After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise.
Joshua 10 v 9
This whole chapter is an awesome record of battle after battle and victory after victory. Here too is another modern tactic – march all through the night and catch your enemy by surprise in the early hours of the morning. Joshua had the promise of victory, but he had to work hard with his army to ensure success. And having won the main battle against the five Kings and their armies, there followed the mopping-up operation, surrounding and capturing every city and destroying the whole population.
Once again it is a matter of wholehearted faith, trust in God, and sheer dogged hard work – all going hand in hand.
That is always how it has been in our inner battle with sin too.
It was at the cross that Jesus defeated all the powers of sin and darkness – and by faith we share that victory and enter into the fruits of it. But there is a kind of mopping up operation going on in our lives, as the pockets of sin and resistance to the rule of God, are destroyed. This is the ongoing task for each of us. Paul expresses the nature of the battle when he writes ‘Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.’ (Colossians 3 v 5)
God promised the whole land to Joshua, but battles had to be fought and won, and enemies put to death, before the promise could be fulfilled. Victory never just fell into his hands, and there were mistakes along the way that had to be rectified, as at Ai.
How this all mirrors our experience! We know that our enemy, Satan, is defeated, but daily we have to enter the struggle to root out and defeat everything that is opposed to the rule of God in our lives.
For reflection: Look into your own life today – are there any battles in progress to eliminate sin, and give Jesus His rightful place as Lord? Claim God’s promises to you, trust Him for victory, and then make a determined effort – empowered by the Holy Spirit – to make His victory a practical reality.