Yet Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds, except Hazor, which Joshua burned.
I. THE NATURAL CHANCES ARE ALWAYS AGAINST GOD'S PEOPLE. The sacred history is little more than a list of conflicts of one sort and another, fought invariably against great odds, but followed invariably by victory. The chances were many against Israel getting away from Egypt, taking Jericho, winning at Beth-boron, gaming a victory here. It was not otherwise in the case of Jephthah, of Deborah, of Gideon. Who would have ventured to describe David as having a single chance in his conflict with Goliath? How pathetic is Elijah's estimate of the odds against him in his fight for truth. Baal's prophets and Astarte's prophets are numbered by hundreds, backed by the whole power of the court and the perversity of the people. But "I am left alone, and they seek my life." The odds were heavily against Daniel and his three friends - say 10,000,000 to 1. Neither Ezra nor Nehemiah felt they had anything approaching a level chance. The Babe of Bethlehem had all superstitions, vices, prejudices of the world against His cause. The Apostle of the Gentiles had all the philosophies, religions, and weaknesses of men against him and his simple gospel. The great theologian of the early centuries lamented that he stood "Athanasius against the world." Luther had Church and State throughout all Europe against him. Every missionary to a heathen land, every philanthropist seeking to remove abuses, have had the same experience. The Church today sometimes deems herself "hardly bested" by science, secularism, the preoccupation of men with their necessary cares, the sluggishness of the human heart to adopt a higher principle of life. Each Christian man finds such weaknesses and perversities within him and such obstacles without that it seems often as if it would be impossible to hold his ground, much less to make advance. Be not astonished if, in the part of the field assigned to you, the odds are altogether and absolutely against you. They always are against God's people and God's children. But observe secondly, though the chances are against them -
II. THE WINNING FORCES ARE ON THEIR SIDE. Inward forces are on their side. The heart makes the hero. Nelson's Methodists were his best sailors. God infuses such energy of purpose, confidence, self sacrifice, that these intensify natural force a hundredfold. [See Shakespeare's 'Cymbeline,' for illustration of effect of moral energy in war.] Good is the strongest and sturdiest thing under heaven; evil, cowardly and self ashamed in its presence. Duty, peace, hope, gracious memories, self respect, God's smile - these are forces which the world can never match, and which all operate in the direction of victory. Outward forces are also on their side. Divine guidance is imparted, Providence aids them, concurrently with their efforts the efforts of God are put forth. When God fights His battles of mercy there is no lukewarmness in His conflict. He uses us. The weapons of our warfare are heavenly, while the weapons of His warfare are often earthly. And so, while the world has the appearance, the Church has the reality, of a preponderant weight on her side. Is it a case of a battle of the northern league with you? Fight on, for they that are with you are far more than they flint are with them. - G.
Come up... quickly, and save us, and help us.— The chapter opens with a cry from Jerusalem, the summons of Adoni-zedek — "To arms! To arms!" Here we have another and a very different cry, a cry from Gibeon; a cry to Joshua for help.
I. THE TROUBLE OF THE GIBEONITES. They are in sore straits. What a vivid picture of spiritual truth have we here! "He that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey." Do you make your peace with God? that instant, and by that act, you are at war with Satan. No sooner is the treaty of salvation signed than the infernal hosts are rallied. The ink is scarcely dry before he begins his attack. Old friends become new enemies. A man's foes are often those of his own household. When we come into such trouble let us not think that a strange thing has befallen us. It is the common fate of God's children, from the highest to the meanest, and to the end of time. Though the Captain of salvation is the Prince of Peace, He has come not to send peace on the earth but a sword; and so will it be till every enemy is cast out and all flesh shall own Him Lord. These Gibeonites felt this attack all the more dangerous because it was the onset of men with whom in the past they had been on such intimate terms. All their conditions and resources were as well known to these five kings as to themselves. And the remembrance of these things made this attack all the more formidable. But what was all the knowledge which the five kings had of the Gibeonites compared with the knowledge Satan has of us? Therefore, how terrible must be his attack! If we are not ignorant of his devices, he is not ignorant of our weakness.
II. But if this cry suggests the trouble of the Gibeonites, IT ALSO POINTS OUT THEIR RESOURCES. If they are in great trouble they are not without resource, and at once they avail themselves of it. They dwelt in a fortified city, but they did not depend on its walls and bulwarks. They had no confidence in themselves. Their own resources were insufficient. All their confidence was placed in Joshua. Would that we always showed like wisdom! Sin and Satan are more than a match for the strongest saint. As they looked to Joshua, so must we look to Jesus. As they depended on that covenant of peace which had been ratified, so must we. As they dispatched runners post haste to Gilgal, so must we send out swift-footed messengers of prayer. Our very existence as saints depends on their success.
III. THE EARNESTNESS OF THE GIBEONITES. HOW keen and piercing is their cry! How urgent is their request! The message was no doubt short, they did not waste their words; but it was full of earnestness. It was the message of men thoroughly roused and anxious. Though short it was very full. They sought to stir up Joshua's energy. It is as if they said, "We have no hope apart from you. We are all dead men if you fail us. We know you can save us and trust you will." They also manifested faithfulness to Joshua, by the last two words of their message — "Help us." Why were these words added? "Save" is the word of dependence — "Help" suggests the determination to do what they can. It is as if they said, "While we feel that in our own strength we must be worsted, yet we are determined to make a stand against them. On no account will we come to terms. We will never open our gates to the enemy. We will not even hold parley with him. Till you come, and even if you do not come, we will do the best we can." Accordingly this shows that they were faithful to their new leader. Surely their conduct in this emergency may well be imitated. Oh, for like earnestness in crying, "Awake, awake, O arm of the Lord!" How languid are our prayers! How unconscious are we of danger! It is good for God to open our eyes by trouble, if it leads us to cry like these Gibeonites.
