Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal.”—Joshua 10:9 (NKJV)

To set the stage, Joshua had been called upon by the Gibeonites to rescue them from a confederacy of five kings determined to destroy them. Because Israel had sworn an alliance with Gibeon, and because God promised He would give them victory in honoring their commitment, Joshua leads the counter-attack. 

Just as God had promised, He was with Israel and gave them a resounding victory over the confederacy of kings: “So the Lord routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah” (Joshua 10:10 NKJV).

We can’t miss the language used here in describing the victory, “the Lord routed them before Israel.” Notice how the credit isn’t attributed to man, but to the Lord, alone. He was the one who was ultimately responsible for the outcome of the battle. That outcome was nothing less than a rout. 

The original Hebrew word used for “rout” literally means “to make something flee” or “to make extinct.” In other words, it wasn’t even close! But look at the additional details that God gives us in His Word: “As they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword” (Joshua 10:11 NKJV).

God opened the heavens and showered large hailstones down on Israel’s enemies. If you’ve ever been caught in a hail storm, you can imagine what this must have been like! Also, don’t miss the detail that God controlled the extent of this deadly storm. It traveled just as far as He wanted, “as far as Azekah.” And just in case we may have missed it, we’re told more were killed by God’s hailstones than Israel’s swords!

Here’s the practical truth all of this adds up to: The battle belongs to the Lord (1 Samuel 17:47)! He gets the credit because He is the One who will determine the course of battle, even if He decides to intervene supernaturally! 

In our spiritual life, we will find ourselves in many battles—it’s inevitable. Their time, location, and causes may vary. But one thing never changes: The Lord is the One in control, the battle belongs to Him, He owns it, not us—and we can look to Him for the victory, because He is willing and able to deliver His people.

DIG: What did this conflict clearly demonstrate? 

DISCOVER: How does this apply to the Christian life?

DO: Is there a battle you’re trying to “own”? Pray about how God can shift your perspective on it.     

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.