Posted: June 19, 2017 in Book fo Joshua
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Joshua 10:16-27

Joshua Kills the Five Southern Kings

 

Remembering God’s hand in your life and how he is in control is necessary for us when we are going through the trials and tribulations of life. We must be reminded it of sometimes, too, when we are going through the mundanity of life of working for a living, paying bills, and repeating the cycle over and over. I am reminded of God’s power in my life every time I think of the path of my life over these past 13 years. It makes me think of that song by the 80’s one-hit wonder band, Naked  Eyes, “There is Always Something There to Remind Me”.

 

The first thing is how He orchestrated my meeting my wife of the past 7 years. The odds of us ever meeting a decade ago was admittedly astronomical. I had been living in and around the Greenville, SC area from the time I was 14 years old until I was age 44. I had no plans of leaving. Greenville, SC was home. It was then and still is now my favorite town in the world. However, in order to continue expanding my career at age 44, I could no longer restrict my job searches to the Greenville area. I had to be willing to move anywhere in the country to further my career. So, at age 44, after two failed marriages, I was ready to move to a new town just to give it a shot. No longer was I having to satisfy the woman in life by remaining in the Greenville area. I was free to move anywhere I wanted to. And, although it was scary, I accepted a job offer in Charlotte, NC. Although, depending on where you go in Charlotte, it is was only an 1 ½ hours – 2 hours away from Greenville, it might as well have been a foreign country. Although I had been to uptown (in other cities this is called downtown) Charlotte a few times in my life and to Carowinds several times, I did not know Charlotte hardly at all and did not know anybody or have any friends that lived there. It was a new exciting and scary experience. What are the odds that within a year of my moving to Rock Hill, SC (a southern suburb of Charlotte), Elena, coming off the end of her own second marriage, would move into the same building in the same apartment complex with me. It took awhile for her to get her wings as a new bird in this single life. But we finally met. That was a God orchestrated thing. To think where we have been and where we are and where we are going, together, it was definitely the hand of God that orchestrated our being together as a couple. It is mind-boggling to think that just 2 ½ years before we met, we would never even thought of our meeting each other, much less living in the same apartment complex just up and downstairs from each other. Now, we have been a couple for nearly a decade and been married for almost 7 of those years. Mind-boggling. Different decisions by us about life and/or careers, and we would have never met.

 

When I think of how God arranged our lives to meet and the odds against us meeting #1, getting to know each other #2, and staying together after I accepted a job in California #3, her deciding to move to California to be with me #4, choosing Livermore to live in #5 (amazing miracle by itself), a church event door hanger “randomly” being the only door hanger placed on a door in our building at our apartment complex in Livermore inviting us to Livermore Alive Community Church #6, attending that church and meeting the pastor and his wife that became so instrumental in our walk with Christ #7, that going to that church was preparation for our return to South Carolina #8, the post office in Duncan being closed and my wife having to go to the Lyman post office instead (which is right across Greenville Highway in Lyman from LifeSong Church. I mean if our town’s post in Duncan was not closed when she arrived and then Elena opts for nearby Lyman’s post office, we would not have found LifeSong Church, the church we are so ingrained at now. That’s miracle #9. At LifeSong, we have flourished in our walk with the Lord to the point that we fully believe that we are called to ministry and we live it everyday and every way that we can and are preparing for the day when God will send us forth as a full-time ministry couple wherever that may lead – it may lead to LifeSong itself or us being sent to another location. That part has not yet been revealed. But we fully believe that He will reveal. Just look at the preponderance of evidence of His hand in our lives. The odds are astronomical for us even being together as a couple much less being a passionate Christ following couple ready to be used by Him. The odds are just freaking astounding. If you do not believe that God’s is still in the miracle business, try explaining my and Elena’s life together. It is full of the hand of God even when we weren’t looking.

 

When I get down and blue about things and wonder where God is, sometimes I just have to sit down and just think about my and Elena’s journey over this past decade. If that doesn’t bring awe to my mind about the power of God then something’s wrong with me. I am sure some atheist would discount it all as random events but, to me, there is no denying the hand of God in this brilliantly connected string of events. There are multiples of these so called “random acts” that are just simply God doing what He do! He is the grand orchestrator of His people’s lives. There’s no denying it. All these facts of our lives can be nothing less than God’s hand.

 

When I think of Joshua in this passage encouraging his troops about the hand of God on their shoulders and how they should be strong and courageous, it brought forth memories of how God has had His hand on my shoulders all this past decade. Let’s read Joshua 10:16-27 together and then I will tie all this together after we read it now:

 

16 Now the five kings had fled and hidden in the cave at Makkedah. 17 When Joshua was told that the five kings had been found hiding in the cave at Makkedah, 18 he said, “Roll large rocks up to the mouth of the cave, and post some men there to guard it. 19 But don’t stop; pursue your enemies! Attack them from the rear and don’t let them reach their cities, for the Lord your God has given them into your hand.”

 

20 So Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely, but a few survivors managed to reach their fortified cities. 21 The whole army then returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah, and no one uttered a word against the Israelites.

 

22 Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me.” 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. 24 When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks.

 

25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” 26 Then Joshua put the kings to death and exposed their bodies on five poles, and they were left hanging on the poles until evening.

 

27 At sunset Joshua gave the order and they took them down from the poles and threw them into the cave where they had been hiding. At the mouth of the cave they placed large rocks, which are there to this day.

 

Here in this passage, we see that placing a foot on the neck of a captive was a common military practice in the ancient Middle Eastern cultures. It symbolized the victor’s domination over his captives. These proud kings had boasted of their collective power back in Joshua 10:4. But against a God who can suspend the laws of nature (sun standing still in Joshua 10:12-13) and his favor given to the Israelite armies, they were soundly slaughtered and defeated. God is superior to any earthly army. With God’s help, Israel won the battle against the armies of the 5 southern kings. Such a triumph was part of God’s daily business as He worked with His people for victory. Joshua told his men to never be discouraged or afraid but rather be strong and courageous because God would give them victories over all their enemies. The same God will help us with our present and future needs. Reminding ourselves of his help in the past will give us hope for the struggles we will encounter in the future. David says in Psalm 110:1, “The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” Be strong and courageous.

 

The thing that I have to take away from today’s passage is that God is with His people. When I get worried about what’s next or what is happening to me right now, all I have to do is remember how God has guided me, guided Elena, guided us to the shores that he wants us to land on. His hand in our lives is so super-evident to me that it gives me great confidence that God will continue to do so and all that I must do is trust in His power. Sure, it’s easy to get discouraged when we look at what’s immediately in front of us sometimes. However, we must take a step back and look at just what God has done in the totality of our time as Christ followers. He has guided us through dark times. He has set us up on the mountain tops. He has allowed challenges to chisel and form us into new creatures. He has matured us by everything that has happened to us. Each step, for Elena and me, has been preparation for what He has in store next. And just look at what He has done so far. That gives me strength and courage. That can end a day of self-pity and discouragement and give me strength and courage. He is still in the miracle business. Just look at my and Elena’s last decade. He keeps His promises. See His guiding hand in your life and take heart and take courage.

 

Amen and Amen.

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