Confidence: His Perseverance (Part 3)

June 23, 2024

Series: Confidence

Book: Joshua

This is a part of a sermon series on the book of Joshua. You can watch more here.


Sermon Manuscript

If you were here last Sunday then this morning might sound a little repetitive but that’s okay because this is something we need to hear over and over and over, “Our relationship with God is like a roller coaster.”

It’s possible you’ve heard, “Come to Jesus and all your dreams will come true.” It’s a lie. Jesus never promises, “Your best life now.” That’s a lie. When you follow Jesus, you are going to get spiritually nauseas.

There are going to be the great highs with the Lord. There is going to be pain. There are going to be moments when you feel like the Lord is right next to you. And there’s going to be heart-ache. There are going to be worship services where you feel like the glory of God is in the room. And there are going to be seasons where it feels like God isn’t listening; and we see that in our passage this morning.

Joshua 8 ends with a worship service where everyone’s hands are lifted up in praise but chapter 9 is filled with deception. The Gibeonites mislead the leaders of Israel. The leaders of Israel don’t seek the counsel of the Lord, so that Joshua 9 ends with the Gibeonites being grafted into Israel. Let’s look at Joshua 10:1-2:

Joshua 10:1-2,” 1 Now it came about when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had captured Ai, and had utterly destroyed it (just as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king), and that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were within their land, 2 that 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 mighty.”

I am not sure who all plays the game RISK but verses 1-2 is describing military strategy of divide and conquer. Joshua has taken out Jericho, takes out Ai, partnered with the Gibeonites, so that the king of Jerusalem is starting to get nervous. Do you see the purple arrow is Israel coming to Gibeon and the red arrows are the 5 kings coming to attack Gibeon? Look at verses 3-5:

Joshua 10:3-5, “3 Therefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent word to Hoham king of Hebron and to Piram king of Jarmuth and to Japhia king of Lachish and to Debir king of Eglon, saying, 4 “Come up to me and help me, and let us attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the sons of Israel. 5 So 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 together and went up, they with all their armies, and camped by Gibeon and fought against it.”

Again, this is a strategic move on the 5 kings because the unity between Israel and Gibeon is new, therefore, by attacking Gibeon there are two things being accomplished. First, they are seeking revenge for Gibeon betraying the Canaanite people but also, they are going to test how loyal Israel is to Gibeon. The Gibeonites are the people that tricked Israel! Will Israel defend Gibeon? Look at verses 6-7:

Joshua 10:6-7, “6 Then the men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, saying, “Do not abandon your servants; come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites that live in the hill country have assembled against us.” 7 So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him and all the valiant warriors.”

Can’t you imagine how difficult this might be for Joshua? How easy it would have been for Joshua to think, “These Gibeonites are about to get what they deserve.” Why should Israel put their lives at risk for a people who just deceived them? Look at verses 8-9:

Joshua 10:8-9, “8 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.”9 So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal.”

Look at that phrase, “Do not fear them.” This has been a constant theme throughout Joshua. Joshua chapter 1, “Do not be afraid.” Remember Joshua 1? Do not be afraid! Why does the Lord speak these words to Joshua?

It’s because our walk with the Lord is like a roller coaster. Keep in mind, it was Joshua 9 we see Joshua neglect to seek the counsel of the Lord. Do you remember?

Joshua 9:14, “14 So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the Lord.”

It wasn’t that long ago that Joshua wasn’t seeking the counsel of the Lord. It wasn’t that long ago that Joshua was getting bamboozled by the Gibeonites with crumbly bread; and everyone knew about.

When you read Joshua 9 on your own the people of Israel are complaining. This wasn’t a secret failure that happened in a dark alley that nobody ever knew about. No, the people of Israel were upset and yet in Joshua 10 the Lord speaks to Joshua, “I am not done with you, do not fear them, for I have given you into hands.” Do you see that?:

Joshua 10:8-9, “8 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.”9 So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal.”

