So King Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem sent messengers to several other kings: Hoham of Hebron, Piram of Jarmuth, Japhia of Lachish, and Debir of Eglon. “Come and help me destroy Gibeon,” he urged them, “for they have made peace with Joshua and the people of Israel.” So these five Amorite kings combined their armies for a united attack…. The men of Gibeon quickly sent messengers to Joshua at his camp in Gilgal. “Don’t abandon your servants now!” they pleaded. “Come at once! Save us! Help us! …So Joshua and his entire army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal and set out for Gibeon. “Do not be afraid of them,” the LORD said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.” (Joshua 10:1-11 NLT) Having heard of the cunning way that the Gibeonites had deceived Joshua and become allies with the Israelites after the destruction of Jericho and Ai, King Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem was afraid. His plan was to form an alliance with the other Amorite kings of the hill country – King Hoham of Hebron, King Piram of Jarmuth, King Japhia of Lachish and King Debir of Eglon. And his plan was not to attack the Israelites; he feared them and their God too much. Rather, his plan was for this alliance of the hill country to combine their forces and attack the traitorous Gibeonites. He would deal the Israelites a setback by defeating their new ally, Gibeon, and at the same time communicate to all the Canaanite peoples that an alliance with the Israelites and their God would not be tolerated.
Today in much of the world, men, women and children who are entering into a personal relationship with Christ, do so with the full knowledge that they will more than likely be persecuted by their families and/or their people for having done so. That persecution can mean anything from ostracism to martyrdom, or separation from husbands, wives or children to death. Profession of faith through baptism in many cultures has now become, not only a symbolic expression of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, but also an expression of willingness to suffer persecution or death for their faith. In some respects – not because of an expressed faith in the God of Israel, but because of their political alliance with the Israelites – the Gibeonites were being attacked to persecute them for their alliance.
When the Gibeonites and the Israelites entered into their peace treaty, it became a binding oath. And that oath insured not only that the Gibeonites were safe from harm from the Israelites; it also guaranteed their protection by the Israelites from other enemies. But more than just protection by the Israelites, it meant protection by the God of Israel. They had become woodcutters and water carriers for the altar of the Lord. They were servants of the people of the Most High God. They had entered into a relationship with Him through His people. In many respects, you and i are like the Gibeonites. We are headed for death and destruction and we cannot save ourselves. Our only solution is entering into a relationship with the Most High God – not vicariously through His people – but in our case, personally through His Son. Having done so, we can with even greater confidence boldly approach His throne – just as the Gibeonites approached Joshua for his protection.
i want to be sure and highlight the fact that this time Joshua stopped, sought and received a word from the Lord before he proceeded. Though he knew that helping the Gibeonites was the right thing to do – in light of the oath he had made – he knew that the Israelites were powerless apart from the leadership of the LORD.
When Joshua received the message from Gibeon, he was in Gilgal, a full three days journey away (Joshua 9:17). Scripture says he led the Israelites to travel with haste – even throughout the night. That is reflective of not only a strategic and tactical decision to take the Amorites by surprise; it also demonstrates the depth of commitment and resolve on the part of Joshua that he and his warriors would not rest until they had come to the aid of their ally. And if Joshua had that level of commitment because of his oath before God to the Gibeonites, how much more confident can we be of our LORD’s resolve to come to our aid if we will cry out to Him!
Though the arrival of Joshua and the Israelites took the Amorite armies by surprise, Scripture tells us that it wasn’t their arrival that “threw the Amorites into a panic”; it was the LORD. He is the One who caused the Amorite alliance to retreat, paving the way for them to be chased and killed by the Israelites. But it was the hailstorm sent by God “… that killed more of the enemy than the Israelites killed with the sword” (Josh 10:11).
It wasn’t the strategy or resolve of the Israelites. It wasn’t the cunning or the strength of the Gibeonites. It was the might and power of the Lord God Jehovah. And one GOD beats five kings every time!
What is the problem you are facing? From whom, what or where comes your attack? It may very well feel as if the enemies are ganging up on you – as if they have formed an alliance. Your God is greater! Look to Him! Even now in the dark of night! He is faithful to His word! He will not abandon you! He may choose to come to your aid in a way that you would never expect. But He knows best! Trust Him. He will move heaven and earth if that is what is needed. And He has the power to do it!
Look to Him. And remember – one GOD beats five kings every time!
(Excerpt from “Lessons Learned In The Wilderness — Possessing The Promise”. For more information about the book see http://www.wildernesslessons.com/Possessing_The_Promise.html.)