Confidence: His Perseverance (Part 4)

June 30, 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

You know those moments when you feel like the odds are stacked against you? It might be our career, it might be a romantic relationship, it might be a character flaw that keeps getting the best of us but sometimes we hit those moments in life where we start to lose hope. You ever been there?

This morning we are studying through the book of Joshua and these last few chapters have been a roller coaster of events. Chapter 8 starts with a loss but ends with worship. Chapter 9 starts with deception but ends with redemption. Chapter 10 starts with the southern kings rallying against Israel but ends with victory. It’s like a roller coaster.

Sometimes in life we are going to come upon a challenge that feels impossible. It isn’t just a dip in the roller coaster of life. It’s the moments in life when we feel blind-sided. It’s the moments in life where we have dark thoughts like, “I don’t want to keep going.”

That’s the context of our passage this morning and we get to see how the Lord meets us in those places and walks with us in those places. Let’s look at Joshua 11:1:

Joshua 11:1, “1 Then it came about, when Jabin king of Hazor heard of it, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon and to the king of Shimron and to the king of Achshaph,

Heard of what? This has been a constant theme of Joshua. Rahab heard of God’s glory in Joshua 2, Jericho heard of God’s glory, their hearts melted in Joshua 6. Remember? But then the Canaanite kings heard about the loss to Ai and the Canaanite kings were emboldened to fight in Joshua 10.


Israel takes out Jericho, takes out the southern kings and in Joshua 11, Jabin king of Hazor hears about the victory over the 5 kings of the south and he starts to get a little nervous because Israel, this nobody people group, is wreaking havoc on the Canaanite people. Look at verses 2-3:

Joshua 11:2-3, “2 and to the kings who were of the north in the hill country, and in the Arabah—south of Chinneroth and in the lowland and on the heights of Dor on the west—3 to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Jebusite in the hill country, and the Hivite at the foot of Hermon in the land of Mizpeh.”

It’s possible some of us are thinking, “Why are we reading this history about kings 4,000 years ago?” Do you ever feel like that when you read the Bible? Why so many words? Why so many details? Why does these things matter today in 2024?

I get it. I started studying this passage on Monday morning and on Monday I thought to myself, “What are we supposed to take away from this Joshua 11?” Right?

Sometimes I think, “Surely there are easier parts of the Bible to study on a Sunday morning.” But all of God’s Word is profitable for teaching, correction and training in righteousness, so we get to lean into our passage together this morning!

After all, the Bible could be so much shorter and concise. The Bible doesn’t have to give all these details, dates, names, and background. The Bible is basically God creates, humanity fails, Jesus comes to rescue and restore, all things are made new! That’s really short, like one sentence, but you need to know God’s Word isn’t just about information and efficiency.

God’s Word is about the details. It’s the reading of the details that helps pull us into the human element of the story. It’s the details that let us know how the Lord interacts with humanity. Does that make sense?

In verses 1-3 we start to see another powerful force coming against Israel. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that Israel was barely able to cross the Jordan River. It wasn’t that long ago that Israel was being circumcised with sharp rocks on the Jordan River unsure how they were going to fight against Jericho.

Since those days it has been roller coaster highs of victory and roller coaster lows of loss and now Israel is about to come up against their most difficult enemy so far, so that Jabin king of Hazor is rallying a great army. Look at verses 4-5:

Joshua 11:4-5, “4 They came out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. 5 So all of these kings having agreed to meet, came and encamped together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.”

When you read the phrases like “all their armies.” When we see hyperbolic language like “as many people as the sand that is on the seashore.” When we see military might like “many horses and chariots” we should start to feel nervous for Israel.

Israel doesn’t have horses and chariots. Each chariot would have an archer and a man with a javelin and walls coming up around them to keep them safe. It’s like fighting a tank!

You are supposed to read verses 4-5 and feel sad for Israel. You’re supposed to read verses 4-5 and think, “It’s been a nice run.” How could Israel possibly defeat such an enemy, so that verses 4-5 bring us to our first principle in our passage this morning.

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 WHEN GOD IS WITH YOU, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

Isn’t that what we see throughout the Bible? Isn’t that what we see with our walk with the Lord? WHEN GOD IS WITH YOU, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

I remember a few years ago we had a season where my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia and we moved her into our house.

Her world was being turned upside down. Our world was being turned upside down. There were definitely times when I thought the odds were stacked against us.

