Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 1997
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 3: Disruptive Truths of God’s Kingdom
Chapter 5: Conquest and Settlement: The Disruptive Truth of Israel’s Holy War
Lesson 58 – Joshua 6 – Curse on City, Long Day at Aijalon, Joshua – Jericho
17 Apr 1997
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
Because we’re in the Joshua campaigns and the war conquests, I wanted to show a few slides of some of the terrain involved in this campaign. If you look in your notes to the map where I outlined the strategies, strategy A and strategy B; strategy A was penetration from the south into the land was the strategy of choice at the beginning, it was the original strategy of conquest of the land and because the people did a spying operation, went through the land, got all the data and intelligence stuff, then promptly misinterpreted it inside a framework of unbelief. Because of that failure on their part to look at the facts from the standpoint of God’s promises, instead they looked at the facts from the standpoint of the autonomous mind, and it was unbelief. Strategy A never was executed, even though we know later, forty years later from Rahab in Jericho, that, in fact, the Canaanites inhabitants were terrified that they would be conquered. So it’s an interesting case of both sides were terrified of the other, and there was no engagement.
Tonight we’ll be looking at strategy B, B1, B2, a little bit of B3, was to enter from the east and reach the high ground. It’s classic military operations that you seize the high ground because whoever controls the high ground controls the low ground. You can see that principle operate today, this is why you have airplanes to control the air, even within the air battle you have CAPS or Combat Air Patrols that patrol at high altitude, and they hold the high ground away from the bad guys so that the fighter pilots that are flying the low aircraft that are doing the bombing missions can execute their missions and come back safely, that they won’t be attacked from on top. That’s called flying the CAP; so it’s always the high ground. The strategy that you’re observing on the map goes back to this high ground doctrine that he who holds the high ground wins.
You can see it spiritually because that’s the whole strategy that God Himself is using against Satan. Satan has access to heaven, we know through the book of Job and other passages, so Satan can access heaven, Satan has awesome powers inside the domain around, you get a glimpse of that in the book of Daniel where you have demonic powers over the nations. If you take a world map and draw out the different countries in different colors, etc. and you elevate the map vertically it appears that what happens is that what we call the political boundaries of the nations actually are two dimensions of a three-dimensional field. And the three dimensional field is the spiritual principalities and powers.
You get that from the text of the book of Daniel because when Daniel prayed the prayer was delayed, because the angel that came to answer Daniel’s prayer actually had to penetrate some sort of a shield that was put over the land of what we call today Iraq and Iran. That angel that came in response to Daniel’s prayer literally had to fight his way into the air space over Iran and Iraq. It sounds bizarre to hear this sort of stuff, but that evidently is what goes on.
Therefore when Jesus Christ rose from the mountain just east of where He was crucified, when He rose and He ascended and is seated at the Father’s right hand, that is militarily very significant, because it means that Jesus Christ, at the Father’s right hand, has the high ground. The high ground is now occupied and under control of a member of the human race. That means the high ground for the entire cosmos. While there might be some obscure life forms elsewhere in the universe, the life form that dwells with the Father at His right hand is of the life form of this planet. So a significant thing happened, the ascension of Christ is as important as the resurrection of Christ. The resurrection means that in His body He has the first component of the new universe that’s going to replace this universe, but more significantly is by ascension to be at the Father’s right hand He has seized the high ground, Satan is now on the low ground. This is why there’s a fury on the part of the powers of darkness. The fury is that in principle they have been defeated. In principle Jesus Christ has been successful, so therefore a son of Adam has done what Adam could not do, what Noah could not do, what David could not do, but nevertheless a man, God-man, He is God but He is also man, therefore in Him is the fulfilled destiny of the human race from the moment of creation, that you shall subdue the earth. So Jesus Christ, by ascension has commandeered the high ground.
I want to review a few things about terrain and geography. Remember that what we read in the Scripture is not just a sweet little Sunday School story. We always want to see what we’re reading in Scripture as historical truth, it’s not just a Sunday School story, this actually happened in history. Here’s a map of Israel, the black lines are there to remind us of lines of communication. Another thing that controls battles and controls why generals do certain things in battle is to gain the lines of communication. The lines of communication have to be secured. For example, if you have an army here, and your supply line is there, you don’t want somebody cutting your supply line, because the easiest way to defeat an army is not a frontal attack, it’s to cut off its logistics.
