There are many good lessons that we can learn from the adventures of Joshua and Israel in entering the physical promised land.
When the rulers of many Canaanite cities in the land heard of the destruction of Jericho and Ai, they confederated together to come out to war against the common enemy, yet the inhabitants of Gibeon invented a strategy to save themselves.
Joshua 9:1 And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof; 9:2 That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.
The inhabitants of Gibeon were wiser than their neighbors and found a way to make peace with Israel through craftiness.
This teaches us that our spiritual enemy (Satan) may attack openly, or he may seek to influence us through craftiness. That is the main attack focus of Satan against the New Covenant people at this time.
Today we should follow the instructions of John Baptist and Jesus Christ, and demand the fruits [proofs of a change in belief and conduct] of sincere repentance and zeal for the whole Word of God before baptizing people.
Likewise those who do not have the fruits of zeal to live by every Word of God should be cast out of the assemblies.
9:3 And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, 9:4 They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; 9:5 And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.
9:6 And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.
Israel asked them, how can we make a treaty with you in case you are found to dwell in the land: And the people of Gideon did their best to deceive them that they were indeed from a far county; and Israel believed them and did not properly investigate, neither did they inquire of God.
The people of Gibeon had heard of the might of God and believed the reports; yet they acted with craft.
How could Israel have avoided this trap? By first enquiring of God for his instructions and will in the matter!
9:7 And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure [what if] ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you? 9:8 And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye? 9:9 And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt, 9:10 And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth. 9:11 Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us.
These Gibeonites feared Joshua and Israel and presented a superficial appearance to Israel which was false.
Today most of the tares in the assemblies are sincere but lack any real understanding and are zealous for a group and its leader, but not zealous to live by every Word of God to Learn it and to keep it. Instead they are idolaters of men and corporate entities. Like the Gibeonites, they hear the messages and then they exalt the messenger, the leader and the organization; while having no zeal for God to enthusiastically keep his Word.
9:12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: 9:13 And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey.
Joshua and the elders looked at the physical evidence before them and did not ask the Lord about the spiritual reality and truth of the situation.
9:14 And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.
This is one of the very few mistakes of Joshua, the Zealous, the Faithful; he believed them without first inquiring of God.
9:15 And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.
After three days the truth came out
9:16 And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them.
Israel then marched to their cities
9:17 And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjathjearim.
Joshua and the leaders decide to make servants of them and call them out and give them an ultimatum to become servants
9:18 And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes. 9:19 But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel: now therefore we may not touch them. 9:20 This we will do to them; we will even let them live, lest wrath be upon us, because of the oath which we sware unto them. 9:21 And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them.
Joshua demands an explanation and declares that they are to be servants.
9:22 And Joshua called for them, and he spake unto them, saying, Wherefore have ye beguiled us, saying, We are very far from you; when ye dwell among us? 9:23 Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.
The Gibeonites reply that they deceived Israel out of fear for their lives and promised to do whatever Joshua required for the sake of their lives.
9:24 And they answered Joshua, and said, Because it was certainly told thy servants, how that the LORD thy God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you, therefore we were sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this thing. 9:25 And now, behold, we are in thine hand: as it seemeth good and right unto thee to do unto us, do.
Joshua then spared their lives and made them servants of the Levites.
9:26 And so did he unto them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they slew them not. 9:27 And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the LORD, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose.
I want to say that in the case of Gibeon this was about the physical Mosaic Covenant, while in today’s spiritual Ekklesia we have a somewhat similar problem on the spiritual level. For decades we have sinned greatly in the spiritual Ekklesia
First it must be said that many of the tares in today’s spiritual Ekklesia probably the majority, do not know that they are tares and are very sincere and very nice people. This is just NOT their time now.
For a long time it has been a habit in today’s Ekklesia to baptize people who obviously have no understanding or zeal for the Word of God, simply because they are willing to follow and send money to the corporate entity.
One elder told me about 1985 that the majority of brethren were not converted and were brought in so that the corporate church could have their financial support and so that some good could rub off on them.
What is wrong with that? Have you not read that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Do you not know that the unclean makes the clean unclean? These folks are very nice and very sincere, yet they have diluted us into a social club devoid of zeal to live by every Word of God!
Today, the spiritual Ekklesia is full of known and unknown tares [as well as outright weeds] who play follow the elder but have no zeal to live by every Word of God. The fruit of this ungodly policy of knowingly baptizing unqualified people is a general lack of zeal to live by every Word of God throughout the assemblies and the decline of today’s assemblies into mere social club churches.
Just as the mixed multitude which left Egypt with Israel led them astray, just as Solomon’s wives led him astray, the knowing and willful improper baptizing of people obviously not zealous to live by every Word of God, just to swell numbers and increase income; has resulted in the decline of godliness in the organizations and brethren.
Often God allows Satan to sow tares in the congregations to test and prove the zeal of the brethren. That is one thing; but when we deliberately and willfully baptize those who we know should not be baptized, it is a sin just like the sin of Solomon in bringing strange wives into his family (Neh 13:27, Ezra 10).
This is not about what God allows Satan to do; it is about our deliberate and willful actions against what God’s Word teaches. Please see the lesson on “The Clean and Unclean”.
