Victory in the Hand of Israel
In a bible lesson that I recently heard, the instructor quoted Joshua 10, verse 8, which says; “And the LORD said to Joshua; Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.” Those are some pretty comforting words aren’t they? Don’t be afraid.. “I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.” It’s a lot like Romans 8:31; “..If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Think back if you would, to the time when Israel crossed over the Jordan river, and came into the land of Canaan. Back in Exodus 3, verse 17, the Lord had said; “And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt, unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.”
God was giving to Israel, a land flowing with milk and honey. A rich land, full of good things; A land which contained an abundance, of everything they could ever need. The whole land was a gift from God, given to those children of Israel, because of a promise made to their forefather Abraham, four centuries beforehand.
And God had shown that land, to Abraham. God had sent Abraham to the land of Canaan. And when Abraham had settled in the land, God said to him in Genesis 13, verses 14 & 15; “..“Now lift up your eyes from the place where you are, and look to the north and south, and east and west; For all the land that you see, I will give to you, and your offspring forever.” And verse 17 says; ” Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
But now, think again of when the children of Israel crossed the Jordan river, and actually entered into the land of Canaan. They weren’t alone there, were they? No, the land was already occupied, as the scriptures told us, by the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites. And the people of Israel were given the task of conquering all those people, because they were godless people! And so because of their godlessness, and because they had no desire for the one true God of heaven, God therefore was taking the land out of their hand.
And so the bible tells us of how Joshua led the children of Israel as they went through the land conquering all those nations and people who were already there. And as they were going out to one of their battles, we read these words in Joshua 10, verses 7 & 8; “So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. And the LORD said to Joshua; Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.”
Israel hadn’t even engaged in the battle yet, but the Lord says; “I have given them into your hands.” God had already ordained what would happen. Even though Israel hadn’t even fought the battle, the Lord said you’ve already won! Oh, they still had to go out and fight. God wasn’t going to do it ALL by Himself. But the outcome was already decided. “I have given them into your hands.” Don’t worry; Don’t be afraid of anyone, because there’s no one to fear. Just go out there, and take the battle to your enemies, and the victory is yours. But they had to GO, didn’t they? If Joshua and Israel had refused to go and fight the battle, would the victory have still been given to them? I think not. But they DID go, and they did it God’s way, and the victory WAS theirs!
Victory is in OUR Hands
Now, although those words were spoken by the Lord to Joshua specifically, I want you to know, that we can apply them to ourselves today also. Consider why God made that promise to Joshua, that Israel’s enemies had been given into their hands. The reason that the Lord made that promise to Joshua, was because Israel, led by Joshua, was doing exactly what the Lord had commanded them to do. They were going through the promised land of Canaan, driving out their enemies, in order to take possession of the land, exactly as the Lord had commanded them to do.
Was it a little scary at times. Maybe it was. But God said to not be afraid, and so they mustered the courage and they did it! This wasn’t a mission “of their own choosing”. It was God’s mission. It wasn’t a plan that they had devised on their own. It was God’s plan. And whether it was scary or not, they followed God’s plan. And when we determine in our lives, to live according to God’s plan, and to do the things that God has commanded us to do, then the victory has already been given into our hands! “Now the just shall live by faith!” (Hebrews 10:38)
The instructor who gave this lesson talked about how God has almost always used seemingly insignificant people, to accomplish His will. Now Joshua was a man of great faith, and so in our eyes, and most especially in God’s eyes, Joshua wasn’t insignificant at all. But in the eyes of the nations who inhabited the land of Canaan, who was Joshua, and who was Israel? They were nothing to the rest of the world. Who are you and I to the rest of the world? We’re nothing. But who are we to God, if we do as we’re commanded to do?
I’ll let God answer that question. Who are faithful Christians? “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) Is it any wonder that the victory has already been given into your hands?
But once again, in the eyes of the world, and maybe even in the eyes of our very neighbors, we might be seen as insignificant people. But, we’re told in 1 Corinthians 1, verses 27 thru 29; “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world, to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world, to shame the strong. He chose the lowly and despised things of the world, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast in His presence.”
God chose the lowly and humble, so let’s remain lowly and humble. May we all be reminded, that every one of us, is always in the presence of God. There’s never a moment in our lives, that God doesn’t see us, and that God isn’t there. As Psalm 139, verse 7 says; “Where shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Thy presence?” There simply is no fleeing from the presence of God is there? No there isn’t, because the scripture tells us; “..there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open, to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)
And we WILL give an account to God; Every one of us will. And so I suppose that’s a good incentive for us to be on our “best humble behavior”, all the time. We need to be loving God, all the time, by keeping His commandments, all the time. And we need to be loving our neighbor all the time. And we especially need to be loving our brothers and sisters in Christ, all the time.
We need to be asking for forgiveness from God, and we need to be giving forgiveness, to one another. We need to be helping to bear one another’s burdens. And we need to make sure that we don’t somehow become the burden, that someone else has to bear. Have you ever known someone who was a “manipulator”. Someone who is always trying to control the situation, and control other people’s opinions, and actually control other people. What a burden one can become.
I just recently read this little quip about Christianity. It said.. “Christianity is all about controlling yourself, and helping others. But if you find yourself controlling others, in the attempt to help yourself, you might need to think again, about your Christianity.” Sometimes we might not even understand our own motives for what we do. “But all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
So then lets’ simply be reminded that just like Joshua and the Israelites had to GO into the battle, in order for the victory to be given into their hands, we too must go into the world, and be the kind of people that God has commanded us to be. If we GO, but in our going we try to “help ourselves”, then I doubt that the victory will be ours.
Jesus has told us clearly; “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, will find it.” (Mathew 16:25)
The Foolish Message of Salvation
Now let me go back to 1 Corinthians 1, verse 27, and say just a quick word about those “foolish things” that God has chosen, to shame the wise; One of those “foolish things”, is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The scripture says in verse 21; “For since in the wisdom of God, the world through IT’S wisdom, did not come to know God, therefore God was well-pleased, through the foolishness of the message preached, to save those who believe.” Verse 18 says; “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”
It’s the gospel that instructs us how to be saved from our sins. But it’s also the gospel, that instructs us how to behave, and how to conduct ourselves, and how to please God, and how to NOT sin, after we’ve been forgiven. Is it “foolish” to be completely self-LESS? It’s indeed foolish to be self-fish! But is it foolishness to be self-less?
That might be foolish to the world, but not for a Christian. Philippians 2, verses 3 & 4 tell us; “Do nothing, out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility, consider others more important than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Humility, that’s a tough one for so many people.
But, verses 5 thru 8, tell us this; “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God, something to be grasped, (or “held onto”) but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, having been made in the likeness of man. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.”
But you know what? If we will simply do these things; If we will simply humble ourselves, and GO, and DO the will of God, then we won’t have anything to fear, because victory will have been given into our hands. Jesus tells us in Mathew chapter 5; “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (that means, the humble) “Blessed are the meek” (that means gentle. It doesn’t mean weak, but it means gentle) “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
God has promised to bless us richly, if we will do our very best, to take on these qualities. Jesus says we will be “comforted”, we will be “filled”, we will be “shown mercy”, we’ll be called “the children of God”, we will “see God”, and ours will be “the kingdom of God”, “the kingdom of heaven”.
And here’s a good closing verse.. 1 Corinthians 15:57; “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory. through our Lord Jesus Christ!” Through Jesus, salvation has been given into our hands.