2 Chronicles 32–Isaiah the Prayer Warrior

Oswald Chambers once said, “Prayer is not the preparation for the greater work ; it is the greater work. Prayer is not the preparation for a battle, Prayer is the battle.” One of the great stories of the Bible is this story when Isaiah and Hezekiah’s prayed and trusted God while Judah’s armies were outmanned and out armed by the Assyrian Army. The king of Assyria sent messengers all over the land boasting that he was going to invade Judah and destroy it as he had so many other kingdoms.  Assyria’s king scoffed at God and said in short, “I will run roughshod over your God as I have so many others.” Isaiah and Hezekiah prayed, and God sent an angel that cut off all the armies and commanders from the camp sending the Assyrian king home in shame and soon after to his death in disgrace.
 
Hezekiah did not have to raise a finger in the battle, he and Isaiah simply had to bow the knee and take the need to God in prayer.  As a prophet and historian, Isaiah saw the difference between following the lord and following selfish pride.  Isaiah knew that God wanted to bless His people, but he refused to ignore and honor their sinful ways.  As such, he counseled the king to trust in God and the king listened and trusted God–it worked.  Hezekiah had a great reign and became both prosperous and powerful as God’s king of Judah.
 
In our lives, we must never stop seeking God.  We cannot allow the circumstances of the day to rob us of our faith and trust in Him.  Like Isaiah and Hezekiah–we must be prayer warriors and allow God to complete the work He starts in our lives.  In short, we cannot forsake prayer.  We cannot cease studying His word, and we cannot take our eyes of God and focus on the world and its culture.  God remains the Alpha and the Omega, the Mighty God, and the everlasting Father.  He never tires in hearing from us and walking with us through this amazing journey.
 
God Bless You
 

And his servants said still more against the Lord God and against his servant Hezekiah. 17 And he wrote letters to cast contempt on the Lord, the God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, “Like the gods of the nations of the lands who have not delivered their people from my hands, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver his people from my hand.” 18 And they shouted it with a loud voice in the language of Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten and terrify them, in order that they might take the city. 19 And they spoke of the God of Jerusalem as they spoke of the gods of the peoples of the earth, which are the work of men’s hands.

The Lord Delivers Jerusalem

20 Then Hezekiah the king and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed because of this and cried to heaven. 21 And the Lord sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he came into the house of his god, some of his own sons struck him down there with the sword. 22 So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all his enemies, and he provided for them on every side. 23 And many brought gifts to the Lord to Jerusalem and precious things to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations from that time onward.

Joshua 24 Part 2–Joshua Final

One of the men that has pastored me over the years said it best, “None of us get out of here alive!” God calls us home in His time and in His way.  Joshua was not a fanfare kind of leader and, while I am sure, Israel celebrated his life and legacy well, Joshua died and was buried in the land of his inheritance. The book ends with some final administrative notes as well.  Joseph’s bones were buried at Shechem–by his mom.  and that land became part of Ephraim and Manasseh. Mission accomplished! Eleazar, Aaron’s son was buried in the Hill country of Ephraim on his son Phinehas’s land.  Clearly Eleazar’s contribution to Israel’s journey counted to God and so God wanted Him remembered.
 
It is a fitting close to an amazing life. Joshua was a humble, strong, and courageous leader. One that always put God first, listened, and obeyed without question or quarrel.  God used him to finish the job of honoring the covenant. He also used Joshua as a model of what could be when folks simply follow God, listen, and obey His word. Victory in battle and peace in the Land–that was Joshua’s legacy. Lord, help it to be mine as well.
 
God Bless You

 After these things, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 30 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Serah[c] in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

31 Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.

32 And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver[d] from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.

33 And Eleazar son of Aaron died and was buried at Gibeah, which had been allotted to his son Phinehas in the hill country of Ephraim.

Joshua 24–As for Me and My House

How do you say good-bye when you feel the job is not done?  I am sure every leader feels the same way Joshua felt as he delivered his last speech to the people of Israel.  You can hear the pain and angst in his tone as he reaffirms God’s covenant to Israel and Israel’s Covenant to God. 

Joshua was old and wise.  He knew the personality of this people.  They had served flawlessly through the campaign to clear the promised Land.  Now, however, he knew they would grow comfortable in homes they did not build and gathering crops they did not sew.

