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The Provision of Peace

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Leader Guide ESV, Unit 8, Session 3
© 2018 LifeWay Christian Resources, Permission granted to reproduce and distribute within the license agreement with purchaser. Edited by Rev. Lex DeLong, M.A.
Summary and Goal
In the previous session, the Israelites began their campaign to conquer the promised land with a victory over the fortified city of Jericho. We saw that God provided the victory and how Rahab was spared and brought into the people of God. Next, the Israelites suffered defeat at the city of Ai because they failed to follow God’s instructions, but then they were given victory over that same city after they repented. In this session, we will see that Israel had learned an important lesson: Victory was theirs if they obeyed God, but defeat was certain if they relied upon themselves.
Session Outline
++1. God promises victory for His people (Josh. 10:1-8).
++2. God fights for His people in miraculous ways (Josh. 10:9-15).
++3. God gives His people what He has promised. (Josh. 11:23).
Session in a Sentence
God fights for His people to provide the victory that He has promised.
Christ Connection
God fought for Joshua and the Israelites, giving them victory over their enemies and peace in the land. God has provided victory over sin and death for us through His Son’s death and resurrection. Through Jesus we have peace with God.
Introduction
DDG (p. 66). Begin this introduction with providing the answers and information below.
NUMBER OF YEARS OF PEACE IN RECORDED WORLD HISTORY
268 of the last 3,400 years
NUMBER OF DEATHS FROM WAR IN RECORDED WORLD HISTORY
150 million to 1 billion people
· Reportedly, the world has been at peace only 268 of the last 3,400 years. In other words, only 8 percent of recorded history has known worldwide peace. The 3,100-plus years of war have led to the deaths of anywhere from 150 million to 1 billion people, 108 million of those in the twentieth century. 1
Commentary: As of 2018, surveying a wide array of factors, these thirteen countries are ranked the most peaceful in the world by the Institute for Economics & Peace: Iceland, New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, Denmark, Canada, Czech Republic, Singapore, Japan, Ireland, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Australia. 2
Explain: Note that the Israelites in the Old Testament were no strangers to war either.
· Abraham, the father of the Israelites, defeated four kings to rescue his nephew Lot (Gen. 14:1-16).
· Moses raised his hands—with a little help—over a battle of self-defense with the Amalekites soon after the Israelites escaped from Egypt, and though they had received no battle training, God’s people defeated the Amalekite army (Ex. 17:8-16).
· God even commanded the Israelites to war with some of the surrounding peoples, dispensing His judgment in His strength on sinners, not unlike how God would discipline them with foreign nations.
The Israelites began their campaign to conquer the promised land with a victory over the fortified city of Jericho.
Next, the Israelites suffered defeat at the city of Ai because they failed to follow God’s instructions, but then they were given victory over that same city after they repented.
Now we will see that Israel had learned an important lesson: Victory was theirs if they obeyed God, but defeat was certain if they relied upon themselves.

Point 1: God promises victory for His people (Josh. 10:1-8).

When the Gibeonites in the promised land heard about how Jericho and Ai had fallen, they went to visit Joshua and asked for a treaty of peace. But knowing the Israelites’ intent to destroy all the peoples of the land, the Gibeonites pretended they had journeyed from far away.
Even Joshua failed to consult God and fell for the ruse. So they were allowed to live as slaves in service to the house of God, but some other Canaanite kings felt betrayed.
Read Joshua 10:1-8 (DDG p. 67).
1 As soon as Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured Ai and had devoted it to destruction, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, 2 he 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 warriors. 3 So Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, to Piram king of Jarmuth, to Japhia king of Lachish, and to Debir king of Eglon, saying, 4 “Come up to me and help me, and let us strike Gibeon. For it has made peace with Joshua and with the people of Israel.” 5 Then the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered their forces and went up with all their armies and encamped against Gibeon and made war against it.
6 And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, saying, “Do not relax your hand from your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the hill country are gathered against us.” 7 So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. 8 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.”
DDG (p. 67)
An alliance of five kings attacked Gibeon, so they sent word to Joshua for help. Often in their history, Israel had avoided risk and chosen the “safe” route, even if that route meant departing from God and His ways. But here they kept their oath and marched to defend a people who had tricked them.
· The previous generation of Israelites often took things into their own hands instead of trusting in God.
They had tried to gather more manna than was allowed because they couldn’t trust God’s provision.
They had created a golden calf when Moses was absent for what seemed to be too long.
They had refused to go into the promised land because they feared the people of the land would wipe them out.
Fill in the blanks: DDG (p. 67) quote from Betsie ten Boom.
“There are no ‘ifs’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety.” 3 –Betsie ten Boom
Commentary: Betsie ten Boom was the sister of Corrie ten Boom, a survivor of a German concentration camp during World War II. These sisters, along with their father, were Christians who worked to help Jews survive the brutal policies of the Nazis in German-occupied Holland. For their brave efforts, they were arrested and imprisoned like the Jews they tried to save. Betsie and their father both perished in their imprisonment, but their faith and wisdom are recorded in Corrie’s book The Hiding Place.
DDG (p. 67)
Joshua committed himself and his army in keeping with his word to the Gibeonites, and God would use this circumstance to fulfill His promises to Israel.
Though the Israelites faced a daunting battle, God’s first instruction to their leader was not to be afraid—God would give them victory. What appeared from a human perspective to be a great risk and the fallout of Joshua’s rash promises was actually God’s way of delivering five kings and their armies into Israel’s hands.
Once again we see God reminding Joshua that victory was based on who He is and what He would do, not on who the Israelites were and what they could do.
Though this situation came about from deception, none of it was outside of God’s plan to make good on His promise to give His people the land.
God was going to be glorified, even through the trickery of the Gibeonites and the rash promises of Joshua.
Interact: Ask the following question.
How is it comforting to know that God can be glorified and bring good from anything, even our mistakes?
(though we make mistakes, God is not finished with us and continues to use us for His glory and our good; our struggle with temptation and sin does not disqualify us as sons and daughters of God; God’s eternal promises do not rest on our ability to be perfect in His sight)

