In Joshua 5-11, we see how Joshua took the land of Canaan in just 6-7 years. In Joshua 12, we are retold about the wars of the Israelites on the west side of the Jordan, which were led by Moses, and the wars on the east side of Jordan, which were led by Joshua. This chapter consists of 24 verses that can be divided into four parts. In verses 1-6, there were two kings on the east side of Jordan, Sihon king of the Amorites and Og king of Bashan. These two kings were typical tyrants. Moses defeated them and took their land on the east side of the Jordan which was given to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh to be their possession. In verses 7-8, the Israelites crossed the Jordan, and they took all the land from Mount Hermon to Seir. The land was given to the other nine-and-a-half tribes. In verses 9-16, there were 16 kings of the south. In verses 17-24 there were 15 kings of the north. According to the record, there were 33 kings in total, including the kings of the south and the north, and two kings from the east side of the Jordan.
Let us think about this: how could Joshua take the land of Canaan from the south to the north and conquered 31 kings within only 6-7 years? Where did his power come from? From the Bible we learn that Joshua had four strength. First, he obeyed everything that God commanded; it says in Joshua 11:15, “As the Lord commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.” Secondly, he was willing to confess his sin; after the Israelites failed to take Ai, Joshua tore his clothes, sprinkled dust on his head, fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord, and he repented before God. Thirdly, he had a strong team spirit; when he first attacked Ai, because it was a city with small population, Joshua sent only 3,000 soldiers, and they were defeated. From that experience he learned that when we fight for God, all man should be soldier, therefore, in every battle after that, either with the northern kingdoms or the southern kingdoms, Joshua took “the whole army.” Finally, Joshua had a excellent teacher, Moses. These four strengths of Joshua were the reasons why he could conquer 31 kings in just 6-7 years. These four elements are also extremely important in maintaining a strong group.
In the next chapter, Joshua got old, and there were still very large areas of land to be taken. We can see that no man, not even Moses or Joshua, can finish God’s work singlehandedly. We need to support and complete others’ work. We need to pass on the work of God. We need to learn to strengthen and train others to do God’s work. Although in Joshua 12 we are told about all the lands that were taken, we are told in Joshua 13 that there were still large areas of land to be taken. If there are lands to be taken, there are people to be taken. God commanded that we destroy everything and leave no lives when we take a place, yet we fail to do so, and those are the lands and people to be taken. That is, we did not obey God’s command; we did not deal with the things God asked us to deal with, or at least not completely. We are God’s army, and we need to be more conscientious and stringent. For who do we do this? For God! If you think about God’s word from day till night, you will be more careful in following God’s order. If you think about things in this worlds, it would be difficult for you to be conscientious and careful, and we need to be aware of that! Stay Alert!