Summary: The Children of Israel conquered Canaan but didn’t conquer all the cities and some had to be overcome more than once. This happens in the life of a Christian wanting to lead a victorious life in Christ as well.
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I’ve told you some stories about the mountain cabin my parents bought when I was about 11 years old. I remember distinctly the very first time we entered that cabin as its owners. I didn’t really expect this but as soon as my two sisters and I got in the front door some alternate personality took us over and we went racing through the rooms and up the stairs to claim our territory.
My older sister was a little sharper than me at that time and got up the stairs earlier to claim the room under the gables of the house with a view of the road. Not to be outdone I quickly ran into the other bedroom upstairs and claimed it as my own, despite its rather boxy appearance and bunk beds. My younger sister was left with the the room downstairs right across the hall from my parents bedroom! And that’s the way it is to this day, some 37 years later. If I’d only have been a little faster back when I was 11!
The reason I tell this story is that Israel is faced with a similar dilemma: fighting over where each tribe’s bedroom was to be. I’m sure that everyone wanted the neat coastal lands, or the plush plains east of the Sea of Galilee or the defensible highlands near Jerusalem. I’m sure each tribal leader salivated over what land might be theirs.
But as we see beginning in this section of Joshua, it is God who decides just who gets what. And for us as Christians, as we really begin to move into the victorious life in Christ, we begin to stake out just what it is that we want to do. Some of us want a huge ministry with a giant campus and thousands of followers. Others want to go to the deepest part of the African jungle to minister to the natives, while others might want to have tremendous influence over the church without having to really get their hands dirty with the tedious work of, say, teaching Sunday School or cleaning the church.
But just as Israel depended on God to decide what inheritance they got, we need to ask God, and then rely on Him to point us where He wants us to go and do what He wants us to do.
The conquest summarized: The kings conquered by Moses 12:1-6 (summarize)
East of the Jordan there were only two kings: Sihon and Og. The boundaries mentioned here do not begin to reach the boundaries stated here, which would have included much of Syria.
Verse 3: The Arabah refers to the Jordan Valley.
Most of the territory is either mountainous of high plateau.
Verses 4 - 5: Og was one of the last of a race of giants called "Rephaites".
The Joshua conquest summarized: 12:7-24
Just a couple of things to note: Some kings were destroyed but not their cities: like Jerusalem (10), Jarmuth (11), and Gezer (12). Some cities were also conquered more than once (like Bethel  - conquered with Ai, then later in Judges 1:22-26)
I think spiritually the same can be said for us. There will be areas of our lives where we topple the king but don’t yet take the city. For instance, if there is an enemy stronghold in your life that makes you predisposed for some particular sin. You do battle with that stronghold and defeat it, yet some remnant remains to harass you-not with the same ferocity as before, but it is still there in a weakened form.
And so too: sometimes we conquer something only to have it rear its ugly head again years later. Does it mean we have failed? No. Sometimes we must repeat a campaign against a stubborn sin or dark area of our lives. What we need to do is proclaim the victory of Jesus Christ over sin and temptation.
1 Corinthians 15:56-57 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ESV
We read in Joshua 11:23 "So Joshua took the whole land" but then here in 13:1 "There remains yet very much land to possess"
The decisive blow had been laid down-God had destroyed the major cities, but there were pockets of resistance. So too with us. God through Jesus has struck down sin and Satan, but there remain pockets of resistance to the gospel that we must engage.
We need to apply the victory. We need to press the battle forward. The enemy has been defeated but is still on the battle field. He cannot win the victory but he can harass the troops and try to win small skirmishes.