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Israel Takes the Land

Joshua: Faith & Fear  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  27:31
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Introduction

Believe it or not we’re actually back in the book of Joshua today. I know some of you have been waiting a really long time for the continuation of the story. I totally get that… in many ways reading scripture is like an episodic drama on television. And some of you don’t like it when your stories get interrupted.
Others of you are like, “We’ve been in Joshua forever...”
I promise you that we’re going to cover some serious ground today and you’ll be surprised where we finish up today.

I. God Wins the Battles -

We actually have reached a section of the book without a great deal of detail about the taking of the land.... Battles take place, kings are overthrown, people are killed. The important thing to take away from this section of scripture (the end of ch 10, 11, and 12) is that God won these battles. Joshua and Israel were just obedient to God’s command.
Joshua 11:18–21 NASB95
18 Joshua waged war a long time with all these kings. 19 There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle. 20 For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 21 Then Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the hill country of Judah and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities.
Joshua 11:18–19 NASB95
18 Joshua waged war a long time with all these kings. 19 There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle.
Joshua 11:18
And that is literally how this section of scripture reads… “they went over here and captured this place and killed their king and there was nobody left who breathed...” The names change but the result is the same in place after place.
Why? Scripture tells us why...
Joshua 11:20 NASB95
20 For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Joshua 11:19–20 NASB95
19 There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle. 20 For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Joshua 11:19-
And if you’ll think back, you might remember why they deserved no mercy. Do you remember?
We’ve talked about it ever since we started the book of Joshua.
The time for mercy had passed
God had been trying to redeem the people of Canaan for well over 400 years that we know about in scripture. The entire time that the Hebrews were captive in Egypt, God had been attempting to draw the Canaanites to Himself so that they might be saved. But what did they do instead?
They rejected God and followed their false gods.
We are not given the specific details of how this message was given to them, but we can only assume that for well over 400 years God had sent prophets into Canaan to bring them a message of redemption and hope.
But God had decided that the time for mercy had passed. So Joshua and the Israelites were delivering God’s judgment upon the people of the land of Canaan.
That is the record of . We are told at the end of Joshua chapter 12 that there were 31 kings deposed, 31 nations destroyed, by the hand of God.
Joshua had completed his part of the conquest of Canaan. These were the key cities and kingdoms in the land. However there were a lot of smaller outlying towns and villages that were left untouched.
Joshua completed his part of the conquest of Canaan… Joshua and his army chose key cities and kingdoms throughout the land and destroyed those powers in the region. But there were a lot of smaller outlying towns and villages that were left untouched.
Once Joshua had control of the land, he began dividing the land for the tribes of Israel. The remainder of the job of conquering the land of Canaan fell to each tribe as they took their portion of inherited land.
The dividing of the land stretches out for nine chapters, of details about boundaries and borders where each tribe would live. It is difficult reading with difficult foreign sounding names. But there are a few important lessons to extract from this section of scripture.
Once Joshua had control of the land, he began dividing the land for the tribes of Israel.

II. The Land is a Gift -

It’s important to note that Israel was given this land by God and they were allowed to use it.
The people of Israel did not:
win their land through battle
purchase the land in a business transaction
Furthermore, they did not own the land. It was more like they were given a lease on the land, by the landowner, God.
Leviticus 25:23 NASB95
23 ‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.
The rent to be paid was continued worship and obedience.
Do you remember several weeks ago when we stood and read the blessings and the curses?
Remember that Israel agreed to these blessings and curses at Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. If the nation of Israel could manage to worship and obey the God of Israel, they would earn God’s blessings of productive land and peace with their neighbors.
If you remember, you
If they failed, then they would experience God’s curses.
Now back in the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh had opted to occupy land, which had been taken from Moab, on the eastern side of the Jordan. These groups had large herds of cattle and saw this land as being fit for raising their cattle.
This group was so convinced that they had found the best possible place that they promised to help the rest of Israel with the battles and they rejected their land inheritance in preference for this land to the east of the Jordan.
They had promised to help the rest of Israel with the battles, they just preferred to live outside of God’s appointed land.
While Moses granted their request, he made it clear that they were basically making the same mistake that Israel made in Kadesh-barnea when they reject God’s first plan to take the Promised Land. These tribes were basically choosing to live outside of God’s best plan for them.
The choice to remain behind might have been good for their cattle, but it created several problems over the years.
They became vulnerable to attack:
Physical - These tribes provided a buffer between Israel and her enemies.
Spiritual - They got friendly with the Moabite women and began violating God’s laws.
PRINCIPLE - Don’t Be a Borderline Believer
Sometimes we think our plan is better than the plan that God has for us. We reject our inheritance in Christ and flirt with the enemy. This removes us from God’s blessing and puts us at risk for a fall.
Psalm 47:4 NASB95
He chooses our inheritance for us, The glory of Jacob whom He loves. Selah.
Blessed saints, never choose to reject God’s inheritance for what looks good in your own eyes.

