(intro video – go to youtube and type in “cbsmmedia joshua intro”)
We about got our butts kicked! I remember walking the beaches of Pensacola as an 18 year old college freshman with about 5 other buddies. We walked up to a huge pack of about 80 college kids who went to the University of West Florida. One of the smallest guys came out of the crowd asking if we wanted to play football. “Let’s do it,” we said. About then, 5 honking-huge dudes stood up, and walked out to play against us. At this point, we just wanted to play hard enough not to look stupid. After many cheap shots, the crowd cussing at us, and a bloody nose…we decided to forfeit to avoid a fight.
I wonder how many times we as Christians do that spiritually. We feel that the enemy is too huge, the persecution is too great, and the fight is too hard…so we forfeit and let the enemy win. We have got to remember that we’re in a spiritual battle vs. sin.
God uses the Old Testament as a clear, physical picture of what our spiritual battles clearly look like. In Joshua 5 – 11, as God’s people (the Israelites) are passing over into the Promise Land, they have to take over the land by force since their enemies inhabit the land. They first come to the fortified city of Jericho. God commands them to march around the city once a day for six days. Then on the 7th day, God commanded them to march around the city seven times, and on the 7th day to blow the trumpets, and for everyone to shout. They did…and the walls crumbled! God is showing His people that He fights for them. We have to remember that. The battle is ultimately the Lord’s!
Israel was then supposed to destroy absolutely everything in Jericho, but some dude stole some stuff for himself and his family. Ai was the next city on the march for Israel to destroy. Ai, a little pansy city, defeated Israel because that one dude disobeyed God and didn’t destroy all of Jericho but kept some stuff for himself. God is showing His people that sin brings defeat. We have to kill all sin in our lives to have spiritual victory!
Israel then deals with that thief, actually kills him, and God leads them to fight Ai again. This time God sets up an ambush behind the city. Some Israelites come up to the front of the city, let’s the Ai army chase them out, and the Israelites behind the city run in and burn the place down! God doesn’t just want us to fight; He wants us to fight smart!
Lastly, several kings and nations get together to finally put a stop to this Israelite march of destruction through Canaan. But Israel is too much for them. In fact, God has the Israelite military leaders put the sole of their foot on the necks of the kings right after defeat just to picture that God is placing His enemies underneath the feet of His Son.
The point of all of this is…Jesus wins! This isn’t just a bunch of war stories to show us that God destroyed His enemies through the leadership of Joshua, but it is ultimately about God showing us that He will destroy His enemies completely through the Lordship of Jesus when He returns to set up His Kingdom (Rev 19). Jesus doesn’t do this by air attack…but it’s a ground strike. In fact, it’s very personal. Jesus uses a sword which is a used to kill the enemy one by one…face to face. Then Jesus treads upon the winepress of God’s fury which points back to Revelation 14. It says there will be blood five feet high for 184 miles. That is the Jesus we worship! He destroys His foes!
Who are the enemies of Christ? His enemies are those who don’t love God by obeying the gospel (2 Thess 1). Does this make God cruel and intolerant? Shouldn’t everyone go to heaven? One of my favorite pastors, Mark Driscoll, explains this in an awesome way. The people who don’t want to go to heaven won’t be there. They don’t want to worship Jesus here, so they’d be bored there. It’s their choice! Plus, if God allowed rapists, murders, thieves, and other sinners into heaven forever without death, then that would be hell. Praise God He will forgive our sin through faith in His Son!