Summary: Further opposition to be faced before the inheritance is gained
I suppose, like me, many of you have turned your hand to a little bit of decorating at some time or another. Maybe you decided it was about time that your living room was freshened up a bit and so you got your tins of paint, your emulsion for the ceiling and maybe the walls and your gloss for your skirting boards and door frames and architrave. And of course if you are going to use paint, your need paint brushes and rollers. There are of course all different sizes of brushes and rollers to be bought these days and the nature of the task will of course determine the size of brush or roller you will use. For example you wouldn’t use a half-inch brush to emulsion a wall or a ceiling, if you do, you need to get yourself a life. Similarly you wouldn’t take out a six or nine inch brush or roller to gloss a door frame or a skirting board. On large surface areas you are better using a roller or big brush, and on small surface areas a small brush.
By and large in our studies in Joshua thus far we have been using the small brush approach to the book. We have covered nine chapters and it has taken us 12 sermons and we have looked in some detail at several of those chapters. Well this evening we are going to lay down the small brush in favour of the roller as we begin to work our way through the remaining chapters of the book, taking fewer sermon strokes to cover more biblical surface area.
This evening I want to try to group together in one sermon the material we find in chapters 10-12. These chapters recount how the Children of Israel, having begun their campaign to take the land of Canaan with successes at Jericho and Ai, went on from those initial successes to enjoy great victories over their enemies both in the north and South of the country thereby gaining control of the land.
As we turn our thoughts to these chapters this evening I want you to notice with me in the first place
1) The Intensification of Enemy Opposition:
The opening verses of chapter 9, 10 and 11 make interesting reading. In each case the writer puts on record the fact that with each success Israel enjoyed there was a corresponding intensification of enemy opposition against her.
Look at 9/1,2 The things about which they had heard were Israel’s successful crossing of the River Jordan and her subsequent overthrow of Jericho and of Ai. This news not only alarmed them, it also moved them to take practical steps to ensure that no more of their territory was captured. And so they decided to form an alliance in order to put an end to this invasion campaign which the Israelites had started. Now these city states, over which each of these kings ruled, were, in normal circumstances far from friendly towards one another, in fact they were natural enemies. But now that they each felt under threat from the Israelistes they decided to come together and fight as allies against this foe which posed a very real threat to those little kingdoms, those little geographical areas over which each of them ruled. The king of the Amorites for example couldn’t just sit back and rest unconcerned if the Israelites attacked and defeated the area that was under the control of the Hittite king, because he knew only too well that once Israel had gained the victory in that area they would then turn to his own area and so on. And so in order that the status quo might be preserved, in order that Israel’s progress into their land would be halted they formed this alliance to fight against her. Thus enemy forces were brought together in what was to be an intensified campaign against Israel. The fact that Israel had suffered an initial defeat at Ai, no doubt gave these kings encouragement, “if they have been defeated before they can be defeated again, and together we will do our utmost to destroy them”
So even as Israel are, as it were basking in the sunshine of great victories and rededicating themselves to God and living under the authority of His Word and enjoying a time of great blessing, which of course is what is happening at the end of chapter 8 when the covenant is being renewed on Mount Ebal, the enemy was making plans for an intensified and all out campaign against her.
And the writer takes up this theme again in 10/1-5. As if, from their enemies point of view, it wasn’t bad enough that Israel had overthrown Jericho and Ai, now Gibeon, one of the larger cities of the land that was renowned for its military might, had defected to the other side and formed a peace treaty with these invaders. And so other kings of other city states are brought on board this enemy Alliance to fight against Israel.