So, Joshua delivers the iconic line that has reverberated throughout time and lives above the doorposts, on mantles, framed on walls all over the world–Joshua 24:15, “Choose this day whom you will serve…As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” In truth, since their capture of Israel, the people of Israel have struggled with that simple but penetrating concept.  They have always acknowledged the Lord, but they have opted to serve the cool and trendy gods of the land and of the times.  Joshua knew that would be a problem for Israel and frankly for us as well. 

As life gets more comfortable, it becomes less obvious that we depend upon the Lord for our very subsistence and lives. We begin to venture out on our own and try to do life separate from God, all the while acknowledging his presence and authority. While it is a preposterous undertaking, it is one people have taken on for millennia.

Joshua knew that and as he was turning over the leadership and joining Moses in death, he wanted to reiterate the cost of forsaking God. 

In our lives, we cannot lose sight of the cost of leaving our first love–Jesus, to pursue the gods of our age. We must follow Him closely and love Him deeply. Like the people of Israel, we must choose this day whom we will serve–As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

God Bless You


Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.

Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I assigned the hill country of Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his family went down to Egypt.

“‘Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I afflicted the Egyptians by what I did there, and I brought you out. When I brought your people out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and horsemen[a] as far as the Red Sea.[b] But they cried to the Lord for help, and he put darkness between you and the Egyptians; he brought the sea over them and covered them. You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the wilderness for a long time.

“‘I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land. When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.

11 “‘Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. 12 I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. 13 So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’

14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” 16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! 17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. 18 And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.”

19 Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”

21 But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”

22 Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”

“Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied.

23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”

24 And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.”

25 On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he reaffirmed for them decrees and laws. 26 And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord.

27 “See!” he said to all the people. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.”

28 Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to their own inheritance.

Joshua 23-Joshua Begins His Exit Strategy

All Good things must end.  Joshua and his family had enjoyed a long time of peace. God protected Israel, just as He had promised and now Joshua was very old and getting ready to die. Knowing the end was near, Joshua summoned the entire nation–leaders and all. He then took the time to remind all of them what the Lord had provided. He also encouraged Israel.  Joshua told them that as God had driven out their enemies to this point; He would continue to do so in the days ahead.Joshua reminded Israel that God drove out mighty nations before them, and that 1 Israelite soldier accounted for 1000 of the enemy–real superhero stuff.

Joshua then began the reminder of the importance of keeping covenant with God.  Specifically, do not make treaties and deals with the remaining locals.  Do not cohabit with them or worship their gods.  It is so easy to be distracted by the stuff around you, and God knew–as did Joshua, that foreign gods always seemed easier; because, they were hand-crafted, easy to touch, and easy to control. 

Then and now, God wants His folks to remain committed to Him, and focused on what is real, not what is easy.  He has given us so much and required so little in return.  At the end of the day, the Lord only asks that we trust and follow Him. God asks, however, as He did with Israel, that we worship Him and Him alone. The Lord protects, prepares, and provides for us and simply asks that we live lives that honor His gift and leadership.  Make no mistake, God understands it is a difficult choice.  If we will follow, however, He will continue to go ahead of us against our enemies.  In that promise, God has never failed. God Bless You


After a long time had passed and the Lord had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man, summoned all Israel—their elders, leaders, judges and officials—and said to them: “I am very old. You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you. Remember how I have allotted as an inheritance for your tribes all the land of the nations that remain—the nations I conquered—between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea in the west. The Lord your God himself will push them out for your sake. He will drive them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the Lord your God promised you.

“Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now. “The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 10 One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. 11 So be very careful to love the Lord your God.

Joshua 22–A Witness Between Us, The Lord is God

For the shepherd general, He had one job left.  He had to send the men of Rueben, Gad and Manasseh home.  That meant the campaign was over and Joshua’s job was done.  He had finished the distribution of the lands and now the tribes that claimed the land on the other side of the Jordon could rejoin their families.  If Joshua was being honest, he never expected for them to complete the mission, at least without some complaining or trouble.  But looking back, they performed excellently and without dispute.

