Joshua 11:20                      Struck With Blindness                              2/12/2012     

 

·        The Last Battle (Rom 15:4, Josh 11:1-9)

 

 

 

 

#1. God Causes Spiritual Blindness (Jos 11:20, Ex 7:3, 8:15, 2Cor 4:3-4, Rom 9:17,13, 2Thes 2:11)

 

 

 

 

·        Seeing With Their Eyes, but Spiritually Blind (Josh 11:20, 9:24, 11:8, Rom 3:25)

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Blind Are Seeing, the Seeing Become Blind (2King 6:15-18, John 9:39)

 

 

 

 

·        Spiritual Blindness Is Covering the Earth (Rev 13:7-8, 20:7-9)

 

 

 

 

#3.       Our Battles With the Blind (Josh 11:20,9,15, 2King 6:18-23, 1Pet 3:1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Joshua, Josh 11:1 (2X). We have come to chapter 11 of this Prophecy of Joshua, and this chapter contains the last battle that is recorded in this prophecy. It is also the greatest of the battles described here in the Scroll of Joshua. Of course there were more battles, but chapter 11 is the last chapter where physical battles of the children of Israel against the Canaanites were recorded.

·        The Last Battle (Rom 15:4, Josh 11:1-9)

This is not just another battle story. This is not just a display of the power of God. Keep in mind what God has written in Rom 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” In other words: This has been written in order that we may learn another aspect of the Gospel of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. We must learn to apply the spiritual principles that we read about here, and we must apply these to situations we encounter today. Let us summarize what we have seen so far:

1.      Joshua is a type of the Lord Jesus; they bear the same name; they both were leaders in leading the people of God into the Promised Land; they both were appointed by God to this position.

2.      The Land of Canaan was the Promised Land, which is a type of the Kingdom of God, and both Joshua and the Lord Jesus led only their people into the Kingdom of God here on earth.

3.      The children of Israel represent those of us who are truly saved, and who now are waging war against the former occupants of the old land of Canaan, which represent us in our former state.

4.      The battles described in the Prophecy of Joshua were real battles, which were historically true.

5.      But now we have to apply those lessons as spiritual battles that are fought inside us. The Lord gave us a regenerated soul, but our body is still unsaved and is very much inclined to sin.

6.      We will win these battles only because Joshua (or the Lord Jesus) is within us and is our Leader.

Now we have to ask ourselves: What are the lessons that we can learn from this chapter 11? The main focus of the sermon today is reflected in the title: Struck With Blindness. Let us now begin to read from Josh 11:1-9,

Josh 11:1-9, “1  And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph, 2  And to the kings that were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Chinneroth, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west, 3  And to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and to the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and to the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh. 4  And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many. 5  And when all these kings were met together, they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel. 6  And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for to morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire. 7  So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly; and they fell upon them. 8  And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, and unto Misrephothmaim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left them none remaining. 9  And Joshua did unto them as the LORD bade him: he houghed their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire.”         Many people, even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude did the Lord deliver into the hand of Joshua. Why did they go to battle against Joshua? They were spiritually blind.

#1. God Causes Spiritual Blindness (Jos 11:20, Ex 7:3, 8:15, 2Cor 4:3-4, Rom 9:17,13, 2Thes 2:11)

Please drop down to verse 20. We read, in Josh 11:20, “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.”

We read here clearly, “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts.” What does the Bible teach us concerning the hardening of hearts? Did God harden their hearts, or did Satan harden men’s hearts, or do men harden their own hearts? Please turn in your Bibles about 280 pages to your left, to the Prophecy of Exodus, Ex 7:3 (2X). In this story of the ten plagues in Egypt we read many times about the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. Here we find again that the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart. We read in Ex 7:3, “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.” But if we drop down to Ex 8:15 we notice that it was Pharaoh who hardened his own heart. Take a look there, in Ex 8:15. We read in Ex 8:15, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.” And when we continue in this story of the ten plagues upon Egypt we read alternately that Pharaoh hardened his heart, and that the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Who did the hardening? Please turn to the Epistle of Second Corinthians chapter 4, 2Cor 4:3 (2X). Here is a passage which also teaches us who does the hardening of hearts. And in this case it is Satan who does the hardening of people’s hearts. Can we come to an agreement? The Lord says in 2Cor 4:3-4,

2Cor 4:3-4, “3  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

This passage says that it is Satan who has blinded the minds of them which believe not. What is going on? Now we can harmonize all three explanations. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 9:17 (2X). All people are born in the kingdom of Satan, and thus to begin with Satan has blinded the minds of all those who are in his kingdom. But among them there are many who are like Esau, of whom God has said in Rom 9:13, “Esau have I hated.” Pharaoh is one of those.