B. Never Too Old to Follow God -

Caleb, at the age of 85, claimed his inheritance by making a request of Joshua. He asked Joshua for the most difficult land. The area that Caleb requested was called Mount Hebron. Caleb wanted mountains to climb and giants to conquer in his old age.
This area was a mountainous region that was inhabited by a race of giants, called the Anakim. These same giants were the ones that Caleb had witnessed on his first spying mission into the Promised Land. He had believed that the Lord would vanquish those giants on their first visit to the area and here again when he was 85 years old, he hadn’t stopped believing in the power of the Lord.
PRINCIPLE - You are never too old to make new conquests of faith in the power of the Lord

III. Caleb Followed God Fully -

Joshua and Caleb were old men. They were the only two who had survived the escape from Egypt, endured 40 years in the wilderness, and lived through all the battles in the land of Canaan.
Caleb, at the age of 85, claimed his inheritance by making a request of Joshua. He asked Joshua for the most difficult land. The area that Caleb requested was called Mount Hebron. Caleb wanted mountains to climb and giants to conquer in his old age.
This area was a mountainous region that was inhabited by a race of giants, called the Anakim. These same giants were the ones that Caleb had witnessed on his first spying mission into the Promised Land. He had believed that the Lord would vanquish those giants on their first visit to the area and here again when he was 85 years old, he hadn’t stopped believing in the power of the Lord.
PRINCIPLE - You are never too old to make new conquests of faith in the power of the Lord
It was said of Caleb six times in Scripture that “he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel.” (; ; ; ; ) Caleb clearly wanted to capture more victories for God before he counted his strength as being from the Lord rather than being something he found within himself.
Caleb said it of himself...
Joshua 14:8 NASB95
8 “Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the Lord my God fully.
Moses said it of Caleb...
Joshua 14:9 NASB95
9 “So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God fully.’
Even God said it about Caleb...
Numbers 14:24 NASB95
24 “But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.

What would God say about you?

Would He say that you followed Him fully? Or would He say that you failed to follow Him fully?
In my own case, I might hope to attain a status similar to David by hearing God say “He was a man after my own heart.” But I know that throughout my life I have let fear keep me from the fulness of what He might have desired or planned. I have argued way too much with God over things that I feared might come to pass.
I have also doubted what God might be doing with me during the times He has been testing me.

A. Caleb Never Doubted God

Throughout his time in the wilderness with a people that had rejected God’s leadership, Caleb never grumbled or complained.
Over the course of 40 years wandering in the wilderness:
the people complained about the food that God provided for them.
they begged Moses to take them back to Egypt
they turned to worshiping idols and false gods
Caleb is never listed among those who turned from God.
On the contrary, scripture says time and time again that Caleb fully followed God.

Character

There are two things that we can learn about character as we look at Caleb:
Character is built over time
Character is revealed over time
Joshua 14:14 NASB95
14 Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the Lord God of Israel fully.
True character and integrity doesn’t just happen overnight. True character is built up over a lifetime. Every challenge… Every obstacle… Every decision… it all leads to the building up of character.
1 John 5:4 NASB95
4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
Joshua 15:13–19 NASB95
13 Now he gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh a portion among the sons of Judah, according to the command of the Lord to Joshua, namely, Kiriath-arba, Arba being the father of Anak (that is, Hebron). 14 Caleb drove out from there the three sons of Anak: Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai, the children of Anak. 15 Then he went up from there against the inhabitants of Debir; now the name of Debir formerly was Kiriath-sepher. 16 And Caleb said, “The one who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter as a wife.” 17 Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, captured it; so he gave him Achsah his daughter as a wife. 18 It came about that when she came to him, she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. So she alighted from the donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” 19 Then she said, “Give me a blessing; since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.
Josh 14:14
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All it takes is a single mistake, a single compromise, a single sin to compromise your character and destroy your character in the eyes of others. We’ll see that lesson next time when we talk about Hokey Pokey Believers.
Character is revealed over time. That means that we can watch people in their actions, their responses, in the small decisions of life and see how they might respond in the big moments of their lives.

