Sermon Summary. Sunday’s Sermon was entitled “War and Peace: God’s Promise, God’s Plan and Power, God Speaks”. The main lesson of the sermon for this text is that while we are in pursuit of and waiting on the manifestation of God’s promises in our lives, (1) we must that battles and wars will break out in our lives to deter us from the past, and (2) that God will deliver us through the battles and give us peace. In the community of faith led by Joshua, they were at war for many years and at war with many kings but – finally – they capture “all of the land.” The fullness of God’s promise had come to pass. And while they experienced war in the community that war did come to pass. And, the lands rested from the war. In the same way, as we pursue the territory God has for us to claim, we experience war. War is “a state hostility, conflict or antagonism.” We experience those things mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually within our lives. Thankfully, the Lord is there for us as he was for Joshua and that community of faith. Jesus soothes our warring frame in Matthew 11:28 . . . he tells us “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Where there is war, over time, Christ will bring victory and Christ will bring peace. We must hang on to the promises the Lord has made even in the midst of war. We must trust that through his power and through his plan God will deliver on his promises and provide us with the peace that we seek. That “perfect peace beyond all understanding” (Philippians 4:6-7)
The Gathering of God’s Enemies. In Joshua 11:1-5 we see the enemies of God come together against God’s people and God’s plans. There is a reality of spiritual battle in the life of God’s child. Darkness does truly despise the light. (John 3:19-21)
- What do verses 4 and 5 say about how the enemy came together?
- How have you experienced this in your life journey? Has it ever seemed like things were aligning against you? Look at John 3:19-20. It is not easy but we must expect that the darkness will try to squash plans God has for us.
God Delivers and God’s Battle. In verses 6-9 we see one of God’s continued reminders to Joshua and God’s people. Despite the obstacles and even apparent odds God delivers in God’s battles. God makes clear that he delivers the victory.
- At least 31 kings have aligned themselves against Israel. That could be terrifying. What does God communicate to Joshua about the battle?
- How challenging is it for us to be reminded that the battle is not our but it is the Lord’s? What can we do to remind ourselves and others not to be anxious but to trust God for his promises, his power and his peace?
Scope of the Battle. Verses 16-18 describe the large territory (the “entire land”) that Joshua and the army battled in an won. Verse 18 tells us that they battled for a long time. So, the promised territory was large and the battles were many. At times, we will experience this – big promises and lots of battle as we pursue those promises.
- Verse 16 and verse 23 begin with the reminder that Joshua took “the entire land.” This was likely more than Joshua would have anticipated God would deliver. How do you think Joshua and the people would have felt experiencing this complete and massive victory?
- How have you experienced God move in your life with victories larger than you would have imagined? Are you anticipating God doing that for you today?
- Chapter 12 (especially verses 9-24) lists the territory and the 31 kings that God defeated through Joshua. It was large territory with a lot of enemies. How does it feel to know that so many may sometimes line up against the plan God has for you? When it feels heavy, be reminded of God’s word in 11:6.
God’s Promise, God’s Power and Plan, God’s Peace. Verse 23 closes and tells the whole story. God’s promise (the “entire land”) has come to pass. And, it was done in God’s power and according to the plan he had laid out years – even generations – before as he directed Moses. And, finally, there was peace.
- God has likely delivered far more than Joshua and the community expected when they crossed the Jordan. How does it feel when God provides exceedingly beyond what we can think or imagine? Can you trust God to do it again?
- How important was it that Joshua follow the plans and trust in God’s power to deliver? How are we? Are we able to trust and follow God’s direction?
- Verse 18 says that Joshua waged war “for a long time” against these enemies. Sometimes, we will feel like this . . . like we have been at it a long time. The good word at the end of verse 23 is that the land “rested from war.” How important is it that we seek God’s peace in the storm?
We have to trust in all of these things – even in a storm/war. We must trust God’s promises, God’s power and plan, and God’s peace. He speaks of resting from war here. He also tells us to come to him when we are weary and heavy laden in Matthew 11:28. And he promises peace beyond understanding in Philippians 4:6-7. Let us pursue God for all of these things. Trusting him all the way.