So this is like a road map of ancient Israel, and we want to remember that the ground that God had Joshua conquer and occupy, this whole area is in the main artery between three continents. We have to remember this. When God chose this location on planet earth He chose it so the trade routes that go to Asia come out of this area, down through here they go to Africa, to the northwest they go Europe, so of all the places on the planet that God could have conquered and put His kingdom in Old Testament form, He plopped it right smack dab on the lines of communication to three continents. Actually we could argue that He placed it on the lines of communication to all the continents because there were sea peoples along this coast who were colonizing the western hemisphere, we believe who had already colonized it as we said earlier. So that’s the strategic picture of where the kingdom of God is located. It’s located on the center of the lines of communication. It’s very significant that He did that.
This map is a terrain map, again to remind us of the terrain that’s going to be involved in this series of stories in the Old Testament. Here is the Dead Sea, this is the Sea of Galilee, and there’s a valley that runs right down here, this is a great rift valley, and all this area tends to be flat, it’s rolling but not rolling as much as here. It’s a pretty flat terrain and as you go east, this area is the high ground. So the high ground runs north and south, with a valley here and the sea coast here. What Joshua is going to do is he’s going to take the gate; this is Jerusalem, the center of the land. The gateway to Jerusalem and protecting the access to the city of Jerusalem is Jericho. So Jericho becomes strategically crucial in this campaign because it’s the doorway, it’s the eastern door to the high lands. Joshua is going to penetrate this area, seize control of this high ground, and once he gets control of this territory, then he’s going to go south, and he’s going to go north.
This shows Jerusalem today and Jericho; the straight line distance between Jerusalem and Jericho is about fifteen miles. When you go to Israel you’ll be surprised at how small it is. The problem is you can’t get there by straight line, because you wander all over the place, it’s probably twenty-five road miles, even though it’s only fifteen as the crow flies. Jerusalem is not high ground like the Rocky Mountains, but it’s not flat either, it’s quite pronounced, and for an infantry force this represents an obstacle. This is that flat valley and you can start to see green; that green oasis is Jericho. The next slides show a very interesting thing that the critics often forget about the Scriptures, because one of the little cuties that they always bring up in college criticism classes is the Bible has errors in it because Luke has Jesus going into Jericho and someone else has Jesus going out of Jericho and they say ha-ha, there’s an error in the Bible. Whoever said that never went there to see what it was like. This is looking east-northeast, Jericho is in those orchards, it’s an oasis type thing. This is east-southeast.
What you find is there’s Jericho here and there’s Jericho here because both of them date from two different periods of time and they built the city two different times, and so they have two different Jericho’s. So obviously Jesus can go out of Jericho and be going into Jericho, it depends which Jericho is involved. This is where impressionable college kids sit there in the classroom and listen to Dr. So and So and not knowing the terrain they think this guy has really shown there’s a contradiction in Scripture. This picture shows all that hot dry land, people need water, and they didn’t have water pumps, they had to rely on spring fed water sources. That’s the source of the water that waters the city of Jericho. Jericho is there for a reason. This is a tower that possibly dated either prior to or during the time of Joshua, that’s the kind of bricks that they used in those days, it’s something they dug up twenty or thirty years ago, it’s all excavated.
Keeping that in mind, let’s turn in the text to a little notice, Joshua 6:26. This is just a minor note but it has a major implication. In that note you’ll see where Joshua, if you read it carefully, is cursing the city of Jericho, and He makes a very specific notice in that curse. “Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, ‘Cursed before the LORD is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his first-born he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates.’ ” This is a specific notice that at that place, after it was ruined by the conquest the engineer or city planner who tries to rebuild this will lose his son. We said that one of the arguments that we as Christians have to protect, we’re concerned with this and a bunch of evangelicals are going oh, it doesn’t make any difference if there are a few errors in the Bible. It makes all the difference in the world. If there’s one error in the Scriptures then the authority is moved out of the Scriptures to judge which is true and which is false. That’s all you need is one error in the Scripture. That is a very critical point and we said the reason why it’s critical is because when God says He sets up a covenant, and the covenant or contract is to specify behavior over time, that you have to have a contract monitored by a record of performance, has so and so, a party to the covenant, performed the terms of the covenant. That’s why the Bible is so critically accurate.
