When the Needs of Others Call You to Fight

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Joshua, which was written and recorded by Joshua the son of Nun who was tasked with leading the congregation of Israel into the Promised Land. More specifically, today’s passage is found chapters eleven through fourteen of this Old Testament book. WHEN KINGS UNITE AGAINST THE PEOPLE OF GOD! When you begin reading with and from this particular portion of Scripture you will notice the continued reality of kings and rulers within the land of Canaan uniting their hearts, their minds, their people, their resources and their weapons against Joshua and the congregation of the children of Israel. As you read the words which are found in the tenth chapter you will find another coalition of kings that would unite themselves together against Joshua and against the people of God in order to stop them from advancing within and throughout the land. It’s actually quite interesting and intriguing to consider how the narrative of the congregation of the children of Israel began upon entering into the land of Canaan, for after they had passed through the Jordan River on dry ground and after the waters returned to their rightful place and order behind them, they would begin their task and assignment of driving out and dispossessing the inhabitants of the land. The first battle the congregation of the children of Israel faced within the land of Canaan would be once that was altogether and entirely different from those which would come thereafter, for concerning Jericho the congregation of the children of Israel were given very specific instruction. Once a day for six days the congregation of the children of Israel were to march around the city of Jericho behind the Ark of the Covenant, and behind the priests who would blow the trumpets outside the walls of the city. For six days straight the congregation of the children of Israel were to march around and march before the city in complete and utter silence and then return quietly to their camp. On the seventh day, however, the congregation of the children of Israel were instructed to march around the city seven times while the priests blew the trumpets. Seven times on the seventh day the congregation of the children of Israel were to march around the city in silence, and after the seventh time marching around the city in silence, the congregation of the children of Israel were to shout with all their might and with all their strength. Upon their shouting the walls of the city would fall down flat and collapse before them, and ultimately the walls of the city would lie in ruins before them.

PARTED WATERS AND COLLAPSED WALLS! It’s actually quite remarkable and astounding to think about and consider the fact that the congregation of the children of Israel began their journey and conquest of the land of Canaan with the waters of the Jordan River parting before them, as well as the walls of Jericho falling down flat before them. When you think about the conquest of the land of Canaan you would think that it was entirely about putting to the sword the numerous cities and inhabitants which were present in the midst of the land, however, the truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case. In all reality, the conquest of the land of Canaan began on a supernatural and miraculous note as the LORD not only parted the waters of the Jordan River, and thus allowing the congregation of the children of Israel to pass through on dry ground, but also as the LORD the God of the Hebrews caused the walls of the city of Jericho to collapse before them—before the Ark of the Covenant, before the sound of the trumpets blowing, and before the sound of the shout of the children of Israel. The men of war among the children of Israel would march straight up into the city—each with their sword drawn—after the walls of the city had collapsed and fallen before them. How absolutely astonishing and incredible it is to think about and consider the tremendous and incredible reality that as the children of Israel would begin to conquer and subdue the land of Canaan they would find themselves crossing over the Jordan River directly in front of the city of Jericho, and this city would ultimately be their first battle. One can’t help but wonder what the congregation of the children of Israel thought and what they were being taught by the LORD when they were given the instruction to march around the city in silence once every day for six days, while on the seventh day they were to march around the city in silence for seven times before the seventh time came and they were to shout with all their might outside the walls of Jericho. At Jericho the congregation of the children of Israel would experience the supernatural work and mighty power of the Lord their God between the shout and the sword. As they shouted with all their might and all their strength the walls of the city would fall down flat before them, and only after the walls of the city lie in complete ruin would they be able to march up into the city and strike it with the edge of the sword.

