Joshua 11:10-23  Grace imbues diligence and faith to achieve our goals

Joshua 11:10-23

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. 13 However, Israel did not burn any cities that stood on their mounds, except Hazor alone, which Joshua burned. 14 All the spoil of these cities and the cattle, the sons of Israel took as their plunder; but they struck every man with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them. They left no one who breathed. 15 Just as the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses.

16 Thus Joshua took all that land: the hill country and all the Negev, all that land of Goshen, the lowland, the Arabah, the hill country of Israel and its lowland 17 from Mount Halak, that rises toward Seir, even as far as Baal- gad in the valley of Lebanon at the foot of Mount Hermon. And he captured all their kings and struck them down and put them to death. 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.

21 Then Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the hill country of Judah and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. 22 There were no Anakim left in the land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod some remained. 23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war.


Joshua returned and burned the city of Hazor to the ground but left all other cities standing because Hazor led the other cities to rebel against God. Apart from Gibeon who made peace with Israel in repentance, God hardened the hearts of the Canaanites so that they might be destroyed. Today, we learn that the believer’s inheritance must be obtained through faith and diligence. God’s grace is not a means to circumvent the necessity of work, but a means to develop the virtues of faith and diligence which is our glory.


Then Joshua turned back at that time, and captured Hazor and struck its king with the sword.

After routing the enemy and defeating the kings, Joshua returned to deal with Hazor. According to God’s instructions, Joshua struck every man with the edge of the sword, but did not burn any cities,… except Hazor, perhaps to save them for later use. The sons of Israel also took the spoils of these cities and the cattle as their plunder. But Hazor was singled out and razed to the ground because she was head of all these kingdoms and was responsible for organizing the northern coalition to fight Israel. Hence, Hazor must be utterly destroyed and razed to the ground. Joshua in leaving no one who breathed… left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses.

There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon.

Here is the review of victories and territories captured by Joshua from the northern border to the south and from east to the west. Joshua’s victory did not come easy; Joshua waged war a long time with all these kings. The map below explains the territories that were at that time under Israel control (in Red) and territories yet conquered (Green).

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There was not a city which made peace with the sons of Israel except the Hivites living in Gibeon.

In all of Joshua’s military campaigns, only the inhabitants of Gibeon made peace with Israel. As a result, all other cities that did not make peace with Israel were destroyed. The text explicitly says: For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them. The Canaanites had come to a point where their hearts were utterly hardened making it impossible for them to repent from their wickedness. From that point on, the Lord no longer intended to turn them around but relegated them to complete destruction. Therefore, in saying: the Lord to harden their hearts, implies God giving them up to the stubbornness of their hearts and to eventual destruction.

There were no Anakim left in the land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod some remained.

Special mention was made of the Anakim because they were formidable opponents. A noteworthy comment was made of them: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” Deuteronomy 9:2. But under Joshua’s leadership, these seemingly invincible foes were destroyed saved a remnant that resided in the remote cities of Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod. It proved unfortunate for Israel as by the time of David, Goliath came from Gath to defy Israel (1 Samuel 17).


Believers must be careful not to stumble others with erroneous teachings and secret sins.

There are consequences for unrepentant sinners, but the consequences for causing others to sin is much greater. Hazor played the role of rallying and organizing the attack against Israel. Hence, God commanded Joshua to burn Hazor to the ground because she led the rebellion against God. Nevertheless, it shows the extent of God’s wrath which burned against even the inanimate objects of city. Jesus too warned about the consequences of stumbling a child of God,

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6

Stumbling means causing others to fall away from God and into sin. Jesus was referring to the Jewish leaders who exemplified the life of hypocrisy and evil while causing seekers to turn away from the God of Israel. There are those who live a secret life of sin while serving as leaders of the church and the community. When they were exposed, their followers became disillusioned; that’s stumbling. There are teachers who teach salvation apart from repentance, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:4b; that’s stumbling. Leaders of the church must never think that their sinful habits will never be found out. The devil seeks to expose leaders not just to destroy them, but to cause the people to stumble and lose faith in God. When this happens, the consequences against them will be grave.

The more we ignore God’s commands, the more our heart becomes hardened against the things of the Spirit.

Every time a person ignores God’s commands and acts upon his fleshly desires, the Holy Spirit is grieved and his heart hardens a little. As a result, the Holy Spirit cannot assert the same degree of influence as before and he feels less of the Spirit’s peace, love and joy. At the same time, revelations of the truth become scantier and more ambiguous. Ignoring God’s command and going against the truth of the Word is sin: Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17. Sin may not always refer to breaking the 10 commandments, it can also be the case when one refuses to follow God’s instructions for a certain matter. Sin of this kind will eventually lead to more hideous kinds of sin and eventually, down the slippery slope of death: Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. James 1:15. Death refers to destruction and end of all hope.