Isn’t that good? This brings us to the first principle of our passage this morning; Past Failures Don’t Negate the Hand of the Lord. Write that in your notes. Past Failures Don’t Negate the Hand of the Lord.

Remember, we’ve talked about how we can’t take 1-1 application from Old Testament narrative. We aren’t Israel. We aren’t at war with the Canaanites. Instead we want to look for principles that are true at all times for all people and all places, so that our first principle in our passage is that Past Failures Doesn’t Negate the Hand of the Lord.

The Lord knew Joshua didn’t seek the counsel of the Lord in Joshua 9. But in Joshua 10 we see the Lord speaking encouragement into Joshua, “Do not be afraid. I have given them into your hands.”

We need to hear that truth this morning. There are going to be seasons of great intimacy with the Lord but dips and valleys are coming. There are going to be spiritual failures in our life. Discouragement is coming. Waves of fear are coming.

It might be a moral failure. It might be a fumbled opportunity. It might be a hardened heart. It might be ignoring the counsel of the Lord. It might be something in secret or it might be made public but dips and valleys are going to come. A presidential election is this year! Holidays with the family are coming! You know there’s going to be that random uncle who keeps chirp’n!

In those moments we who are IN CHRIST need to remember Past Failures Don’t Negate the Hand of the Lord. The Gibeonites are a people layered in deception and yet the Lord comes to their defense. The Gibeonites don’t deserve the grace of the Lord. In fact, the Gibeonites deserved judgment but by God’s grace through faith the Gibeonites are grafted into His blessing.

It doesn’t mean we won’t experience consequences for our decisions. The Gibeonites are servants in the temple. The Israelites are going to battle for a people that deceived them. Earthly consequences are still going to happen but for those who are IN CHRIST, those earthly consequences do not negate the hand of the Lord on our life.

Listen to me, this isn’t just me trying to give you warm fuzzies. By grace through faith in Jesus’ life death and resurrection, Colossians 3 says, in that moment we are hidden in Christ. He takes our sin, we receive His righteousness, so that we are in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold new things have come.” Romans 8, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” Why? It’s because Jesus has taken our condemnation at the cross! That’s the gospel!

My life was hidden in Christ when I was 18-years old. I didn’t grow up around Jesus. I had a friend invite me to believe in Jesus, so that for 31-years I have lived a life hidden in Christ.

I wish I could tell you that those 31-years were all just mountain top moments with the Lord. I wish I could tell that those 31-years were just spiritual high after spiritual high but it’s been a roller coaster for me.

I remember struggling with how to navigate romantic relationships. I remember struggling with sexual immorality. I remember struggling with pride and arrogance. I remember struggling with doubts and insecurities and in those moments of failure, I was convinced that the Lord had left me. I was convinced that the Lord had moved on to someone who was worthier of His grace and I needed people to speak into my life, “He’s not done with you! You’re in Christ!” Turn to Christ! You belong to Christ!

Still today, there are dips and valleys in my life. Still today I wander from His Word. Still today I get tricked by the deception of this world and still today I see questions popping in my head, “Maybe the Lord has left me? Maybe the Lord has moved on to someone worthier?”

And that’s the thing. We we’re never worthy of His grace. Like the Gibeonites we were worthy of His judgment but through faith in Jesus, He is rich in mercy, and out of His great love, even when we were dead in our sin, He makes us alive in Christ!

Listen to me church family, when we are in Christ there will be days we walk by the Spirit, praise God, and there will be days we walk by the flesh, and in those days, our past failures do not negate the hand of the Lord. Look at verse 10:

Joshua 10:10, “10 And the Lord confounded them before Israel, and He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.

In our passage we see this contrast of humanity and God coming against each other. In verse 7 we see reference to the “valiant warriors of Israel.” Humanity. In verse 9 we see Israel “marching through the night.” Humanity. If you scan down in verse 11 Israel is “killing with the sword.” These are all active steps of humanity.

