Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XI: Overcoming A Dependence On Material Resources To Do God's Work
(Joshua 11:1-12:24)
  1. Introduction
    1. It takes food to keep one alive to do God's work. It takes housing, clothing, transportation and medical provisions as well.
    2. However, a subtle temptation arises where the believer comes to rely upon these material possessions for success, and that is a kind of idolatry in itself!
    3. Joshua 11-12 addresses this challenge with insightful instruction for us today.
  2. Overcoming A Dependence On Material Resources To Do God's Work, Joshua 11:1-12:24.
    1. Joshua faced an absolutely overwhelming challenge upon defeating the kings of Southern Canaan, 11:1-5.
      1. After defeating the confederation of Canaanite kings in the south, Jabin, king of Hazor in the far north united the hosts of Canaan around him to fight Israel for survival, 11:1-3.
      2. He amassed great material resources to fight Israel and to win, assembling numerous foot soldiers, many horses and chariots, meeting at a place where there was an ample water supply for the troops, 11:4-5.
    2. In direct CONTRAST to the dependence of these Canaanite kings on material resources, God instructed Joshua to operate just the opposite: he was to LIMIT relying on such resources in engaging this enemy, and he was to depend on God's intervention by FAITH instead, Joshua 11:6.
      1. Instead of responding to his apparent lack of horses and chariots and numbers of foot soldiers and adequate water supply as compared to the Canaanite foes, Joshua was to trust God and not fear, 11:6a.
      2. After defeating the Canaanites, Joshua was to limit his temptation to rely on the material resources of the Canaanites once he captured their possessions, 11:6b.
        1. Joshua was to hamstring the Canaanite horses he captured so that they could be used only for agricultural uses, being unable to gallop and thus be used for war!
        2. The chariots were to be burned by fire lest Israel depend upon them for future victories rather than leaning upon the Lord, 11:6b with Ps. 20:7.
    3. Accordingly, Joshua depended upon the Lord, taking the battle to the enemy with a surprise attack, 11:7.
    4. God rewarded this act of faith by routing the enemy before Israel, Jos. 11:8.
    5. Joshua then obeyed the Lord, hamstringing the captured enemy horses and burning their chariots, 11:9.
    6. Joshua then burned Hazor, a huge city of 200 acres to demonstrate to the Canaanites that he could destroy any Canaanite city that he so chose as a means of destroying enemy morale for future conflicts, 11:13. Thus, the Canaanites were to learn that amassing great material resources to fight Israel was FUTILE!
    7. Accordingly, Joshua took all the major segments of Canaan, Joshua 11:16 with 11:17-12:24.
Lesson: Though it is within God's will to USE various material resources to do His will, it is wrong to RELY upon such material resources for the success in achieving God's purposes rather than relying directly upon the LORD! We need to follow the admonition of Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:31: "And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away."

Application: (1) Though we need to plan to accomplish God's will using what resources we have in the process, we must always be open to His changing the means to accomplishing His purposes as He may want to remind us that the resources them selves are not our source of achieving! (2) Learn to hold all of our possessions and resources at arm's length as being disposable items for God's higher purposes. Thus, do not be upset at a sudden loss of material or health resources a s God's will is paramount in all we have. (3) If we come into owning much material wealth as did Joshua, God wants us wisely to limit our being tempted to RELY on it for success. In Joshua's case, that meant hamstringing horses and burning chariots. For us it may be buying a Ford instead of a Porsche or making the dress instead of buying the gown in the storefront window!