We love the story of Rahab who lived in the most dangerous place in the city, the wall that would come down; but the Almighty kept her alive and not only put her into the community of Israel but into the line of their Messiah.
After Jericho, Joshua sent spies to little Ai, attacking that village as recommended by the counsel of his men. What a disaster! Dear friends and family members were struck down as the "IDF" of that day fled in humiliation. Joshua's response was to throw himself on the ground before the ark and whine as his parents probably did in the wilderness. Even so, the Almighty spoke to him. He was given direction by the LORD on how Ai would be taken. Half of Israel would attack and run as before. This time all of Ai would join in the fun and chase Israels army. Meanwhile, Joshua and his hidden soldiers would enter the city from behind and burn it to the ground. A pattern was begun.
Later, ambassadors from the Hivite's near by, mountain stronghold, of Gibeon came directly to Joshua acting as if they had come a very long way (with all the proper props) to make an unlawful treaty with Israel. The Hivites were a people the LORD instructed Israel to destroy, Joshua and the politicians of Israel did not consult the Almighty about the treaty, they simply enter into an agreement with men who represent a kingdom that is apparently far away. If Joshua had to run for office that year he would have lost. The general population was angry with Joshua for being deceived into this treaty.
...to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of YHVH, that he might be glorified.Beauty for ashes It just so happens that the kings of five other cities were so angry with Gibon, that instead of attacking Israel, they attacked Gibon to punish them for their alliance with Joshua. This is where the idea of Strongholds and strong men comes in.
If I understand the teaching behind the story of Ai and the attack on Gibon, then the enemy must come out of his stronghold to be defeated. In their arrogance, all of Ai left the stronghold of their village to do what Jericho could not do, defeat Israel. Their stronghold was destroyed and they were "put to the sword" (killed). When Gibon was under attack from the five southern kings, they were able to hold out in their own strong hold. They were even able to get a messenger out of the city to ask Joshua to help them.
Do no fear The Amorite armies (vs 6) had come in mass to punish Gibon. The word to Israel? Do not fear. Though they looked frightening, they were doomed. The strongmen had been drawn from their strongholds. Israel might have had to lay siege to each of their cities one by one. The losses to Israel would have probably been substantial. Instead the Almighty drew them from their strongholds and they were defeated.YHVH said to Joshua, " Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you." Joshua 10:8 nasu
"If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! "But no one can enter the strong man's house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house. Mark 3:26-27I've always wondered, how can a strong man be bound in his own stronghold (house)? I doubt that he can. However if the Almighty draws him out of his stronghold, then he can be defeated and we who belong to the king and his kingdom can then occupy the stronghold. But it does not become our stronghold.
"But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can anyone enter the strong man's house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. Matthew 12:28-29The kingdom of the Almighty has come upon you. How do you know when that happens? When you are able to enter the strongman's stronghold. The squatters of the kingdom are cast out and we participate in their demise, not coveting their friendship, there pleas for peace or their luxuries. We are all about YHVH and his Word made flesh, Y'shua our Messiah.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8:31-32The LORD-YHVH is for us! We struggle and fuss about things that we perceive as strongholds in our life. Nothing changes. We lay siege to the walls of those strongholds and are shot with the fiery darts of our enemy. We listen to preachers tell us how to deal with stronghold, we gladly receive the teaching of our bible study leaders on how to defeat strongholds and nothing seems to happen. Only the Almighty is able to draw the strongman from the stronghold. He is helpless outside of his house. Do not fear, only be strong and courageous. The Strongman is defeated, not by our effort, but by the Almighty's. The day will come when you are given the privilege of cutting him down with the sword of Truth, the Word of God. Until then your fight will be as effective as Israel against Ai... the first time. So what are we to do? One of my top three life verses is Micah 6:8 which teaches me to live a just (Torah observant) life, to love mercy, toward others and toward yourself, and to walk (live) with humility before the Almighty. Your enemies are defeated at just the right time but right living starts right now.
There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel. Joshua 10:14The Almighty hears you when you pray and he fights for you. Stand firm in YHVH and in HIS strength, Stand firm against the schemes of the devil (don't fight him at his stronghold). Our battle is not against people, it is against the spirits of darkness. Stand firm in the full armor of YHVH! (Ephesians 6:10-20)
I love how Paul ends the chapter 6 of Ephesians (putting on the full armor of God). He asks us to remember him in his chains as he looks for open doors for the gospel... he is not bound even in chains and prison. It is the Strongman, the devil himself who is bound and defeated. We are to not be afraid but to stand firm.
Stand firm beloved
Mrs. Hagerty, January 5, 2016