Chapter 12 closes the first section of Joshua that deals with the conquest of the land by giving a summary of the battles won from Moses and all the victories studied in Joshua. It offers a powerful reminder of God’s faithfulness in fulfilling his promises to Israel to give them the land. God mentions two kings specifically: Sihon and Og defeated by Moses. It was essential in the Israelite trek north along the eastern coast of the Jordan River to defeat everybody who stood in the way of entering the Promised Land. Sihon had controlled land from the Arnon Gorge (close to where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found) all the way up to the Sea of Galilee. Og’s territory stretched northward toward Damascus. In this fascinating array of cities, the emphasis is on the destruction of the kings, but their names are not even mentioned. They were merely pawns, minor impediments in the way of God’s providing victory in the Promised Land. Thirty-one kings in addition to Sihon and Og were utterly destroyed. However, let’s not lose the spiritual application in the list of nearly unpronounceable names. God’s purposes in the conquest of sin are virtually the same as his purposes in the conquest of Canaan. No chariot, no sword, no arrow could bring total victory over sin. Though the Canaanites got what they deserved because of their sin, their deaths did not take care of the sin problem. God had to deal with that Himself. Only the death of a perfect, sinless individual could pay the price for our sin and break the sin barrier between humanity and God. Jesus Christ died that death, took that punishment, and won the battle over sin. Think of the extreme judgment on sin described in this chapter. Hundreds of thousands of people slaughtered. And think of God turning that judgment on his own Son so we could receive grace and life. Unlike Israel we do not have to deliver God’s judgment on sin, for Christ has already absorbed that judgment. However, as with Israel, God’s purpose was more than judicial and judgment. He also wanted to bring about a purging of sin as well as its punishment. Though Christ bore the judgment for sin, He did not eradicate the problem of sin here on earth. Therefore, we must still enter into warfare as the Israelites did to cleanse our lives of the power of sin. This is the process of sanctification. The New Testament is filled with commands to “clean up,” “put off,” “mortify,” “remove,” and “get rid of our sinful habits and ways.” Paul makes clear in Romans 6:11-12 that we are “dead indeed unto sin.” Like Joshua and the Israelites marching through Canaan with swords drawn and slashing, we do battle with the areas of sin in our own lives. Not because we are under judgment for sin, God has already taken care of that, but because we need to purge the sin that will lead us astray and turn us against God.
Personal Prayer Requests:
- Lord, please help me to never take for granted the tremendous price you paid for my salvation, and the grace to live free from sin’s penalty each day.
- Lord, please help me to stand guard ready to fight against the wiles of the Devil, the wickedness of my heart, and the worldliness of our society.
- Lord, thank you for the victory over sin that is promised to me if I will abide in Christ, completely yielded to the Holy Spirit.