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May 9, 2021 | Chris Baselice
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“But these five kings had fled and hidden themselves in a cave at Makkedah.”—Joshua 10:16 (NKJV)
Context is going to be extremely important in comprehending what we’re going to read over the next few days. If we don’t fully understand what has led up to this point, then we’re going to be confused as we study this particular text.
God had called His people, Israel, to inherit the land that He had originally promised to Abraham about seven centuries earlier. The people who inhabited the land during the course of that time were not its rightful owners. By divine edict, the children of Israel were the rightful possessors, and now the time had come for them take possession of what was rightfully theirs.
Of course, the previous inhabitants of the land didn’t see it that way and were willing to go to war for the territory—with the exception of the Gibeonites, who deceived Israel into agreeing to an alliance with them. Upon hearing about this treaty, five kings within that region decided to attack the Gibeonites with their armies. But Israel came to their rescue and thoroughly routed the five armies.
That’s our context. But now we see that the kings of these armies, the men who were responsible for the conflict, had fled the scene of the slaughter and were hiding in a cave. News of this reached Joshua, who gave the following order: “Joshua said, ‘Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and set men by it to guard them. And do not stay there yourselves, but pursue your enemies, and attack their rear guard. Do not allow them to enter their cities, for the Lord your God has delivered them into your hand’” (Joshua 10:18-19 NKJV).
Joshua knew these men had to be dealt with, but he also knew the battle wasn’t completely over. The time hadn’t come yet for these kings to face judgment and so he trapped them in the cave, so their deeds could be properly addressed in due time.
There’s a real wisdom in this, because we often make the mistake of undertaking something new before finishing what we’re already committed to. The battle before us needs to be finished before we turn our back on it in order to do something else.
We need to avoid falling into the pattern of being quick to start but slow to finish. Just as Joshua and his army saw the battle through before engaging in a new task, may we be people who understand when it’s time to wait on something in order to see something through to its end.
DIG: What does Joshua’s command reveal about his character?
DISCOVER: What can we learn from this command?
DO: Is there something you need to finish? Ask the Lord to show you and focus on it before starting something else.
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.