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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Then Joshua said, ‘Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings to me from the cave.’”—Joshua 10:22 (NKJV)
As Israel began to possess the Promised Land, it inevitably led to conflict. Here in particular, it led to war with five kings who fled the field of battle and hid in a cave. Joshua commanded the cave be sealed until the battle was over so he could deal with them at the proper time.
That time has now come! Joshua ordered the cave to be opened and for the five kings to be brought out into the light of day. There’s no easy way to say this, but Joshua killed them and their bodies were hanged on trees until the evening. At the end of the day, their corpses were cast back into the cave and it was sealed up with large stones (Joshua 10:22-27).
We might well wonder why God would allow such atrocities to occur. After all, it seems irreconcilable with our understanding of God, who is primarily characterized by love (1 John 4:8).
But we need to understand that things were much different in the times of Joshua. God was still a God of love, but the landscape on earth was very violent and mere survival often required one to resort to violence. When Joshua did this, he wasn’t acting out of his own sense of hatred or sin. He was actually serving the Lord’s purpose, which was to establish and preserve His people.
To do that, these kings had to be dealt with in the harshest of ways. Not only would it be justice for the men who initiated this conflict to begin with, but it would also set a powerful precedent for the remaining conquest.
There’s always a spiritual parallel to the exploits we read about in Joshua. In this case, we can see that there are times when the most desperate measures need to be taken. A zero-tolerance attitude is necessary toward something that has wormed its way into your heart: a thought, a habit, a relationship—anything you know that doesn’t belong there and needs to be cast out, just as these kings were cast out of their cave.
Whatever it might be, the danger it poses is just as real as any danger that threatened God’s people in Joshua’s day. We cannot harbor the presence of any rival king to the Lord Jesus. There is a proper time for us to be radically tough on the influences we allow in our lives, and that time has now come.
DIG: Why did Joshua deal so harshly with the five kings?
DISCOVER: What spiritual parallel do we see when it comes to Joshua’s actions?
DO: Ask God to reveal if there’s a king hiding in the cave of your heart. Then ask Him to help you expel it by the power of His Spirit.
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.