Defeated Kings

Joshua 12:1-24

1These are the kings of the land whom the Israelites had defeated and whose territory they took over east of the Jordan, from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon, including all the eastern side of the Arabah: 2 Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon. He ruled from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge—from the middle of the gorge—to the Jabbok River, which is the border of the Ammonites. This included half of Gilead. 3 He also ruled over the eastern Arabah from the Sea of Galilee to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea), to Beth Jeshimoth, and then southward below the slopes of Pisgah.
4 And the territory of Og king of Bashan, one of the last of the Rephaites, who reigned in Ashtaroth and Edrei. 5 He ruled over Mount Hermon, Salekah, all of Bashan to the border of the people of Geshur and Maakah, and half of Gilead to the border of Sihon king of Heshbon.
6 Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the Israelites conquered them. And Moses the servant of the Lord gave their land to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh to be their possession.
Lasharon, 19 the king of Madon, the king of Hazor, 20 the king of Shimron Meron, the king of Akshaph, 21 the king of Taanach, the king of Megiddo, 22 the king of Kedesh, the king of Jokneam in Carmel, 23 the king of Dor (in Naphoth Dor), the king of Goyim in Gilgal, 24 the king of Tirzah, thirty-one kings in all.


Do you like statistics? Statistic is a numerical fact or datum. Statistics helps us to understand one situation or another. It provides clearer concept on the realities of life.
The Bible has included statistics too. The number of kings defeated by the Israelites under the leadership of Moses and Joshua has an interesting statistical account. What can we learn from the narrative about Moses and Joshua leading the Israelites on different or successive times? Why is it so important to know?
Moses and Joshua led different generations of Israelites respectively. Both were successful against their enemies because they obeyed the instruction of the Lord. Is it proper to compare who was the better leader between Moses and Joshua?

1. Moses

1These are the kings of the land whom the Israelites had defeated and whose territory they took over east of the Jordan, from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon… 2 Sihon king of the Amorites… 4 And…Og king of Bashan…
6 Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the Israelites conquered them. And Moses the servant of the Lord gave their land to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh to be their possession.

When Moses was still their leaders, there were two kings from the east of the Jordan River that the Israelites had defeated: Sihon king of the Amorites and Og King of Bashan. The Amorites lived in Heshbon. The boundary of Heshbon, east of the Jordan River included half of Gilead from the north down to Aroer in the south.
The boundary of Bashan, the kingdom of Og included the half of Gilead north of Heshbon up north to Mouth Hermon in the north. The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh requested, and Moses gave them as their inheritance.
Under the leadership of Moses, the Israelites saw miraculous events but did not help them trust God. As a result, those 20 years and older who came out of the Egyptian slavery, except for Joshua and Caleb, were not allowed to enter the Promise Land. God let Moses saw Canaan from Mount Nebo, and there, he died. It’s like unfulfilled dream.

Dream of 5,000

Did I not share a dream for this church to 5,000 in church attendance? I heard that a former pastor shared the same dream. Was it a coincidence? A dream remains a dream unless the Lord would sanction or gives approval to happen.

The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, 18I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
The church is the body of Christ. Christ is the head of the church. Jesus said that He will build His church, and He did not command anybody to build His church, did He? Leaders can be sincere and devoted. We don’t discount that. God allows unpleasant situations as reminder that we need the Lord and not to discredit the ability of leaders.
In Psalm 127:1-2, 1Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. 2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.

This passage is rightly interpreted as pertaining to household. And it added the futility of watching in vain unless the Lord watches the city. The Scripture teaches that preachers are also watchers warning God’s people about a possible danger that may disturb the tranquility or peace and order. It also points to God as giver of good sleep.
Therefore, intellect of leaders or expertise of preachers is valuable but success is granted by the Lord. Moses the God-chosen leader of Israel may not have been allowed to enter Canaan but he experienced success because he listened to the Lord’s instructions. Joshua followed his example. Joshua was a successful leader also.

2. Joshua

7 Joshua and the Israelites conquered on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir. Joshua gave their lands as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel according to their tribal divisions.

Under the leadership of Joshua, Israel defeated 31 kings from the west of Jordan River. Does it mean that Joshua was a better leader than Moses? How many believers recognize Joshua and his exploits? Moses is quoted more often than Joshua, right? Moses was considered as the greatest leader of Israel. How about Joshua?
God grants different mission to each person. Moses’ mission was different from Joshua’s. But people can’t stop comparing who is who. It says in 1 Corinthians 1:11-12, 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

Paul warned the Corinthians about division in the church. Paul planted the church and Apollos continued the work after Paul left for another assignment. There were loyal church members to Paul but some may not knew him. Some believers could have been followers of Cephas or Peter also who joined the Corinthian church. And faction occurred when they compared the leadership styles of Paul, Apollos and Peter.
We cannot prevent it but still expect that there will always be factions, cliques or divisions in every church. No true Bible-believing church, even in this generation, will be exempted from such problem of divisiveness or factions.
People can be loyal to former pastors or leaders but it should not destroy our fellowship with one another. It says in Galatians 5:19-26, 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Paul compared the fruit of the Spirit and the acts of the flesh. The acts of the flesh reveal those who are not ready for the kingdom of God. The fruit of the Spirit reveals that believers are assured of eternal life. This is what we need to pray for our church—that each member would bear fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Here is another significant prayer item that we need to pray for. There’ll always be transferees from other churches. We don’t stop them to join us but we need a firm but systematic policy of accepting church members. Pray that our church leaders will come out of such church policy for us to follow whenever unwanted situation arise.

Moses and Joshua led different generation of Israelites. They have different kind of success. They experienced leadership success because they listened to the instruction of God. Pray that God would raise among us more church leaders who would carefully listen and obey the voice of God. Pray also that God would bring into our fold potential members who will listen and obey His instructions.

It says in Proverbs 3:5-6, 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

We memorize this Bible text but we usually use our expertise and trainings more often as our resources. We only seek the Lord when things go wrong, why? This is something that we should compare: Compare our lifestyle when we seek first the Lord’s guidance to lifestyle when we depend on intuition or instinct. Which life is better?
We don’t depend on other’s opinions for decision-making. We submit and trust the Lord to lead us each step we make. Pray that God would give you the right instinct or intuition. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, He will empower us, and instead of worrying about the result of decision, there’ll be joy in peace in our heart and mind.

><((‘> —><(((‘> tmec\2010 <‘)))>< — <‘))><

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.