Here’s an example of how accurate the Scripture is. This is a little notice in verse 26, if you read this on a chapter a day Bible reading plan you probably just skipped over verse 26 and never gave it a thought. Turn to 1 Kings 16:34. This is written in the time of Ahab, probably 700-800 BC, Joshua lived about 1350 BC or so, so five centuries. How long is five centuries? 1997 minus five centuries is 1497 so this would be like somebody cursing, say something in Florida, back when Columbus was around, and saying whoever builds this again in Florida is going to lose his son, and somebody in 1997 decides to build a building on this land and he loses his son. What would you think, this is not some weird thing out of Nostradamus or something, this is a specific, concrete, clear Scripture.
In 1 Kings 16:33, “And Ahab also made the Asherah. Thus Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, God of Israel, than all the kings of Israel who were before him.” Verse 34, “In his days” i.e. in the days of Ahab and his apostate government, “Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho;” right away, what was the motive to build Jericho? We don’t care whether Joshua cursed it in the name of Jehovah, we’re so big and powerful we don’t really care, so we’re going to go do it. “… he laid its foundation with the loss of Abiram his first-born, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.” Again, if you are on a chapter a day Bible reading plan you’d read right over that, never connect it. But isn’t this interesting, this is one of the little tiny details that always excites me about Scripture. This is why I can’t go along with these people that say well, we’re not sure whether the days in Genesis are days, they might be millions of years, and we’re not sure of this interpretation, we’re not sure of that interpretation. Can we read or can’t we? Joshua 6 tells us a specific thing. 1 Kings reports it five hundred years later. Obviously the author of verse 34 knew very well the text of Joshua. So what do our liberal friends on the university campus tell us about this? Joshua was written after 1 Kings, you can’t have prophecy like this. That’s how the logic flows.
I wanted you to observe with all the other things they’re talking here’s a little particular about that city, about that tower. They were trying to rebuild that. That tower I showed in the picture is Joshua time, so what’s going on in 1 Kings 16 is after the time of that tower. That tower had been sitting there for five centuries before these guys came along, and it sat there all these centuries since those guys came along. So was the city rebuilt? Yes it was built, but it’s rebuilt at a cost, because it was a cursed place to build.
Look at the chart summarizing the events on page 85; then we’ll go back to some of the events. We’ve covered the covenant breaking at Sinai, I suggest if you’re interested is to read these stories and draw a picture, or something so you can picture it in your mind, so you can picture this whole event because you can use this event to fortify truth in your heart, because our hearts feed on imaginative pictures, and that’s what’s so powerful about the Old Testament, it gives you the pictures so you can see this happening. The covenant breaking at Sinai, I showed the picture of Horeb, the dorky little subset mountain down in the bottom and that was where they put the big idol and Moses is up on the big mountain talking to the real God. It’s just so ironic when you stand there and look at it, were these people real or what? What does it teach us? It teaches us the need for a new heart, and a need for a gracious intercessor.
The second one is the Declaration of Holy War; Preview of Final Judgment. The third one, Fiasco at Kadesh-Barnea, the Necessity for Holy War. We went into this, remembering that when we try to defend the Scriptures the thing we always want to do is go back to the framework. I reiterate that over and over because that’s one of the things I want to emphasize, when we think biblically we have to think in terms of the whole Bible, it all hangs together. If you follow the reasoning in the next paragraph, we want to dwell just a little bit on the declaration of holy war, fiasco at Kadesh-Barnea because this is such a bone of contention with so many people, and you get into a discussion, this is going to come up. If people are at all biblically literate this is the thing they’re going to pull on you. Oh, you’re a Christian, you believe in a God of love, well what about….
Before you answer you’ve got to back up a little bit and think, what is the issue here. Don’t answer the question before you load your gun. Think before you answer.
