Summary: In this message, we will learn that the heart is the source of all evil desires, conflicts, rivalries, and all selfish ambitions. When we resolve the root cause of the conflict, we can solve the problem. Only Christ can transform our hearts.
Wars and conflicts are everywhere especially clearer when you read the online newspapers.
There is conflict among nations, among races, among politicians, even among religious beliefs.
Those conflicts are rooted to so much hatred, antagonism, bitterness and hostilities.
In addition, hot tempered and a greedy heart can cause conflicts to occur.
So, what is conflict? According to the Dictionary, a conflict is a serious disagreement or argument that are typically a protracted one.
Protracted means ongoing, lengthy and extensive.
And so, if a conflict is not re-solved, it would be sustained over time and enlarged affecting our lives.
According to Literature, there are four types of conflicts that we usually experience:
Man vs. himself - this is a conflict among persons who are struggling among themselves to overcome their addiction, their fears or anger.
Man vs. man - this is a conflict among two people who could not meet eye to eye due to differing religious belief or ideology.
Man vs. nature - this occurs when you have to fight to survive or protect yourself from the cold winter or a hurricane.
Man vs. society - when a man is fighting against the tradition of where he lives or what his country does.
Sometimes you can experience one of those conflicts or a combination of two or more at the same time.
But regardless of what type of conflict you have, we all agree that conflicts are inevitable and unavoidable.
You cannot run away from it.
It is always there wherever you go.
You need not search for it very far.
The only thing that is illusive is peace and quiet.
Somebody said that "Peace is NOT the absence of conflict but the ability to cope with it."
That means it is only by coping with conflicts that you will find perfect peace.
So, conflicts would teach us valuable lessons to develop our character.
How? By developing patience and calmness of spirit.
The Bible tells us how in Proverbs 15:18 (NIV) "A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel."
Here is the secret. "One who is patient calms a quarrel."
I want you to understand this carefully.
There are two things you can do when there is ongoing conflict around you, whether inwardly or in your relationship with people.
First is you can stir up more conflicts to happen (I hope you won't) or secondly you can calm and prevent conflicts from happening. (I hope you do),
It's our choice and it all depends upon whether you have accumulated patience in your character over the years.
If you have built godly character through patient endurance over the years, you can have the ability to cope with any conflict you are faced with.
You will always be quiet and peaceful even if there are problems and difficulties around you.
But if you are lacking patience, always hot-tempered, and easily irritated or provoked, chances are there is no peace in you and you will not be able to cope with it but stirring up more quarrels than you could cope.
Remember this: A hot-tempered man can stir up the conflict while a patient man always calms a quarrel.
So, which one are you?
We are now in chapter 10 of the Book of Joshua.
Last week, we were in chapter 9 concerning the Gibeonities who feared for their lives and deceived Joshua into making a peace treaty.
And we also learned that Joshua fell into deception because he sampled their provision but did not inquire of the Lord.
He did not seek the Lord's wisdom through prayer and wise counsel.
That is why it is always important for all of us to always seek the Lord over everything we do.
However, at the end, Joshua was able to correct his mistake and consequently made the Gibeonites to become their slaves for life by making them as water carriers and wood cutters.
Later on, they even served in the temple of God.
And their being near and serving the God of Israel turned out to be a blessing to the future generations for the Gibeonites.
The story in chapter 10 however begins with the conflict of battle involving five kings who formed an alliance to fight against Gibeon.
They were so angry towards the Gibeonites for making a treaty of peace with Israel and turned their backs from them.
And so, because of that deep seated hatred, and feeling of resentment and ill will, they positioned their troops to do battle and attack Gibeon.
Mind you, the Gibeonites were strong and its men were good fighters but they decided to seek the military assistance of Joshua.
They pleaded to Joshua: "Do no abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us. Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us."