (JDV)

Joshua 10:28 On that day Joshua captured Makkedah and struck it down with the sword, including its king. He completely destroyed it and everyone in it, leaving no survivors. So he treated the king of Makkedah as he had the king of Jericho.
Joshua 10:29 Joshua and all Israel with him crossed from Makkedah to Libnah and fought against Libnah.
Joshua 10:30 Yahveh also handed it and its king over to Israel. He struck it down, putting everyone in it to the sword, and left no survivors in it. He treated Libnah’s king as he had the king of Jericho.
Joshua 10:31 From Libnah, Joshua and all Israel with him crossed to Lachish. They laid siege to it and attacked it.
Joshua 10:32 Yahveh handed Lachish over to Israel, and Joshua captured it on the second day. He struck it down, putting everyone in it to the sword, just like he had done to Libnah.
Joshua 10:33 At that time King Horam of Gezer went to help Lachish, but Joshua struck him down along with his people, leaving no survivors.
Joshua 10:34 Then Joshua crossed from Lachish to Eglon and all Israel with him. They laid siege to it and attacked it.
Joshua 10:35 On that day they captured it and struck it down, putting everyone in it to the sword. He completely destroyed it that day, just like he had done to Lachish.
Joshua 10:36 Next, Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it.
Joshua 10:37 They captured it and struck down its king, all its villages, and everyone in it with the sword. He left no survivors, just like he had done at Eglon. He completely destroyed Hebron and everyone in it.
Joshua 10:38 Finally, Joshua turned toward Debir and attacked it. And all Israel was with him.
Joshua 10:39 He captured it – its king and all its villages. They struck them down with the sword and completely destroyed everyone in it, leaving no survivors. He treated Debir and its king as he had treated Hebron and as he had treated Libnah and its king.

thorn removal

Joshua’s goal was to obey God, not to win the favor of the surrounding nations. He knew that if he left any kings and kingdoms occupying the territory that God had given Israel, those nations would become thorns in the side of Israel. Thus, the campaign described in today’s text was God-ordained thorn removal.

Our mission today is not to destroy the nations around us, but to win them to Christ. The gospel of Christ is good news for them just as it is for us. But we can still learn from today’s text by seeking to fulfill our commission quickly and efficiently.

Lord give us a fervor to complete our mission to the nations.

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an unforgettable visual aid

Joshua - 1

an unforgettable visual aid

Joshua 10:22-27 (JDV)

Joshua 10:22 Then Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave, and bring those five kings to me out of there.”
Joshua 10:23 That is what they did. They brought the five kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon to Joshua out of the cave.
Joshua 10:24 When they had brought the kings to him, Joshua summoned all the men of Israel and said to the military commanders who had accompanied him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So the commanders came forward and put their feet on their necks.
Joshua 10:25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. Be strong and courageous, because Yahveh will do this to all the enemies you fight.”
Joshua 10:26 After this, Joshua struck them down and executed them. He hung their bodies on five trees and they were there until evening.
Joshua 10:27 At sunset Joshua commanded that they be taken down from the trees and thrown into the cave where they had hidden. Then large stones were placed against the mouth of the cave, and the stones are still there today.

an unforgettable visual aid

Joshua provided an unforgettable visual aid for his military commanders. He had them step on the necks of these five kings. The neck is the primary symbol for the life of an individual. By stepping on the necks of these enemy kings, the commander learned that their lives were forfeit — they were about to die. Furthermore, Joshua explained that God would do this to all the enemies that they fought.

Fast-forward to the time of the Israelite monarchy, and God promises David and his seed something that harkens back to this event:

“The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet” (Psalm 110:1).

The same promise is applied to Jesus by himself (Luke 20:43) and Peter (Acts 2:35) and the author of Hebrews (1:13; 10:13).

God wants us to know that Jesus will survive all his enemies. the date of their destruction is set. Our Lord is sitting at his Father’s right hand, not fearing a single enemy. Their fate is sealed, and his destiny is sure.

Lord, thank you for the certainty of Christ’s victory over all his enemies.

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back to the camp safely

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back to the camp safely

Joshua 10:16-21 (JDV)

Joshua 10:16 The five defeated kings had fled and hidden in the cave at Makkedah.
Joshua 10:17 It was reported to Joshua: “The five kings have been found; they are hiding in the cave at Makkedah.”
Joshua 10:18 Joshua said, “Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and station men by it to guard the kings.
Joshua 10:19 But as for the rest of you, don’t stay there. Pursue your enemies and attack them from behind. Don’t let them enter their cities, because Yahveh your God has handed them over to you.”
Joshua 10:20 So Joshua and the Israelites finished inflicting a terrible slaughter on them until they were destroyed, although a few survivors ran away to the fortified cities.
Joshua 10:21 The people returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah. And no one dared to threaten the Israelites.

back to the camp safely

The enemy learned several things as a result of this battle with the Israelite army under Joshua. First, they learned that Joshua keeps his commitments. The Gibeonites could not be attacked without reprisal from Joshua’s army. Second, they learned that the Israelites have God on their side, so fighting them is fighting their God.

Whenever our Adversary, the devil seeks to attack us. We only need to stay true to our God and our commitments, and wait for the tide of battle to turn in our favor. We can confidently expect God to show up in some way, and make a difference. The battle will probably go on for a while, but we can expect to return safely to the camp in the end.

Lord, thank you for the fact that we need not fight our battles alone.

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