IF you continue reading the words which are found within the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find that after Joshua and the men of war completely and utterly destroyed Jericho with all its inhabitants, they would suffer a minor defeat and setback due to iniquity and transgression in the midst of the camp. Upon coming to the seventh chapter of this Old Testament book you will find Joshua writing and recording how the children of Israel transgressed against the LORD with the accursed thing, and how because of their iniquity and transgression the men of war whom they sent against Ai would be chased from the city, and thirty six of them would be slain by the sword. After it was determined that Achan had sinned and transgressed against the commandment of the LORD, and after the accursed thing was removed from the camp and burned, the LORD would speak unto Joshua and instruct him on how to conquer and subdue the city of Ai. What is so absolutely remarkable about the continued narrative concerning the congregation of the children of Israel and their conquest of the land is that despite the iniquity and transgression with the accursed thing the LORD would still be with them and would still give them the land He promised. Once Achan and his household, as well as all his possessions, and the accursed thing was removed from the camp it was back to business as usual for the congregation of the children of Israel, for they would resume the task and assignment of conquering and subduing the land. Despite the fact that they had transgressed against the command of the LORD with the accursed thing, and despite the fact that they had suffered defeat before the men of Ai, the LORD would still continue with His promise toward them. The LORD would still allow the congregation of the children of Israel to conquer and subdue the land, and the LORD would still give them victory and triumph in battle as they continued to engage their enemies and adversaries. What’s more, is that the congregation of the children of Israel—although they were initially defeated by the men of Ai—would still defeat and utterly destroy Ai together with all its men of war and all the inhabitants therein. Even though they would experience a minor setback and minor defeat before and at the hands of Ai, the LORD would raise them up once more to march against the city and utterly destroy all its inhabitants. This concept of completely and utterly destroying all the inhabitants of the city would be especially necessary to consider when reading the Old Testament book of Joshua, for as you continue reading within and throughout the book, you will find that they utterly destroyed everyone within the cities of the land, and would leave none alive.

KILL THEM ALL! SPARE NO ONE! While I fully recognize that the second installment of the secular movie John Wick has absolutely nothing to do with Joshua and the congregation of the children of Israel within the land of Canaan, there is a part at the end of the movie which I feel has great application and helps further define that which we find concerning Joshua and the congregation of the children of Israel within the land of Canaan. As you come to the end of the second installment of this movie you will find that John Wick was labeled “Ex-communicado,” and that a bounty was put on his head. John Wick was given one hour to prepare himself, however, once that hour was up anyone and everyone would come after him to potentially kill him and claim the bounty that was on his head. At the conclusion of the movie John Wick declares and very boldly and adamantly states to Winston that he will kill everyone that would make any attempt to come after him. In fact, the way the scene goes is John Wick almost instructing Winston to tell all those that would come after him that he would kill them all. It is this concept of killing them all which I feel completely and utterly describes the conquest of the land of Canaan, for within the land of Canaan Joshua and all the men of war with him would be instructed to utterly destroy all the inhabitants of the city and to leave nothing remaining. The command and instruction that was given unto Joshua and the entire congregation of the children of Israel was to completely and utterly destroy and drive out all the inhabitants of the land. Once Joshua and the entire congregation of the children of Israel entered into the land which was to be theirs as an inheritance the real work and assignment that was given unto them would begin, for they would need to move within and throughout the land taking up the sword and striking down all the inhabitants of the land. Joshua and the congregation of Israel were to completely and utterly conquer and subdue the land of Canaan, and were to leave none of the inhabitants alive and remaining within the land. As you read the words which are found in chapters eight through eleven you will find on more than one occasion Joshua writing how the congregation of the children of Israel put to death kings, rulers and princes alike, and even put to death women and children within the land that the entire land might be subdued and conquered before them. What we find in chapters eighth through eleven is an incredible testament and description of the congregation of the children of Israel moving within and throughout the land as they conquered and subdued the land and engaged in countless battles against the inhabitants of the land.

The Old Testament book of Joshua is quite an astonishing book when you take the time to think about and consider it, for within this book we find Joshua leading the congregation of the children of Israel through the Jordan River and then in conquest against all the inhabitants of the land. The first battle the congregation of the children of Israel would face in the midst of the land would be a battle where the only thing they would need to do is march in silence for six days, and then shout with all their might and strength on the seventh day. It would be the LORD Himself who would cause the walls of the city of Jericho to collapse before the congregation of the children of Israel, and would cause them to fall flat in the midst of the land. It’s worth noting that this would be the only battle where the congregation of the children of Israel would march around the city and would raise up their voices and watch the walls collapse. Every other battle the congregation of the children of Israel would engage themselves in, and every other nation and people the congregation of the children of Israel would face in the midst of the land would require them to march straight up against the city, or engage those enemies and foes when they came out against them. If you read these chapters you will find that after the battle which took place near Ai there were kings within the land who united themselves together to take a stand against the congregation of the children of Israel in an attempt to drive them out of the land. Here the congregation of the children of Israel were brought into the land to drive out and dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and with them being in the land you have kings from various nations and peoples in the midst of the land rising up in a unified stand to try and push them out of the land. Within the land of Canaan—from the time the congregation of the children of Israel entered into the land you will find that Jericho was the only city within the land that actually tried to keep the congregation of the children of Israel out of the city. IN the sixth chapter of the book of Joshua we find the city of Jericho being tightly shut up with none going in and none going out, and yet it would be the only city with its inhabitants that would attempt to keep the children of Israel out of their midst. Once the battle of Jericho was finished, however, the battles the children of Israel would face would be in direct relation to the inhabitants of the land marching out against them. It’s quite astonishing to consider the fact that when you read the narrative of the conquest of the land of Canaan there was only one battle when the inhabitants actually attempted to keep the children of Israel out, while all the other battles that ensued was in direct response to the inhabitants of the land attempting to march out against them.

