Joshua: Victory Defeat and Deception
Chapter 6:2: And the Lord said to Joshua: Behold I have given into thy hands Jericho, and the king thereof, and all the valiant men. This is what we need to know we go to fight against Satan-that He has already been defeated on the Calvary, and that the Lord will crush him under our feet. (Romans 16:20). The Lord did not tell Joshua. I am going to give Jericho to you in another seven days.” No. He said, “I have already given you the city. Just go in and take it.”
All that the Israelite's had to do was to march around the city 13 times in seven days and then blow their trumpets on the seventh day. This marching around a city and the shouting has unfortunately degenerated into a technique that some believers adopt. It is only when the Lord demands these things that they have any value. Our calling is to establish the victory of Calvary wherever we go. We must confess that Satan has been defeated. “They overcame Satan by the word of their testimony to Satan, saying, 'Satan you have been defeated on the cross' " (Revelation 12:11). I have great joy in reminding Satan about his defeat very frequently. I know he doesn't like to hear it.
How many times have you told the devil that he was defeated on the cross? Start today. Tell him often that he was defeated on the cross. He will hate you for saying that. But I like it when the devil hates me, because then I know that I am on the right track. Don't be afraid of Satan. You will be able to put him under your feet through the power of God, as you proclaim the word of your testimony to him. I am not teaching you a technique here. If you don't keep your conscience pure and you try to resist Satan, he will laugh at you and say, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, But who are you?” (Acts 19:15). So submit to God first and then resist the devil (Joshua 1:7).
Chapter 7: Here we read of Israel being defeated for the first time in Canaan. Joshua asked the Lord why Israel was defeated and the Lord replied saying, “There is sin in the camp.” One man had stolen something that was forbidden. God had told them very clearly, “You must not take anything in Jericho for yourselves. It must all be given to the Lord.” (6:17) All the Israelites obeyed that command except Achan (7:20). When he was finally caught and exposed, he confessed that he had sinned. He had seen a beautiful Babylonian dress in a house and coveted it ('Shinar' is another word for Babylon.) He said, “I saw, I coveted, I took, I hid.” (verse 21)- four steps in temptation. This is how we sin too-and then hide our sin. Achan was then stoned to death.
When Achan heard that he would not be permitted to take anything of the spoils of battle in Jericho, he must have thought, “If after killing these giants and capturing their cities, I am not going to get anything myself, during the next 20 years, I will be a poor man. So I better keep a little bit for myself.” Little did he realize that the Lord was only testing the Israelites at Jericho to see if they would be covetous. In Joshua 8:2 we read that the Lord said to the people. That from then on, they could take all the spoils of battle in Canaan for themselves! What a fool Achan was! If only he had waited, he could have got all the silver and gold and garments that he wanted. But he missed all that because he failed when God tested him.
God will test you too, to see whether you grab something in covetousness. If you do, you will miss God's best that He had planned for you, for the rest of your life. Instead, if you seek God's kingdom first, He will give you all that you need always.
In Chapter 8:26, we read how Ai was defeated after Achan had been killed. We have to set right the past before we can move forward; otherwise we will keep on being defeated in the Ai's of our life. We see here that Joshua lifted up his javelin over Ai, just like Moses had lifted up his hand on the mountain top. And his soldiers fought and Ai was defeated.
Now the great danger that all of face after we have won a victory is the danger of becoming complacent. The moment we begin to relax in the Christian life, we are in danger of being deceived. And that's what happened to Joshua (Chapter 9). Some Gibeonites - who were Canaanites who should have been killed - came and met Joshua (9:4). They acted craftily and pretended they were coming from a distant place, by wearing worn-out clothes and worn-out sandals and carrying old, moldy bread with them (9:5). They also flattered the Israelites. We are in great danger when people flatter us. Deception is very close. We read in 9:14, “The men of Israel did not seek advice from the Lord.” Joshua believed them and made a covenant with them not to kill them. Three days later they discovered that theses people were Canaanites who should have been killed (verse 16). But by then they had already made a covenant with them – and they had to keep their word.
What can we learn from this incident? It is a warning for us to be careful that we are not deceived by those who flatter us and who want to join with us in some kind of ecumenical “journey together” but with wrong motives. The safest course of action in such cases is to seek the Lord's advice and not to lean on our own wisdom.
We must be especially careful immediately after winning great victories. We read in the gospels, how, immediately after a time of many miraculous healings, Jesus would slip away into the wilderness to pray, to give all the glory to His Father (Luke 5:15-16). That's an example for us. When is it that we are in danger of not seeking counsel from the Lord? When we have been victorious. Not when we were defeated.
We are in greatest danger after a victory than after a defeat.
Usually after a defeat, we draw closer to the Lord because we have failed Him in some way. It's when we have been victorious for a while. That we are in danger of spiritual pride.
Chapter 10: When five kings attacked Gibeion, and the Gibeonites sought Joshua's help, God encouraged Joshua by saying “Don't be afraid. I have given them into your hands. Not one of them will stand before you” (verse 8). The word was always, “I have already given”. Victory was a foregone conclusion, even before the battle started. That is how we must go to battle against Satan too. Satan and his demons will not be able to stand before us. The gates of hell will never prevail against the Church of the living God. Joshua came upon them and defeated them “and no man durst move his tongue against the children of Israel.” As one commentator put it “none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel; as to curse them, reproach them, and speak ill of them, for invading them, and using them in the manner they did, such was the terror that was upon them.” Then Joshua called for the men of Israel and said, “Go, and set your feet on the necks of these kings.” (verse 24) The Bible says in Romans 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan (not on Calvary) under your feet.” Jesus has already defeated Satan on Calvary. But Satan will be crushed under our feet now.