There were moments where she was walking out of our house in the middle of the night. There were moments where she was hiding knives in her bedroom. Our kids were 10 and 13 at the time; it was wild! Many of you came along side us in that season to serve our family because it was so difficult but the Lord provided, because WHEN GOD IS WITH YOU, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

I remember last year when our family was being accused of child abuse to our foster child and we were terrified. I remember detectives calling us to set up interviews, calling attorneys to see if we needed to get them involved. I remember many of you reaching out to us, praying for us and we definitely thought the odds were stacked against us but WHEN GOD IS WITH YOU, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

I remember just a few months ago when my wife calls me to tell me that her father just had a stroke and was being brought to the hospital. We had just walked through the passing of my brother a year earlier, and my mom a year before that so that I remember dropping to my knees and thinking, Lord not again, but the Lord is leading us through this season as well so that I can tell you, WHEN GOD IS WITH YOU, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

Do you believe that this morning? I lose heart. I get discouraged. There are times I want to get in my car and just keep driving but WHEN GOD IS WITH YOU, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Look at verse 6:

Joshua 11:6, “6 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow at this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel; you shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.”

I love verse 6 so much because of how much it tells me that God’s Word understands the fears of my soul. Remember, in Joshua 10 we see hailstones rain down from heaven and wipe out the enemies of Israel. In Joshua 10 Joshua prays for the Lord to pause the sun and the moon and the Lord listens to Joshua. Think about that for a second. Imagine having those types of moments with the Lord.

Don’t you think if the Lord moved in your life that way that you would never doubt the Lord again? How many times have we said those types of prayers, “Lord, if you just do this one thing I will never leave you.” Don’t you think Joshua would just have a different type of faith after that moment? Don’t you think Joshua would never be afraid again?

But the Lord knows the depths of our soul. The Lord knows Joshua can feel the ground trembling beneath his feet as those chariots prepare for battle. The Lord knows there are thoughts going through Joshua’s brain like, “This is going to be a disaster.” So, the Lord says to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them.” It’s the 4th time we’ve seen those words in Joshua.

I know the odds are not forever in your favor. I know there are circumstances, people, obstacles, challenges and in those moments, we are going to see layers of fear coming to the surface.

No matter how strong we might think we are, no matter how well we might know God’s Word, no matter how many great things the Lord has done in our life; fear is going to come creeping into our thoughts and we need to remember WHEN GOD IS WITH YOU, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

I am not trying to tell you that God will answer every prayer. I am not trying to tell you that Joshua 11 means God will defeat every enemy in your life. It isn’t 1-1 application but God’s Word is teaching us WHEN GOD IS WITH YOU, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Look at verses 7-9:

Joshua 11:7-9, “7 So Joshua and all the people of war with him came upon them suddenly by the waters of Merom, and attacked them. 8 The Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, so that they defeated them, and pursued them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim and the valley of Mizpeh to the east; and they struck them until no survivor was left to them. 9 Joshua did to them as the Lord had told him; he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire.”

Listen to me, this is a huge challenge for Israel. In verses 1-5 the armies are greater, the military might is stronger, the enemy is more powerful but in verse 6 the Lord speaks to Joshua and in verse 9 “Joshua did to them as the Lord had told them.”

I don’t want us to miss this, Joshua encounters challenges, the Lord speaks to Joshua, and in verse 9 Joshua obeys the Lord.

This leads us to our second principle this morning. The first WHEN GOD IS WITH YOU, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. The second is TRUST IN THE LORD AND FOLLOW HIM.

At base level, we have the same access to God’s Word today that Joshua had to God’s Word. In fact, we have more than Joshua had but the application remains the same, “The Lord speaks and we follow.”

Keep in mind, we don’t see anything overly miraculous in Joshua 11. In Joshua 2 the waters are parted at the Jordan River. In Joshua 6 the walls fall at Jericho. In Joshua 10 hailstones rain down on the enemy but in Joshua 11 Israel is taking on their strongest enemy and we don’t see anything overly supernatural. Right?

I think it’s possible that we could face some challenges in life where we think to ourselves, “Well, when the Lord shows up in a powerful way, I will trust Him.” When the Lord answers this prayer, I will follow Him. When the Lord heals this person, opens this door, moves in my life, then I will obey Him.

Listen to me, knowing about God and obeying God are two different things. We can read about God, memorize verses about God, attend all the classes, read all the books, listen to all the sermons but at the end of the day the question is, “Will we trust Him and follow Him?”

In my experience, there is a pattern that happens in our spiritual life that is similar to the book of Joshua. In the beginning of Joshua, we see the Lord moving through powerful moments.

The Lord is parting the Jordan River, breaking down the walls of Jericho and raining down hailstones but when Israel is going against their most difficult enemy it is simply the Lord speaking to Joshua, “Trust Me and follow Me.” Right?

In a similar way, as we begin to walk with the Lord it seems common for the Lord to move in powerful ways in the beginning. Almost a supernatural infusion.