IF you read the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find it written how the congregation of the children of Israel marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days, while on the seventh day they marched around the city seven times before shouting as the walls came crashing down. When it came to the city of Ai, you will find Joshua setting an ambush behind the city as both he and a contingent of the men of war drew all the men of war within the city outside the walls. Once the men of war were drawn out and drawn away from the city Joshua stretched forth his spear toward the city—a signal and sign which called for those men of war who were lying in ambush to come out against the city, enter the city and completely and utterly burn it to the ground. When it came to Ai—not only do you find the city altogether on a smoke because the men of war set it on fire, but also you will find the men of war from Ai stuck between the city on fire and the outstretched spear of Joshua. BETWEEN THE SPEAR AND THE FIRE! It’s truly unique to think about and consider the conquest of the land of Canaan, and how when it came to engaging the inhabitants of the land in battle, the methods and means seemed to change from the minute the men of war entered the land. Whereas the first battle at Jericho would require marching around the city, blowing trumpets and shouting, the battle of AI would require setting an ambush behind the city and luring the men of war out of the city while the ambush set behind them would burn the city with fire and surround the men of Ai from behind. Caught between a city on fire and the outstretched spear of Joshua these men of war from the city of Ai would be completely and utterly destroyed, and Joshua and the congregation of the children of Israel would leave none remaining. When you come to the ninth chapter and beyond you will find that only one group of individuals within the land of Canaan attempting to make peace with the children of Israel. It’s quite astonishing and remarkable to think about and consider the fact that the first battle the children of Israel faced would result in collapsed walls, while the second battle they would face would be luring the men of war within the city outside the walls so the ambush that was sent behind them could take the city and burn it to the ground. What you will find next is a people within the land who made peace with the congregation of the children of Israel out of fear and trepidation at their sight and presence in the midst of the land.

The more I read and consider the words which are found within these chapters the more I can’t help but be directly confronted with the explicit command to utterly and completely destroy everything and everyone in the midst of the land. It’s almost the same type of manifestation and reality that was commanded and instructed of Saul king of Israel when he was instructed by the prophet Samuel to completely and utterly destroy the Amalekites from within the land. Saul was to leave none of them alive, and was to utterly and completely slaughter every living thing, and yet what actually ended up happening was the king of Amalek being spared—together with the best of the sheep, the best of the flock, the best of the cattle, and the like. The prophet Samuel rebuked Saul for his disobedience and emphatically declared that rebellion was as the sin of witchcraft. In all reality, the words which the prophet Samuel spoke unto Saul king of Israel were words which the entire congregation of the children of Israel were given upon entering into the land of Canaan. The entire congregation of the children of Israel were instructed through Moses the servant of the LORD to utterly and completely destroy all the inhabitants within the land, and to leave absolutely nothing, nor spare anyone in the land lest they be a snare unto them. What you find in the Old Testament book of Joshua is a tremendous and powerful picture of the congregation of the children of Israel not only engaging the inhabitants of the land in battle, and taking up the sword against all those which were present in the midst of the land. What I love about the Old Testament book of Joshua is that it is an a book that essentially describes the congregation. In the eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua we find Joshua and the men of war utterly and completely destroying all the inhabitants of Ai—and not only utterly and completely destroying them, but also burning the city to the ground and utterly making it a heap of ruins. By the time you come to the ninth chapter of the Old Testament you will find Joshua and the congregation of the children of having completely and utterly destroy two cities within the land of Canaan—namely, the city of Jericho, and the city of Ai. It’s absolutely remarkable and astounding to think about and consider the fact that by the time we come to the ninth chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find Joshua and the children of Israel riding the momentum of two dramatic victories within the land of Canaan—the victory over Jericho having come virtually immediately after they entered into the land of Canaan, and Ai coming after the congregation and camp of the children of Israel removed the accursed thing from their midst.

