Again, the kings of Canaan unite in their effort to defeat the Israelites. This time the Scriptures describe Israel’s opposition as vast, mighty, and almost innumerable:
Joshua 11:4 (NKJV) “So they went out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore in multitude, with very many horses and chariots.”
The enemies of Israel had a cavalry that could mow down their opposition, they had chariots which would be comparable to modern-day tanks in the battle – but Israel had God, they had the LORD of Hosts and He’s all they needed.
The LORD gave Joshua these instructions:
Joshua 11:6 (NKJV) “But the LORD said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow about this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel. You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.’”
There’s that command again – “Do not be afraid…” God (who is always with us) always give us the victory, He’s for us and have His way, it’s for that reason there is no need to fear.
It’s interesting that God commanded Joshua to hamstring the horses and burn the chariots. You would figure that the children of Israel could use these weapons of warfare for future battles. But God did not want His children to trust in horses or chariots, He wants His people to trust in Him and to always give Him ALL the glory!
Psalms 20:7 (NKJV) “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”
God gave Israel utter and absolute victory.
The key to Joshua’s success was simply his outright and overall obedience to the LORD. I love the way it’s worded:
Joshua 11:15 (NKJV) “As the LORD had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses.
It’s a bit frightening to read how the LORD hardened the hearts of the people (Joshua 11:20) which led to their judgment, but God only does this if those people have already “crossed the line,” and hardened their own hearts. God only hardened Pharaoh’s heart, after he had hardened his own heart five times. In this case the perversity of the Canaanites had reached the heavens, they had resisted their own conscience, they were ripe and overdue for judgment. God would now establish His people in the land flowing with milk and honey.
Joshua 12 lists the thirty-one kings Israel conquered on both sides of the Jordan. It may sound like a lot but it’s nothing for the LORD.
Jeremiah 32:27 (NKJV) “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”
What “land” do you need the Lord to conquer for you today? We will prevail as we go out and fight by faith – He will give us the victory over our flesh, the enemy, and the influences of the world. He will baptize us with the power of the Holy Spirit to be overcomers and grow to be more and more like Him. The Promised Land largely speaks of Victorious Christian Living.
In those days leprosy was a horrible and incurable disease. Not only was it a slow death, it was a disease that thrust a person out an absolute outcast of society, banished not only from the Temple and religious life (considered ritually unclean) but banished from the general population, forced to live outside the city walls and to maintain a distance of at least 30 feet from others. With that in mind…imagine being healed of leprosy!
Ten lepers were healed but only one returned to express appropriate worship and gratitude. I have a hunch, the percentage of grateful people hasn’t changed much over the years (right around 10%). The grateful leper’s gratitude and faith led not only to his physical healing, but to his spiritual healing. Which is more important?
May we always be a grateful people. Especially as Christians, may we always have that attitude of gratitude. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
The kingdom of God is present now (in one sense) in that it is within us. I like to tell people that there’s a throne in our hearts and my prayer is that Jesus sits on that throne and rules over my life. But the kingdom of God will also literally be present one day when the King returns.
That season of the Son’s Second Coming begins with the Rapture of the Church – which can happen at any time. Are we really ready? People will be living life as usual, it will be a regular day and it’s ok and necessary to live life, as long as we’re simultaneously living for the Lord, watching, waiting, and knowing that today may be the Day of Jesus’ return.
This world will be judged, so let’s be sure not to look back at it with longing eyes, lest we end up as a pillar of salt, like Lot’s wife. (Luke 17:32)
When the rapture comes, many will be left behind. Jesus mentions it repeatedly in this section, “…one will be taken and the other left.” (Luke 17:34-36)
Luke 17:37 may describe vultures encircling dead bodies after a time of judgment. But the eagles most likely are in reference to angels of some sort, maybe even Jesus, rapturing up the body of Christ, wherever His people are…all around the world.
The Psalmist apparently had been away from Jerusalem and the Temple for an extended period of time – he may have been unable to attend the required feasts, he felt distant, and shares his heart. To him, this was way beyond merely missing church attendance, he wanted to reconnect with his Creator.
Psalm 84:2 (NKJV) “My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”
Imagine the love and longing he had for the Lord, to the point that he said one single day in God’s courts is better than a thousand elsewhere! (Psalm 84:10). That he’d rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God, than to have that so-called “fun” in the tents of wickedness. And what a beautiful promises he shares with us to hold tightly to:
Psalm 84:11b (NKJV) “…No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
Another motivation to holiness.
Before we leave this Psalm it’s helpful to note the three “beatitudes” we see within it:
In Psalm 84:4 the declaration is how blessed are those who dwell in God’s house – perhaps in reference to the Priests and Levites. Did they know how privileged they were?
In Psalm 84:5 the declaration is how blessed is the man whose strength is in God, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. No doubt the pilgrimage he’s referring to is the wonderful journey to Jerusalem…when that’s our heart, God will be our strength!
In Psalm 84:12 the declaration is how blessed is the man who trusts in God. As we travel through life our trust will be tested, may we have that firm belief in the ability and reliability of the Lord our God!
As has been said by many, “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”
“The more we depend on God, the more dependable we find that He is.”
Once again, we see the contrast between the righteous and the wicked.
The righteous man HATES lying, but the wicked don’t. Do we HATE lying?
Why should we hate lying? It’s – the language of Lucifer (John 8:44). This would include exaggerating and speculating; remember, there’s no such thing as a white lie, a half-truth is a whole lie.
We see another contrast in Proverbs 13:6, that righteousness, guards a person from evil, while wickedness removes that protection and makes a person open game.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.