Joshua 10.29-43

Read the full passage here.

The end of Joshua 10 is very formulaic. We see, six times, the recording of victories for Joshua and the people over their enemies. They fight and triumph over Libnah, Lachish, Gezer, Eglon, Hebron, and Debir. We see time and again that battles were won because the Lord gave them the victory, and at the end of the passage we read this:

“Joshua captured in one campaign all these kings and their lands, 

for the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel”.

(10.42, NET, emphasis added)

We see the truth right there: this pretty epic military campaign of total success was only possible for Joshua and the people because the Lord God…fought for them. Their victory was only possible because God empowered it. Could Joshua have won without the Lord fighting for Him? Possibly, but nobody wins them all, do they? But, as we just read, Joshua captured in one campaign all these kings and their lands. 

For you and for me, we can move through life in our own power and in our own strength trying to fight all our own battles. We might even win some. But, if we really want to experience life as God intended, if we really want to experience victory over the power of the world, the flesh, and the devil (Ephesians 2.1-3) then we need to submit and commit to the fact that the battle belongs to the Lord, and that He has already won it:

“He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. Disarming the rulers and authorities, he has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

(Colossians 2.14-15, NET)

Through His death on the cross, Jesus has already triumphed over what was against us. It has been taken away for those that believe in who He is and what He has done. Your victory is right here, won on the cross by a Saviour who loves you. You can keep going trying to fight your own battles, or, you can claim the victory over what was against you in the name of Jesus. 

Joshua 10.16-28

The alliance of kings formed in 10.5 are now on the run and end up hiding in a cave (v.16). They’re found and, simply, held there until the victory is complete (vv.18-21). When it was so, unlike Saul in 1 Samuel 15, Joshua finishes completely the task the Lord has given him.

The kings are brought out of the cave (v.22) and used as an example of what happens to those that disobey, oppose, and ignore God (v.26a). In the midst of all of this, we see a fascinating picture of the antichrist in the king of Jerusalem. David Guzik writes:

The Bible tells us of a coming false messiah (Revelation 13:3), who will rule over Jerusalem (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), who will lead a confederation of kings (Revelation 17:12-13), fighting against Yeshua (Revelation 17:14), resisting His occupation of the land (Revelation 19:19), and hiding in caves (Revelation 6:15-17). All in all, Adoni-Zedek is a fascinating picture of the coming Antichrist.

We again see the truth that Joshua’s victories – and our own – come when God’s power is at work with our participation (v.25b, cf. Nehemiah 4.9). The vanquished are then displayed (as was the brutal custom of the day) as both an example and a deterrent to others of what happens to defeated enemies.

Again in a passage that reads like a military history (and a passage that follows the pattern of other ancient historical accounts from this time period) there is a message for you and for me. We see that, as we read above, the total victory of Jesus over His enemies is foretold through Joshua.

As we move through our lives, day by day, we are presented with an untold number of choices that line us up either with the ways of Jesus and of God’s people, or with the ways of the world and of those who disobey, oppose, and ignore God. As things played out here for Joshua and Adoni-Zedek, so things will ultimately play out between the Lord Jesus and those that stand against Him.

For you and for me, we’ve been given such a wonderful resource in the Word of God to guide us through these decisions that line us up with one side or another. Use it today, and every day, to line yourself up with the Lord.

Joshua 10.1-15

Read the full passage here.

Joshua 10 begins with news of the wondrous works of God spreading through the city-states around them (vv.1-5). An alliance is made and plans are formed because those around feared greatly the military ability of Israel and the supernatural empowering they possessed. Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sends out letters to four other kings, the like of which can be seen in the collection known as the Armana Letters ¹.

The target of the alliance, the Gibeonites, reach out to Joshua for help and he responds by sending his best (v.7). As with previous victories, the surety comes from the promise of God that He had given them into your hands. So often in Scripture we see a command of God (Do not fear them) followed by a promise of God (for I have given them into your hand) and then an opportunity to participate in the work of God (Joshua…marched up all night from Gilgal). 

We see that Joshua and his mighty men of valour do that they can do (v.10b) and God does what only He can (v.11, 13). Perhaps the most interesting point in this passage is found in vv.12-14:

“The day the LORD delivered the Amorites over to the Israelites, Joshua prayed to the LORD before Israel: 

“O sun, stand still over Gibeon; 

O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon!”

The sun stood still and the moon stood motionless while the nation took vengeance on its enemies. The event is recorded in the Scroll of the Upright One. The sun stood motionless in the middle of the sky and did not set for about a full day. There has not been a day like it before or since. The LORD listened to a human being, for the LORD fought for Israel!”