IV. THE SUCCOUR OF THE GIBEONITES. Help was sure. Joshua would have belied his name, would have been unfaithful to his covenant, would have been untrue to his nature, if he had not hastened to their relief. And help came speedily. Joshua lost not a moment. Help also came in time. Joshua was not too late. The Gibeonites did not become a prey; they had cause to rejoice over a great deliverance. Do we in every extremity cry to God? Help must come. God never said to any, "Seek ye My face," in vain. Jesus, like Joshua, is never too late. If He tarries there is good reason for it. It is always for our good. He may come when Lazarus is laid in the grave, but He never comes too late. He is never too late in history. The world had a long time run its course before He came. Why? Because that time was set. "In the fulness of time God set forth His Son." He has promised to come back again, and depend upon it He will not come back too late. What though 1,800 years have passed away? nothing will divert Him from His purpose; nothing will prevent His appearing. "Amen," therefore we say, "Amen, even so, in Thy good time, for that is quickly, come, Lord Jesus." And notice, in conclusion, that it may be said of these Gibeonites that they were twice saved, First they were saved from the wrath of God; then they were saved from the wrath of their enemies. So we are saved from the wrath of God and from the wrath of Satan. The Gibeonites were saved by faith, for they trusted in Joshua and in the God of Israel. They were saved by works, for they determined to oppose Adoni-zedek or die. They were saved by hope, for they looked to Joshua for succour and were not disappointed. So we are saved by faith when we fall at the feet of Jesus and put our trust in Him. We are saved by works, when in the strength of God we wrestle against principalities and powers and spiritual wickednesses in high places. We are saved by hope when we look for the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour. The Gibeonites were saved by coming to Joshua in their fear of judgment. They were saved by Joshua coming to them and extricating them out of all their trouble. So we are saved by coming to Jesus. The instant we fall at His feet we receive the salvation of our souls. And we are saved by Jesus coming to us (Hebrews 9:28).
(A. B. Mackay.)
2. The soul when thus assaulted must immediately send the messenger of prayer to its Joshua or Jesus.
3. As those new converts the Gibeonites showed their confidence in that God, whose religion they had newly embraced, therefore sent they for Joshua, not at all doubting of salvation by him. So the like confidence should be found in all new converted souls, that their Joshua will relieve them, and turn their spirit of bondage into the spirit of adoption.
(G. W. Butler, M. A.)
Fear them not
(A. B. Mackay.)
They were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.
1. The Divine cause has enemies.
2. But the enemies of the Divine cause have both earth and heaven against them — the sword of Israel and the hail of God. The living God has two great forces; if you escape one, you fall under the power of the other. All things fight for God. The hailstones are His friends and allies; the stars in their courses beat and throb according to His purpose and express His intent. The bad cause has no friends; it comes to an ignominious end; it is overwhelmed by hailstones. It is so humbling. The bad cause perishes in contempt. The five kings ran away and hid themselves in a cave, and Joshua said, "Bring them out!"
(J. Parker, D. D.)
PeopleAmorites, Anakites, Canaanites, Debir, Gad, Gibeon, Hittites, Hivite, Hivites, Israelites, Jabin, Jebusites, Jobab, Joshua, Perizzites, Seir, Shimron, Zidon
PlacesAchshaph, Anab, Arabah, Ashdod, Baal-gad, Chinneroth, Debir, Gath, Gaza, Gibeon, Hazor, Hebron, Hermon, Madon, Merom, Misrephoth-maim, Mount Halak, Mount Hermon, Naphoth-dor, Negeb, Seir, Shimron, Sidon, Valley of Lebanon, Valley of Mizpeh
TopicsAlone, Built, Burn, Burned, Burnt, Cities, Except, Hazor, Hill, Hills, However, Joshua, Mounds, None, Save, Standing, Stood, Strength, Towns
Outline1. Diverse kings overcome at the waters of Merom
10. Hazor is taken and burnt
16. All the country taken by Joshua
21. The Anakims cut off
23. The land rests from war
Dictionary of Bible ThemesJoshua 11:10-12
LibraryCaesarea. Strato's Tower.
The Arabian interpreter thinks the first name of this city was Hazor, Joshua 11:1. The Jews, Ekron, Zephaniah 2:4. "R. Abhu saith," (he was of Caesarea,) "Ekron shall be rooted out"; this is Caesarea, the daughter of Edom, which is situated among things profane. She was a goad, sticking in Israel, in the days of the Grecians. But when the kingdom of the Asmonean family prevailed, it overcame her, &c. R. Josi Bar Chaninah saith, What is that that is written, 'And Ekron shall be as a Jebusite?' (Zech …
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica
The Lake Samochonitis [Or Semechonitis. ]
The First Chaldaean Empire and the Hyksos in Egypt
The Lake of Gennesaret; Or, the Sea of Galilee and Tiberias.
The Hardening in the Sacred Scripture.
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