So, they were released to go home.  Each man wealthy with the spoils of war and ready to start a life as a free man.  When they reached the Jordan, they built an altar. Its construction caused an uproar among the remainder of the tribes and they gathered for war.  The rest of the tribes thought the second altar meant that they were separating from Israel.  They were wrong.  The second altar meant the opposite–they named it, A WITNESS BETWEEN US THAT THE LORD IS GOD. Such a change from the tribal groups that left Egypt half a century before.  It was a great reminder that God truly had become the leader of the people.

In our lives, the Lord wants that for us as well.  He wants us to have a great life, but, one that He leads. He knows the plan for us–He wants to give us hope and a future (Jer 29:11).  If we will follow and trust Him, it will most assuredly be a battle.  We will suffer pain and loss, war does that. We will, more importantly, be prepared to claim the inheritance God has so kindly promised us.  We will be like the troops of Israel, going home rich with the spoils of war.  It requires trust and patience–funny part is, God will provide that too!God Bless You


Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh and said to them, “You have done all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and you have obeyed me in everything I commanded. For a long time now—to this very day—you have not deserted your fellow Israelites but have carried out the mission the Lord your God gave you. Now that the Lord your God has given them rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”Then Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their homes. (To the half-tribe of Manasseh Moses had given land in Bashan, and to the other half of the tribe Joshua gave land on the west side of the Jordan along with their fellow Israelites.) When Joshua sent them home, he blessed them, saying, “Return to your homes with your great wealth—with large herds of livestock, with silver, gold, bronze and iron, and a great quantity of clothing—and divide the plunder from your enemies with your fellow Israelites.”So the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh left the Israelites at Shiloh in Canaan to return to Gilead, their own land, which they had acquired in accordance with the command of the Lord through Moses.10 When they came to Geliloth near the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an imposing altar there by the Jordan…34 And the Reubenites and the Gadites gave the altar this name: A Witness Between Us—that the Lord is God.

Joshua 14–A Long Time In Coming

Joshua and Caleb sat across the table from each other.  As they looked into each other’s eyes, there was a sense of accomplishment.  These two men had initially scouted the Promised Land and they were the spies that begged Israel to move forward. Now, Caleb approached his old friend and simply asked to be granted the land that God personally promised him in the presence of Joshua.

For Joshua it was a joyful day.  He was thrilled to grant to his friend the land God promised.  What’s more, as Philistine lands, He knew Caleb and His folks would clear it.  Joshua had grown old from the journey, but, Caleb had not! He was as fit as he had been 45 years before–another kind gift from God.  It had to be a great moment in the leadership journey for Joshua, clearly one so significant, that God wanted it in His word. 

Remaining faithful is much harder than simply being faithful. Life takes its toll on us. Years of following, battling, and facing the world wears folks down. We begin to doubt whether God is going to come through in the end. This story in the life of Joshua reminds us that God always keeps His word.  He prepares us individually for the journey He has laid out. The Lord knows the journey’s ending as clearly as He knows its beginning. 

While it can be a long time in coming, we must wait on the Lord to complete His work and keep His promises. Isaiah said it best, “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.  They will mount up with wings–like eagles! they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Here’s to You Caleb! Go clear your mountain tops!!!

God Bless You


Now the people of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’[a]

10 “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. 15 (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites.)

Then the land had rest from war.

Joshua 13–Don’t Worry, I’ve Got This

Reality Stinks…Joshua had simply grown old and there was still lands to take. Amid all the victories and the clear obedience of the people, God sits Joshua down and speaks of next steps.  The Philistines were left. God said to Joshua–don’t worry, you focus on getting the land distributed and I will drive out the mountain people, Myself.

In God’s mind, a covenant is a covenant.  He told the people He would give them all the land, and He intended to do so. 

For Joshua, it had to be a hard message.  He had done all that had been told to him to do and now he was at the end and could no longer lead campaigns.  But God was not threatening or disciplining Joshua; instead, God was comforting the strong and courageous leader that he could do the next part of the mission, distribution, and God would take care of clearing the land.

As in Joshua’s life, we have reality checks in our lives as well.  We are bustling along attacking our missions; when life throws curve balls.  All at once, we are faced with hard realities and fear the mission will not be completed.  In those times, our heavenly Father pulls us aside and through His word says, “I got this!”

