• Rev. Mark Tews

Proceed with Confidence

Preschooler Denny came to class one morning bubbling with excitement about having played tee-ball. “We won our game,” he said. “Did you get any hits?” his teacher asked. “Yes,” he answered. “And I got some scratches, too.” You just have to love a little boy’s attitude – excited about the win despite the hits and scratches along the way.

You and I both know that life is full of “hits and scratches.” So, how do we get past them to the win? How do we achieve victory despite the obstacles? How do we turn opposition into an opportunity to overcome the enemies in our own lives? Well, take out your Bible and turn to the book of Joshua. Here, you can repeatedly see how God assured and led Joshua in overcoming the enemies of Israel.

For instance, “as soon as Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured Ai and had devoted it to destruction, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were warriors. So Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, to Piram king of Jarmuth, to Japhia king of Lachish, and to Debir king of Eglon, saying, ‘Come up to me and help me, and let us strike Gibeon. For it has made peace with Joshua and with the people of Israel.’ Then the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered their forces and went up with all their armies and encamped against Gibeon and made war against it.” (Joshua 10:1–5).

Up until then, Joshua had led the Israelites against their enemies one by one: Jericho, then Ai, then Gibeon. Now, their enemies were ganging up on them. Five kings, led by the king of Jerusalem, were just five miles south of Gibeon and had formed an alliance to attack. It was an ominous situation, but God was going to use it to bring about a great victory for the Israelites. With victory, the Israelites would break the backs of all the enemy forces in the southern region of the Promised Land, all at once. The Gibeonites, however, were panicking. “The men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, saying, ‘Do not relax your hand from your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the hill country are gathered against us.’ So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. And the LORD said to Joshua, ‘Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.” (Joshua 10:6–8).

God promised to give the Israelites a great victory! “So Joshua came upon them suddenly, having marched up all night from Gilgal.” (Joshua 10:9). That’s about a 25-mile march up steep and difficult terrain. “And the LORD threw them into a panic before Israel, who struck them with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. And as they fled before Israel, while they were going down the ascent of Beth-horon, the LORD threw down large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died because of the hailstones than the sons of Israel killed with the sword.” (Joshua 10:10–11). The Lord was literally fighting for Israel, but Joshua still had to move forward with confidence in God’s Word. You see, even though God was fighting for Israel, there would be no victory if Joshua didn’t advance the army against the enemy.

When God promises the victory, PROCEED WITH CONFIDENCE IN GOD’S WORD. Joshua did not hesitate. He marched his army 25 miles and attacked right away. It threw the enemy into a panic, especially when God threw large hailstones down upon them. Do you want to win the victory over the enemy in your life? Then don’t shrink back from the challenge ahead. Move forward believing and trusting what God has promised you!

You see, God’s Word is very clear to everyone who submits to Him. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:6–7). The devil cannot stand against those who obey God. So, no matter the opposition, don’t shrink back in fear any longer. Proceed forward with confidence in God’s Word and watch Him fight for you!