Joshua 11:1-15 (Part 1 of 2)

Israel Defeats the Northern Armies

Here in this passage, we see that God has instructed Joshua to do certain things and Joshua carries these instructions out completely without question. I think that Joshua learned his lesson about either not consulting God and as a result not carrying out God’s instructions from his experiences with the Gibeonites and with the defeat at Ai.

 

This morning, all I can think of at the moment is that song by Bethel Music (featuring Kathleen DeMarco) entitled “It is Well (With My Soul)”. It is a modernization and remake of a remake of a remake of the original hymn penned by Horatio Spafford and the music was composed by Philip Bliss. The story behind the words of the song is as a remarkable story as is the song itself.

 

This hymn was written after traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his son at the age of 2 and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer and had invested significantly in property in the area of Chicago that was extensively damaged by the great fire). His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873, at which time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre. In a late change of plan, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sea vessel, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford’s daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone …”. Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

 

Now let us read the words of the remake by Bethel Music:

 

Grander earth has quaked before

Moved by the sound of His voice

Seas that are shaken and stirred

Can be calmed and broken for my regard

 

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

Through it all, through it all

It is well

 

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

It is well with me

 

Far be it from me to not believe

Even when my eyes can’t see

 

And this mountain that’s in front of me

Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

 

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

Through it all, through it all

It is well

 

So let go my soul and trust in Him

The waves and wind still know His name [repeat last line during 3rd run]

[x3]

 

It is well with my soul

It is well with my soul

It is well with my soul

It is well with my soul

[repeat 3x]

 

It is well it is well with my soul [x3]

ahhhhhhh (softly)

 

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You Lord

Through it all, through it all

It is well with me.

[x2]

 

Horatio could not understand why his family had been devastated in the way that it was. We still do not know, but his faith in God gave us so much out of that tragedy. This beautiful song that has given so many so much hope over the past 150 years. This latest rendition of the song would have made Horatio proud. I think he wanted people to feel the strength of his heart and his faith in God through his tragedy. Spafford, his wife, and the two children they had eventually settled in Jerusalem and ran a help agency there that helped people regardless of religious affiliation, be they Christian, Jew or Muslim. Thousands of locals were helped by Horatio and his family. This may have not occurred had the tragedy not happened. Horatio may have continued working as a businessmen and real estate developer in Chicago. He was saved by his business interests in Chicago while his family went ahead of him. His family died but he didn’t. He was devastated and it took years to recover but had the tragedy not happened he may not have become the inspirational figure that he became.

 

Sometimes we don’t understand why things happen the way they do or why God asks us to obey him when it really doesn’t make sense to us. Like here in the Lyman-Duncan-Wellford, SC area, we had the fifth teenager at Byrnes High School to die accidently within the last 15 months, the second one to drown in that time span. Why did this happen? What good can come from it? We question God at these times. But we must come back to the trust in God that He sees things that we cannot and sometimes we have no other thing to do but to trust that He knows what He is doing.

 

That is what came to mind this morning as I read through this passage. What came to mind was how Joshua just simply obey. Just simply trusted. And followed God’s instructions to the letter. Let’s read it now together:

 

11 When Jabin king of Hazor heard of this, he sent word to Jobab king of Madon, to the kings of Shimron and Akshaph, 2 and to the northern kings who were in the mountains, in the Arabah south of Kinnereth, in the western foothills and in Naphoth Dor on the west; 3 to the Canaanites in the east and west; to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites and Jebusites in the hill country; and to the Hivites below Hermon in the region of Mizpah. 4 They came out with all their troops and a large number of horses and chariots—a huge army, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 5 All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom to fight against Israel.

 

6 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them, slain, over to Israel. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.”

 

7 So Joshua and his whole army came against them suddenly at the Waters of Merom and attacked them, 8 and the Lord gave them into the hand of Israel. They defeated them and pursued them all the way to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth Maim, and to the Valley of Mizpah on the east, until no survivors were left. 9 Joshua did to them as the Lord had directed: He hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.

 

10 At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and put its king to the sword. (Hazor had been the head of all these kingdoms.) 11 Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed[a] them, not sparing anyone that breathed, and he burned Hazor itself.

 

12 Joshua took all these royal cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded. 13 Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds—except Hazor, which Joshua burned. 14 The Israelites carried off for themselves all the plunder and livestock of these cities, but all the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed. 15 As the Lord commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.

 

Here, in this passage, as we read it for today, we see that Joshua carefully obeyed all the instructions given by God. This theme of obedience is repeated frequently in the book of Joshua. It is the one part of the believer’s life that the believer can control. We can’t always control our understanding because we may not always have all the facts and must simply trust God. We, also, cannot control how other people treat us or what they do. However, we can control our choice to obey God. Whatever new challenges we may face, the Bible contains relevant instructions that we can choose to ignore or choose to follow. We can choose to ignore or follow what God tells us directly through the Holy Spirit living in us as believers. We have also seen several instances in Joshua where the people did not seek the Lord for guidance and in each case they failed miserably. We may not always understand why God’s Word says what it says or why the Holy Spirit counsels us as He does but it is up to us to realize that God is God and sees more than we can see and that He has our best interest at heart. Obedience thus becomes an act of trust in our mighty omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God and an act of love toward our loving Father in heaven.

 

Sometimes God does not give us the full picture. He just gives us a glimpse (like a kid peaking through the living room door on Christmas Eve to see if Santa has come yet). We cannot see the whole picture as He can. He is God and sometimes we just have to dig down deep and trust without an answer right this very moment as to why something happened the way it did or why He is asking us to pursue something but does not show us what’s behind Door #1. Sometimes, we just gotta blindly trust God and do what He says, believe in His Fatherly wisdom. We just keep on keeping on. We just obey. We just believe. Sometimes that is what we have to have is that childlike faith sometimes. We may wait a long time, to have the answers to why certain things happen or why God pushes us in a certain direction, but there will be a day when either here on earth or maybe it’s not til we get to heaven that we can look back through God’s eyes and see what and why.

 

Joshua simply obeyed God no matter what the task given. He knew God knew better than he did. Sometimes we have to have that same faith about events that seem unfathomable to us or when God directs us to do things that seem crazy by worldly standards. Or when God makes us wait and wait and wait for Him to make our path clear. Or whatever it is that you don’t understand that God is doing in your life. Sometimes we just gotta trust the Big Guy. Sometimes we gotta trust when we don’t understand. We gotta trust when everything in us screams that it’s not right and it’s not fair.

 

God has never failed us and He never will. So we just trust and obey. So that it will be well with our soul. Sometimes the darkest hours in our lives is where we learn to let go of our desire to control the world and just simply trust in the Lord. Then it is well. It is well. It is well. With my soul!

 

Amen and Amen.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s