But overall, throughout Joshua 10 we can’t escape the powerful hand of the Lord. Back in verse 8 the Lord “spoke to Joshua.” Amen? In verse 10 we see “the Lord confounded the enemy.” It is “the Lord who slew them with a great slaughter.” It is “the Lord who pursued them by the way.” If you scan down to verse 11 we see it is “the Lord who is going to launch hailstones at the enemy.” We will get to that in a minute!

So that when we read Joshua 10 we see there is human involvement in the decisions that are being made but the overarching power is the hand of the Lord. Does that make sense? There are going to be ups and downs in our life. There are going to be decisions we make that are honoring to the Lord. There are going to be decisions we make that are offensive to the Lord but the overarching power in our life is the hand of the Lord.

It reminds me of those moments in life when a parent spends time with their children involved in an activity like playing soccer, riding a bike, or going fishing. In those moments the child is involved in the activity but the parent is the one buying the supplies, preparing the toys, baiting the hook, so that when the child participates in the activity the parents gets excited with the child and says, “Yay, look at what you did!”

It is similar with the Lord. We are the ones on the roller coaster. We are the ones who marching through the night. We are the ones who take that one step forward but it’s the Lord making it all happen. Amen? Look at verse 11:

Joshua 10:11, “11 As they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-horon, the Lord threw large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died; there were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword.”

Listen, it’s possible you might be thinking, “How come the Lord doesn’t rain down hail stones on my enemies?” We need to remember this is a supernatural event of Israel taken the land promised to Abraham 400 years earlier. This isn’t a normal event in the life of Israel.

You know there is some pastor out there trying to sell the Hailstones Prayer, so that when you pray these words the Lord will rain down judgment on your enemies. You know someone would buy that!

Supernatural, miraculous events are not the norm throughout Scripture. If miracles were normal they would be called “normacles.” They’re called miracles. The normal pattern is the Lord leading His people to walk with Him in the day-to-day mundane parts of life. One step forward, 10 steps back, trusting Him.

Sometimes walls of Jericho fall. Sometimes the Red Sea is parted. But Israel was enslaved for 400 years trusting Him, following Him, waiting on Him, so that yes, He moves in powerful ways. I have walked with Jesus for 31 years and expect Him to move in powerful ways but the majority of those 31-years are boring, mundane, ordinary days of following the Lord and trusting Him. Look at verse 12 because it’s about to get crazy.

Joshua 10:12, “12 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “O sun, stand still at Gibeon, and O moon in the valley of Aijalon.”

Just so we are all on the same page, Joshua just pushed the pause button on life. The battle is taking place. The Lord is raining down hailstones and Joshua thinks to himself, “This is so good, let’s make this last a little longer.” Click. Look at verse 13:

Joshua 10:13, “13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.”

So many questions. First, did that just happen? Yeah that happened. Sometimes people will read passages like this in the bible and say, “Oh, those miraculous things are just being exaggerated.” Or, “Technically the sun doesn’t rise.”

Listen to me, as a follower of Jesus we believe crazy things. This is our second principle of our passage this morning. The first is past failures don’t negate the hand of the Lord. The second is that following Jesus is crazy.

We believe God became flesh. That’s crazy. We believe in a virgin birth. That’s crazy. We believe someone died and three days later rose from the dead. That’s not normal! Nobody has ever made those claims. Only Jesus. That’s crazy.

I am sure we have this desire for our faith in Jesus to be embraced by the culture at large, so we want our faith in Jesus to look normal and palatable. It’s not. The fact the “sun stood still and the moon stopped” is like #12 on the list of crazy things we believe. It doesn’t even make the top 3!

In addition, it’s possible you are asking, “What’s up with the book of Jashar?” The book of Jashar is a book of Hebrew poetry that we haven’t found but the same way the Lord can pause the sun and the moon, the Lord can make sure we have the 66 books of the Bible that we need, so that the book of Jashar wasn’t necessary. If it was, we would have it. Look at verse 14-15:

Joshua 10:14-15, “14 There was no day like that before it or after it, when the Lord listened to the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel. 15 Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp to Gilgal.”

