What are some things worth fighting for on this earth? We fight for family. If you pick on my wife, I’m probably going to punch you in the jaw. That may be sinful, I’m just trying to be honest. We fight for our friends, and we fight for ourselves. If you step to me, I’m likely to defend myself with violence if necessary. Some of us fight for our faith, but others do not. For some of us, the things of God are just not worth defending or we care much more about being accepted by the world than we do about being accepted by God. My fear is that we fear the world so much in this way that our fear is actually keeping us from pursuing the life that God has for us. This conversation will be simple, but eternally beneficial for those who choose to read to the end: Should we fear the world? What promise do we have when we follow God’s plan for us even if the entire world stands against us?

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When the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they acted deceptively. They gathered provisions and took worn- out sacks on their donkeys and old wineskins, cracked and mended. They wore old, patched sandals on their feet and threadbare clothing on their bodies. Their entire provision of bread was dry and crumbly. They went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant land. Please make a treaty with us.[1]

 

So the five Amorite kings — the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon — joined forces, advanced with all their armies, besieged Gibeon, and fought against it.

Then the men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: “Don’t abandon your servants. Come quickly and save us! Help us, for all the Amorite kings living in the hill country have joined forces against us.” So Joshua and his whole military force, including all the fighting men, came from Gilgal.

The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, for I have handed them over to you. Not one of them will be able to stand against you.[2]

 

By this point in the story, Israel had crossed into Canaan. God crushed Jericho for them and led them to victory over Ai. Hearing of and fearing the power of God, a Canaanite group (the Gibeonites) tricked the Israelites into signing a treaty with them. When the Amorites heard of this, they united and came against the Gibeonites because the Gibeonites sided with Israel. The battle we will have in this portion of Scripture is Joshua and Gibeon and their armies against five Amorite kings and their armies. God looks down to Joshua in all of this and says, “Take ‘em. They can’t stand against you!”

What I would like to do in the next few moments is take this story and apply it to our discussion of leadership this month. We’ve talked about what leadership is and that God has a specific purpose as He brings us to a position of leadership on this earth. If you have missed those conversations, let me encourage you to go back and look them up. They are beneficial for everyone.

Since God places us in a position of leadership, or in a commanding position on this earth, for a purpose, then he is working to bring about some kind of result. Here it was that Joshua would lead Israel to take the land of Canaan and distribute its land among the Israelites (Joshua 1:6). Later God would even bring up the Messiah in this land. God was going to bring about that result and fulfill that purpose.

In this part of Scripture we see God working through His people and we see two responses from other groups in Canaan. First, we see the Gibeonites, a people who fear Joshua and trick him into signing a treaty with them so that they will not be destroyed. There are some people on this earth, like the Gibeonites, who will recognize God’s power in us and, as a result of everything God does through us, will become God-fearers. They will essentially become people of God and part of our family. I might point out that Israel as a nation couldn’t let just anybody join them. They lived in a time before the Messiah. What we do see, despite this, is God affirming that the Israelites should go and defend the Gibeonites; people who were natives in Canaan.

It seems plain that God will use our work to bring people into His kingdom, even if that might look different now than it did in the time of the Israelites. I don’t know if all the Gibeonites received salvation. It’s not something that anyone could look back on and say with any amount of certainty, but I do know that God showed mercy to them because of the faith they came to have in Him. Because of this I learn that even if someone was an enemy before, if they believe in Christ we defend them no matter who comes against them because they have come to fear God. This is why no matter what members of my church or others who share in the Gospel of Christ with me do, they are my family and I will defend them and fight for their good no matter who may stand against me! I hope those of you who have faith in Christ see your fellow brothers and sisters in this way.

Second, we see the five kings who were quick to turn against their own countrymen. Upon seeing the work of God, some people’s rebellion against God will be amplified. There is a hatred that exists in the world toward God and toward the people of God. When many hateful people see God working, they become more hateful and they act out against the people of God more often. I think of the jealous type who believes he ought to have a certain girl, and is okay until someone else begins dating that girl. Then, he lashes out: mostly to his own detriment.

As a believing community, we stand together against those people. God’s promise here, in context, is that if it will lead to his purpose being accomplished, he will not allow those people to prevent us from doing what He has called us to do. There is great power to which nothing could ever compare when we do the things that God wants us to do and we do them His way.

If we are to really think about good leadership, we should notice that Joshua was quick to lead Israel to defend Gibeon in their time of crisis. A godly leader fights beside his brothers. He doesn’t take all the action; neither does he command from a safe place. We fight beside each other, and we fight for God!

[1] Joshua 9:3-6 (HCSB)

[2] Joshua 10:5-8 (HCSB)

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