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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“When Jabin king of Hazor heard these things, he sent to Jobab king of Madon, to the king of Shimron, to the king of Achshaph, and to the kings who were from the north, in the mountains . . . they came and camped together at the waters of Merom to fight against Israel.”—Joshua 11:1-5 (NKJV)
Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land can be broken down into three regional stages. First, they overcame the kingdoms located in the central region of the Land. Next, they swung southward and subdued the southern kingdoms. And now they will turn north to capture that territory.
By this time, every king was well aware of Israel’s stunning success. So, it comes as no surprise that in this climate of desperation the kings of the north joined their forces in an attempt to derail Israel’s advance. They combined their armies for an epic battle at a location known as the Waters of Merom.
In the annals of warfare, certain places are synonymous with the bloodshed of war. Gettysburg, Omaha Beach, Stalingrad, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima . . . these are places that send a shiver up the spine of any historian. In Joshua’s day, the mention of the Waters of Merom would have the same effect on anyone in that region, for it was the scene of a decisively brutal victory for Israel (Joshua 11:7-8).
Not many details survive about this particular battle. But we do know that Israel’s enemies had many horses and chariots. No doubt, the enemy put a lot of confidence in these resources, because they give an undeniable advantage over foot soldiers on battlefields.
But some historians have noted that their advantages would have been neutralized in a watery environment. Horses and chariots can lose control where there’s water and mud. It’s conceivable that the actual water of Merom was a main factor in the enemy’s defeat.
There’s an important parallel for the Christian here, because Jesus compared the Holy Spirit inside of us to a river of flowing water (John 7:38). And it is the Spirit’s indwelling presence that turns the tide of the spiritual battles in our lives.
We’re tempted by our enemy, we sense our weakness to overcome it, victory starts to slip away. Then, we remember there’s One in us greater than the power working against us (1 John 4:4). We stop fighting in our own strength and invite God’s Spirit to battle on our behalf. Because He’s God, He prevails. And because we are His, we prevail.
The place of water was the place of victory for Israel. Likewise, the Holy Spirit’s active and flowing place in our lives will prove a victorious place for us.
DIG: What happened at the Waters of Merom and why?
DISCOVER: What do the waters represent in the spiritual life?
DO: Think of things you can do to ensure spiritual victory in life’s battles.
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.