2 Chronicles 20:15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
Joshua 10 is an exciting chapter of the people of God overcoming their enemies. It provides us a picture or type of how the people of God overcome in their battles against the world, the flesh, and the devil by the power God. As soon as Joshua inherited the leadership of the nation of Israel, God declared to him that He had already given them the Promised Land, but they had to place faith in the promise of God and fight the good fight of faith (See Joshua 1:3-6). Joshua took the promise of God and mixed it with faith. He put legs on his prayers. Faith is not waiting for God to do something for you; faith is responding to what God has already promised to do for you. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
But we also see this morning that this particular battle was due to a hasty, knee jerk decision that was not God’s perfect will. When the Gibeonites deceived Joshua and appealed urgently for help, the Israelites were covenant-bound to come to their defense. On the grounds of the covenant that they made with Israel, the men of Gibeon appeal for help; and on the grounds of the covenant, Joshua arises to help. Even though this covenant was a big mistake, God would remain faithful to His promise and help Israel defeat the coalition of nations now on the attack. God forgives sin and helps us move on, but He does not always cancel its consequences. Even so, God can even use our bad situations and unwise decisions for His purposes.
Let’s look at this battle through the lens of our spiritual warfare. The enemy that was seen was intimidating, but the God that is unseen is the supreme and ultimate reality. This illustrates walking by faith rather than sight. “… I have given them into your hands.” (Joshua 10:8, ESV) The Lord assures Joshua that He will be with him in defending the Gibeonites against the Jerusalem coalition. The past tense “have given” is significant. God has decided on the outcome, but Israel must still do some hard fighting. The Lord gave Joshua the assurance that he was to take on these enemies and destroy them. Previously, Joshua had conquered the land city by city, but now he had to face five foes at once. Knowing that he could not engage in this battle in his own strength, he had no other alternative but to go to battle trusting in the promise and power of God. Stop for a moment and let these kings represent your enemies, beloved. What deceptive sin or weakness or stronghold has you by the throat and is about to choke the spiritual life out of you? The sins, habits, and attitudes that ensnare us are empowered by two powerful forces that work in concert with one another. The first is the flesh and the second is the devil and his demonic hordes that magnify our problems in our minds and emotions to the point that we are convinced that even God Himself is no match for them.
Remember this battle follows the previous military victory at Ai (Joshua 8). Whenever you or I, by the grace of God, win a battle over the enemy of our souls, know this. Our adversary the devil does not wave the white flag of surrender. He forms a coalition and comes at us from different angles. Their one objective is to get our eyes off The Lord Jesus and on the “magnitude” of the problem, the affliction, or the situation. God’s challenge to His people then and for His people now is the same: not to fear the enemy. The Lord didn’t save you to live a life filled with anxiety and tension. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) For those who will walk by faith and not by sight, and learn to cast all of our cares upon Him, the Lord still gives “peace that passeth understanding” (Philippians 4:7)
Spiritual victory is not mind over matter; it is embracing the Lordship of Jesus Christ as Lord over all. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37-39) Because Christ has risen, we win, even when it appears that we lose, because nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Yes, we must fight, but the battle and victory belong to The Lord. Receive it and believe it. Selah