What’s quite astounding when you read the Old Testament book of Joshua is when you consider the alliance and coalition of kings which raised themselves up against Joshua and the congregation of the children of Israel. As you come to the tenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find five kings within the land of Canaan hearing of how the Gibeonites had made peace with Joshua and the children of Israel, and how upon hearing of the peace treaty they made with Joshua and the people of Israel, they mounted an assault against them. It’s worth noting how these five kings didn’t launch an attack or an assault against the congregation of the children of Israel, but against the inhabitants of Gibeon. It appeared as though they weren’t intent on taking their hostility against Joshua and the congregation of the children of Israel, but rather taking it out on the inhabitants of Gibeon for their seeming betrayal of the rest of the peoples and inhabitants within the land. It might very well be said that these five kings felt the people of Gibeon betrayed them and left them isolated and alone within the land. If you begin reading with and from the first and opening verse of the tenth chapter you will find this coalition of kings being instigated and initiated by Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem calling for the partnership of other kings within the land of Canaan in a unified effort to destroy the people of Gibeon. Consider if you will the words which are found in this passage of Scripture beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse of the tenth chapter:

“Now it came to pass, when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem’s had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them; that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than AI, and all the men thereof were mighty. Wherefore Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debbie king of Elon, saying, Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon: for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel. Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Elon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it” (Joshua 10:1-5).

As I continue moving into the Old Testament book of Joshua I am absolutely and utterly amazed at what is found in the tenth and eleventh chapters we find Joshua and the men of war among the congregation of the children of Israel being thrust into battle in two entirely different ways. In the tenth chapter of this Old Testament book we find Joshua and the men of war among the congregation of the children of Israel being called into battle by the Gibeonites as these five kings marched against them to overthrow them in battle. The five kings of the Amorites cried out unto Joshua and the children of Israel to come to their aid and to come to their rescue, for they undoubtedly felt pressured by these kings and their armies which marched against them. It’s actually intriguing to think about and consider the fact that these five kings had heard what Joshua and the people of Israel had done unto the cities of Ai and Jericho, and what they had done to the kings of these two cities, and they heard how the people of Gibeon had made peace with the children of Israel, and as a result of all this they sought to utterly and completely destroy them from within the land. That which is found within these two chapters is actually quite intriguing when you truly take the time to consider it, for that which thrust Joshua and the congregation of the children of Israel into battle was the cry for help which proceeded from the men of Gibeon, while that which thrust Joshua and the children of Israel in the eleventh chapter was four kings which were mentioned by name—as well as other kings which were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor, and to all the others which were found within the land mountain a full blown assault and attack on Joshua and the children of Israel. It’s worth noting that the tenth and eleventh chapters are two drastically different invitations into battle, for while the first invitation to battle came because of the cry of another who felt powerless against those who marched up against them, the other invitation to battle came as a result of another coalition of kings with their hosts, their horses and their chariots against Joshua and the people of Israel. When and as I think about the first invitation to battle which was given unto Joshua and the children of Israel, and how Gibeon cried out for help, I can’t help but be reminded of what happened during the days of the patriarch Abraham, and how Abraham faced a similar situation within the land, as a battle between the kings erupted in the land, and as his nephew Lot was taken captive by the kings of the land. Consider if you will the words which are found in the fourteenth chapter of the book of Genesis beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:

“And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chdorlaomer king of Elam, and Tial king of nations; that these made war with Bear king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Bomorrah, Shinar king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Belarus, which is Zoar. All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim, and the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness. And they returned, and came to En-mishpat, which is Kaddish, and smote all the country of the Amalketies, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezon-Tamar. And there’s ent out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Belarus (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim; which Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tial king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five. And the vale of Siddim was full of slim pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain. And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram. And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hoban, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people” (Genesis 14:1-16).

THE CRY FROM A BROTHER, THE CRY FROM SERVANTS! It’s truly intriguing to think about and consider the words which are found in these particular chapters, for from the eighth chapter through the eleventh chapter we find Joshua leading the men of war from the congregation of Israel in battle against the inhabitants within the land. While chapter eight describes Joshua and the men of war conquering and subduing the city of Ai and utterly destroying the city while killing all the inhabitants therein, we find two different and two distinct battles that were fought in chapters eleven through twelve. Each of these two chapters describes a different means of the army of Israel with its men of war being drawn into the battle within the land of Canaan. It has already been mentioned that Joshua and the men of Israel were thrust into battle in the eleventh chapter when the king of Jerusalem rallied four other kings from within the land to march against and overthrow the inhabitants of Gibeom. If and as you read the words which are found within this chapter you will find that when the king of Jerusalem heard what Joshua and the men of war did unto Jericho with its king; when the king heard what Joshua and the men of Israel did unto Ai and it’s king, and also heard of how Gibeon which was a royal city made peace with Joshua and the people of Israel and dwelt among them he launched and assembled a coalition of kings with their armies to attack Gibeon for their alliance and peace with the children of Israel. What’s more; is that you will find it written of the king of Jerusalem that the reason he launched a coalition against the people of Gibeon was because this was a royal city in the midst of the land, and was one that was greater than the city of Ai. What’s more, is that the men within the city were men of war in the midst of the land. Once the coalition and alliance of kings had been established and there was a commitment to march against the people of Gibeon we find them rising up against Gibeon as they sought to overthrow the city with all its inhabitants. When the people of Gibeon saw and observed what was taking place before them and their city they sent word unto Joshua asking for help against enemies which had risen up against them in the midst of the land. Scripture records and recounts how word came to Joshua that their servants were being threatened by forces they were greater and stronger than they. The narrative and account records how Joshua came up from Gilgal with all the men of war and how they would march against these five kings and the forces they brought against the people of Gibeon.

