[Joshua Chapter Eleven] Entering into Generational Warfare. In this chapter Joshua joins battle with a great army headed by King Jabin. Jabin means “the intellectual”. Rationalism and secularism are the great enemy of the church today. Joshua defeated Jabin by following the instructions handed down to him generationally through Moses. As believers we fight a generational battle as well. As we take the long view of our mandate and strategy we will see God bring us victories we could only imagine in the conflict that we face in our own lives.
[Jos 11:1-8 KJV] 1 And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard [those things], that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph, 2 And to the kings that [were] on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Chinneroth, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west, 3 [And to] the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and [to] the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and [to] the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh. 4 And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, even as the sand that [is] upon the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many. 5 And when all these kings were met together, they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel. 6 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for to morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire. 7 So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly; and they fell upon them. 8 And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, and unto Misrephothmaim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left them none remaining.
After the defeat of the five kings another battle ensues against Joshua and the children of Israel. King Jabin and his confederates are referred to as the northern crowns of Canaan and they muster a very great army. In chapter ten and chapter eleven you see these nations putting aside their differences to work together against the people of God. The unity that the world is capable of against God should shame the churches of Christ out of discord and divisions to become one in the gospel. In the early days of the Charismatic movement there was a great emphasis on unity. Psalm 133 declares:
[Psa 133:1-2 KJV] 1 [[A Song of degrees of David.]] Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 [It is] like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, [even] Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
There is an anointing available to us in the maturity that unity evinces among God’s people. Remember when Jacob met Rachel at the watering of the flocks. They could not access the water until all the shepherds came together to roll away the stone. There is a well of salvation in every city that is not accessed until there is a measure of unity and cooperation that goes beyond the tepid, benign neglect that passes for fraternity among churches.
King Jabin’s name means “the Intelligent”. In the 1800’s in Thomas Paine wrote “The Age of Reason” that reflected a general rejection of the word of God on intellectual grounds. To this day rationalism mocks Christian values and communities of faith in our society. It is the great cause that brings all the elements of our culture together and unifies them in mockery of God and God’s people. God’s answer is to “fear not neither to be afraid. Joshua was to destroy their chariots and to hamstring their horses. A horse in the bible from the perspective of a vision or a dream represents ego. Ego and pride is what drives the popular revolt against the Christian faith. The armies of Jabin gathered at the “Waters of Mermon” which means “High Place”. We don’t war with natural weapons but with the sword of the word of God against the ego and highmindedness of our day. We are not afraid of their rationalism and skepticism because the strength of our faith will bring the mountains of pride to the foot of cross.
[Jos 11:9-14 KJV] 9 And Joshua did unto them as the LORD bade him: he houghed their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire. 10 And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms. 11 And they smote all the souls that [were] therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying [them]: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire. 12 And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, [and] he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. 13 But [as for] the cities that stood still in their strength, Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only; [that] did Joshua burn. 14 And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe.
There was great care not to leave anything behind of the enemy to contaminate the faith of the people of God. There was never any intention of blending in to the culture of the defeated people – they were to be utterly destroyed. The church today commits and error in trying to fit in to the world’s successes. There is no triumph in gaining the good will or acknowledgement of the world system. We will never measure up to their standards or be accepted by the world because it is inherently at enmity against God. Paul said that God doesn’t make any effort to appeal to the vain intellectual arrogance of the world system:
[1Co 1:27 KJV] 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
[1Co 1:21 KJV] 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
[1Co 2:14 KJV] 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.
We live out our Christian faith in a clash of cultures between what Augustine called the city of God and the city of men. The city of God is built on love of God. The city of man is built on love of self. There is no league that can be made between these two diametrically opposed societies. One will live and one will die. We will serve one or the other. Our mandate is to follow the example found in the book of Acts – let it be said of us:
[Act 17:6 KJV] 6 And [in Thessolonica] when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
[Jos 11:15-23 KJV] 15 As the LORD commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses. 16 So Joshua took all that land, the hills, and all the south country, and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same; 17 [Even] from the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them. 18 Joshua made war a long time with all those kings. 19 There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all [other] they took in battle. 20 For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, [and] that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses. 21 And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities. 22 There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained. 23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.
The strategy Joshua followed was a generational strategy. We wonder often what God is doing in the long term. We must look generationally and see from the lens of history. It has been said that God strides through history in 500 year steps. 500 years ago Martin Luther ignited the reformation that brought the church out of the dark ages. 500 years before that came the final split between Eastern and Western Christianity. 500 years before that the Roman empire was conquered for the cause of Christ. 500 years before that Jesus hung on the cross for our sins. We are due in our lifetimes for another great shift. God will not leave us where we are. We must stand ready and be like those few who made it out of the days of Jesus into the New Testament church. There were said to be those who “waited on the consolation of Israel”. In other words their investments were not in the status quo but they were looking for and expecting and preparing to participate in the broader purposes of God in their day.
You will notice that Joshua took the whole land. His strategy of conquest was total. He took no prisoners. Then the land had rest from war. The war today for the church is not merely against Jihadist extremism. Our war is against the secularism of our culture and the determined and angry thrust of our culture to put the church out of the public square. Secularism right in our midst is a far worse enemy of the church that any terrorist organization. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, neither are they intellectual. You cannot defeat the enemy with intellectual arguments or apologetics. We must look to the demonstration of the Spirit and the demonstration of Power that God is sending upon us to arm ourselves for the spreading of the gospel in our day.