Let’s go through these paragraphs. “From these and the other events of the period of the conquest and settlement, we learn what life is like on the leading edge of the Kingdom of God as it intrudes into the paganized Noahic civilization. Taken as an isolated series of events,” underline that clause, and continue underlining the next phrase, “set within an unbelieving framework, this holy war does appear in utter moral conflict with ethics taught elsewhere in Scripture. The PLO propaganda seems right: ‘an unprovoked aggression carried out in barbarous violation of … mercy.’” But notice we’ve qualified it, we’ve looked at what the opponents of our faith are saying and we said you can say that, but when you say what you are saying, you are also operating within your framework and here’s what your framework looks like. You may, in conversation, have to pull it out because most people today can’t think in terms of a framework. They emotionalize and they run off at the mouth without thinking the background and what it is they’re talking about. We do that, so the unbeliever naturally is going to do that. Remember the two clauses here. In order to make the criticism what they’re doing is they’re looking at the Bible as an isolated series of events that are unrelated to each other, like there’s no plan in history; these are just random things that happen. Then they have a completely unbelieving framework of interpretation.
The next paragraph, “The Bible-believing Christian, however, knows that each part of the Bible must be taken within the framework of the whole.” I had a friend who flew a B52 over Vietnam; the B52s have to fly in a formation, it’s the formation part I want for this illustration, and the reason they fly in a certain formation, different altitudes and different relative positions to each other is not to make it look pretty, it’s because each of those aircraft is defending the other one, in this case, electronically. So if there’s a SAM missile fired at those aircraft, they’re deflecting them with various techniques, or trying to. But the problem is, psychologically, and he says those suckers start coming up at you and it looks like a flying telephone pole headed right for your cockpit, and you have a choice, your emotions cry out get on that stick and let’s move this thing out of here, but your military training says don’t go with your emotions, there’s a procedure to use, we have rehearsed this, and rehearsed it over and over, so that if this happens you’re not going to react emotionally, you’re going to go with the policy, with the doctrine. And the doctrine is you hang in the formation. My point in this story is that each one of those aircrafts defends the other, one plane doesn’t do it, and you can’t take one piece out of the Bible and ever hope to defend it.
If you think about it, that’s what’s going on here, isn’t it? The unbeliever takes this chunk of Scripture and he throws it at you. See, you can’t answer that, but what is he doing? If we respond to that technique we’ve broken formation. The unbeliever wants us to break formation; our emotions want to defend so we charge right in there to defend that piece. But like those pilots in that combat situation you’ve got to go back to wait a minute, I know my emotions want to do that, but what’s right, what’s the doctrine that controls, what’s the policy that controls our responses in this situation. This piece of Scripture has got to be interpreted in light of this. This is the doctrine of the fall, the doctrine of the Creator and we said that the doctrine of holy war is related to that. If you miss this you’re going to be strapped when it comes to trying to defend this section of Scripture, you can’t do it. You cannot do it, you’re going to be wiped out if you try.
The way the Scripture makes sense is that internally to the Scripture all Scripture taken together does have justification for holy war. “Objections to the conquest and settlement have to be exposed also. Such objections assume that the ethical norms of common grace (borrowed, by the way, from the Bible first of all) imply everlasting tolerance of evil.” Think about that statement. What they’re doing is they’re saying the Bible tells us to be gracious. Yes, no problem there, we don’t debate that. But think about it, does the command to be gracious apply forever? What would be the consequence of grace forever? If grace went on forever and never stopped, what would be true? Evil would never be eliminated. So, grace is not a permanent feature in the plan of God. This shocks some people. What! The grace of God comes to an end? The consequences of grace don’t, the consequences go on forever and ever. I didn’t say the consequences of grace come to an end; I said grace comes to an end, because if you don’t believe that then you’ve got a big problem. How do you get rid of evil? You’ve got to have judgment somewhere or you never get rid of evil. So that’s the whole point of holy war, this is one point in history where we see a little bit on a small scale what it means to judge evil and eliminate it. And that’s the defense of this section of Scripture. But believe me, you’re dead if you don’t take it back to this. If you just take it as an isolated story, you’ve got a big problem because the other guy is going to take the ethics of common grace and he’s going to kill you with them, why that conflicts with the ethics of… of course it does, absolutely, because the grace of God’s coming to an end. That’s bad news.
The grace of God is coming to an end and you ought to be glad it is, because that’s the only way you get rid of evil. You can’t have it both ways. People yell and curse at God for all the bad things that happen. Then they turn around and curse at God because He’s going to judge. Now what’s God supposed to do? You can’t have it both ways. If you object to evil and you want it relieved and you want to get rid of it, to get rid of it you have to have judgment and to have judgment you’ve got to end grace. That’s what we’re trying to say.