What I find to be so absolutely and incredibly astounding when reading the words which are found within this chapter is its direct similarity to the narrative of Abraham during the days of the kings in the midst of the land. In the fourteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of genesis you will find a rebellion of kings which took place in the midst of the land, as well as a direct assault and overthrow of many of the giants which dwelt in the midst of the land. In the process of the rebellion of kings and in the process of the war that ensued in the midst of the land you will find Lot Abraham’s nephew being taken captive in the midst of the conflict and war which took place in the land. In an incredible turn of events there was one from among those who were present during this time who managed to escape and bring word to Abraham concerning what had happened and how Lot his nephew had been taken captive. This narrative is quite unique and captivating when you truly take the time to think about it, for as you read the words contained therein you will find that when Abraham heard what had happened and how Lot had been taken captive, he took and assembled three hundred of the men who were with him and marched against the kings which had taken his nephew captive and hostage. What’s more, is that as you read the words which are found within this chapter you will find Lot referred to as Abraham’s brother, which is actually quite remarkable when you consider it. It’s one thing for Lot to be referred to as the nephew of Abraham, however, in this passage of Scripture you will find Lot referred to as Abraham’s brother who needed to be rescued from the grip and clutches of those whom he had taken captive. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it was like for Lot as he and others had been taken captive and taken hostage in the midst of a battle that ensued in the land, and how he needed to be rescued by Abraham and his men. What’s more, is that I can’t help but wonder if Lot felt completely and utterly hopeless in the midst of this situation, for he had been forcefully taken and removed from his place within the land, and was now captive of enemies and adversaries in the midst of the land. Oh I wonder what thoughts went through the mind of Lot as he and others were captives and hostage in the midst of these kings. What were their emotions and their feelings as they had been forcefully taken captive and removed from the midst of the land and once their freedom had been removed? What did Lot and the others think as they were forced to live as hostages and captives in the midst of these enemies, and did any of them expect to be rescued? Was perhaps all hope lost within their hearts and minds as they were now captives of kings and enemies which they had neither provoked nor instigated.

WHEN YOUR BROTHER IS TAKEN CAPTIVE AND SERVANTS ARE THREATENED! The more I think about and the more I consider the narrative of Abraham and Lot as they each played two distinct roles within this conflict, the more I can’t help but be gripped with the fact that up until this point we don’t read of any conflict in the midst of the life of Abraham. What’s more, is that we don’t read of any battles or wars which Abraham and his men had been and were engaged in, and this would indeed be the first battle which Abraham would be forced to engage himself and his men in. What’s more, is that I would dare say the only reason Abraham engages himself in this battle was because of the fact that his nephew Lot had been taken captive. Oh what do you do when your brother is taken captive by others and is forced to live a life without freedom? What do you do when you hear that your brother has been taken hostage by the enemy and that all their freedom had been taken and removed? How do you respond when such a reality is presented within your life as your brother or sister has been taken captive by the enemy and adversary? Abraham received a report that his brother was taken captive by enemies and kings within the land, and he was unwilling to leave his brother in the hands of enemies. Abraham received word that his brother had been taken captive and decided to act quickly and decisively in order that he might rescued him and bring him out of the clutches and grasp of enemies and adversaries which had taken him captive. Abraham heard that his brother had been taken captive, and as a direct result of hearing and receiving this report he decided that he needed to take action and rescue his brother. The question that I can’t help but wonder when reading and considering this passage is whether or not we would respond the same way. If we heard that our brother and/or our sister had been taken captive by enemies and adversaries, how would we respond and react, and would we have the same desire to march against the enemy to release them from the clutches and grasp of the enemy? Would we have enough courage and strength to rise up against our enemies and adversaries which as taken our brother or our sister captive in the midst of the days in which we are living? Abraham and Lot had separated at this point in the narrative of this great man of faith, and he could have very easily left Lot to his fate, and could have let Lot remain a captive of these kings and rulers which were present in the midst of the land. Oh how absolutely wonderful it is to think about this wonderful reality and how Abraham decided to come to the rescue order his brother who was clearly in need of help and was clearly in need of being rescued. One might even wonder what the relationship between Abraham and Lot was like when they separated from each other, for we know that they had decided to part way because they were both too great to remain together.