The sun stood still?

The moon stood motionless?

There are many, many explanations for this. Here a few:

  • A comet passed so close to earth as to kill the enemies of Israel but also knock earth of its axis, therefore giving the impression that the day was longer and the sun stood still.
  • Earth’s rotation was slowed for the day.
  • Light was reflected off something, given the impression of a longer day.

However this is explained the source is the same.

However people choose to interpret this text and however people choose to explain this miraculous account (which is buttressed by ancient texts claiming an extraordinary long night during the same time period) the source is the same.

However this happened, it allowed God’s people to complete their victory and thereby glorify God and prove His Word true (v.8).

God intervened, supernaturally and miraculously, into the regular rhythms and routines of His creation to protect His people and to prove Himself true and trustworthy.

Another instance of this comes to mind, and would be a great thing to dwell on today. 

Another time that God intervened so powerfully and miraculously into the natural world to save His people (cf. Luke 23.44-45, Matthew 27.51-52, 28.2). 

1 –

Joshua 9

Read the full chapter here.

Joshua 9 begins with news of the great victory in Ai reaching those in the area, and we see local leaders coming together to fight against Joshua and Israel (vv.1-2). Some, however, take a different approach. The inhabitants of Gibeon hear the same reports of Joshua and the Lord his God and come to him pretending to be from a distant country. They lie and deceive Joshua and the other leaders of God’s people into a peace agreement, something forbidden in Exodus 23.23-24. The biggest mistake, however, we see in v.14:

The men examined some of their provisions, but they failed to ask the LORD’s advice”.

(NET, emphasis added)

Not seeking God’s will led Joshua and the leaders to enter into an agreement that they never should have. The people evidently don’t like what has happened (v.18), but to their credit the leaders stick to their oath even though they know it was a poorly sworn one (vv.19-22). 

Joshua seeks to get to the bottom of this deception and finds out the truth: the Gibeonites are not from a far away land, but sought peace due to hearing of the name of the LORD your God…and all he did…we feared greatly for our lives because of you and did this thing (vv.9-10, 24). As a consequence, Joshua made them that day cutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the LORD (v.27).

Like Rahab, the Gibeonites came to be part of God’s people through the sin in their lives.

Like Rahab, they would go on to play an important role in the future of God’s people (1 Chronicles 112.4, 6.39-40, 1 Kings 3.4, Nehemiah 3.7, Jeremiah 28.1).

Like Rahab, the Gibeonites are a great example of sinners who come to God in humility (v.25) knowing that He is their only hope of life and a future. 

For you and for me the principle is the same.

It doesn’t matter who we were (Joshua 2.1b), it doesn’t matter who we think we are (Joshua 10.2b), all that matters is who God says we are.

God had a plan for Rahab, God had a plan for the Gibeonites, and God has a plan for you. In humility come to Him and trust Him with your future and, as we see with Rahab and the Gibeonites, it will exceed anything you can possibly imagine.

Joshua 8

Read the full chapter here.

Joshua 8, in a way, seeks to right the wrongs of the previous chapter. The key to victory is laid out before them in vv.1-2, and this time Joshua commits to following God’s plan with total obedience (vv.3-9). A plan is made and followed and, because the plan was of the Lord, works exactly as anticipated (vv.10-23). 

Joshua and the people’s total obedience this time around (cf. 7.1-9) is epitomised in v.26 wherein we read that Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction. Not until the battle was completely finished did Joshua relax his total obedience (v.18).

When the victory given to them by God was complete, we see the words of Deuteronomy 27 and 28 fulfilled with the building of an altar on Mount Ebal (Deuteronomy 27.4). Sacrifices and offerings are made, and the 180° turn from the events of Joshua 7 is complete when the people wholeheartedly seek to be a community focused on the Word (vv.30-35).

Is there something for us in this account that can read a little like a chapter from a military history book?

We saw in Joshua 7 that when disobedience is followed by sin then a curse follows whereas here in Joshua 8, we see that total obedience to God’s plan is the surest strategy for victory.

For you and for me then, no matter what we are working through and no matter what is going on in our lives right now, the burden to achieve victory doesn’t rest on us. God knows you, loves you, wants the best for you, and has already made a way for that to happen for you (v.1).

We don’t need to stray from the Word and promises of God to try and make things happen for ourselves, to try and advance our own situations (7.21).

Rather, “Do not fear and do not be dismayed…because God has already provided for you everything you need to walk through whatever is going on in your life right now. There is a table set for you, there is victory ahead for you (Psalm 23.5), but that victory comes from your total obedience to the Lord and His Word.