Conflict and victory
Moreover, this peace with
the Gibeonites only brought fresh attacks upon Israel.
But now all is plain. Jehovah says to Joshua, "Fear
them not, for I have delivered them into thy hand."
This is all that conflict means for one who walks in the
Spirit before God. There must be conflict, but conflict
is only victory. It is the Lord who has delivered the
enemy into our hands; none can stand before us.
Return to Gilgal
All things are ours. The
sun stands still, and the moon stays its course,
witnessing to the power of God and to the interest He
takes in blessing His people. We may be sure that,
whithersoever the Spirit will go, there the wheels will
go (Ezek. 1: 20). Joshua defeated all his enemies,
because Jehovah, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.
This time they were faithful, they made no peace. What
had Canaanites to do in Jehovah's land? Has Satan any
right to the land of promise? This is the light in which
Joshua always beholds the land of Canaan (chap. 10: 27).
But, after the victory, Israel returned to the camp of
Gilgal. We have already explained what Gilgal means. But
the return thither of the conquerors of the Canaanitish
kings contains the instructive lesson that, whatever our
victories and our conquests may be, we must always return
to the place that becomes us before God in the
annihilation of self; to the application of the knowledge
we have of God (the resurrection of Christ having set us
in the heavenly places), to the judging and the
mortifying of the fleshto spiritual circumcision,
which is the death of the flesh by the power of
resurrection. There is a time to act and a time to be
still, waiting upon God that we may be fit for action.
Activity, the power that attends us, success, everything,
tends to draw us away from God, or at least to divide the
attention of our fickle hearts.
But the camp is the
starting-point for victory, and the return from triumph
for true strength is always to Gilgal. It is not there
that the enemy attacks us if we are faithful. The attack
will be on our side, whatever the manoeuvres of our
adversaries may be.
everything work together for good
Let us observe also that,
in spite of the people's and Joshua's failures,
everything turned out well in the end. There were faults,
and these faults received their chastisement, as in the
case of Gibeon and of Ai. But, the walk of the people
being faithful in the main, God made everything work
together for good. Thus the peace with Gibeon led to
victory over the kings who attacked that people. There
was cause for humiliation and for chastisement in the
details of their history; but, as a whole, the hand of
God appears in it most manifestly.
It is seldom that every
step of our way is taken in faith and dependence upon God.
We do well to humble ourselves on account of this. But
when the object is the Lord's object, He goes before us,
and orders all things for the triumph of His people in
this holy war, which is His own war. Only failures may
bring their fruits for a long while.