Summary: This sermon addresses the concept of war from a literal standpoint as well as from a spiritual standpont.
A Holy War Indeed (Joshua 10:1-15)
We have been bombarded with literature, media coverage, and may have even had persons come up to us and state that a war is being fought as a result of God’s intervention on behalf of a people.
While in most instances that I have just mentioned, one who takes a particular stance and alleges such, it does not necessarily mean that
whatever warlike circumstance or situation’s occurring or has occurred has to have been instigated by God.
Clearly much of what we read and hear from the media is subjective. Even the everyday conversations that we find ourselves being involved in are subjective. In other words, most of the time what we are hear and even say are based on opinion and
Is there ever a time when an opinion has any validity to it? Yes, there are times when an opinion has validity to it. But, there are also other times when an opinion is simply what it is, an opinion with no validity what so ever.
Our scriptural passage today gives us an opportunity to actually encounter a valid
holy war. That is, a war where God is instrumental in ensuring that those whom God deems fitting to come out victorious would actually come out victorious. Not only that, but God would allow something quite remarkable to take place to prove that God was
intimately involved in this battle.
How many of us here have felt like we were in a battle where the opposition appeared to have the upper hand? You may have never been involved in a national crisis with the military but you found yourself up against some individual, illness, habit,
problem or dilemma. For all intensive purposes if you had to fight the battle on your own you would have found yourself on the losing end.
As you think back to any particular time when it was obvious that you were in crucial fight, if you came out victorious, you can probably say had it not been for the grace of God, things may have turned out much different.
So, in a sense each of us has some frame of reference when it comes to the concept of a holy war even if it does not actually mean warlike combat with another country.
Joshua and the Israelites were still in pursuit of the Promised Land and as they moved closer, their opposition became more unsettled. So much to the extent that once word got out that they had overcome a major force and occupied the area, panic set in.
This is where King Adon-Zedek, the king of Jerusalem steps in. Knowing fully that Ai, an area which was successful earlier and able to withstand Israel’s attack had now been captured, he is very anxious. On top of that, he learned that others out of fear had jumped on Joshua and the Israelite bandwagon.
Those others I am referencing are known as Gibeonites who out of fear aligned themselves with Joshua and the Israelites. Thinking that he would be able to rally an alliance capable of undoing what had previously taken place, Adoni-Zedek solicits help
from other area Amorite kings. This included assistance from Hoham, king of Hebron, Piram, king of Jarmuth, Japhia, king of Lachish and Debir, king of Eglon.
In agreement, these kings joined forces to seek to overcome the Gibeonites. What the Amorite kings failed to consider was that Joshua and the Israelites were still in good relations with the Gibeonites. So, while they had strategize to overtake the Gibeonites, the Gibeonites had a different strategy in mind and it would include soliciting the aid of Joshua and the Israelites.
This is where the concept of Holy War comes into effect. Unlike other times where persons may have purported a warlike crisis to be a holy war, this in deed was an actual holy war with the God of creation actually playing a pivotal role in this process.
From our passage of scripture, even before Joshua and the Israelite army were involved in any actual fighting, God speaks to Joshua and says in so many words, ‘It will be okay Joshua. Don’t worry about a thing. I have everything taken care of.’
After receiving this reassurance Joshua and those prepared to fight on behalf of the Gibeonites began marching to where they would experience God’s hand in this crisis.
Not only were the Amorite kings completely off guard for what they experienced in battle with the Gibenites, they basically forgot their game plan and ended up retreating.
Possibly thinking that if they simply backed off they would live to see another battle, the Amorites retreat. But, it was too late and God stepped in and hindered their progress with hailstones.
Witnessing this great victory, Joshua was able to influence God to make the sun stand still and stop the moon from rotating. Verse 14 of Joshua 10 tells us that, “There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a man.