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Conquer and Divide #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
April 10, 2023 12:00 am

Conquer and Divide #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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April 10, 2023 12:00 am

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When you think about the book of Joshua, think about Joshua with these words, conquer and divide. Joshua led the people into the land and conquered it through military means. And then, once the people were reasonably established there, they divided the land up amongst the twelve tribes of Israel.

You've heard the expression divide and conquer, but what about the other way around, conquer and divide? Well, that happens to be the title of Pastor Don Green's message today on the truth pulpit. Hello again, I'm Bill Wright, and as Don continues to teach God's people God's word, we'll continue our series, The Justice and Deliverance of God. In the upcoming lesson, Don will be highlighting some of the historical events described in the book of Joshua.

We'll see the details of the military campaign that resulted in the utter destruction of the promised land's early inhabitants. But we'll also be reminded that there are deeper lessons to be learned from this account, truths about the character of God that are as relevant to believers today as to his followers thousands of years ago. So have your Bible handy as we join our teacher now in the truth pulpit.

Last time, we dealt with an important moral question. How do we justify the slaughter of the nations who were there first when Israel went in and took the land? And we answered that based on the sovereignty and revelation of God in light of the sin of the vanquished nations. God is sovereign over the nations.

He can do with them what he pleases. He revealed himself to these nations and they rejected his revelation. They were sinful. They were ripe for judgment. They deserved judgment. They were not innocent bystanders as Israel came barreling in. They were wicked people who needed to be wiped off the face of the earth because their sin had now been completed. Well, we want to look at it from a different perspective. We looked at it last week from the perspective of those that were defeated. We want to consider the book of Joshua from the perspective of the believing people of God.

Here's the question. What are we supposed to take from this book? What are we supposed to understand?

What are we supposed to appropriate as the significant spiritual lessons that are supposed to motivate us and shape the way that we approach life? Now, in the English Bible, we think of Joshua as the start of the historical books. Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings, and others giving the history of Israel.

And that's a fair way, that's an understandable way to look at them. The Hebrews thought about these books as what they would call them the former prophets. Meaning not that they were prophets so much in the sense that they were foretelling what would happen in the future, but they were giving a prophetic statement about who God is and what He had done for His people. And as the Jews would read these books, they were seeing the revelation of God in the historical acts that they described, and would understand that it wasn't a mere factual account that they were to appropriate. Rather, they were to understand the history and learn from the history what it told them about God and what it told them about their responsibilities, and the promises and responsibilities that they were to take from that. There is a prophetic element in these books in that they reveal God's character and call His people to obedience. And so, beloved, whenever we come to Scripture, whatever part we come to, whatever genre of literature we come to, Old or New Testament, narrative or something else, we should always be mindful that Scripture is unveiling the character of God to us, and in one manner or another, calling us to trust Him and to obey Him. That will help us not take too much of a detached view of Scripture, and just view it as an object of study over which we stand, as opposed to the revelation of God, which stands over us and will hold us accountable and is something that we are to respond to. I would love to preach that to any academic setting that would give me the opportunity to do so, because that's part of what's gotten us into so much trouble is such an academic approach to Scripture that the idea of a responsibility to believe and obey is divorced from a commitment to Scripture.

That's all for another time. Just remember there's a prophetic element to what we're seeing in that Joshua is revealing God's character and calling His people to obedience as we study it. But for us to grasp that, we need to understand and have a sense of the factual aspects, the factual aspects of Joshua in an overview fashion. So let me just give you a little summary statement here. In Joshua, the man Joshua led the Israelites on a military campaign that brought Israel into the Promised Land.

Simple enough. God gave them this area of land, He brought them out of Egypt through the Red Sea, they wandered in the wilderness for a while, and God, as we saw earlier, says now it is time Joshua go in and lead them into the land. 700 years have passed since Abraham was first on the scene, and now Joshua is moving the people forward and there is this great movement forward in redemptive history as Israel comes into the land. And when you think about the book of Joshua, think about Joshua with these words, conquer and divide, conquer and divide. Joshua led the people into the land and conquered it through military means. And then once the people were reasonably established there, they divided the land up amongst the 12 tribes of Israel. And so they went in as a nation comprised of 12 different tribes, and they conquered the land and then each tribe was apportioned a section of the land in which they would establish their livelihood going forward. And so first of all, so let's just look at the conquest and the division of the land. Point number one, the conquest of the land. As you have a mental picture of the land of Israel in your mind, what happened is that Joshua led Israel across the Jordan River in the center part of Israel going from east to west.

God had brought them around and so they came from the east, moving toward the Mediterranean Sea into the central part of that land. You can find details of this in a good Bible at Atlas. The first attack that they made was at the city of Jericho. And look at Joshua chapter 6 with me if you would. Joshua chapter 6 verse 1 says that Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel.

No one went out and no one came in. You know that Jericho had a big wall around it. God commanded the children of Israel to march around and on the final day they marched seven times, blew the trumpets, and the wall fell down and they went in and made their conquest of that city. Verse 2, the Lord said to Joshua, See, I have given Jericho into your hand with its king and the valiant warriors. You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once.