Of him God says in Rom 9:17,

Rom 9:17, “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.”

In fact, God says this of every one of the reprobate who are under the wrath of God all their life. And so, Pharaoh was spiritually blind from birth, and so are all the non-elect who are in the category of Esau; blind as a bat. But they love it that way, for in this condition they can ignore the true God, and they can pretend that there is no God, and that there is no sin, and that there is no retribution for sin. And so God gives them what they want, like God says in 2Thes 2:11, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie:” Today we see this around us all the time. This is the process of God hardening their hearts. But this hardening of their hearts is something that they enjoy, for it reinforces their opinion of God and it reinforces their unbelief. And so, this is also the process of the unsaved hardening their own hearts. They like to blame God for hardening their hearts, but the fact is that they desire to harden their own hearts. But to every one of them God says, “Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” God’s retribution for sin will come. But today they rejoice in their skills of defrauding people, and their skills of white collar crime, and their skills of oppressing people by legal means, and so on, and so on. We do not want to dwell on the sins of people today, so let us return to the story of Joshua fighting the Canaanites. Please return to Josh 11.

·        Seeing With Their Eyes, but Spiritually Blind (Josh 11:20, 9:24, 11:8, Rom 3:25)

Here are people who see with their eyes, but they are spiritually blind as a bat. Let us think this through for a moment. Why did they fight against Joshua? They were blind to the facts which showed that Jehovah was on the side of Israel, and that Jehovah was a mightier God than any of their man-made idols. For example, how could these people have escaped the powerful grip of Pharaoh in one day? How could these people have survived in the wilderness for 40 years? How could this army of slaves who escaped out of Egypt accomplish so much in such a short time? How could it be that Jehovah dried up the water of the Red Sea so that Israel could walk on dry ground across the Red Sea? How could it be that Jehovah dried up the water of the Jordan River so that Israel could walk on dry ground across the Jordan River? How could it be that Israel completely destroyed the mighty kingdoms of the Amorites, Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan who was one of the giants? How could the walls of Jericho have fallen down in an instant? And so on and so on.

To fight against God you must be either insane, or spiritually blind. How could all these people be so blind that they wanted to fight against Joshua and the children of Israel? Of course Jos 11:20 explains it, “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.” Why did they not come to their senses like Rahab the Harlot did? Rahab the Harlot and her family were not destroyed and the Gibeonites were not destroyed. Instead God protected them. We see it today how people strive to excel in wickedness, so that they will not be caught by the long arms of the state. Some do it with drugs, or with alcohol, or by defrauding people in business, or by selling people mortgages that would be harmful to them, or by deceiving them into false gospels, and so on, and so on. I have often asked myself if these crimes were committed deliberately. I am sorry to say that I have discovered that most of these crimes were committed deliberately. We are living in a time where most people ignore God, and ignore that there will be a day of reckoning for all their misdeeds. We are living in a time where most people around us are predators. It is true that wickedness abounds. What is this a sign of? It is a sign that people are fighting God and are fighting the laws of God, for they hate the restrictions that we must love our fellow man, and they hate the idea that there will be a day of judgment. I experience it every day that I am the target of someone who wants to defraud me. The love of money is an overriding force today.

But you must be insane or spiritually blind to fight against God. And that is indeed the case. Not only are people spiritually blind from birth, but they also have an insane wicked mind, and that is why they deserve to be cast into hell. But we all came into the world that way and that is why it is only by the grace of God that our life was turned around. And now we realize that the God whom we serve is totally sovereign in all that goes on in the world. God had decided that these Canaanites were to be brought before His judgment throne, for the iniquity of the Amorites was now full. When did the Lord harden their hearts? They were hardened from the day they were born. They were born spiritually blind and they were born with a hardened heart. What does it mean that the Lord hardened their hearts? It means that the Lord made sure that they would never come to their senses, and that they will remain spiritually blind until the end of their life, and that they will die unsaved. God says to them,

“Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.”