If there is one thing that I find to be absolutely incredible when reading the narrative of Abraham and Lot, as well as the narrative of Joshua and the children of Israel and the men of Gibeon, it’s that Abraham could have let Lot remain captive and hostage of these kings and rulers in the midst of the land. It would have been very easy for Abraham to allow Lot to remain captive and in the clutches of these kings and rulers—particularly and especially after the two of them had separated in the previous chapter. In fact, in the final verses of the thirteenth chapter you will find that after Abraham and Lot separated the LORD spoke unto Abraham and promised him that his descendants would be as the stars in heaven and as the sand was upon the shore. What’s more, is you will find Abraham removing his tent, and coming and dwelling in the plain of Mamre, which was in Hebron, and built an altar unto the LORD. The thirteenth chapter ends and concludes with Abraham and Lot separating because of a quarrel that arose between the herdsmen of Abraham and the herdsmen of Lot. Rather than allowing the conflict to continue and to escalate the two decided to separate as Abram allowed Lot to choose where he wanted to live and where he wanted to dwell. Of course the narrative goes that Lot chose the plains of the valley which were near Sodom and Gomorrah. This would leave Abraham with the rest of the land with which to choose from and with which to dwell and sojourn in. It’s truly amazing to come to the fourteenth chapter and to find Abraham being willing to take three hundred of his men to attempt a rescue mission of Lot and all those who had been taken captive by these kings and rulers. Abraham could have very easily allowed Lot to separate from him, and even after he heard that Lot had been taken captive he could have allowed him to suffer his own fate. We don’t read of any tension or hostility between Abraham and Lot when they separated, but it could very well have been that Abraham might have thought within his heart and mind that Lot was no longer his concern, and that he no longer had any obligation to his nephew. Abraham could have very easily made the decision that with Lot and him no longer together in the midst of the land he was no longer responsible for him, nor his well being. Of course there is absolutely no indication that Abraham thought this way, however, it is quite interesting to think about the fact that Abraham could have very easily left Lot to endure his own fate among the kings and rulers of the land as the two were no longer in communication with each other.

This reality of Abraham having the option and ability to leave Lot to suffer his fate since the two of them were no longer in relationship with each other is quite astounding when you think about and consider it in light of Joshua and the children of Israel when they received word that five kings from within the land had marched against them to overthrow and destroy them. In the previous chapter we find Joshua and the children of Israel discovering that the men and inhabitants of Gibeon had betrayed and beguiled them by pretending to be something and someone they were not in order that Joshua and the people of Israel might make peace with them. In the tenth chapter of this Old Testament book of Joshua we find word reaching Joshua and the children of Israel that five kings had come out against the people of Gibeon and had threatened to overthrow and destroy them. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that Joshua and the children of Israel could have chosen to ignore the cry for help that was issued by the people of Gibeon, and Joshua could have given the order not to launch any type of rescue mission to deliver them out of the grasp of these five kings with their armies. Joshua could have decided that their betrayal and their beguiling them was too great, and the offense was too much for them to concern themselves with, and he could have allowed them to suffer an ill-timed fate at the hands of these five kings. Oh the question I can’t help but asking when I think about and consider both of these chapters is how we respond when relationships which we perhaps once enjoyed have either gone sought, or have ended for one reason or another. I can’t help but wonder what we do and how we respond if we find ourselves in a place where a relationship—perhaps even relationships—within our lives has ceased and when we are no longer in communication, and yet despite the fact that the relationship might not be any more, we hear a report of how that particular individual has been taken captive by the enemy. What do we do when we have been betrayed and beguiled by another who has pretended to be someone and something they are not, and we then find and discover that they are in a place of great need, as they have been taken captive and hostage by the enemy? What we find in these two chapters is truly worth thinking about and considering, for what is contained therein is a powerful picture of our response to those whom we have perhaps become out of relationship with, and those we have perhaps had little if any communication with because the relationship itself has ended. Not only this, but within these chapters is a powerful truth concerning how we respond when those who might have betrayed us, and those who might have beguiled us cry out to us for help when they find themselves in the midst of a struggle and conflict that is far too great for them to handle and bear. What do you do and how do you respond when you receive word that a brother or sister has been taken captive by the enemy, and when they cry out to your for help and for some type of rescue within their lives?