You shall do so for six days, and on it goes. Go down to verse 15 now. On the seventh day, they rose early at the dawning of the day and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. Only on that day they marched around the city seven times. And at the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpet, Joshua said to the people, Shout, for the Lord has given you the city.

And drop down to verse 21, or verse 20 I should say. The people shouted and priests blew the trumpets, and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city. They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and a donkey, with the edge of the sword. So, here at Jericho, you have the first battle there in the central part of Israel, where they're going in and they're starting to conquer the land.

This was their point of entry. And then the conquest from that central area went southward. Look at Joshua chapter 10 verse 5.

And I realize that we're viewing this all in a very quick summary fashion, and it's hard to keep up, and I just ask you to stay with me as best you can. Joshua 10 verse 5. Here they're moving southward. The five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Laichesh, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, stayed with all their armies and camped by Gibeon and fought against it. Then the men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, saying, do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites that live in the hill country have assembled against us.

Let's stop there for a moment and take a breath. See once again that they are coming up against the inhabitants who are fighting against them. There's a military battle going on. There is a conquest that has to take place in order for Israel to dispossess the inhabitants and take possession for themselves. This is a big part of what Joshua is teaching us in the scope of redemptive history. Verse 7. So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him and all the valiant warriors. And the Lord said to Joshua, Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands.

Not one of them shall stand before you. So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal. And the Lord confounded them before Israel, and he slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makeda. And they fled from before Israel. While they were at the descent of Beth-horon, the Lord threw large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died.

There were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword. So, Israel is conquering, the Lord is going before them and supernaturally aiding them as they go. And so, they've come in at the central part, they've swept down to the south, and Joshua is doing a military march, probably not completely dissimilar from what Sherman did when he marched through the south in the U.S. Civil War.

There's a march going on. The people are being conquered. And passing over the details, we read that later they went north and conquered northern settlements as well. Look at Joshua chapter 11.

We're just getting the facts out so that we can talk about them in a little bit. Joshua chapter 11, verse 1. It came about when Jabin, king of Hazor, heard of it, that he sent to Jobab, king of Medan, and to the king of Shemron, and to the king of Akshaft, and to the kings who were of the north, there we go, in the hill country and in the Erebus, south of Chenoroth, and in the low land and on the heights of Dor on the west, to the Canaanite on the east, and on it goes. Verse 5. All of these kings, having agreed to meet, came and encamped together at the waters of Meram to fight against Israel. Then the Lord said to Joshua, Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow at this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel.

You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire. So Joshua and all the people of war with him came upon them suddenly by the waters of Meram and attacked them. The Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel so that they defeated them and pursued them as far as Great Sidon and Misrath-mayim and the valley of Mispah to the east, and they struck them until no survivor was left to them. Joshua did to them as the Lord had told them. He hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire. So, if you look at a map in your Bible, or pick up a map of a Bible atlas, you'll see that they went from east to west, they went down south, and then they went back north and conquered the land in that manner. And that's just a little bit of the geography of this conquest that took place. Now, here's what we want to see as we contemplate this. Their success was thorough.

Their domination was vast, and their victory was complete. I want to show you a few passages that speak of this. Look back at Joshua 6 verse 21.

We read that earlier. Joshua 6 verse 21. They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey with the edge of the sword. Utter destruction.

The military victory was complete. Look at Joshua 8 verse 26. Joshua 8, 26. Joshua did not withdraw his hand, with which he stretched out the javelin, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. Chapter 10 verse 28.

Joshua captured Makeda on that day, and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword. He utterly destroyed it, and every person who was in it, he left no survivor. Chapter 11 verse 11. Chapter 11 verse 11. They struck every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them. There was no one left who breathed, and he burned Hazor with fire. Look at verse 14. All the spoil of these cities and the cattle the sons of Israel took as their plunder, but they struck every man with the edge of the sword until they had destroyed them.

They left no one who breathed. This is in keeping with the instructions of the Lord that we saw last time. To go in and to judge these cities and to destroy them utterly, in part so that Israel would not be tempted to be drawn into their false religion.

Here's the point. All of that to just give you a little bit of a taste, a little bit of a flavor as we're looking at the book, and to realize that Joshua is a book of military conquest. This is how Israel came to possess the land that they would be in until they were carried off into exile many centuries later. They went in and they conquered by military might. They went in and they conquered by the help of the Lord in ways that we'll see more about next time. And so this is how they came to possess the land. This is how David had a land to reign over when you get to 2 Samuel. David was able to reign over it, 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel. David was there because centuries earlier Israel had conquered this land by the power of the Lord and in obedience to what the Lord commanded. We need to have some kind of sense of this if the Bible is going to become a unit that we understand in the big picture as opposed to isolated passages that might seem to speak to us in times of sorrow.

And so that's why we take a few moments to look at this. Israel conquered the land. Now, secondly here, Israel divided the land. Israel divided the land. In Joshua 13-22, you find that God assigns Joshua to distribute the land among the tribes of Israel.

