The kings joined forces and established their camp around the water near Merom to fight against Israel.
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them. By this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel as dead men. Then you must cripple their horses and burn their chariots.”
So Joshua and all his fighting men traveled to the water near Merom and attacked suddenly. And the Lord gave them victory over their enemies. The Israelites chased them as far as Greater Sidon and Misrephoth-maim, and eastward into the valley of Mizpah, until not one enemy warrior was left alive. Then Joshua crippled the horses and burned all the chariots, as the Lord had instructed.
Joshua then turned back and captured Hazor and killed its king. (Hazor had at one time been the capital of all these kingdoms.) The Israelites completely destroyed every living thing in the city, leaving no survivors. Not a single person was spared. And then Joshua burned the city.
Joshua slaughtered all the other kings and their people, completely destroying them, just as Moses, the servant of the Lord, had commanded. But the Israelites did not burn any of the towns built on mounds except Hazor, which Joshua burned. And the Israelites took all the plunder and livestock of the ravaged towns for themselves. But they killed all the people, leaving no survivors. As the Lord had commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua. And Joshua did as he was told, carefully obeying all the commands that the Lord had given to Moses.
King Jabin of Hazor was quite powerful because he was able to build an alliance with dozens of kings. By all appearances, Jabin had a clear advantage over Joshua and his outnumbered forces. But those who trust God can be victorious regardless of the odds.
Israel was not like most victorious invaders, who usually kept captured cities intact, moving into them and making them centers of commerce and defense. But in obedience to God, Joshua had Hazor burned. As a former capital of the land, it symbolized the wicked culture that Israel had come to destroy. Capturing and destroying it broke the backbone of the federation and weakened the will of the people to resist.
This theme of obedience recurs frequently in the book of Joshua. Obedience is one aspect of life that the believers can control. We can’t always control our circumstances because we don’t know the future. We can’t control what other people do or how they treat us. But we can choose to obey God no matter what happens.
Whatever you may face, you can choose to ignore God’s instructions or choose to follow his leading. Whatever you’re facing today, ask God for his leading. Ask him for ears to hear him and a desire to follow wherever he’s going.