The words which we find in each of these two chapters are truly incredible and truly powerful when and as you consider them, for when you read the words you will find that Abraham could have very easily left Lot to suffer his fate as a captive of these kings, and he could have allowed Lot to experience and endure whatever they had planned for him. Moreover, Joshua could have very easily allowed the people of Gibeon to be overthrown and defeated by these kings and rulers in the midst of the land of Canaan, and could have allowed them to “suffer” the penalty for their betrayal and beguiling of them as they beguiled them to make peace with them. I find it incredibly captivating to think about and consider the fact that there are times within our lives when relationships seem to end, and yet there comes a point when that particular brother or that particular sister comes to us and asks for help. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are times within our lives when our brothers and sisters whom we perhaps have grown out of relationship with may come to us when and as they find themselves in trouble and find themselves in the place of difficulty, and they ask us for our help and for us to come to their aid and rescue them. What’s more, is that there are perhaps those times within our lives when we find ourselves being betrayed by others, and yet at some point we find these same individuals in a difficult place and crying out for help. There is not a doubt in my mind that such a reality has manifested itself within our lives at one point or another when those whom we have found ourselves no longer in relationship find themselves in a tremendous place of need and cry out for help. The question we must ask ourselves is what will we do and how will we respond when such a situation and circumstance arises within our lives when those who have perhaps betrayed us come unto us crying out and asking for help because they find themselves against odds which are far too great and far too much for them to handle and bear. Each of these passages of Scripture bring us face to face with the absolutely incredible reality of whether or not we would be willing to engage ourselves in such humility and such selflessness that we would choose to overlook what is perhaps a relationship that has come to an end, and perhaps even overlook the betrayal which we have experienced, and give of ourselves to help others who find themselves in need.

When and as I read the words which are found in each of these passages of Scripture I can’t help but be reminded of Jesus the Christ who had the opportunity to walk away from Judas and to single him out from the rest of the disciples. Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray Him, and when He and the disciples were in the upper room and as He washed the feet of the disciples, He could have easily chosen to move past Judas and not wash the feet of that one who had betrayed Him. Oh the question that begs to be asked at this moment is simply if you knew that someone was going to betray you and you had the opportunity to engage in a selfless and humble act of serving them…would you give of yourself to minister unto them? If you knew that someone was going to hurt you, if you knew that someone was going to wound you, if you knew that someone was going to betray you, if you k new that someone was going to inflict great pain within and upon you in your life…would you deliberately and intentionally give of yourself to minister unto them? Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray Him, and yet when the time came for Him to wash the feet of the disciples He chose to include Judas in the process of washing the feet of the disciples. Jesus could have very easily allowed Judas’ feet to go unwashed, and Jesus could have singled Judas out in front of and in the midst of the disciples, and yet instead of doing this, He deliberately and intentionally chose to wash the feet of this betrayer. What I so love about this particular narrative and account is that Jesus could have chosen to single out Judas in the company and presence of the disciples, as I am sure that if he had chosen not to wash the feet of Judas while at the same time washing the feet of all the other disciples, it would have caused a great stir among the disciples as to why He refrained from washing the feet of His betrayer. The narrative of Jesus laying aside His garments and washing the feet of the disciples is actually quite telling, for I cannot escape the fact that Jesus could have chosen to refrain from washing the feet of Judas since he was essentially a lost cause anyway. Jesus could have very easily chosen to refrain from washing the feet of Judas and as a direct result singled him out and separated him from the rest of the disciples. Jesus knew that Judas was going to be betray Him, and that he was the son of perdition, and yet He still chose to wash His feet—and not only wash His feet, but also keep his secret, and wash his feet in the midst of the disciples. Pause for a moment and think about and consider the fact of just how truly challenging this is, for the question that must be asked is whether or not you would give of yourself to do the very same thing. If you knew that someone would betray you, or if you had already been betrayed by that individual…would you still choose to wash their feet? Would you still wash the feet of that one who deliberately and intentionally chose to betray you?

