Joshua 10:28-43 – This Time Will Be Different! (The Lies We Tell Ourselves About Our Pet Sins)

Posted: June 20, 2017 in 06-Joshua
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Joshua 10:28-43

Israel Destroys the Southern Towns

One of the things that people have trouble with in Joshua is how there is this complete annihilation of the townspeople of the towns as they march through and conquer the Promised Land. How can God condone the complete slaughter of these towns? The text often straight up tells us that not only were the men killed but the women and children also. Sometimes, it just says everyone was killed and that there were no survivors. The only way that we can find justification in it is that God cannot tolerate sin and the Canaanite peoples of the Promised Land were generationally ingrained in their sinful ways. It was their nature to worship gods and perform perverse rituals. So everyone was taught these sinful ways from birth. They opposed God at every turn so that they could continue their culturally ingrained sinful ways. What God knew and what played out later in the Old Testament was that Israel did not completely wipe out other people groups and it was these people groups that so influenced the Israelites that there are periods in Old Testament history that the Israelites completely turned their backs on God themselves. It just goes to prove that when it comes to sin, it must be completely destroyed from our lives. We cannot allow it to stay there and linger.


We cannot be around our sin weak spots and not succumb to the siren’s call of that sin. We must wipe it and eradicate from our lives. If you are a married man and you know that you are susceptible to cheating behavior, you don’t put yourself into situations where you will be tempted to cheat on your wife. We must not allow ourselves to seek out flirtations that could lead to sexual encounters. We cannot fantasize about a woman who is not our wife. We cannot go hang out with single people at bars and similar activities where the point of it all is to hook up with someone. We may enjoy the little fantasies in our minds about what it would be like. We just cannot do it.


If our sin weakness is liquor (or whatever the mind altering substance of choice you have), you cannot buy it. You cannot have it in the house. You cannot rationalize that it is OK to drink it when you are at a restaurant but not at home. We cannot be part time about it. We have to get rid of liquor from our lives altogether. We just cannot take the chance. If liquor is your weakness, just getting involved with it can change the person you are and lead to stupid mistakes and acts that you regret. For you, it might be illegal drugs. Many of us can become consumed by the drug of our choice. That drug that flips all the right switches in our brain and just totally consumes us. We must have more. We can handle it. One shot of Jack Daniels. One snort of cocaine. One pill popped. We can handle it. But once you start, you can’t stop. That’s how sin is. Once you get the taste, it’s all over.


If you have a problem with pornography, you must eradicated it from your life. You can’t have Penthouse, Playboy, you name the magazine. You cannot have it in your life. You cannot have access to porn sites on the internet. You cannot even be subtle about it. You cannot do searches for key terms related to the female body on occasion. You may think you are being sly in this way so you can cover up and clean out your search terms from your search engine. It will still take to the same place. Sin. You must eradicate all porn from your life. Not even lingerie magazines and advertisements. If you have addictive tendencies when it comes to porn, there is no resolution other than to eradicate it from your life.


If you have a weakness for greed, don’t become a bank teller! If we have the inability to stop ourselves from taking money when we have the opportunity, the unchecked opportunity to do so, we must never put ourselves in a position where people would even suspect us for even thinking about mishandling money. We must make sure that there are checks and balances against us taking money if we are even going to be near it. If it is too easy to misdirect funds, we must not take such positions. If we are in such positions we must put systems in place that prevent us from having complete access to functions related to cash. If we are weak when it comes to money, we must place ourselves in positions where we have the capability to divert money.


If your sin weakness is…you fill in the blank. That is exactly where Satan will attack you. We must eradicate that sin from our lives. Oh Mark, you are so naïve. Just saying it won’t make it so for me. I just seem to be drawn to my favorite sin. I say that I don’t want to do it but I find myself there somehow and do it anyway. I think Paul said best in Romans 7:14-20:


14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.


