There are times in each of our lives when we just feel like we have been "marching all night". We seem to be constantly moving, but accomplishing very little - exhausted by the many battles of our day. These are times when our enemy wants to mount his most significant attacks. Why is this? Simple! He views us as "weak" when we are "marching long"! He views our physical exertion and weakness as spiritual weakness, too! Silly devil!
Joshua marched all night from Gilgal and took them by total surprise. God threw them into total confusion before Israel, a major victory at Gibeon. Israel chased them along the ridge to Beth Horon and fought them all the way down to Azekah and Makkedah. As they ran from the People of Israel, down from the Beth Horon ridge and all the way to Azekah, God pitched huge stones on them out of the sky and many died. More died from the hailstones than the People of Israel killed with the sword. (Joshua 10:9-11 The Message)
Israel has taken Ai and Jericho - news of the victories won has reached the other kings in the surrounding regions. Adoni-Zedek is the king of Jerusalem at the time. He gets a little worried by the things he hears about Joshua's army. In order to "plan ahead", he aligns himself with four other kings in the region to attempt to form an alliance which will hold off the forces of Israel. In fact, his plan is to mount such a forceful attack against Israel so as to keep them from invading any of the territory ruled by these five kings. Silly kings! Who can stand against the "march" of the army of the Lord?
Joshua receives a message from Gilgal - a plea for help. They see the five allied kings as a threat to their territory - pleading with Joshua for his help to intervene against them. Here's what Joshua hears from the Lord: So Joshua set out from Gilgal, his whole army with him—all those tough soldiers! God told him, "Don't give them a second thought. I've put them under your thumb—not one of them will stand up to you." (vs. 8) A huge allied army laid before him and his men - yet nothing stood in their way!
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we always faced battles with this same kind of assurance? Hearing clearly from God that nothing and no one will stand in our way or be able to stand up to us! Actually, we do! Yet, we somehow talk ourselves out of believing how strong God's defense is when we see the massive attack our enemy mounts against us! Why? Simply because we are tired from the battle and worn down by the stress of the day!
Look at what happens with Joshua. He takes the troops - marches all night. Now, if you have ever had to march with "full armor", you know how this is tiring. Not to mention, the troops did not get a lot of time to "rest up" before their next battle! They march in, taking the enemy by surprise! The "fortified forces" of the allied armies were nothing in comparison to the strength of the army of God. What gave the army of God this strength? I think it may have been a few things:
- A faithful leader. The best armies are nothing until they align with the purposes of their leader. We "win" battles when we are aligned with the right leader! Five kings aligned their forces with the "wrong" leader! One force was "fortified" by their alignment with God! We are fortified for the battle when we are aligned with the faithfulness of God.
- An obedient army. The best leadership is nothing if there are not obedient forces who align themselves with the leadership! God's greatest opportunities come in our allegiance. When we determine to be obedient, even when it is not convenient or the easiest choice to make, we are aligning with his goals for our lives. As we align, we are made strong. No force can withstand the force of obedience!
- An unlimited amount of resources. The skies actually opened on behalf of Israel. Look at our passage again - more were killed by the hailstones than by the sword! Now, think of the amazing thing which could be missed here - none of Israel's army were hit by those falling stones! Only the enemy! We sometimes get "bogged down" in the battle - tired and stressed out - but if we were to look up, we might just see "unlimited resources" at our disposal! What we cannot accomplish in our own ability - God undertakes in his supernatural ability!
March on, my friends! The battle might look overwhelming - forces seemingly aligning against you - BUT God's leadership, coupled with your obedience, will bring unlimited resources to your disposal! Let the skies open up on your behalf! The enemy will have no choice but to flee!