There’s one further principle we want to look at before we go any further. On page 85 you’ll see an underlined sentence. It’s something that we want to understand, this is big stakes that go on here: “Two mutually opposed ultimate principles cannot coexist.” There is not room enough in the universe for rebellion and the sovereign rule of God, there’s not enough. God is either ruler of all or He’s not ruler at all. So either God is sovereign or the creature is sovereign, you can’t have these two principles. One will eliminate the other every time. What that means in a practical way, because we want to get down to practical things, is that if we follow the Lord in our lives we are being guided by an ultimate principle in total contradiction to the principle of the world system. This is why in the world Jesus said you shall have tribulation. Why is that? Because He said if they hated Me, who will they hate? You who follow Me. The two principles will be at war with one another.
This is why in our day, in the last 15-20 years we’re seeing more and more persecution of the Christian church all over the world. More Christians have died in the 20th century than in all 19 centuries. This century has been the bloodiest century against the Christian church of Jesus Christ than all 19 centuries put together. Colson put it this way on his radio program, he is absolutely right. “The Christian has now become the scapegoat of choice for every thug regime on earth. From Ethiopia to China Christians are being killed, their children taken away from them, babies being aborted, their homes being destroyed.” Not a whimper, not a peep from the human rights commission of the UN council. If this were any other minority, any other minority, there’d be an outcry about it. But the Christians are fair game. Why? How do you explain this aberration, that they allow human rights abuses to the Christians and they don’t allow it to anybody else? Do you know why? Because the Christians somehow remind the world of an ultimate principle that condemns their ultimate principle. Somehow these people aren’t worthwhile, they’re somehow people out of step, they’re people that go against the grain, we really don’t like these people. That’s our destiny but it’s a sad tale that’s not very well known or told. We live in the bloodiest anti-Christian century in history.
So those are the three parts. There’s holy war, my summary point that “two mutually opposed principles cannot coexist” is we are in a holy war right now, it’s a holy war in the realm of the ideas in the spirit, and one or the other side will win. Now looking at the rest of those events on page 85, victory at Jericho, the longest day, we went through the Jericho and Ai last time, I think Jericho was clear, God asking believers to do some idiot looking thing, but that reminds us that He is Creator, we’re creatures, and that He has a perfect plan, it goes back to the diagram we’ve drawn again and again, that God has omniscience and our finite intelligence can never put a plan together equal to His. So here God is, He is omniscient, here man is and we have knowledge but it’s all limited, so we have our plans that look like that. God has plans that are tremendously infinitely complex and they fracture our plans. We may have a piece of the plan, another piece over here, and it doesn’t seem to us to fit, but in God’s mind these do fit, they fit perfectly together, we just can’t see how they fit together.
This is Joshua’s problem, he was told to do some kind of silly stuff at Jericho, and that’s what we mean by the works of faith. Faith does these works, but it’s works done not because I turned my brains off, but because I submit to the fact that there’s a rationality in the universe that I can never comprehend. I cannot put it totally together; I just know He expects me to do this, it looks like it’s going to conflict with that, but hey, who am I. The defeat at Ai—externals don’t cut the mustard. The law is addressed to the human heart, and if people are not submissive, if we don’t submit our hearts to God we can’t be victorious in the public, in the externals.
The longest day at Aijalon, we want to look at that incident for a moment. Go to page 83 and Joshua 9, this is one of those passages often skipped over, but there’s some amazing things stated here. If you’re familiar with this section of the Old Testament you remember the Gibeonites were part of the cursed people of the land, they came, they disguised themselves as foreigners, and they got Joshua to agree to a mutual aid pack against the rest of the Canaanites, and now Joshua is in a mess. Here’s a case where a believer was deceived. In 9:1, “Now it came about when all the kings who were beyond the Jordan, in the hill-country and in the lowland and on all the coast of the Great Sea toward Lebanon, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, heard of it,  that they gathered themselves together with one accord to fight with Joshua and with Israel.” So the country is now unified to attack the Jews.  “When the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai,  they also acted craftily and set out as envoys, and took worn-out sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended,” and they faked like they were foreigners. So they deceived Joshua.
