Joshua Was A Great Leader.
Throughout the account of Joshua’s life, it’s exciting to see his courage and commitment to God’s plan. Not often in Scripture, do we read of a person who follows God’s orders so well.
Perhaps, Joshua just had a healthy fear of the Lord? It would make sense considering his witness to the power of God, which is clear through his military campaigns.
Joshua was definitely experiencing God’s mighty hand, as the nation of Israel marched across the countryside, taking back what was rightfully their homeland. (Which would make a great movie by the way. Perhaps directed by Peter Jackson, Ridley Scott or Mel Gibson? Just a thought!)
Okay, getting back to the task at hand, today’s reading was Joshua 11 and I’d like to focus on verses 16-23, as follows:
“So Joshua took this entire land: the hill country, all the Negev, the whole region of Goshen, the western foothills, the Arabah and the mountains of Israel with their foothills, from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, to Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and struck them down, putting them to death. Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time.” (Josh. 11:16-18)
“Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle. For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses.” (11:19-20)
“At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country: from Hebron, Debir and Anab, from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns. No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive.” (11:21-22)
“So Joshua took the entire land, just as the LORD had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.” (11:23)
If you are a Believer in Christ, you have experienced God’s grace and mercy, poured out through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. Though we do not deserve it, we are forgiven and accepted into God’s family.
However, as I read, “For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy,…“, I’m reminded that for some people, God chose to unleash judgment and wrath, instead of grace and mercy.
Now, on the flip side…
Perhaps there is much grace and mercy within this story? As I read over these verses and the account of Joshua as a whole, I can’t help but consider God’s feelings toward His people, Israel.
His grace and mercy abounds so much for them, that He would be willing to wage war against every nation who had moved into their homeland. Though they had repeatedly entered into disobedience of His commands and the worship of false gods, they were forgiven and it was time to go home.
Much like the nation of Israel, we have disobeyed and worshiped false gods. Through an amazing plan of salvation considering the Jew first, then the Gentile, our Lord has forgiven us and made us a part of His chosen people.
One day He will also take us home, to a land far better then “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 3:8). Though we deserve God’s judgment and wrath, we are given grace and mercy!