We might see a lot of answered prayer, powerful moments with the Lord, key people speaking into our life. Even for those who grew up in a Christian home, hopefully you had a mom and dad who were bringing a supernatural infusion of His grace into your life but at some point, the Lord is going to pull back the supernatural and say, “Follow Me.”

It isn’t because the Lord is being mean to us in those moments or indifferent to our fears but the Lord is wanting to grow our faith in those moments so as to say, “When you don’t see the supernatural, it’s okay, I am still real, I am still alive, I am still working in your life; trust Me and follow Me.”

I know there are people in our church in Austin right now that are coming face to face with some huge challenges. I know there is desire in us to just want God to “make it all better.” Right? We want God to make it all go away and I want us to see the sweetness of God’s Word reminding us, “I am still with you, I am still working, trust Me and follow Me.”

This is just bonus, but in verse 9 we see Joshua obeys the Lord to hamstring the horses and burn the chariots with fire. Hamstringing a horse is to cut the tendon so that the horse can’t help in battle but only in farming and it’s possible that some of us might be thinking, “Uh, shouldn’t they use those horses and chariots for battle?”

Makes sense, right, but again, the Lord wants to grow the faith of Israel to trust Him and follow Him. Horses and chariots are great but their security and safety wasn’t in horses and chariots as some trust but their trust is in the Lord. Let’s look at verses 10-12:

Joshua 11:10-12, “10 Then Joshua turned back at that time, and captured Hazor and struck its king with the sword; for Hazor formerly was the head of all these kingdoms.11 They struck every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them; there was no one left who breathed. And he burned Hazor with fire. 12 Joshua captured all the cities of these kings, and all their kings, and he struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed them; just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded.”

I can imagine it’s uncomfortable for us to think about the Lord leading Israel to strike down every person with the sword, burning cities, utterly destroying people so that nobody was breathing but we need to remember the bigger picture as we study through Joshua because jump down to verses 18-20.

Joshua 11:18-20, “18 Joshua waged war a long time with all these kings. 19 There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon; they took them all in battle. 20 For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.”

This is strong language but we need to remember the Canaanite people aren’t an innocent people. The Canaanite people are a wicked people layered in sexual and spiritual immorality described in Leviticus 18.

In fact, if you go back to Genesis 15 we see the Lord talks about the wickedness of the Canaanite people and says “the iniquity of the Canaanite people is not yet complete” so as imply that the Lord was being patient with the Canaanite people.

So that sometimes we can read Joshua 11 and think to ourselves, “How could God bring such harsh judgment?” He’s God! The Canaanite people have heard about His glory. All throughout Joshua the Canaanite people are recounting the glory of the Lord but very few Canaanites are interested in repentance like that of Rahab in Joshua 2, so that the Lord can’t be patient forever.

This is why in verse 20 we see the phrase, “For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts” of the Canaanite people. You need to know that word “harden” in the original language means to firm up a “hardened heart” that was already there.

It’s not as though there was a Canaanite person who wanted to turn to the Lord, who wanted to repent but the Lord “hardened their heart.” No, the Canaanite person didn’t want anything to do with the Lord, so the Lord gives them over to the darkness of their heart. Does that make sense?

This brings us to our third and principle of the passage; OUR GOD IS RIGHTEOUS AND JUST. We are going to face some difficult challenges in life. Sometimes we are going to come up against an opposition that is beyond our imagination. Sometimes those challenges aren’t going to end with a little red bow so that we feel good about the whole process and we trust OUR GOD IS RIGHTEOUS AND JUST.

Have you noticed in our culture today that when something horrible happens in life people blame God? Why didn’t God stop that horrible person from doing those horrible things? But when people read Joshua 11 and see Him stopping horrible people from doing horrible things it makes them uncomfortable?

This is what makes Jesus so important for people in the Old Testament and people today. Throughout history there have been warnings of judgment. Genesis 6 with the flood, plagues in Exodus at Egypt, or the judgments of the Canaanite people, so that these moments of judgment are all reminders, foreshadowing the urgency that judgment is coming, injustice can’t go on forever, and the good news is that Jesus comes and stands in our place.

In Joshua’s day that were looking forward to the day He would come and in our day we are looking back on that day that He did come, but we are all rejoicing that He came. Amen? That’s the gospel!

We are all born with hardened hearts. Jesus has come to make our hearts new in Him. Any time someone is interested in the Lord, anytime someone is curious about God’s Word, it’s because it’s because, like Rahab of old, the Holy Spirit is drawing you to Himself. Trust in Him!


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.


NVC Online

Unable to attend this Christian Church in Austin? Don’t worry, because, through God’s provision, we have created NVC online, an Online Church streaming a worship service every Sunday from 10:30am Central Time. You can also watch our short, powerful sermons on demand and follow us on Instagram for daily Christ centered content.