The problem is, in Joshua 10, as a result of this deception, verse 1, “Now it came about when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had captured Ai, and had utterly destroyed it, … and the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were within their land,  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,  Therefore Adoni-zedek 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,” the idea there is that there’s an alliance that rapidly forms. On the map on page 84 that alliance is on the south of Jerusalem, it’s in the high ground in the south area of Jerusalem. So from Jerusalem you draw a line southwest from Jerusalem, that’s the axis of this alliance. Here’s the Dead Sea, here’s Jerusalem, the axis of the alliance is like this, Joshua is moving like this, he’s already conquered here and he’s conquered Jericho. So these guys are all coming up in an alliance to fight him, and they’re fighting him for this high ground.
There’s a big alliance so in Joshua 10:9, here’s how the drama unfolds. “So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal.” There’s the military secret of surprise. He utilizes military tactics.  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.” Notice the “ascent” of Beth-horon. What he’s done here is he’s driven the army south, so now Joshua has had a preliminary victory and he’s going along the high ground and now his enemies, from the ascent, are trying to come here to reinforce. The battlefront is now moving, it’s moving rapidly. But what happened to the army? Think about the army, in verse 9, put yourself in their position. What did you do all night? You marched. What are you doing all morning? Hiding. How do you feel at noon? Tired.
This is the amazing thing, the whole battle got started because here was a man who was deceived by the enemy, but he kept his word, Joshua kept his word. He knows he got into a bad deal but he kept his word. How does he get out of this one? When the army is in this position of rapid motion, they’re tired; they’re more tired than their enemies are because the enemies weren’t marching at night. So now the problem that’s going to come is they’re very liable to a counterattack. If I were the enemy commander and I knew my opponents were strung out like this, what would I do? A flanking maneuver, cut them off. This is the danger he’s in, he’s in an extended area with greatly fatigued troops.
Verse12, “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,” now why he said this, the Holy Spirit obviously promoted this prayer, “O sun, stand still at Gibeon, and O moon in the valley of Aijalon.’  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?” That’s one of those books that we were talking about in canonicity; remember I said there were other books that disappeared. “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.  And 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.”
What a magnificent story. This counterattack, just as soon as the sun set they would be liable, here they are moved into enemy territory with very little protection on their flanks, greatly fatigued. These other guys haven’t fought all night, so they can come up here and cream them. So what’s got to happen? He’s got to clean them out before nightfall. So what does God do? He turns on the lights, we’re going to have a night game. And He does it by doing two things, not one thing. Notice carefully how the text is written, he addresses both the sun and the moon, one controls the day, one controls the night. So it looks like the heavens stopped. Whether the earth stopped rotating, what happened we have no idea. There are some implications that someone made, we won’t get into those. [blank spot]
Judges 2:1-5, “Now the angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, ‘I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, “I will never break My covenant with you,  and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; but you shall tear down their altars.” But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done:  Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall become as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.;  And it came about when the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept.  So they named that place Bochim; and there they sacrificed to the LORD.” Then the text describes the cycle of apostasy. Verse 20, “So the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He said, ‘Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not listened to My voice,  I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died.  In order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk in it as their fathers did, or not.  So the LORD allowed these nations to remain, not driving them out quickly; and He did not give them unto the land of Joshua.” On page 84 you can see the territory that was conquered, it does not match the previous map back a few pages. Compare the two maps and you can see the shaded territory doesn’t fit.
What does this tell us? It tells us that at this point in the Old Testament, early on in the Old Testament, here’s the time line again, 2000 BC, Abraham; 1000 BC, David; 1400 BC, Moses. Right here is Joshua and probably by this time, around 1200 BC they hadn’t even been in the land two hundred years and they basically flubbed it. So here we have the announcement of doom that says that this nation, Israel, is not by itself going to get the land. What does this open the door for? Who will get them the land? Who do they now look forward to as their grand leader? First of all, it starts in the book of Judges because every man did what was right in his own eyes, and the people cried out for a king. But then they had Saul, David, Solomon, and Solomon had a son by the name of Rehoboam, who was one of the all-time idiots, then you had a civil war and the whole northern end of the country goes down the tubes, and the southern kings weren’t much better.
