Make War a Long Time (Josh 11:16-23)
For this month’s blog, I would like to pick up where I left off last month in Joshua 11. Last month I stopped with verse 15 so I will now pick up at verse 16.
16 So Joshua took all that land, the hill country and all the Negeb and all the land of Goshen and the lowland and the Arabah and the hill country of Israel and its lowland
17 from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, as far as Baal-gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. And he captured all their kings and struck them and put them to death.
18 Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.
19 There was not a city that made peace with the people of Israel except the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon. They took them all in battle.
20 For it was the LORD’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the LORD commanded Moses.
21 And Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua devoted them to destruction with their cities.
22 There was none of the Anakim left in the land of the people of Israel. Only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod did some remain.
23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. And the land had rest from war.
(Jos. 11:16-23 ESV)
Verse 15 ends by telling us that Joshua left nothing undone of all that God had commanded Moses to do. Verses 16 and 17 inform us that Joshua took all that land and give a summary of the taking of the land in general terms but then we come to verse 18.
“Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.”
Joshua is physically fighting these kings in order to, physically take the land. His physical fighting is a spiritual picture for us. Just as he physically fights these kings, we are to spiritually fight sin. Joshua made war a long time with all those kings. Friend, you must make war a long time against sin. It will not go easily but it must go, and it must go no matter how long it takes to put it to death. Again, Joshua made war a long time. You must fight sin until it is finished. It is a lifetime of fighting until the land is taken and none are left. Don’t give up. MAKE WAR FOR A LONG TIME AGAINST SIN!
Verse 19 tells us only one city made peace with Israel, Gibeon. All the other cities were taken in battle. Why? Verse 20 tells us, “it was the LORD’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the LORD commanded Moses.”
How do those words set with your soul? Consider the words of Dale Ralph Davis regarding this verse,
“The burden of the text is to explain why Canaan’s cities were gripped by this passion to meet Israel in battle, to disclose how it was that they willingly walked into their own destruction. The theology of the text clarifies the matter: Yahweh hardened their hearts that they might be utterly destroyed, that they might make no plea for grace, that they might be exterminated…..The Canaanite’s day of grace has passed (Gen. 15:16); their iniquity is now full; there has been no turning away from but persistence in their idolatrous and sex-perverting worship; and so Yahweh ‘gives them up’, confirms them in that resistance, and leads them by it to destruction.”
Every one of those who were killed in these battles were created by God and therefore he could do with them as he pleased. Those killed in battle against Israel (against God), were devoted to destruction and received no mercy and so it will be for all who continue in their war against God. Friends, God can do with any of us whatever he chooses. He is to be praised in his mercy and in his justice. How does your soul do with this reality?
In verses 21 and 22 Joshua takes out the Anakim except for in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. The very people that led to the spies making a bad report to Moses because of their size and their strength are now destroyed just as God had said they would be. Joshua took the whole land according to what Moses had spoken and gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to the tribal allotments and the land had rest from war. Did you catch those last words? “And the land had rest from war.” Once all that God commanded had been completed there was rest.
Joshua’s rest was temporary. There would be more skirmishes ahead but there is a principle here that you cannot miss. Rest from war only comes when the land has been taken and not before. You cannot rest until the enemy, sin, is destroyed and the land is taken. You cannot give up until what you have been commanded to do has been completed. You must fight to the end. As stated earlier, you must make war a long time against sin. There is a coming rest, but it is not until the land has been taken.
So, how are you doing in your war against sin?
By His Grace Alone,