Today’s passage is easily dismissed and overlooked as just more conquest. But it is just as important as any part of God’s Word. Do we have the humility before the ‘All-Everything God’ to trust HE knows best? Do you believe that whatever your idea of best is, God’s idea of best is better?
Previously on Joshua: The Longest Day:
29 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it. 30 The Lord also gave that city and its king into Israel’s hand. The city and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.
- The battle had begun as a defense of Gibeon (they made a treaty)
- The 5 Kings (led by the King of Jerusalem) were surprised and routed
- The armies in retreat before Israel were killed by massive hailstones
- Kings hid in a cave while God extended the daylight for and extra day
- They stood on the necks of the kings, the sun finally set now the 2nd day
31 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Libnah to Lachish; he took up positions against it and attacked it. 32 The Lord gave Lachish into Israel’s hands, and Joshua took it on the second day. The city and everyone in it he put to the sword, just as he had done to Libnah. 33 Meanwhile, Horam king of Gezer had come up to help Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his army—until no survivors were left.
- Approached as the sun set, they surrounded them, and then attacked in the am
- ‘Took up positions’ can also be translated as ‘laid siege to’
- The second day of the campaign will be a normal length day so they get busy
34 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Lachish to Eglon; they took up positions against it and attacked it. 35 They captured it that same day and put it to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it, just as they had done to Lachish. 36 Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it. 37 They took the city and put it to the sword, together with its king, its villages and everyone in it. They left no survivors. Just as at Eglon, they totally destroyed it and everyone in it.
- Again they took up positions, the armies are not coming out fo the cities
- Hebron is a bit bigger, a city with villages surrounding it
- So at this point it seems like an unnecessary amount of carnage
- We look at this and say, ‘maybe he can just kill soldiers…’
- This is what obedience can look like sometimes…
38 Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned around and attacked Debir. 39 They took the city, its king and its villages, and put them to the sword. Everyone in it they totally destroyed. They left no survivors. They did to Debir and its king as they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron.
- Repetition is to show the continued obedience
- Just like you and I they might begin to say, (‘Do we have to kill them all?’)
40 So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41 Joshua subdued them from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from the whole region of Goshen to Gibeon.
- They did as God commanded, no shortcuts, no editing of the command
- It may not have been made explicit earlier in chapter, this summation does
- Every life God put before them they devoted to HIM, that was HIS Plan
42 All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. 43 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.
- One campaign 2 days; a double length day and a single length day
- How could this all be accomplished in such a short period of time?
- Why didn’t they attack Jerusalem on their way back to Gilgal?
- Why did God have the Israelites kill everyone?
City after city is attacked and utterly destroyed as an act of obedience to what God had commanded HIS people to do. (Deut. 20:16-18) Every life was ‘Devoted’ to the Lord.
The army trusted Joshua’s leadership to the point where they trusted God’s plan even if they could not fully understand it.
In God’s Judgement HE used the Israelites to devote to HIM earthly lives, but ultimately God is in charge of the eternal lives of all the humans everywhere. We are born & die according to HIS Plan.
This is an extreme example of the Biblical Principal: God’s people are called to obey without complete information, because HE made us HIS people.
Is there something God has led you to do that you can’t understand why you should do it? Will you do it anyway? What would a Biblical Practice of that process look like?
Why does God allow seemingly innocent people to die? Do you require an answer you agree with? What standards do you use to judge if God is fair or not?
If God Judged these people, can you trust they deserved to be Judged?
If God Saved these people, can you trust God’s decision to give them eternal life?
VISION & PRACTICE
What we can see of God’s plan is fundamentally limited. Biblically following Christ is about developing a relationship with God where we humbly trust in HIS character; then we can trust HIS Plan!