What does that teach? God always maneuvers, a pedagogical purpose to history, you wanted a king because you realized, the sentence of Bochim, that by yourselves you weren’t cutting the mustard, you needed a strong leader. So you said to Me, give me a king, so I gave you a king. What happened to the kings? What does that show about the kings? In the span of history in the Old Testament why do you have this awful, awful historical narrative of one screw up after another on the part of the kings? What is that teaching about the nature of a king? They’re no better than the people. So what does that eliminate as possible solutions? We can’t do it ourselves, and we can’t have government do it for us. We haven’t learned that, we’re fixing to learn that again.
People can’t do it, government can’t do it. Who does it? It’s Messiah, and that’s why in the book of Psalms, and who wrote most of the book of Psalms? One of the kings, and what does David do in the book of Psalms so often? Why does this book of Psalms become so favored reading among Christians? It’s because we identify with his hope. In that book of Psalms David takes himself as the office-holder, the king, the Mashach, means the anointed king, and he does this, there’s a splitting that occurs in the book of Psalms between the king and THE King. And slowly, after David, the prophets taught more and more in terms of “He who shall come will deliver you, O Israel.” So the emphasis they have learned from this point in their history, when they try by their own obedience to follow the Lord it was insufficient because they are fallen people. They tried by a king and they wanted him to do the job for them, and they failed. Therefore all doors have been closed until there comes in the fullness of time the God-man Savior. This is why the New Testament can’t be read, oh you can read it anytime, but my point is you can’t appreciate the New Testament if you don’t go through the process of the Old Testament, because that’s what the Holy Spirit took the people through so when Jesus came they would appreciate why you have to start with this kind of a Messiah. Because he’s got to be a Messiah that has the heart for God and it’s got to be demonstrated in a humble way, then you’ll see His glory, but first things first. So this is all a buildup and an adumbration to the Lord Jesus Christ.
What we want to do next time is start on the last of this chapter. On page 86 we’ll start with the truth of sanctification. This is the doctrine that controls Christian growth or spiritual growth. That’s the doctrine we want to associate with this event. Each event we’ve associated some doctrine with. The conquest and settlement is going to be a picture of the doctrine of sanctification, the making holy of the believer, principles of spiritual growth. And it’s going to be mirrored by the events of the conquest and settlement.
I want to conclude by drawing your attention on page 86 to a quote by probably one of the most eminent students of military history in the 20th century, a man who basically was the guy, the Germans learned a lot from him and Patton learned a lot from this man. B. H. Liddell Hart was an Englishman who wrote various texts on doctrines of war. The Israeli army in 1948 learned a lot about this man. He has a fascinating book; it’s called Strategy. B.H. Liddell Hart went down through the corridors of time studying the great commanders, and he asked himself the question, how do the guys that win battles win them. And he made an exciting discovery. He discovered that the people who were the great conquerors never did so in a direct way, they always conquered indirectly. The other thing, I quoted on page 86 and this I’m applying to us as Christians, because it’s a warning to all of us, you don’t build your personal idea of what the Christian life is all about from your personal experiences. Today the woods are full of people that make up their own way of living the Christian life because they had an experience at thirteen or something else happened at twenty-five, or something happened to their wife or husband, and out of this they reflect upon it and build this whole big edifice about how God the Holy Spirit works. You can’t build such serious stuff out of your limited personal experience. Your personal experience is subservient to the lessons of history. That’s what keeps you sane and balanced.
Here’s what Hart said about the soldier: “Even in the most active career, especially a soldier’s career, the scope and possibilities of direct experience are extremely limited…. Direct experience is too limited to form an adequate foundation either for theory or for application. At the best it produces an atmosphere that is of value in drying and hardening the structure of thought. The greater value of indirect experience lies in its greater variety and extent.” He’s talking about, in this case the soldier who studies history to learn principles. That’s what we’ve done, we’ve gone through and we’ve studied these key events of the conquest and settlement. So what are we going to do? We’re simply going to apply those and from those develop a historically valid idea of what spiritual growth looks like.
Question asked: Clough replies: The question raised is this one. It’s obvious from biblical history that because Israel didn’t eliminate the Canaanites and didn’t eliminate the people in the land, she had a very unhappy history. And even today what are the Israelites, the modern day descendants of Israel doing? They are still having a problem. Had they cleaned the land out in the first place they probably would have dwelt in peace for centuries. So now the question is, does this principle apply to us? When you take principles of the Old Testament to the Church you’re not any longer dealing with Israel, you’re dealing with the Church, so we have a dispensational… [someone interrupts, can’t hear, Clough says] well nations, yes but there’s a principle I think we all see in our Christian life is when God points to something that He wants out of our lives, we diddle with it and play with it and don’t eliminate, it causes prolonged suffering.
