Thought for the Week - 29th November 2015

Pastor Diana Rutherford

Joshua 10:1-11

Now Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai and totally destroyed it, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and that the people of Gibeon had made a treaty of peace with Israel and had become their allies.

He and his people were very much alarmed at this, because Gibeon was an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters.

So Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem appealed to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish and Debir king of Eglon.

“Come up and help me attack Gibeon,” he said, “because it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites.”

Then the five kings of the Amorites—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon—joined forces. They moved up with all their troops and took up positions against Gibeon and attacked it.

The Gibeonites then sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: “Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us.”

So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men.

The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.”

After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise.

The Lord threw them into confusion before Israel, so Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah.

As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them, and more of them died from the hail than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.

These verses are about the five kings of the Amorites, who had come out against the city of Gibeon. Gibeon had called on Joshua and those at the camp at Gilgal, saying:

“Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us:
for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us.”

Five Kings and their tribes coming out against one city is a lot, and so they were afraid! It made me think that so often, when the enemy comes out against us, he comes out against us in such a way that it’s not just one thing but its one thing after another. In life things often don’t come alone… in this instance it was five things.

But how wonderful is this word!

First of all, the people of Gibeon asked Joshua to help. Joshua sought God, and God said these words to him:

“Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand;
there shall not a man of them stand before thee.”

It’s like for each one of us as we cope with our difficulties in life! Those difficulties sometimes come en-masse. We, as Christians, need to learn at that point to turn to God and find His help. Because He is there to comfort, to strengthen and encourage us. It’s good for us sometimes to discover that we are weak and not able to manage on our own. For us to turn like little children again to our Heavenly Father for that help.

I wonder whether we are as faithful as that. Whether we bring each one of these Kings, as it were, to God and say “Lord, can you help me in this situation; can you give me strength to cope with this; can you give me the way through this difficulty; will you open the door and show me the way”. So often, we become afraid and we worry. We become anxious and we churn it over in our minds. Sometimes we lose proportion, and that molehill becomes a mountain.

We need to see each problem and take it to God, and find a reassurance from Him. It’s important that we learn, as we go through our spiritual journey, to connect with God the moment a problem arises. Not even putting the problem aside, or talking to somebody else, but actually taking it directly to God, getting a word from God and holding onto that word throughout the whole thing. And at the end, we can look back with confidence and encouragement, and think “yes, God did speak to me and God did help me through that problem”.

That’s how He trains us.

Over the years, we might try to cope with problems on our own. Sometimes our natural selves might want to rise up and deal with something. But God might want us to sit still, which is why it’s important that we seek His guidance.

Sometimes we can be too entangled in something, which is why it’s wise to seek advice or counsel. Sometimes there are things we deal with that feel too big for us, and we need advice from someone who knows Christ more deeply than we do… there’s nothing wrong with that.

We must also learn by habit to go to Him.

Joshua got the green light to deal with these five kings of the Amorites.

“Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night”.

Although God had spoken to him, Joshua still had to use his wisdom. He also had to act on the advice from God. We need to do the same thing! Whether it’s to sit still, to take action, or to deal with the situation. Go to God and ask Him for His advice!

Whatever the situation, whatever it is for you, seek God and His advice on it! What is He saying to you? It might be that God will speak to you and gives you several strands of wisdom… don’t do something, don’t go somewhere, or don’t associate with whatever it is. He will help you to combat those difficulties, the Kings of the Amorites in your life.

“And the Lord discomfited them before Israel,
and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them”

God agitated them and stirred them up! The Lord chased them! If you have a situation that’s hounding you spiritually, if you take it to God, He will do the chasing! He will chase it away. He will slaughter our old natures. The bit that we can’t do, He will do for us.

“…the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword”.

If you consider this in a spiritual context, God destroyed the enemies more than they did! For you and I, if we stay in Christ, God Himself will deal with the situations that arise that affect us. He will chase and discomfort them.

God will be with us, as we takes thing to Him again and again.

Friends, don’t ever be afraid when God is on your side! No matter how foolish you’ve been or how many mistakes you’ve made; God knows that. Take everything to Him and admit your mistakes to Him. He knows, He understands, and He defends us. He is a Father who loves us!  We are incredibly precious to Him.


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