Point 2: God fights for His people in miraculous ways (Josh. 10:9-15).

Read Joshua 10:9-15 (DDG p. 68).
9 So Joshua came upon them suddenly, having marched up all night from Gilgal. 10 And the Lord threw them into a panic before Israel, who struck them with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 And as they fled before Israel, while they were going down the ascent of Beth-horon, the Lord threw down large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died because of the hailstones than the sons of Israel killed with the sword.
12 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
“Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” 13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. 14 There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel.
15 So Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.
DDG (p. 68) The Israelites’ weakened state allowed them to see the Lord demonstrate His omnipotence over nations and nature.
When the Israelite army drew near Gibeon, they were worn out. Yes, they had caught the alliance of five kings by surprise, but they had marched all night to do so. Their advantage was lessened by their weakened state, which was exactly what God wanted. He wanted them to remember and to know that He is the Lord who fights on behalf of His people and that He is omnipotent over nations and nature.
· God’s strength is made known most clearly through the weaknesses of His people (2 Cor. 12:9).
2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Notice who acted in these verses. The Lord was the One who threw the opposing armies into confusion. He was the One responsible for the great slaughter of the people’s enemies. He was the One who threw large hailstones that killed more enemy soldiers than the sword. God had told Joshua that He would hand the enemy over to the Israelites, and that is precisely what He did.
· God did not just give His people the victory; He displayed for them, and all the people in the land, something else quite important.
He displayed His power for He is omnipotent.
Even nature is under His sovereignty, as seen on this occasion in the hailstones he threw and the sun and the moon standing still. This was not a new lesson for the Israelites—they had seen God hold back the waters of the Jordan and had heard the stories of God’s mighty works in the exodus—but this was a lesson that deserved repeating. God wanted His people to trust in Him and His might, not in themselves.
Fill in the blanks: DDG (p. 68).
Miracles: A miracle is an event in which God makes an exception to the natural order of things for the purpose of demonstrating His glory. Because we believe God to be all-powerful and personally involved in this world, we believe He can and does perform miracles.
Essential Doctrine “Miracles”:
A miracle is an event in which God makes an exception to the natural order of things, or supersedes natural laws, for the purpose of demonstrating His glory and/or validating His message. Miracles are recorded throughout Scripture; miraculous signs and wonders were oftentimes evident when a prophet or an apostle was speaking God’s message to the people. Because we believe God to be all-powerful and personally involved in this world, we believe He can and does perform miracles.
DDG (p. 68)
Joshua’s prayer in faith for the sun and the moon to stop their movement through the sky was so the Israelites could finish the battle. There are many ways that the Lord demonstrates to us the same faithfulness in response to our prayers of faith when we turn to Him in times of need.
Joshua knew the battle was the Lord’s and that the victory was secure, but he needed more daylight for his forces to see the battle through to the end. So he prayed in faith and commanded the sun and moon to halt their march across the sky, and God answered Joshua’s prayer. Then the army demonstrated their faith and obedience as they cast aside their exhaustion and kept fighting until the victory was won.
· We’re all fighting battles right now. It might be a physical battle, full of sickness or pain. Or perhaps it is an emotional one. Maybe your battle is within the family; relationships, the well-being of your children, or for the salvation of a loved one. Or your battle might be against yourself—your pride, your ambition, or your own agenda.
· Regardless of the battle, we must turn away from relying on our own strength to fight. None of us alone, are enough. The battle is not ours to win; it is God’s to win for us.
We can’t get through this alone; instead, we must turn to the only One who can and will get you through the battle in victory.
Saturate yourself in His Word and His promises, spend time in His presence, and thank Him for His providence. Praise Him for the glory that will be all His. And though you are tired and worn, dare to pray for more sunlight so the fight can wage on unto total victory.
Ask the following question.
How does God’s omnipotence encourage you in your circumstances?
(be prepared to give an answer of your own to jump-start the conversation)

Point 3: God gives His people what He promised (Josh. 11:23).

While the sun hung on, the Israelites chased down and slaughtered most of the remaining armies and Joshua captured and killed the five kings. The battle was finally over, but the war was not.
The next chapter and a half records with a blistering pace how Joshua completed the conquest of both southern and northern Canaan. Then comes the following summary.
Read: Joshua 11:23 (DDG p. 69).
23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. And the land had rest from war.
· Joshua and the Israelite army entered the promised land near Jericho, about the midpoint as you traveled through the land north to south. In their central campaign, God handed Jericho and Ai over to them (Josh. 6–8).
· The southern campaign involved the defense of Gibeon against the army of five kings and clearing out numerous cities in the area (Josh. 9–10). The Israelite army was victorious “because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel” (10:42).
· In Joshua 11, more kings heard of the Israelites’ success, mounted armies together, and attacked. In God’s power and providence, Joshua led the Israelites in the northern campaign, which began with a victory over an alliance as numerous as “the sand that is on the seashore” (11:4), followed by numerous battles and sieges as the Israelites conquered city after city of their enemies.
The purposes for this conquest: DDG (p. 69)
++1) fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham
++2) fulfillment of God’s word to Moses
++3) judgment on the sinful nations of Canaan
++4) so that God would be glorified by the Israelites throughout the world.
God had promised to give this land to Abraham and his descendants, and God had told Moses that His people would conquer it and inhabit it. It was His land to give; it did not belong to the nations within it. And to be clear, they were not innocent victims: the Canaanites were idolaters, rebels against God whom God had given time to repent, but instead, they continued in their sin (see Gen. 15:16). As long as these people dwelled in the land and God’s people were outside of the land, God’s glory was veiled. This was why their fight was worth it. Though it took much time and effort for the Israelites (Josh. 11:18), God made His people victorious and they received their promised land.
DDG (p. 69)
The Israelites had endured a lengthy war in conquest of the promised land, but God had given them victory—the land was theirs. Then God gave them something else that they desperately needed: peace. Rest for the land ravaged by war. Rest for the battered and worn out bodies and minds of God’s people. But the Israelites’ physical, emotional, and mental rest in the land was a picture of a greater rest to come for us all: the spiritual rest we find only in Jesus (Matt. 11:28-30).
Voices from Church History
“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” 4 –C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
“GOD IS MERCIFUL AND JUST, AND GIVES PEACE TO HIS OWN BOTH HERE AND BEYOND DEATH.
–JOHN HUSS (C. 1369-1415)
Just as God went before His people in battle in Israel, He went before us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, who conquered sin and death in our place.
When we trust in Jesus, God gives us the victory over our unbeatable foes and gives us the peace and rest we need, leading to eternal salvation and living out our salvation each day.
Ask the following question.
What will it look like to rest in Christ’s victory over sin and death?
(resting in Christ means we will endure in hope through the trials and temptations of this age, knowing our final victory is coming; we will fight against temptation and sin with confidence of success because Christ has already won our victory; the believer can look at death as “falling asleep” until the final victory over death results in our resurrection and everlasting rest with God)
Just as the people of Israel found themselves in the midst of battles, we as children of God through faith in Jesus find ourselves battling against evil and oppression, sin and temptation, idolatry and destruction.
In Christ’s army, figuratively speaking, there are no conscientious objectors, no pacifists. We are all called to gear up and get ready for battle (see Eph. 6:10-18).
God fought for Joshua and the Israelites, giving them victory. Today, God has provided us victory over sin and death through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and we have the peace of God in the midst of a world without peace, just as Jesus promised (John 16:33).
John 16:33 NASB
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
But our victory and peace through Christ are not for us alone, it is ultimately for God’s glory as we allow that glory to shine through us in a world encased in the darkness of sin.
…We must rest in the victory and peace Christ has won for us through His life, death, and resurrection
…We must stay in the fight against temptation and sin with God’s strength for the victory instead of our own
Session in a Sentence
God fights for His people to provide the victory that He has promised.
Close in prayer:
References
1. Chris Hedges, “What Every Person Should Know About War,” The New York Times, 2003, https://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/books/chapters/what-every-person-should-know-about-war.html.
2. Institute for Economics & Peace, “Global Peace Index 2018: Measuring Peace in a Complex World” (Sydney, June 2018), http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2018/06/Global-Peace-Index-2018-2.pdf.
3. Betsie ten Boom, quoted in The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom with Elizabeth and John Sherrill (Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books, 2006), 84.
4. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York, NY: HarperOne, 1980, reprint 2001), 50.
5. “Joshua,” in Africa Study Bible (Oasis International, 2016), 310.
6. K. Jesurathnam, “Joshua,” in South Asia Bible Commentary, gen. ed. Brian Wintle (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015), 280.
7. V. Philips Long, “Joshua,” in ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008), 409, n. 10:8.
8. Richard S. Hess, “Joshua,” in CSB Study Bible (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2017), 335, n. 10:14.
9. Ken Fentress, “Joshua,” in The Apologetics Study Bible (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2007), 337-38, n. 10:12-15.
10. David Oginde, “Joshua,” in Africa Bible Commentary, gen. ed. Tokunboh Adeyemo (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 283.
11. David M. Howard Jr., Joshua, vol. 5 in The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2003) [Wordsearch].
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