So that’s one application to that principle that you see, and God obviously is not calling us to be perfect, in one sense He’s calling us to be perfect, but in another sense He knows we’re not going to be perfect. The idea is that there come those times and moments of choice in our lives, and I think you can see it, particularly where you encounter Christians who have been disobedient over a prolonged period of time, it’s just suffering on top of suffering on top of suffering. When you start looking at it because a choice was made, a choice was made, a choice was made, and the issue wasn’t dealt with when it should have been dealt with and it just grows like mold.
[someone says something] That’s true of all of us in our lives. So it’s a warning I think, that we see in the Old Testament history, where God told them you do it My way and it’s a lot easier. It seems harder, and it strikes us as scary to do it His way, but in the final analysis it’s very perceptive. You can see historically, I don’t know if you want apply the principle historically but I’ll tell you a group of people who tried to do it, I showed you the film Oliver Cromwell in England, and people have all kinds of things to say about those nasty, nasty Puritans who took the head of the king, finally. They got very serious, but it was a case where the Christians of that time were being asked to submit completely to centralized power. The king said that he had the right not only to rule the civil sphere but the King to England had the right to alter forms of worship as he pleased. And the Puritans said you’re not going to alter our forms of worship. Two ultimate principles can’t coexist, so it was destroy the Puritans or the Puritans destroy the king, and obviously the Puritans destroyed the king. But it didn’t last. That’s the problem, because any human civil… like our country, our country was found in a godly way and the way it’s going it’s not going to last. It’s not because people aren’t law abiding, necessarily, it’s just because the whole spiritual tenor is wiped out, and it’s because we’re part of fallen dark history. And it’s not going to be solved. If the civil government of Israel couldn’t solve the problem and the people of Israel couldn’t solve the problem, that was a theocracy where God directly ruled, then for crying out loud, what do you think we’re going to do as Gentile nations? That’s why we hope for the Messiah.
Question asked: Clough replies: Oh, that’s an interesting question. Is God going to fulfill the promise to give the land to the Jews before Christ comes? Apparently not, because the coming of the Messiah, if you look in the Old Testament is viewed as the One who fulfills that covenant, and it goes back to this Bochim incident where He says I’m not going to drive them out, period. So it’s going to be when the Messiah comes that He does it. However, in a partial sense they are drawn to the land because Jesus comes to a Jewish temple where there’s Jewish worship and He tells the people you can’t flee on the Sabbath day, pray that it not be so that you can’t travel. So that shows that Israel, at the time that Jesus comes back, is there, has survived, probably has a temple of some sort which she’s worshiping in, and has instituted sabbatical laws. So even though, not the total land, if you look at that map that total land goes all the way down to Egypt and all the way northeast well into the edge of Syria. So it appears not, because if they could then you’d say gee, doesn’t that invalidate Judges 2. But Israel is going to survive, that’s the key.
Israel’s survival has caused a revolution in a lot of Bible thinking because in the 18th century and the 19th century it was fashionable, even in evangelical circles, to interpret prophecy sort of allegorically, and they were applied to the church, the promises were always applied to the church, and there were a few hold out pre-millennialists, that said no, those promises of the land were given to Israel and they apply to Israel. Then what’s happened in the 20th century, Israel’s come into existence again. That’s unheard of, for a nation that went out of existence for 2,000 years to come back into existence with the language intact, and the racial genetic structure intact, that’s amazing. There’s not another civilization that’s pulled that off. You can say China; well China never disappeared for 2,000 years. So there’s never been a nation like that. The other nations, while existing genetically, Egyptians, Asians, Persians… we all have genes, we’re the sons of Japheth, the sons of Noah in some way, but the Jews exist coherently and one tribe of Jews have preserved their identity, the Levites, and they were the ones that were forecast in Numbers that your name will abide. Everybody that wears a pair of jeans walks around as a testimony to that promise.
It’s a fascinating area of the Bible and we just warn you about being vulnerable. In college you can get the whole line about the errors in the Bible, but just learn that there’s ways of defending it, maybe not popular views, but theologically.