Here in Joshua 11 there are three things I wanted to focus on for just a moment.
The first is that we see in the first few verses that Israel’s enemies banded together to defeat them. It didn’t matter what their differences were, they knew that Israel had defeated every enemy they faced, so if they were to have any chance at all, they knew they had to fight Israel together.
We as Christians could learn from that. We have a common enemy, too. And that enemy is the enemy of man’s soul. It’s satan. And just as Israel had no prayer of defeating their enemies in the Promised Land without the help of God, we have no hope of defeating satan without the help of that same God. And we have a better chance of victory if we forget about the things that cause division and focus on what we have in common, Jesus the Messiah. The world today is turmoil on a hundred different fronts, but you can be sure that the same enemy is behind it all. It’s satan. He delights when man is fearful, combative, hateful and without hope. It’s our job to tell mankind of the Good News of Jesus Christ. But if we are divided, our message is diluted. The world is less inclined to believe us. Jesus said they’ll know that we are Christians by our love for one another. Believers need to focus on the One who died for us, not on our petty differences.
Next, notice that God didn’t fight these battles for Joshua miraculously like he did in the beginning. He has demonstrated to Joshua that He is with him, and He assures Joshua that he will have the victory, but He gives Joshua the battle plan and then leaves Joshua to execute that plan.
Friends, as we mature our spiritual life, he expects more of us. He expects us to fight our own battles. How many times have I heard someone say, “If God would just take that temptation away, because I just can’t handle it on my own!” Hogwash. He has given you what you need, you just need to do it. God didn’t fight all of Joshua’s battles, and He’s not going to fight all of your battles, either.
And lastly, near the end of the chapter, when Joshua and Israel are nearly done with taking the land promised to their fathers by God, we’re told that “Joshua and his army killed the Anakim from the northern and southern hill country.” Who were the Anakim?
When Moses was still alive, just as he brought the people to the threshold of the Promised Land, he sent twelve men in to scout out the country. When they came back, most of the scouts correctly said that it was a land flowing with milk and honey, but then they said that the people who live there are strong, and their cities are large and walled. We even saw the three Anakim clans. In fact, we saw the Nephilim who are the ancestors of the Anakim. They were so big that we felt as small as grasshoppers.”
And so the people of Israel became fearful. They forgot about all the miracles God did for them to bring them out of Pharoah’s Egypt, how he gave them water out of a rock, how he fed them manna from heaven. They said, “We wish we had died in Egypt or somewhere out here in the desert! 3Is the Lord leading us into Canaan, just to have us killed and our women and children captured? We’d be better off in Egypt.”
And God became angry at them and ultimately said, in essence, “Fine. They want to die in the desert? In the desert they shall die. Not one of this generation will set foot in the promised land”. So the Anakim were the people who brought the most fear into that generation, and they were among the last of the enemies that Joshua and his army destroyed. What we can take from that, my friends, is that the thing that brings you the most fear as a young believer might just be the last thing you face when you are more seasoned. But just as God was able to defeat Israel’s enemies when they first arrived at the Promised Land had the people only believed, He is able to bring your victory if you will believe.