God Fights For His People
Stephen Caswell © 1999
God Fights For His People
Behind The Scenes
/Do you ever feel you are alone in the Christian life?
Do you ever feel that you are fighting the enemy by yourself?/
While learning to use a new computer, I was troubled by a faint clicking sound that indicated it was working even though nothing was happening on the screen.
The manufacturer’s representative on the hotline said, “ No problem.
The computer is probably running an application you can’t see and is working in the background.
” As I thought about the phrase “ working in the background, ” I began to realise how visually oriented I am in my relationship with God.
If I can’t see something happening, I assume it’s not happening.
But that’s not the way God operates.
God works behind the scenes for His people.
/And God also fights for His people!/
Last Sunday we saw how Israel made a league with the Gibeonites.
They were deceived by them because they didn’t consult the Lord.
Things aren’t always what they appear to be.
However God’s providence overruled the situation.
The people of Gibeon served the Lord and Israel by drawing water and timber for sacrifices.
They came to know the Lord and forsook their idolatry.
They became a part of Israel.
God turned their curse into a blessing.
Now God used this treaty to Israel's advantage.
God was working behind the scenes for Israel.
*/Firstly/* God Determined The Attack
/They Feared Greatly/
Verse 1 says, that the Canaanite nations soon heard of this treaty that Gibeon had made with Israel.
They already knew of the Defeat of Jericho and Ai.
Bad news travels fast.
*Joshua 10:2* gives the result: / that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty.
/The Lord’s promise that He would bring fear upon the Canaanites was being fulfilled yet again.
Even though Gibeon didn’t have a king it was still a city of some reputation.
Their military skill was well known.
The king of Jericho was understandably afraid.
Gibeon had become Israel’s ally.
This meant that she would fight with them if asked to.
This weakened their position.
/They Fought Against Gibeon/
The king of Jerusalem responded by sending word to four other kings.
He requested that they form an alliance to punish Gibeon for their treachery.
He wanted to ensure they couldn’t help Israel.
*Joshua 10:5* /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 Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it.
/Gibeon was in a desperate situation.
They had five kings and their armies attacking them what would they do.
/Gibeon Said, Don’t Forsake Us/
*Joshua 10:6 says:/ /*/And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, saying, “Do not forsake your servants; come up to us quickly, save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us.”/
Gibeon sent a runner to Joshua at Gilgal for help.
They asked for help because of the covenant.
It doesn’t say this directly, but it is inferred by the remark that they were their servants.
/How would Joshua respond?
/After all Gibeon had deceived him and now it had backfired.
/He could just leave them to their own ends, couldn’t he? /
Joshua didn’t do that.
He honoured the covenant.
I believe that the Lord put this plan into the heart of the king of Jerusalem.
He knew of the covenant Israel had made with Gibeon.
He also knew that Israel was obliged to defend Gibeon.
God’s providence used the circumstances for Israel’s good.
Chapter 9:2 says that they decided to fight together against Israel.
God had determined the attack.
Up until now Israel had been fighting against one city at a time.
If they continued this way the campaign would take a long time.
The confederation of five kings brought their armies out of their walled cities into open country to attack Gibeon.
Joshua sensing that this was an opportunity to gain a great victory immediately left Gilgal and ascended to Gibeon.
This was a steep climb, a journey of about 25 miles.
By doing this Israel could possess the land much faster.
This trial was a blessing in disguise!/
/God was using what seemed to be an inconvenience to help Israel.
Because Joshua had faith, he saw this trial as a blessing.
To develop photographs, the film must first be taken into a dark-room.
Only after the chemicals have done their work is it safe to expose the negatives to light and produce the final prints.
The light, which would have destroyed the film, now brings out its beauty.
God takes us through darkroom experiences to develop our spiritual life.
As we pass through trial, sorrow, frustration, and disappointment, the image of Christ is produced in us.
Then we are ready to be displayed in the light.
Too often we blame people or circumstances for our dark tunnels of despair and frustration.
Although they may be the secondary causes, we need to realise that the hand of the heavenly Father momentarily shades the light of our pathway.
He graciously takes us through such experiences because He wants to provide us with the benefits of darkness.
God allows us to go through trials so that we will rely on His strength.
The trial enables us to grow and accomplish an even greater victory for God's kingdom!
/When obstacles come into your life do you become discouraged?
Do you complain about it and question God’s purpose in it all?
Or do you see it as an opportunity to further Christ’s kingdom?
If God is sovereign then we should accept His trials as opportunities.
/Paul was imprisoned in Rome for 2 years.
But instead of complaining and questioning God’s will, he used it as a way of sharing Christ to the guards and Caesar’s household.
He saw it as an opportunity to reach people that he normally couldn’t get to.
Paul turned his trials into triumphs.
He relied on God's power in his life.
God reached just as many people through Paul when he was a prisoner as when he was free.
*/God determined the attack /**/But /*He also Delivered Their Armies