During this time the northern tribes had time to unify and prepare (Joshua 11:1-5). Victory in the north did not come in one quick, short battle as we would often like to see happen, but was a slow and gradual process. The enemy just doesn’t quit. Again the greatest problem the Jews faced is fear. The same is true today. God encouraged them in their faith (Joshua 11:6) and brought the victory as they fought (Joshua 11:8). We must fight but it is God who brings victory.
The last great battle to claim and settle the Promised Land, the place of God’s blessing, was against the giants (Anakim, Numbers 13:28; Joshua 11:21). It was fear of them that kept the Jews out of the land in Moses’ day.
LESSON FOR TODAY: This was a retest. When we are defeated God allows us to face the same enemy time and time again until we learn to have victory. This final series of battles were the hardest, for it was Satan’s last great stand and he did all he could to hold on to his territory. Joshua and Caleb were old by this time, but they still battled and God gave victory. As long as we are alive we will face battles, we never grow too old to keep growing and serving.
LESSON FOR TODAY: God equips us with the weapon we will need to win our battles. The sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, is our offensive weapon (Matthew 4:4; Ephesians 6:17). Read, study, memorize and use God’s Word. The more proficient you are in God’s Word the more powerful you will be in battle.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Another very important lesson to learn about warfare from the book of Joshua is that warfare never ends. God’s principle was for the Jews to gradually win over the land, bit by bit (Exodus 22:27-30; Deuteronomy 7:21-22). While the last great battle was with the giants, there were always mop-up operations, pockets of resistance, and rebellion which would break out in various places. Were the Jews to conquer the whole land in Joshua’s time they wouldn’t have been able to settle and cultivate all of it, so some would return to a wild state. Instead God let them conquer some land and settle, then move ahead to conquer a little more. God’s wanted them to conquer and settle the land before moving ahead. We, too, are to learn and grow from each conflict we face. This also was how God taught them to fight: by continual practice. They were to teach their children who would continue the battles, and pass it on to their children.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Fortunately, though, the warfare isn’t continual. It comes in cycles. The Jews had times of intense warfare, then times of consolidating and applying their gains. There wasn’t constant battle every minute of every day. God interspersed times of rest, times to grow and mature and times to solidify what was won in the previous battle before they had to move ahead again. God does that today as well. We have times of great stretching and challenge, then times of peace and rest during which we gather our strength and apply what we have learned. Then another battle comes. Don’t expect the battles to ever end, but don’t become discouraged thinking the current battle will last forever. Battles come and go in cycles. We grow spiritually in spurts just as plants, animals and even a child’s body grows in spurts.
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)