“Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men. “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord is going to do this to all of your enemies.” Then Joshua killed each of the five kings and impaled them on five sharpened poles, where they hung until evening.
As the sun was going down, Joshua gave instructions for the bodies of the kings to be taken down from the poles and thrown into the cave where they had been hiding. Then they covered the opening of the cave with a pile of large rocks, which remains to this very day.
That same day Joshua captured and destroyed the town of Makkedah. He killed everyone in it, including the king, leaving no survivors. He destroyed them all, and he killed the king of Makkedah as he had killed the king of Jericho. Then Joshua and the Israelites went to Libnah and attacked it. There, too, the Lord gave them the town and its king. He killed everyone in it, leaving no survivors. Then Joshua killed the king of Libnah as he had killed the king of Jericho.
From Libnah, Joshua and the Israelites went to Lachish and attacked it. Here again, the Lord gave them Lachish. Joshua took it on the second day and killed everyone in it, just as he had done at Libnah. During the attack on Lachish, King Horam of Gezer arrived with his army to help defend the town. But Joshua’s men killed him and his army, leaving no survivors.
Then Joshua and the Israelite army went on to Eglon and attacked it. They captured it that day and killed everyone in it. He completely destroyed everyone, just as he had done at Lachish. From Eglon, Joshua and the Israelite army went up to Hebron and attacked it. They captured the town and killed everyone in it, including its king, leaving no survivors. They did the same thing to all of its surrounding villages. And just as he had done at Eglon, he completely destroyed the entire population.
Then Joshua and the Israelites turned back and attacked Debir. He captured the town, its king, and all of its surrounding villages. He completely destroyed everyone in it, leaving no survivors. He did to Debir and its king just what he had done to Hebron and to Libnah and its king.
So Joshua conquered the whole region—the kings and people of the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills, and the mountain slopes. He completely destroyed everyone in the land, leaving no survivors, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded.
With God’s help, Israel won the battle against five Amorite armies. Such a triumph was part of God’s normal power as he worked with his people for victory. Joshua told his men never to be afraid because God would give them similar victories over all their enemies. Notice that in every Israelite victory, the credit consistently goes to the Lord. All of Israel’s victories came from God.
God has often protected us and won victories for us. When we are successful, it’s tempting to believe that God wasn’t really all that involved and that it would have happened with or without him. It’s easy to chalk up success to simple cause and effect. In reality, God gives us success; and he alone delivers us from our trials. We should give him the credit and praise him for his goodness. The same God who empowered Joshua and who has led us in the past is part of our lives day after day. Remembering his involvement today and reminding ourselves of his work in the past will give us hope for whatever we face in the future.
How has God been part of your life story through the years? Are you tempted to boil everything down to cause and effect? We can live every day focused on the physical world, or we can keep an eye out for God’s involvement as well. In the good times, practice looking for God. And when the hard times come, remember God’s help and be encouraged. You’ll find yourself with the strength to continue trusting in him.