In verse 14 we see the word “listened.” Do you see that word? The Lord “listened to the voice of a man.” That phrase jumps off the page because it’s supposed to jump off the page. The word “listened” means “understand or obeyed” so that the Lord is deeply invested in Joshua.

Psalm 113 says, “Who is like the Lord, who is enthroned on high; and yet humbles Himself to the things that are in the earth.” In Joshua 9 the leaders of Israel neglect to seek the counsel of the Lord and in Joshua 10 the Lord is obeying the prayers of Joshua. Isn’t that fascinating? This brings us to our third and last principle of the passage is that we can’t overlook the power of prayer.

In Christ we are adopted into His family. In Christ we are made children of God. In Christ we are clothed in His righteousness. He’s not going to listen to Joshua but somehow ignore those who are in Christ, which means when we are in Christ we have been given powerful access to God through prayer.

I am guessing there are many of us are thinking of those times when the Lord didn’t respond to our prayers. We weren’t asking for the sun to pause. We were just asking for someone to be healed, asking the Lord to open a door for an opportunity. What about those prayers? Why didn’t the Lord answer those prayers?

Right now, our church family is asking the Lord to move. There are things we are wrestling with, challenges we are facing and I am sure there are many of us asking, “Why isn’t the Lord answering our prayers?”

God’s Word teaches us we have powerful access to the Lord in prayer but we must pray boldly according to His will. Does that make sense? In Joshua 10 we see Joshua’s prayer is completely in line with God’s will because the Lord says, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands” therefore, Joshua prays those promises back to the Lord. Does that make sense?

Unfortunately, we don’t always know the Lord’s will as clear as Joshua but that doesn’t mean we can’t pray boldly to the Lord according to His will. We can come and pound on His chest, “I want you to do this, I want you to help me with this, I want you to show up for this” but if “this” isn’t your will, then I will still follow you. Do you see the difference?

It’s not like Joshua wins every battle. It’s not like Joshua never experiences any difficulty. In this moment Joshua knew the Lord’s will and prayed accordingly and the Lord answered Him, therefore, we must remember in Christ we have been given powerful access to God through prayer, therefore, pray boldly.

Let’s pray boldly for the health of our church family. Let’s pray boldly that we would turn from temptation and follow Him. Let’s pray boldly that His name would be proclaimed through us for Him!

Our Yearly Focus this year called Embolden. We want to follow the Lord with boldness and courage, therefore, let’s pray boldly for our church family to shine brightly for His glory in our city.

If you read verse 16-43 on your own you are going to see a recap of military battles over and over throughout the rest of the chapter. The 5 kings hide in caves. Joshua holds them accountable. Violent acts are being described and I am not trying to avoid those parts of Scripture.

We committed a whole Sunday on violence in the Old Testament a few weeks ago that you can listen to on our YouTube Channel so that if you have questions, you can start there, but I don’t want us to miss the primary principles of our passage this morning.

Our relationship with God is going to feel like a roller coaster so we need to remember that our past failures don’t negate the hand of the Lord. In fact, sometimes, not all the times, but sometimes the Lord can show up in our life in supernatural, unexplainable and miraculous ways, so that we are invited by God’s Word to cry out to Him in bold prayers.


North Village Church

This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.

Are you looking for a church in Austin? At North Village Church we put Jesus at the center of our church family. We worship together every Sunday at 10:30am, encourage Christ centered fellowship through groups, and host special events such as Bible studies and Theological Training, to ensure that we are rooted in in God’s Word. We also serve our local community in association with several Austin based organizations.

North Village Church is made up of professionals, married couples, singles, and families who are wanting to experience the life-transforming power of Jesus. If you are a family with children or teens, we can support you with either or both our Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.


You are welcome to contact us if you would like more information.


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