B. Caleb Claimed What Was Promised -

Joshua 14:6–14 NASB95
6 Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know the word which the Lord spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh-barnea. 7 “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. 8 “Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the Lord my God fully. 9 “So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God fully.’ 10 “Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. 11 “I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. 12 “Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken.” 13 So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. 14 Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the Lord God of Israel fully.
PRINCIPLE It isn’t arrogance to claim God’s promises. It’s arrogance to claim what God never promised.
-
Hebrews 13:5–6 NASB95
5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” 6 so that we confidently say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:5 NASB95
5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”
Did you catch that formula?
“He Himself [God] has said… so we can confidently say...”
Here are a few applications of that formula:
God has said...
Romans 8:1 NASB95
1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
We can confidently say, “I am free from condemnation because I am in Christ Jesus.”
God has said...
1 John 1:9 NASB95
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We can confidently say, “I am fully forgiven and cleansed because I have confessed my sins.”
Romans 8:37
Romans 8:37 NASB95
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
We can confidently say, “I refuse to live in defeat because I walk in the victory of Jesus Christ!”
Because He said, we can confidently say!

IV. Why Did Caleb Trust God So Much?

Caleb’s trust in God came from the same source that my trust in God comes from. In fact it comes from the same place that your trust in God comes from...

A. Caleb Saw God’s Past Performance

We have God’s book that tells us everything that God wants for us to know about Himself, His character, and His great love for us.
Caleb saw God:
bring His people out of Egypt
divide the sea and the river so His people could go where He led them
guide His people with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night
provide nourishment, refreshment, and shelter for His people in a harsh land
protect His people in battle
vanquish His enemies
Caleb had observed God’s faithfulness for 45 years!
Why wouldn’t he trust God to give His people exactly what He promised them?
HOMEWORK (Do this today if at all possible.)
Sit in a quiet place
Take a notebook and a pen
Review your life
Review your life
Write down all the times in your life that God has
preserved you
protected you
provided for you throughout your life
If you’ll give this exercise the time it deserves, I think you’ll be surprised at what you will find. You may just discover that in the darkest, most difficult moments of your life that God was there going through those moments with you.

B. God Cares For His People

We can see this throughout the Bible...
Pentateuch - History Books
Genesis 28:15 NASB95
15 “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Write down all the times in your life that God has preserved you, protected you, and provided for you throughout your life.
Lamentations 3:22–23 NASB95
22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
Wisdom Literature
Psalm 36:5 NASB95
5 Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
1 Peter 5:7 NASB95
7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
Psalm 55:22 NASB95
22 Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
Psalm 34:18 NASB95
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 23:1 NASB95
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Prophets
Isaiah 41:10 NASB95
10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Words of Jesus
John 10:11 NASB95
11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
Letters of the Early Church
1 Peter 5:7 NASB95
7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
Philippians 4:19 NASB95
19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Even our previous verse that gives us the Formula for Confidence in claiming God’s promises reminds us that God cares for His people so much that He makes promises to us, even though we deserving nothing of the sort from a great and mighty God...
The Formula for Confidence
Hebrews 13:5–6 NASB95
5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” 6 so that we confidently say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
I could keep on going… The Bible is FULL of examples that show how much God cares for us. But the bottom line for today’s message is found in this principle...
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CONCLUSION
PRINCIPLE You Can Trust In God, Because God Is Trustworthy
Won’t you do that today? Won’t you put your trust in:
the God who provided for Israel
the God who fulfilled promises for His children
the God who is calling you and wanting to provide for your needs and your family’s needs today?
[Invitation]
Now we’ve covered a lot of territory in scripture today. We covered from the second half of chapter 10 all the way through chapter 21. When we pick this up next time, we’ll be right near the end of Joshua’s life.
I’ll be out next week for the Texas Baptists convention, but when I come back next time we’ll look at a group of Israelites that got off the track in following God’s plan for Israel.
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