It is often hard to hear, it takes a great deal of faith, but, if we will trust God; He will complete what He has started in our lives.  To God, it is not an act of discipline–instead, it is a simple act of love and faithfulness.

God Bless You


When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.

“This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites, from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite though held by the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron; the territory of the Avvites on the south; all the land of the Canaanites, from Arah of the Sidonians as far as Aphek and the border of the Amorites; the area of Byblos; and all Lebanon to the east, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath.

“As for all the inhabitants of the mountain regions from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, that is, all the Sidonians, I myself will drive them out before the Israelites. Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you, and divide it as an inheritance among the nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh.”

Joshua 12–Just How Big a Victory Was It?

There is no doubt that in the entire history of the biblical times, no leader has seen more sucess and a better illustration of obedience leading to victory than did Joshua.  But, the initial reporting of the victory was relatively vague.  God simply refused to leave it as vague. 

So, chapter 12 gives us a clear picture of the enormity of the victory Israel won in their clearing of Canaan.  The reality was that this group of freed slaves defeated a total of 31 kings in 5 years and not only defeated them but wiped them out.  They laid waste to 31 kingdoms gathering the plunder from all but two.  They lost very few people, they kept no slaves, and they now possessed, without interruption, the land of Canaan. God knew the strategy and minds of each of the 31 kings that were defeated.  He was efficient, thorough, and decisive. He preceded the troops; He protected the troops and He caused chaos and fear to infiltrate the enemy.  The deck was rigged to assure certain victory for God’s chosen. 

Amazingly, the deck is rigged for His chosen today, as well.  We know that upon Christ’s return, He will emerge victorious; and, those that follow him now will be similarly situated to those that followed Him through Canaan.  We do not have to be the best, the brightest, or the strongest–we simply must trust, follow, and allow the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent Creator and Lord–lead, guide and direct our path.  That will lead to certain victory and eternal life.  In my mind, you cannot ask for much more than that!

God Bless You


These are the kings east of the Jordan River who had been killed by the Israelites and whose land was taken. Their territory extended from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon and included all the land east of the Jordan Valley.[a]

King Sihon of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, was defeated. His kingdom included Aroer, on the edge of the Arnon Gorge, and extended from the middle of the Arnon Gorge to the Jabbok River, which serves as a border for the Ammonites. This territory included the southern half of the territory of Gilead. Sihon also controlled the Jordan Valley and regions to the east—from as far north as the Sea of Galilee to as far south as the Dead Sea,[b] including the road to Beth-jeshimoth and southward to the slopes of Pisgah.

King Og of Bashan, the last of the Rephaites, lived at Ashtaroth and Edrei. He ruled a territory stretching from Mount Hermon to Salecah in the north and to all of Bashan in the east, and westward to the borders of the kingdoms of Geshur and Maacah. This territory included the northern half of Gilead, as far as the boundary of King Sihon of Heshbon.

Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the Israelites had destroyed the people of King Sihon and King Og. And Moses gave their land as a possession to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

Kings Defeated West of the Jordan

The following is a list of the kings that Joshua and the Israelite armies defeated on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which leads up to Seir. (Joshua gave this land to the tribes of Israel as their possession, including the hill country, the western foothills,[c] the Jordan Valley, the mountain slopes, the Judean wilderness, and the Negev. The people who lived in this region were the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.) These are the kings Israel defeated:

The king of Jericho
The king of Ai, near Bethel
10 The king of Jerusalem
The king of Hebron
11 The king of Jarmuth
The king of Lachish
12 The king of Eglon
The king of Gezer
13 The king of Debir
The king of Geder
14 The king of Hormah
The king of Arad
15 The king of Libnah
The king of Adullam
16 The king of Makkedah
The king of Bethel
17 The king of Tappuah
The king of Hepher
18 The king of Aphek
The king of Lasharon
19 The king of Madon
The king of Hazor
20 The king of Shimron-meron
The king of Acshaph
21 The king of Taanach
The king of Megiddo
22 The king of Kedesh
The king of Jokneam in Carmel
23 The king of Dor in the town of Naphoth-dor[d]
The king of Goyim in Gilgal[e]
24 The king of Tirzah.