Apart from the inhabitants of Gibeon, God had released the Canaanites to their own stupor. God, being all-knowing, had come to the conclusion that no more can be done to turn them around; repentance had become for them, an impossibility. Hence, He destroyed them to make way for Israel. How did the Canaanites come to the point of no return? It was their repeated violation of God’s laws that eroded their ability to respond to God. They have come to the point where divine consequences and the fear of God had little bearing over the decisions of their lives.

The apostle Paul in his letter to the church listed the violations of God’s laws as: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21. Therefore, what may be conceived as a little sin will one day like a innocuous lion cub, grows up and turns against its owner.

Grace does not circumvent the rigors of work, it abounds with faithfulness and dedication.

There is a trend among popular churches that suppose God’s grace as a means to shortcut the process of achieving success. However, God’s grace does not circumvent the rigors of work. In fact, grace abounds with faithfulness and dedication. It is a universal principle that man’s blessing and inheritance can only be obtained through faith and perseverance. As in Joshua’s case, even with God fully on his side, he waged war a long time with all these kings. Moses and Joshua persevered and fought for 47 years before they came to where they were. In the process of working towards the goal and overcoming insurmountable challenges, the fruit of diligence, faith and patience are bore as part of our inheritance. Hebrews 6:11-12 says that it is only through these virtues that we inherit the promises of God,

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Therefore, our purpose is not just to accomplish the measurable goals, but to become a person of faith and diligence which is our ultimate glory.

Sinful attitudes when left undealt with will one day return and find us out.

Joshua fought against the Anakim but did not completely exterminate them leaving a remnant in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod. Unfortunately, the Anakim returned and became a snare to the Israelites during the reign of David. Just as Joshua was commanded to completely destroy the Canaanites, believers must persevere and be thorough in dealing with sin and fleshly desires. What may appear trivial and innocuous may lead to something hideous and deadly. Addiction to pornography may seem like a personal affair, but it opens doors to uncontrollable passions, promiscuity, adultery, perversion and diseases. Same gender attraction may seem like a private matter between two people. But it distorts the social roles of man and woman according to God’s original design. As a result of this distortion, families as well as its members become increasingly dysfunctional. Hence, the same gender attraction phenomenon or various modern day addictions must not be seen or treated in isolation. Such are the result of a wider systemic corruption of values and man’s attitude towards sanctification and reconciliation with God. The beginning of society’s problems arises from man’s unwillingness to yield himself wholly to God and to obey His Word. Hence, we must not fall into the trap of dealing with BEHAVIOUR alone, but the posture of the HEART. It is not so much about homosexuality, prosmicuity, addiction to gambling or substance, but the rejection of God’s rule. The sin that brought down Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18) was not homosexuality but their rejection of God as their Lord. Sinful behaviors are a manifestation of a deeper issue, but not the root of society’s ills. The apostle Paul explicitly said that the unrighteous at heart will not inherit the kingdom of God of which the manifestations of unrighteousness are such,

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Therefore, the way to deal with society’s ills, is not to change sinful behavior, but to regenerate the heart in reverence towards God. Righteousness does not equate perfect behavior, but the desire to do God’s will albeit our imperfections and failures. As long as the truth is constantly preached without ambiguity, those who are willing to come and hear the truth in humility are considered righteous. Through the power of the cross, and given time, we break the power of sin leaving no stones unturned, no excuses for our petty desires, but to love God with all our spirit, heart, mind and in all that we do.


1.  If you are disciple maker, do you at times lower the moral expectations of the Word in order to make it easier for people to fit into the church? Or do you carry a cold and heartless demeanor towards those who are struggling with issues that are considered sinful? The church needs to develop deep convictions based on the truth as well as deep relationships with people. The church has to first learn to accept people and make them feel belonged while explaining to them patiently and clearly the teachings of Christ. Put in a nutshell, we need to accept them while disapproving their sinful attitudes. Having deep relationships means: accepting people and giving them the space to change. Having deep convictions means: delivering clear and unambiguous interpretations of the Word.

2.  Are you trapped in a certain sin or addiction and unable to free yourself from it? It is important that you approach your cell leader or your pastor who will pray with you to break the bondage of sin by the power of the cross. Alternatively, you can make the following suggested declaration repeatedly to break the power of sin:

Jesus is my Lord, I subject my heart, my mind and my body to the truth of Christ. I reject the sin of ______________ (pornography, greed and pride etc.) By the blood of Christ, I break your stronghold. You have no right to harbor in my body. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:1-2. In Jesus’ name, I command you to come out of me.

Dear Lord, continue to strengthen me by your grace so that I may accomplish your will for my life. Imbue me with diligence, and faith. Create in me a clean heart so that I may not reject you and your truths. Enable me to uphold your truths and to teach it to my family and my flock. Help me to develop deep convictions of the truth and the grace to create deep relationships with the people around me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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