WASHING THE FEET OF YOUR BETRAYER! RESCUING THE ONES WHO BEGUILED YOU! RESCUING THAT ONE WHO SEPARATED FROM YOU! Abraham and Lot separated from each other, and yet when word came to Abraham that Lot had been taken captive, Abraham chose three hundred of his men and launched a daring rescue mission of his brother Lot. What’s more, is that I would dare say that Abraham probably didn’t even need to think about or consider his actions when it came to rescuing his brother Lot, for he heard that his brother was in need, and so he rose up with his man and engaged himself in a rescue mission of his brother Lot who had been taken captive by kings and rulers in the midst of the land. The people of Gibeon had betrayed Joshua and the children of Israel as they beguiled and deceived them into sparing them and making peace with them, and yet when the king of Jerusalem heard what they had done, he aligned himself with four other kings and came against the people of Gibeon with a great force that they might destroy and utterly defeat these people. When the people cried out to Joshua and the children of Israel for help—and even when they appealed to the fact that they were their servants—Joshua and all the men of war came up from Gilgal and engaged these kings and their forces in battle and conflict that they might rescue the people of Gibeon out of their hands. Moreover, Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, and knew that Judas would betray Him with a kiss pretending to be a friend and disciple in the garden, and yet secretly hating, and perhaps even despising Jesus the Christ. Each of these examples bring us face to face with the acts of warfare and washing—of serving and rescuing others in the place of their need and in the place of great distress, struggle and turmoil. These three passages bring us face to face with an absolutely tremendous truth concerning how we conduct ourselves, and how we respond when we find ourselves in the place when others who might have betrayed us, or others who have separated themselves from us find themselves in need of rescue from forces and adversaries which are far greater and far mightier than they are. I am sure Lot was absolutely and completely powerless to do anything to change and alter his situation and circumstance, and the people of Gibeon—although the men of the city were men of war, and although the city was a royal city—were completely powerless to do anything to withstand the threat which came against them as these five kings with their armies and forces marched out and marched up against them to overthrow them. The people of Gibeon were undoubtedly frightened and fearful when they found themselves being threatened by these five kings and the armies which came up with them. These people realized that they were perhaps powerless to do anything to deliver themselves from their situation and circumstance, and as a direct result of this they cried out to Joshua and the children of Israel for help.

What I so love about chapters eleven and twelve is that in the eleventh chapter we find a cry for help leading Joshua and the men of war in the midst of the congregation of the children of Israel being invited into conflict and battle because of the need of another. Joshua and the children of Israel were thrust into battle against the king of Jerusalem and those kings which were with him because of the cry for help that came up from the people of Gibeon. If and as you read the eleventh chapter you will find that it was the cry for help that came up from Gibeon in the hearing of Joshua and the children of Israel that brought them forth into the midst of battle against these five kings and their armies. If you read the words which are found in the twelfth chapter you will find that when jabin the king of Hazor heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and Ai together with their kings, and when he heard what Joshua had done unto the king of Jerusalem and those kings which were aligned with him, he aligned himself with other kings, as well as a great force from within the land—a force which was described as the sand that is upon the seashore with horses and chariots—and marched out against Joshua and the children of Israel. On the one hand we find Joshua and the children of Israel defeating five kings within the land after being invited into battle through a cry for help which was raised by the men of Gibeon, and on the other hand we find Joshua and the children of Israel being forced into battle as the the king of Hazor aligned himself with various other kings and forces in the midst of the land to march against Joshua and the children of Israel to defeat and overthrow them. What we find within these chapters is actually wonderful and powerful when you think about and consider it, for what you find within these chapters is a remarkable picture of Joshua and the children of Israel engaging themselves in conflict and battle against kings and rulers within the land—together with their armies and people—as first the people of Gibeon were threatened, and then as a great host with horses and chariots marched out against Joshua and the children of Israel. In both cases and in both situations the LORD instructed Joshua to not be afraid and to not fear, for He had given these kings, these rulers, and their armies and host into the hands of Joshua to defeat and overthrow in the midst of the land. In fact, in the twelfth chapter of this book you will find the LORD declaring unto Joshua that He had hardened the hearts of the king of Hazor and all those that were with him in order that He might deliver them into the hands of Joshua and the children of Israel. What an absolutely wonderful and remarkable truth this is when you truly take the time to think about and consider it, for in both of these cases and instances we find Joshua and the children of Israel engaging themselves in conflict and battle against kings, against rulers, against great armies and against great forces in the midst of the land of Canaan in order that they might utterly and completely destroy them. It is absolutely necessary that we read and consider the words which are found within these chapters, for they bring us face to face with the battles which Joshua and the children of Israel faced and fought within the land, and how they had risen up against seemingly insurmountable odds, and had completely and utterly defeated and destroyed these kings with their armies, their horses and chariots in the land. What’s more is by the time you come to the twelfth chapter you will find a list of thirty-one kings within the land which Joshua and his men slaughtered, conquered and overcame—together with their armies, their host, their chariots and their horses. What an absolutely astounding and incredible truth is found and contained within the book of Joshua concerning the conflicts we find ourselves in in the midst of our lives, and the tremendous courage and boldness that can be experienced within our lives as we face and engage our enemies and adversaries in battle.

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