Joshua 10 Part 2–Obedience and Victory

God knew what He was doing.  As Israel continued to seek Him, He was able to lead them to victory after victory.  What could have taken months to complete God was able to finish in a very short time.  The five kings that reigned in the south decided to show Israel who was boss–and they did.  They made clear, as they sat hiding in a cave while their armies were being destroyed, that God was boss, and Israel was the nation that God had raised them to be.Israel simply honored God’s commands and did what God told them to do.  The result was victory after victory.

Make no mistake, to achieve those victories, Israel was in battle after battle.  Men died; cities were wiped out–it was a difficult journey.  The claiming of their inheritance came to Israel at a great price. But the comfort comes from the truth that they fought those battles with God leading Joshua, God protecting the nation, and God providing victory.

Such is our journey. If we allow God to lead, He will do so with a glad heart.  We will see amazing victories.  But we cannot forget that our journey is still war. Our victory will also come at a great price, and we will see that it is God’s leadership and grace that will carry us through.  We cannot be afraid to face the battle.  We cannot be afraid to honor God in all that we do.  If we will do so, then God will lead us to a victory that we can be proud of.

God Bless You


20 So Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely, but a few survivors managed to reach their fortified cities. 21 The whole army then returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah, and no one uttered a word against the Israelites.

22 Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me.” 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. 24 When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks.

25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” 26 Then Joshua put the kings to death and exposed their bodies on five poles, and they were left hanging on the poles until evening.

27 At sunset Joshua gave the order and they took them down from the poles and threw them into the cave where they had been hiding. At the mouth of the cave they placed large rocks, which are there to this day…

40 So, Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills, and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41 Joshua subdued them from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from the whole region of Goshen to Gibeon. 42 All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.

43 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.

Joshua 8 Part 1–Joshua the Shepherd

When all is right with God, it is much easier to lead with confidence.  Joshua had grieved the loss of his men at the first battle of Ai. He grieved the sin of Achan and the punishment and pain it had caused. So, after dealing with the sin and dealing with the loss–God picked up his leader and gave him back the confidence to continue.  And continue Israel did.

This time God told Israel to take all the spoils of the battle. He devised the plan to ambush Ai.  He knew they would be cocky and confident and would not think like soldiers.  He was right.  Ai left themselves unguarded and their city open to attack because they were going to show those Israelites a thing or two. Israel seized on their overconfidence and destroyed them.  As the people finished up the battle and divided the spoils, Joshua was able to breathe. He had again brought the people back in line and in right fellowship with God. 

Joshua was again reminded He was a shepherd–not a general. His job was to lead his people to follow the Lord.  It was God’s job to then clear the land for the people.  

One of the most difficult parts of following the Lord is placing our confidence in Him, and not placing it in our own abilities.  It can lead us to make choices we regret, and or place us in positions where our overconfidence leads to our own destruction.  If we lead like Joshua led, seeking God, and allowing Him to lead us–then, the Lord will do amazing things.  If we try to wrestle control away from the Lord, God will allow us to have control but, He will also us to fall into the traps that come with it.

God Bless You


And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land. And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its livestock you shall take as plunder for yourselves. Lay an ambush against the city, behind it.”

So Joshua and all the fighting men arose to go up to Ai. And Joshua chose 30,000 mighty men of valor and sent them out by night. And he commanded them, “Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind it. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you remain ready. And I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. And when they come out against us just as before, we shall flee before them. And they will come out after us, until we have drawn them away from the city. For they will say, ‘They are fleeing from us, just as before.’ So we will flee before them. Then you shall rise up from the ambush and seize the city, for the Lord your God will give it into your hand. And as soon as you have taken the city, you shall set the city on fire. You shall do according to the word of the Lord. See, I have commanded you.” So Joshua sent them out. And they went to the place of ambush and lay between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai, but Joshua spent that night among the people…. And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city, and that the smoke of the city went up, then they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. 22 And the others came out from the city against them, so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. And Israel struck them down, until there was left none that survived or escaped. 23 But the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him near to Joshua.

24 When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it down with the edge of the sword. 25 And all who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000, all the people of Ai. 26 But Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction.[b] 27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of the Lord that he commanded Joshua. 28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it forever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day. 29 And he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. And at sunset Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city and raised over it a great heap of stones, which stands there to this day.