It was in the aftermath of the glorious
victory over 5 Canaanite kings. God gives Israel victory, He roots out
five nations, the sun stands still for Joshua, and all is good.
Except for one thing: "Now the five kings had fled and hidden in the cave at Makkedah." (Josh 10:16 NIV)
The kings of these five city-states are still alive!
When we give our hearts to God, He gives us victory over sin. But this is no guarantee that we won't fall into temptation. The story of how Joshua takes care of those five kings is a beautiful lesson for us on how we can slay the enemy of our souls, as well as the wickedness of our hearts!
"Joshua said, 'Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me.'" (Josh 10:22)
The first important lesson is this: When Joshua hears about the kings, he is concerned! If the kings are still alive, they will be able to rally against Israel again. They must be destroyed.
Our first step to overcoming temptation is to recognize that it must be destroyed! We need to understand, just like Joshua did, that if we allow the wickedness to stay in our hearts, it will eventually "rally" against us and call us back to sin.
So what do we do about it?
"When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, 'Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.' So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks." (Josh 10:22-24 NIV)
The way of the day was to publically humiliate the defeated foe by putting a foot on his neck.
Likewise, when we go up against temptation and addiction, the first thing is to claim victory over it! Remember, the devil was defeated at Calgary! We can walk in that victory!
"Joshua said to them, 'Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous." (Josh 10: 25a)
The first step towards walking in victory is to not be afraid or discouraged! When coming up against temptation and addiction, when coming up against our human nature, we need to be strong and courageous!
"This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight." (Josh 10:25b)
And while we're being strong and courageous, we need to remember that "we" are NOT the ones who will be victorious: It is the LORD who gives us victory! We are weak and our efforts will always leave us wanting. The minute we start relying on ourselves, we are doomed to fail! But He is strong, and He is the One who already conquered the enemy for us!
"Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening." (Josh 10:26 )
Then we rise up in the name of the Lord, and we overcome, and we rejoice in the power of our God!
So the secret to overcoming temptation is:
To then rejoice in the
power of God!
But the story doesn't stop here:
"At sunset Joshua gave the order and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had been hiding. At the mouth of the cave they placed large rocks, which are there to this day." (Josh 10:27)
Joshua eventually had the bodies removed and buried. He hid them from sight for good.
This is the final step in overcoming temptation. When God gives us victory, we need to "bury" the temptation!
This means that we should take measures to avoid situations where we will be further tempted in this manner. We need to guard even our thoughts and our hearts and so that nothing that can potentially drag us down can enter in! When even the tiniest thought of the temptation enters our mind, that is the time to identify it and claim God's victory over it in Jesus name!
And in doing so, we are "burying" the defeated foe!
But doesn't all this killing in the book of Joshua seem cruel? Please join us next week for LESSONS FROM JOSHUA, Part 14: Why Total Annihilation …
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org, with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org.