Obedience Leads To Maturity

Practice: praying before during and after Biblical preaching; asking God to use what is being said to convict, educate and inspire you. Ask God to keep you from thinking about other people’s need to hear what is being preached, ask HIM to focus you on your need.

There is really no application in this text for those who have not Biblically converted to Christ Following…and the message is a bit redundant…That is odd because God should realize we are smart enough to get it right if we are told once… seriously!

Big Picture: God provided a way for HIS people to quickly and definitively conquer the peoples HE decided to destroy. Joshua leads the united Israel to accept what God provides and do as HE commands. That is what we sign up for when we give our life to Jesus Christ…it is not ours anymore. As God provides whatever our job is to obey.

The conquest of the land promised to Abraham by His descendants has been fully orchestrated and accomplished by God…just like the rest of all human history! As His people we are to use the documented record of these events to learn, to gain insight, to mature spiritually…Why do we mature spiritually? To REPRODUCE! How is spiritual maturity measured? Those who are mature reproduce healthy, maturing disciples.

At the core of spiritual maturity is obedience to what God commands. It is the map, the road, the vehicle, the journey and the destination: Obedience! This passage shows God bringing about the destruction of thousands using the obedience of HIS people. As HIS people there are lesson for us if we yield to God’s Spirit and obey.

Joshua 11

When Jabin king of Hazor heard of this, he sent word to Jobab king of Madon, to the kings of Shimron and Akshaph, 2 and to the northern kings who were in the mountains, in the Arabah south of Chinnereth, in the western foothills and in Naphoth Dor on the west; 3 to the Canaanites in the east and west; to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites and Jebusites in the hill country; and to the Hivites below Mt. Hermon in the region of Mizpah. 4 They came out with all their troops and a large number of horses and chariots—a huge army, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 5 All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom to fight against Israel.

  • Jabin is singled out as the initiator, he gathers 8 groups against Israel; 160 sq. mi.
  • God gathers them, they don’t gather themselves
  • One large battle: faster, more efficient, greater display of God’s power

6 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them, slain, over to Israel. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.” 7 So Joshua and his whole army came against them suddenly at the Waters of Merom and attacked them, 8 and the Lord gave them into the hand of Israel. They defeated them and pursued them all the way to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth Maim, and to the Valley of Mizpah on the east, until no survivors were left. 9 Joshua did to them as the Lord had directed: He hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.

  • The ultimate confidence builder: when God says don’t be afraid we can obey!
  • God says how it is going to happen and that is how it happens
  • Joshua led them and they followed in doing exactly what God commanded

10 At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and put its king to the sword. (Hazor had been the head of all these kingdoms.) 11 Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally devoted them, not sparing anyone that breathed, and he burned Hazor itself. 12 Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally devoted them, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded. 13 Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds—except Hazor, which Joshua burned.

  • Hazor is burned, the other cities are left standing…they will be inhabited
  • We can Assume God told Joshua to burn the city of Hazor but not any others

14 The Israelites carried off for themselves all the plunder and livestock of these cities, but all the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed. 15 As the Lord commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.

  • These cites are taken in an efficient way to enrich the Israelites
  • God wrote Scripture… God must be satisfied with the level of obedience
  • God says the obedience was total

16 So Joshua took this entire land: the hill country, all the Negev, the whole region of Goshen, the western foothills, the Arabah and the mountains of Israel with their foothills, 17 from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, to Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and put them to death. 18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time.

  • This entire land: The northern & southern parts of the promised land
  • The detail of the conquest seems quick, but it was a longer time then southern

19 Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle. 20 For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that Joshua might devote them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

  • All the other cities were inflamed with the desire to destroy the Israelites
  • God willed it and did it!

21 At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country: from Hebron, Debir and Anab, from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns. 22 No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive.

  • When the northern end of the promised land was secured Joshua went south
  • Mop up campaign of ‘Giants’ who were hiding in small groups in the hills
  • They didn’t join the original souther battle

23 So Joshua took the entire land, just as the Lord had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.

  • This is the completion of the initial conquest
  • The ‘Land’ had peace
  • Only when God’s will is obeyed is there peace
  • Salvation is ‘Peace with God’


God moves the northern kings to assemble, then gives HIS people the assurance of HIS intention to go before them and destroy their foes. God gives HIS people what they need, our challenge is to move forward with confidence in HIM..

The city that leads the attack on Israel is made an example of. Except the Gibeonites, not one other group tries to make peace. Actively working against God is a place without peace.

Joshua follows the example of Moses: complete obedience, leaving nothing of all that the Lord commanded. Partial obedience is disobedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience.

Every moment is exactly as God wills it to happen and it is recorded specifically as HE desires. God’s control of every aspect of our world is redundantly taught in Scripture for HIS people’s benefit.

In response to God providing, HIS people are careful to do all that HE commands.


Is there an area where you have not obeyed God because you don’t think HE has provided the right situation? What needs to happen for you to obey?

Do you have a lack of peace in your life? Is there way you are working against what God has clearly commanded? (relationships / your role in the church / money) What is your response?

Have you fully embraced a Biblical Theology of God’s control? How is this embrace connected to your spiritual maturity?


As His people we get insight into what God wants us to do, generally and specifically, throught he continued study of scripture. Then we build a lifestyle of obedience; practicing humility and teachability so we can humbly teach others as we mature.