This is how the land was divvied up once they had made the basic conquest of it all. Joshua 13 verse 1. Joshua 13 verse 1. Joshua was old and advanced in years when the Lord said to him, You are old and advanced in years and very much of the land remains to be possessed. And then it goes on and it speaks about what the Lord wants Joshua to do. Look at verses 7 and 8. Now, therefore, apportion this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and the half tribe of Manasseh. With the other half tribe, the Reubenites and the Gadites, received their inheritance which Moses gave them beyond the Jordan to the east just as Moses the servant of the Lord gave to them.

So, taken all together, these twelve tribes are apportioned the land in which they were going to live, build their homes and build their cities, and settle in and enjoy the blessing of the Lord in a land that flowed with milk and honey. Now, that prompts a thought in my mind. I don't want to ruin some of your favorite songs of heaven, but maybe I'm going to do that anyway. We'll still sing them from time to time going forward. But we often sing about, as we're contemplating heaven, we'll sing about, I'm bound for the Promised Land, right? And that sounds so good that we're going to cross the river, as it were, and go to heaven, and in heaven we're going to have our heavenly reward. Well, if you think about it, and realizing that the Promised Land in those songs is based on references to Joshua, I'm not sure I want heaven to be like that. I don't want to die and cross the river and then find that there's a whole bunch of military war and conquest and bloodshed that's ahead of me. I don't want to have to go to heaven and realize that there's this vast bound of people who are ripe for judgment who have to be driven out before we can take possession of heaven.

It's not like that at all. And that's one of the problems with spiritualizing Scripture is you end up using Scripture to make points which if you're actually faithful to the text, it actually ends up saying something much different than you really want it to what you want it to say. God has promised us heaven.

We are going to go there, but it's going to be a place of peace and victory with not a place of war and bloodshed and dispossessing people who don't be there in the first place. I think the Lord already kicked out the fallen angels and none of the sinners are going to be there who reject Christ, and so it's just not going to be like that. And so while that may ruin your favorite songs about heaven, at least you can view them objectively from a view of Scripture and say, OK, let's look for something else to sing about other than a bad view of what it's going to be like to go to our heavenly reward. Well, in the intervening chapters 13 through 21, there is a historical accounting of how Joshua gave the land to each of the tribes.

And we're not going to take the time to look through that. It is heavy Scripture to read. It's easy to get bogged down in that in your yearly Bible reading if you're not careful. But let's go to a final passage in Joshua 21, verse 43.

Final in the sense that it's at the end of all of this apportionment. Joshua 21, verse 43. We need to spend a little bit of time here because there's a little bit of theological significance to the statement here. Joshua, and I realize I'm asking you to just trust me and take my word for what has intervened between the end of chapter 11 and coming to this point at the end of chapter 21. But here we get a summary statement of it.

And we're just doing a survey, so we're looking for these summary statements as we study. Joshua 21, verse 43. So, the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers and they possessed it and lived in it. And the Lord gave them rest on every side according all that He had sworn to their fathers.

And no one of all their enemies stood before them. The Lord gave all their enemies into their hand. Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed.

All came to pass. And so what Joshua is saying here at the end of chapter 21 is that when you come to the end of Joshua there has been, in a sense, a completion of the conquest. Israel has entered into the land. The tribes have received their portion and now they are free to go and to establish their livelihoods in the land that God has given to them. Now, some of our friends in other parts of Christianity who see no future today for national Israel. They would say that there is not a millennium coming where Israel is going to have the land for a thousand years. We've taught on that in the past and our church affirms a future for natural Israel.

But our critics, some of them anyway, would look at this passage and say you are greatly mistaken. You say that Israel still has... the land promise is still in effect for them to be able to enjoy the land on the earth, and when you say that that is still future, you are wrong. You are mistaken because it says right here in Joshua 21 that God has already fulfilled his land promise.

Therefore there will be no future restoration of national Israel. Your whole view of the future is skewed and mistaken and ignores the obvious implications of a very plain text. The promised land was conquered, then divided, and in the midst of it all, it was teaching his people about obedience, trust, and his sovereign will. Pastor Don Green will tie it all together for us next time as he presents part two of his message, Conquer and Divide. Plan now to be with us right here on The Truth Pulpit.

Right now though, Don's back in studio with news of a great resource. Well, my friend, as we bring today's broadcast to a close, I want to offer you a very special gift, a very special resource as a gift from our ministry. It's my series called Trusting God in Trying Times, and this series over the years has proven to be the most popular set of messages that I've ever done. It helps you know how to trust God as you're going through the deep sorrows that sometimes come to us in life. It comes from the book of Habakkuk in the Old Testament, and it comes from some very deep sorrows of my own that were present early in my Christian life. It's very personal, it's very helpful, it's very biblical, and I would love to see you have it in your hands.

It's available in CD album or by download. Transcripts are available if you prefer that. My friend Bill is going to give you information on how to find it. Just visit our website at to get the resource Don just mentioned. Again, that's And now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as Don Green again teaches God's people God's Word from the Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-10 04:52:27 / 2023-04-10 05:02:11 / 10

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