Deliberately mixing the spiritually unclean with the spiritually clean, pollutes the clean with the unclean and leads them astray.
Haggai 2:11 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying,
2:12 If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No.
2:13 Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean.
2:14 Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the Lord; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.
Joshua 10:1 Now it came to pass, when Adonizedec king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them; 10:2 That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty.
The other rulers in Canaan hearing of all these things, resolved to confederate together and come out to attack Gibeon for making peace with Israel.
10:3 Wherefore Adonizedec king of Jerusalem, sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debir king of Eglon, saying, 10:4 Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon: for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.
These five kings laid siege to Gibeon.
10:5 Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it.
Gibeon then asks deliverance from Joshua. It occurs to me that Joshua could have seen this as deliverance from his Gibeonite problem and let the other Canaanites slaughter Gibeon. Not so, for Joshua had already given his word that the Gibeonites could be servants of the Levites.
10:6 And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to 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.
Joshua was keeping his word and God was with him, informing him that God had worked the Gibeon problem out to bring destruction on the five kings of Canaan.
10:7 So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour. 10:8 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.
Joshua marched all night and caught them by surprise in the early morning.
10:9 Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night.
The God who later gave up his Godhood to be made flesh as Jesus Christ went before Israel and helped them to destroy the five rulers and their armies.
No wimp who tolerates sin here, Jesus Christ is Mighty to Save his people; all those who are zealous and faithful to him and the Word of God!
10:10 And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Bethhoron, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah.
God rained great hailstones on them destroying many.
10:11 And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that 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.
The God who became Jesus Christ even prolonged the hours of daylight so that Joshua could complete the job of destroying the five kings! Such is the power and the might and the glory of our Deliverer!
Why will we fear transitory physical temptations and persecutions when zeal for our Mighty One guarantees victory over Satan and sin and entry into the Promised Land of eternal life?
10:12 Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. 10:13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. 10:14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel. 10:15 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.
The five kings hid themselves and were sealed up in a cave by Israel until the battle was over and their army was destroyed.
10:16 But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah. 10:17 And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah. 10:18 And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them: 10:19 And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the LORD your God hath delivered them into your hand.
A few of the enemy escaped into fenced cities but the slaughter had diminished them in a very big way.
10:20 And it came to pass, when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities.
Then the fame of God, Joshua and Israel filled the land and all the Canaanites were very afraid.
10:21 And all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace: none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel.
Joshua then sent for the five kings
10:22 Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave. 10:23 And they did so, and brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon.
Joshua then proceeded to give a graphic lesson to the leaders of Israel. This graphic action was worth ten thousand words in strengthening the faith and heart of Israel to keep the Word of God and to follow Christ wherever he will lead us.
10:24 And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them.
Brethren, these words are for us today; fear God and do his will and zealously live by every Word of God and he will deliver us from death itself on that day! God our Father and our espoused Husband Jesus Christ; are Mighty, they are Worthy, and greatly to be exalted above all else.
10:25 And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.
For the second time the word “evening” is used synonymously with sunset or sun down.
If anyone says that the word “evening” is ambiguous and that people can decide for themselves when to stop work for the Sabbath: They do not understand the Word of God. Evening is synonymous with sun down or sunset.
10:26 And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening. 10:27 And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees, and cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid, and laid great stones in the cave’s mouth, which remain until this very day.
Joshua totally destroyed Makkedah, which was the battle headquarters of the five kings and where they had hidden.
10:28 And that day Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly destroyed, them, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain: and he did to the king of Makkedah as he did unto the king of Jericho.
Joshua then proceeded to destroy the defended cities of the five kings and their satellite towns.
10:29 Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, unto Libnah, and fought against Libnah: 10:30 And the LORD delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho.
10:31 And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, unto Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it: 10:32 And the LORD delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, which took it on the second day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein, according to all that he had done to Libnah.
The king of Gezer came to help Lachish and was also defeated.
10:33 Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining.
Next was the city of Eglon one of the five great cities of the Canaanites.
10:34 And from Lachish Joshua passed unto Eglon, and all Israel with him; and they encamped against it, and fought against it: 10:35 And they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.
10:36 And Joshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, unto Hebron; and they fought against it: 10:37 And they took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof, and all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining, according to all that he had done to Eglon; but destroyed it utterly, and all the souls that were therein.
Debir was also taken and all of the five great cities were destroyed
10:38 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir; and fought against it: 10:39 And he took it, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed all the souls that were therein; he left none remaining: as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir, and to the king thereof; as he had done also to Libnah, and to her king.
10:40 So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded. 10:41 And Joshua smote them from Kadeshbarnea even unto Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even unto Gibeon.
Joshua had succeeded in gaining possession of the south central core of the promised land in this series of battles; being completely victorious in all his battles, because he was with Christ and Christ was with him. If we are likewise following Jesus Christ to live by every Word of God; we shall also be victorious over Satan and sin, continually overcoming and growing until the end.
If we follow our espoused spiritual Husband without compromise or turning aside from zeal to live by every Word of God; He SHALL fight for us!
Let us not try to fight our spiritual battles by compromising with sin and keeping our own ways to do what WE think is right! Let us follow God the Father and Jesus Christ to live by every Word of God, without any compromise, backsliding or turning aside!
10:42 And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel.
10:43 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal.