Daybreak: Joshua 11:1 through 12:24
“As the Lord commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.” (Joshua 11:15)
There is a story of a man, who, while performing his job on the railroad, noticed his young son playing on the tracks in the path of an oncoming train. His first instinct was to stop the train, but doing so would risk injury or even death to the passengers. He was afraid that if he began yelling frantically and waving his arms, his son would be so frightened that he would be unable to move. Seconds were passing and there was no time to deliberate — something must be done immediately!
Calmly, yet firmly, he called to his son, “Lie down! Now!” and with great fear and trepidation he watched the speeding train pass over the body of his young son. After the train had passed, the man approached the spot on the tracks where his son had been playing, fearing he would find a mangled body. Instead, the boy arose unharmed: he had obeyed his father’s command.
Few of us ever experience a lesson in obedience so profound as that family did. Had the boy questioned his father’s order, it would have been too late; had he deliberated or sought a second opinion, he would have been killed. Without the son’s total obedience, the story would have had a tragic ending rather than a good one.
Joshua was God’s humble servant, chosen to lead the Israelites into battle and into the Promised Land. Many times during Joshua’s career, God gave him explicit instructions for the battles: where to go, how to approach the city, what to do with the spoils of war. In each situation, Joshua had to choose to obey the Lord. Joshua made the right choices and obeyed the commands of the Lord, resulting in victory for the Israelites and the possession of the Promised Land.
The words of our Heavenly Father are plain and direct. They instruct us to do something, to do nothing, or to wait. God speaks to us through His written Word, through the spoken word of His ministers, and through the prompting and leading of the Holy Spirit. Like Joshua, in each instance we are faced with a decision: to obey or to question, hesitate, and seek the advice of someone else.
Joshua’s victories were the direct result of his total and immediate obedience to God. Whether we understand or not, we can possess that same victory by choosing to obey the commands of our Heavenly Father.
A new confederacy of nations had formed to combat the invading Israelites. This northern conquest was Joshua’s third and last advance into the Promised Land.
The Israelite army consisted of infantry only, whereas their enemies rode in chariots and had foot soldiers beyond number. Canaanite chariots of that day were of wooden construction tipped with iron barbs: a fearsome and destructive military machine.
God instructed Israel to “hough” their enemies’ horses. To “hough their horses” was to cut the hamstring tendon at the joint of the horses’ hind legs, rendering them useless in future battles. The hock is the joint in the hind leg of a horse which corresponds to the ankle in a human. The houghing of their horses and burning of their enemies’ chariots proved God’s total victory over the traditional Canaanite means of warfare.
Joshua burned Hazor, but did not burn the remaining cities (verses 11-14). The inhabitants were slain, however the cattle and other livestock were preserved.
The Anakims mentioned in verses 21-22 of chapter 11 were the peculiar race of giants, which had discouraged the ten Israelite spies, and subsequently the majority of the people, from entering the Promised Land some forty years earlier.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The land contested
B. The history of the conquest
3. The northern campaign (11:1-15)
a. The confederacy of Jabin (11:1-5)
b. The destruction of the confederacy (11:6-9)
c. The destruction of Hazor (11:10-12)
d. The securing of the north (11:13-15)
4. The campaigns summarized (11:16 — 12:24)
a. The land conquered (11:16-20)
b. The Anakim destroyed (11:21-23)
c. The kings defeated (12:1-24)
(1) In the Transjordan (12:1-6)
(2) In the land (12:7-24)
A Closer Look
- What were God’s explicit commands to Joshua about their enemies’ horses and chariots? Were those commandments obeyed?
- How do you think Joshua felt when he saw the huge army facing him?
- To obey is one of the most powerful choices we possess. Look carefully at every aspect of your life: body, mind, finances, and will. Can you say you have “left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded?” If there is a question or hesitation, ask yourself: “What do I need to change in order to bring about total obedience in all my life?”
Obedience to God is one area of life over which we have control. What choices are you making in this regard?