Summary: 17th in long series on Joshua. This gets into prayer, and giving our burdens to God. Close tie-in with 1 Peter 5:7.
Joshua 10:1-15 – Giving It Over
I found a little poem by an anonymous author that sounds so familiar, it’s as if I could have written it. It says: “Lord, I’m so discouraged, I don’t know what to do; I have so many burdens, And I gave them all to you. But you didn’t take them, Jesus, will you tell me why that’s so? The answer’s simply, ‘Little one, because you won’t let go.’ ”
As I was studying this week’s passage, I found a number of things that I could speak on. This week, I chose to speak on the need to give our problems to God. Let’s read Joshua 10:1-15 and look at how Joshua handed over his difficulties to God. READ.
So you see the scenario. In the previous chapter, Joshua made an alliance with the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites came from the city of Gibeon, about 15 miles away from Gilgal, where Israel camped after it crossed the Jordan River. It was a city bigger than Ai, which had a population of 12,000. The men from Gibeon were also mighty warriors, but they were afraid of the army of Israel. Gibeon was part of a people called the Hivites, whom God commanded the Israelites to destroy.
So the Gibeonites made a peace treaty with Israel. They said they were from a distant country, and their clothes, food and wineskins made it look as if they were. So, Israel, according to God’s own laws in Deuteronomy 20, said they would not attack Gibeon.
This ended up as egg on their face when they found out that the Gibeonites were not from a distant country but were actually close neighbors. But, since they had made this treaty, they did not break it, even after the truth tumbled into view, and the Gibeonites were made to be woodcutters and water carriers – servants of the Israelite nation.
Well, this move did not sit well with Gibeon’s neighbors. Adoni-Zedek, the king of Jerusalem, which was not a Jewish city yet, rallied other kings around him to go to war against Gibeon. They figured they would teach a lesson for being traitors, and sidling up with the enemy.
This move prompted Joshua to action. If even the alliance between the Gibeonites and the Israelites had been created by lies, still, they had made an alliance, and Joshua would protect them from their previous friends, their new enemies. Joshua would go to war to defend the Gibeonites.
Joshua’s actions tell me 2 things. 1) Sometimes the troubles we face come from making foolish decisions. Joshua should not have made a peace treaty with the Gibeonites in the 1st place, and now he was going to war because of it.
You likely have never heard of Jeff Foran, who lives in Foreman, Arkansas. Apparently Mr. Foran, aged 38, was drunk – very drunk, it looks like – one night in May and went out for a drive. Well, as he was driving, his cigarette fell out of his fingers and out the window. Not to waste a good cigarette, Mr. Foran jumped out of his moving car to get the smoke back. The car was traveling at 100km/h.
State Trooper Jamie Gravies said that Foran suffered extreme trauma to his nose, eyes and chin and was lucky to be alive. It was the preacher Billy Sunday who said "Sin can be forgiven, but stupid is forever."
Now, we can see that Mr. Foran made some bad decisions. To start drinking and smoking in the 1st place. I’m not sure that they are as sinful as we have always thought them to be, but they aren’t really wise behaviors, either, especially when they mix together as Mr. Foran shows us.
His troubles came from making foolish decisions. Sometimes, so do ours. We can’t always blame our troubles on others. Sometimes, they are ours, and ours alone.
But the 2nd thing I see from Joshua’s actions, and this is all the more annoying, is that: 2) Sometimes the troubles we face come from doing the right thing. Joshua had made an oath with Gibeon, and he was honoring it. He was being a man of his word. He was living out Psalm 15:4 that says a holy person will honor his oath, even when it hurts.
We hate the fact that even if we do the right thing, sometimes we get “punished” for it. We resent the fact that doing the right thing will sometimes get us into trouble. But it’s true, anyway. Obedience sometimes has a high cost attached to it.
So we find Joshua at war with these other kings, perhaps sooner than he had meant to. But you can see some amazing things happen in the chapter. God fought for the Israelites that day, and interceded with miracles. Let’s look at them.