FAITH TO ENTER GODS PROMISES

Give God the Credit

Joshua 11-12

Jerry A Collins

4/3/05

SCC

 

*               Should I even take any credit for my successes?

*               Why should I remain in conflict with the world?

*               Why is it important to receive my strength from God for battle?

 

In my hometown of Rockwood, Michigan, I grew up down the street from one of my best childhood friends, Bradley Clark. We played ball together, slid down billy goats hill, fished and rode bikes together. But one thing always bugged me about Bradley and his family. They thought they were better than everyone else in the neighborhood and had better things that everyone else. I especially remember him always bragging about the Ford automobiles they owned. Their cars were superior to our GM or Chryslers back in those days. Now that may have been true but if it was, it had nothing to do with the Clarks. They did not manufacture the Ford cars. They just bought them and drove them. We often like to take credit for something we have no basis of taking credit for. In Joshua 11-12 the lesson is Give God the credit. Israel was learning that they needed Gods strength & power to earn the victory God promised to them. On the heels of an exhaustive campaign to the south, Joshua immediately faced a much greater challenge to the north. With no reprieve, a massive coalition of forces coalcesed against them as many people as the sand that is on the seashore with very many horses and chariots vs 4. Yet we have already witnessed the (1) military genius Joshua was. First, his battles were offensive. When hearing of an attack he preceded it with an attack of his own. Second, he used element of surprise as he did against the 5 kings and Ai. Third, he would then follow up sending soldiers to harass retreating enemy to prevent them from returning to their cities. (2) Joshua was also a spiritual giant as an example to his people; first with Rahab and the promises he kept to her; second kept faith with the Gibeonites; third never used his position for personal agendas or gain. No doubt with this kind of leadership the Conquest enters its final stage poised for complete success.

1. DONT USE YOUR SUCCESS TO MOVE IN DIRECTION OF INDEPENDENCE FROM GOD 1-9

1-3 An alarm aroused for these northern kings by Israels crushing victories in south. So they organized what can be described as a desperate attempt to protect themselves and take the offensive. Messengers fanned out with urgent calls to arms north south east and west. Everything about this battle is massive.

4-5 The most powerful of kings in the most imposing city of the north join forces with mounted calvary and chariot soldierssomething Israel has not confronted before. Well-organized to form a strategy to attack and anniliate the Israelites. 6-9 From Jericho onward each successive battle has been more difficult than previousthis one being the most overwhelming and terrifying (vs 6). God speaks directly into his fearhere is a battle-hardened veteran seeming to fear this enemy and losing the battle still well up within him. Once again a surprise strategy is usedenemy unprepared, horses disabled so chariots cannot be pulled and calvary cannot ridenow odds even out a bit. Chariots burned so unuseable. In the ensuing panic the enemy is routedfoot soldier fighting foot soldier. Vs 8 the Lord delivered the enemy into Israels hands. Joshua does not try to cut corners or do things his own way but depended on the Lords command and followed through. It seems the best strategy would be to use their technology (horses & chariots) to strengthen Israels army but God would not allow this because then they would depend upon their military might rather than on God. It is tempting to strengthen ourselves from others rather than from God. When you are strengthened by God then you cannot give glory to your own strength. Dont gain power for yourself by your victories. For instance, if you are successful in business or ministry or sports or whatever, dont use that to strengthen yourself. Never use your success to move in a direction of independence from God. Strengthen yourself with the knowledge and obedience of the Word of God (1-9). Israel did not strengthen themselves with the chariots of the Canaanitesneither did Abe strengthen himself with the booty won saving Lothe gave it back lest they said they made abram rich (Gen 14).

2. COMPLETE VICTORY REQUIRES COMPLETE DEFEAT

10-15 We should not have pity on these kings or their troops because like everything else in Canaan they were under a ban. In other words, they had become devoted to Gods wrath. Violently opposed to Gods work in the land, they needed to be destroyed or they would come back at a later date and try to destroy Israel. The time for mercy and grace had passed now the only thing left is judgment. So God gave them, the only option possiblecomplete destruction of the enemy in this holy war. According to vs 15 that is exactly what Joshua did.

16-23 In vs 18 joshua waged war a long time namely, 7 years. Warfare is not quick or easy. Opposition just does not go away because we pray about it or demand it to do so. We are in the battle for the long haul. Vs 19-20 describes the hardness of the heart of the opposition. For 7 years they mounted tough resistance to God and his people and all along the way the enemy never attempted to quit the fight or give in to God or the Israelites. Violent and aggressive, their rebellion had reached its full measure so the only victory was complete defeat of the enemy. God hardened the heart of the enemy so they would not make peace with Israel. So Israel would not be tempted to show mercy to the enemy. This helped keep Israel from their enemies idolatry and influences. If there is some conflict we cannot resolve with someone, God may be hardening their heart to protect you from their influence. What destroys the church is a friendship with the world which is an entanglement and yoking to the world. The best way for Christianity to disappear in any context is to compromise with the world. So, we should practice conflict not compromise with the ways of the world. We are to be in the world (Jn 17:15; 1 Cor 5:10). But we are never to be influenced by the world. Some sin is carried to us by people and is inseparable from those people. Clear teaching of Gods Word usually will create a distancing from those people which must sometimes be maintained.

3. NOTICE GODS WORK AND GIVE HIM THE CREDIT Chp 12

In vs 1-6 is a recap of Moses victory over 2 kings, Sihon and Og in the transjordan. But in rest of chapter is a list of 31 Canaanite kings, all be name, whom Joshua defeated with armies as Lord fought for them. Each named by name and each were petty, political, military authorities who tried to stand up against God. They lost. God will not stand for any competition and these proud kings are opposed by God. Remember to speak about what God has done in your life as a testimony, in your family, your business or your ministry. But never speak about what you have done. Dont even try to subtly promote yourself or your group by talking about what God has done through you or how He used you. Remember this, God used evil kings, false prophets and spirits and even donkeys. He never needs you for anything. But if you are willing, humble, teachable and obedient He will use you and continue to do so as long as you never take the credit!