Summary: How big is the God you serve? The question really is, how big is your concept of God? Is the God you serve big enough to perform miracles in your behalf. Or does your faith limit what God is able to do for you? This episode from the life of Israel gives u
A Study of Joshua
Sermon # 9
“How Big Is Your God?”
How big is the God you serve? The question really is, how big is your concept of God? Is the God you serve big enough to perform miracles in your behalf. Or does your faith limit what God is able to do for you? Today this episode from the life of Israel gives us some important principles to remember.
1. WE NEED TO BE REMINDED THAT WE WILL FACE OPPOSITION (vv. 1-5)
You will remember that the Gibeonites had deceived their way into a treaty with Israel, thus saving their lives. But when the hill tribes heard of it they looked on the Gibeonites as traitors and quite understandably decided to move against them.
By the same token we have chosen to follow Jesus Christ we are a threat to those who oppose His kingdom. And just like Israel, every one of us who wants to be a faithful servant of Jesus Christ will face strong opposition.
“Now it came to pass when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai and had utterly destroyed it—as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king—and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, (2) that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty. (3) Therefore Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem sent to … [the other kings in the region] saying, (4) “Come up to me and help me, that we may attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.” (5) Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they and all their armies, and camped before Gibeon and made war against it.”
2. WE NEED TO BE REMINDED THAT COMMITMENTS ARE ONLY GOOD IF THEY ARE BACKED UP. (v. 6)
“And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, saying, “Do not forsake your servants; come up to us quickly, save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us.”
The Gibeonites quickly sent word to Joshua, “Do not abandon us but come to our rescue.” What would you have done? Had Joshua not been a man of principle he could have used this a way to escape from the consequences of his rash treaty with the Gibeonites. After all they had tricked him!
But Joshua did not think that way. He had made a commitment in God’s name with the Gibeonites and he intended to honor it. Verse seven says, “So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor.” Oh, if men and women today still understood the value of giving their word and then standing behind it.
3. WE NEED TO BE REMINDED THAT GOD IS WITH US (v. 8)
“ And the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.”
The latter part of this reassurance had already been given to Joshua in chapter one verse five before the invasion of Canaan began. But God often works in this way, not by unveiling some new truth previously unknown, but by reaffirming promises already given, which somehow take on a special significance because of a present pressing need.
Armed with the command and promise of the Lord Joshua lead his men into battle. They marched the 25 miles from Gilgal to Gibeon under the cover of darkness. They covered the same distance in eight to ten hours that had previously taken three days at a more leisurely pace.
Joshua’s long night march to Gibeon took the enemy completely by surprise. According to verse nine, “ Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal. (10) So the LORD routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, [the Lord] chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and [the Lord] struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. (11) And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died….”
Notice with me that it is the Lord doing the fighting. We are told the Lord routed them (v10), the Lord chased them, and the Lord struck them down. Think of the excitement of realizing that God is fighting for you. We have all been decimated by the enemy, beat up by circumstances and wearied with our obligations. How wonderful it would be if God came to our rescue, took up our cause and defeated our enemies.