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15 May 2020 – Joshua 10:6-11

The Gibeonites then sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: “Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us.” So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.” After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. The LORD threw them into confusion before Israel, so Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the LORD hurled large hailstones down on them, and more of them died from the hail than were killed by the swords of the Israelites. – Joshua 10:6-11

Adolph Harstad writes:

The God of Israel acts according to His Law and Gospel. He executes just judgment but also shows mercy and accomplishes salvation for sinners who do not deserve His grace, but who nonetheless cast themselves upon Him. Throught history various interpreters have erroneously argued that the OT depicts the LORD as a vindictive God of Law alone. The heretic Marcion in the second century A.D. is the most famous exponent of that view, which has persisted into modern times in some quarters. But Joshua 10 shows God using His people to accomplish salvation for former pagans who had cast themselves on His mercy and were incorporated into His covenant nation.

If Joshua were vindictive or if he did not understand God to be a faithful God of mercy, Joshua might have considered the attack of the five Canaanite kings against the Gibeonites to be divine retribution. He might have that that God was now avenging the craftiness of the Gibeonites, who tricked Israel into a sworn covenant of peace with them. Joshua may have been tempted simply to stand by and watch the armies of the five Canaanite kings slaughter the Gibeonites as their deserved punishment. But as a man of faith in the LORD, he cannot and does not let that happen. …

The Gibeonites begged Joshua, “Save us!” There words and dependence upon Joshua to save them are similar to that expressed by the cry of “Hosanna!” meaning “Save [us] please!” shouted during Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The Gibeonites’ plea is also similar to the name of Joshua and Jesus. The name means “the LORD saves” or “the LORD is salvation.”

The Gibeonites have asked the right man for help. He is the “servant of the LORD,” the minister of “the living Mighty One” (Josh 3:10), who alone can save. Joshua is a man who knows that he must be faithful to God’s word in all respects, and so he is a ma who keeps his word.

Likewise, the cries to Jesus for help are addressed to the right man. He is the one who fulfills both halves of the name (of both Joshua and Jesus): He is both the LORD and the Savior. Those cries will include, “Lord, save; we are perishing!” “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” and “Jesus, remember me when you come into Your kingdom.”

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 53
Q. 53. Which is the third commandment?
A. The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.