We gravitate to our favorite sin or sins. We rationalize why its OK and we lie to ourselves about the fact that this time we can control it. We rationalize that there will be no consequences this time. Especially when it comes to our greatest sin weakness, our favorite sin that we do not want to give up, we are blinded by these lies. If it’s true that liquor has caused problems in your life before, it will be true again. If pornography has been a problem each and every time that you allowed the addiction to fester, why is it that we think under our own power that we can handle this time. If we taking things too far with a woman who is not your wife or a man who is not your husband has gotten your in trouble before and destroyed your life before, what possible reason can you think of that will make THIS TIME different. If we are addicted to money, or spending money, or having things we can’t afford, do you really think that having 5 credit cards in your wallet is going to be different this time. We fool ourselves into thinking that we can tolerate sin in our lives.


That’s what I thought of this morning when I read through this passage and again read about Joshua wiping out whole populations of towns and why it was necessary. All we have to do is look at our own lives. Let’s read the passage together now:


28 That day Joshua took Makkedah. He put the city and its king to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it. He left no survivors. And he did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.


29 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it. 30 The Lord also gave that city and its king into Israel’s hand. The city and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.


31 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Libnah to Lachish; he took up positions against it and attacked it. 32 The Lord gave Lachish into Israel’s hands, and Joshua took it on the second day. The city and everyone in it he put to the sword, just as he had done to Libnah. 33 Meanwhile, Horam king of Gezer had come up to help Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his army—until no survivors were left.


34 Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Lachish to Eglon; they took up positions against it and attacked it. 35 They captured it that same day and put it to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it, just as they had done to Lachish.


36 Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it. 37 They took the city and put it to the sword, together with its king, its villages and everyone in it. They left no survivors. Just as at Eglon, they totally destroyed it and everyone in it.


38 Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned around and attacked Debir. 39 They took the city, its king and its villages, and put them to the sword. Everyone in it they totally destroyed. They left no survivors. They did to Debir and its king as they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron.


40 So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41 Joshua subdued them from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from the whole region of Goshen to Gibeon. 42 All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.


43 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.


In this passage, you will notice that in every Israelite victory, the text gives credit to the Lord. All of Israel’s victories came from the God. When we are successful, we may be tempted to take all the credit and glory as though we had succeeded by ourselves, in our own strength. In reality, God gives us the victories, and He alone delivers us from our enemies. In this passage, God had commanded Joshua to take the leadership in ridding the land of sinful occupants of the Promised Land so that God’s people could occupy it. Joshua did his part thoroughly. When God orders us to stop sinning, we must not pause to debate, consider options, negotiate a compromise, or rationalize our behavior. Instead, like Joshua, our response must be swift and complete. We must be ruthless in avoiding relationships and activities that can lead us into sin.


We all have a pet sin or multiple pet sins where we are just too easy of a pushover for Satan. We dabble in that sin and refuse to give it up. We dabble in because we think we can handle it. For some it’s sex, for some it’s alcohol, for some it’s money, for some it’s shopping or spending money, for some it’s illegal drugs, for some it’s …. You fill in the blank. We think we can tolerate it so that we can keep it near to us in our lives. We rationalize ourselves away that we can handle it being near in our lives. We must flee from it. We must eradicate it. But one thing is for sure that we cannot do it under our own power. Our sin nature makes us want our favorite sin near us. We must have God’s help to change our mind, heart and soul from worshiping access to that favorite sin. We must have His help in gaining victory. We must lay our favorite sin at the cross. We must be humble to say that we cannot handle it on our own. We’ve tried and failed miserably each and every time. We must have God’s help. We must then be obedient to Him when we see our favorite sin heading toward us. We must flee. We must eradicate the possibility. God cannot help us if we are wallowing on the shores of our favorite sin thinking this time it will be OK. Flee. Run. Get away. And pray to God that He will steel you against the temptations of your favorite sin, that one that gets you every time. Every time it will be the same result without God’s help.


Amen and Amen.

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