On the other hand, the Gibeonites could see the hand of the Lord in all His dealings with Israel. We read in Josh 9:24, “And they answered Joshua, and said, Because it was certainly told thy servants, how that the LORD thy God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you, therefore we were sore afraid of our lives because of you, and have done this thing.” Praise God that we can recognize in them that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” What is the wisdom that God refers to in the Bible? It is the wisdom unto salvation. And why did the Gibeonites come to fear the Lord? It was because the mercy of God had fallen on them. But what was required that God would have mercy on the Gibeonites? It was the promise in the counsel of God that 1400 years later Christ had to suffer and die for their sins.

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 3:25 (2X). We have here a difficult passage that is often misunderstood. Let us apply this verse to the Gibeonites who sinned 1400 years earlier. We can simplify this verse by breaking up the verse in three parts:

Rom 3:25, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;”

The middle part of this verse says, “To declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past.” In other words, the sins that were committed 1400 years earlier were now atoned for through the faith of the Gibeonites that the mercy of God would be available through the blood of Christ. The payment of Christ for their sins was applied retroactively to 1400 years earlier. So great is the mercy of God that He forgave the sins of these uncircumcised Gentiles who were not baptized, and never celebrated the Passover, and who never obeyed the ceremonial law. Is that possible? Yes, that is possible, for that is God’s salvation plan in the New Testament time. And so, we see here that God’s salvation is a purely spiritual event, and it does not depend on any ceremonial hoopla.

#2.       The Blind Are Seeing, the Seeing Become Blind (2King 6:15-18, John 9:39)

Are we outnumbered by an evil enemy, like the Gibeonites were outnumbered by the five kings of the Amorites? Have no fear! This is a blind enemy. The blind enemy always loses. Perhaps you remember, “They that be with us are more than they that be with them.” Most people use this verse as a slogan, for they do not know where it comes from. It comes from 2Kings 6. Please turn to the Prophecy of 2Kings 6:15 (2X). Here is a story where the blind becomes seeing and the seeing become blind. The king of Syria had sent an army to capture the prophet Elisha. And when the servant of Elisha got up in the morning the city of Dothan was surrounded by the enemy. But then we read that the blind became seeing, and the seeing became blind. We read in 2King 6:15-18,

2King 6:15-18, “15  And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do? 16  And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17  And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. 18  And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And He smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.”

Then Elisha took them into the city of Samaria, a place where the Syrians were now surrounded by enemy armies. This is a story of spiritual blindness, and that the blind enemy always loses.

The Lord Jesus Christ had an encounter with a beggar who was born blind from birth. Then Jesus made clay from His spittle and dirt from the ground, smeared it on the man’s eyes and He sent the man to the pool of Siloam to wash his eyes. You can immediately see the spiritual picture developing in this episode, for this blind man is a type, or a picture of anyone of us who are going to be saved. We also were spiritually blind from birth. But when the Lord Jesus, by His Holy Spirit, makes us Born Again He changes us from being spiritually blind to spiritually seeing. The Pharisees had a great deal of criticism for this miracle because Jesus healed this man on the Sabbath. We read in John 9:39,

John 9:39, “And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” Here again, the blind beggar was given the gift of seeing, and the enemies of the Lord who claim to be seeing were made spiritually blind. What is required to make the spiritually blind able to see spiritually? The answer is: All his sins must have been paid at the cross. And if his sins have not been paid at the cross it is guaranteed that he will be spiritually blind. A blind enemy is no threat, except when the blind enemy is in the church leading people astray with his nonsense. We can see this in a profound example given in a prophecy concerning the end of time. Please turn in your Bible to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 13:7 (2X).

·        Spiritual Blindness Is Covering the Earth (Rev 13:7-8, 20:7-9)

As you know, near the end of time Satan will be loosed, and then he will be as powerful as he was before Christ came, or even more powerful. What does it mean that Satan will be loosed again. Look at the power of Satan before Christ put him in the bottomless pit. There were a handful of people in Judea who were children of God, such as Simeon and Anna in Jerusalem, and Zechariah and Elizabeth in Judea, and the shepherds in Bethlehem, and Mary and Joseph. But outside of the nation of Israel there were almost no believers in the entire world. The scribes and Pharisees were preaching a works gospel, and we know from the New Testament that those who are under the hearing of a false gospel are not going to be saved. But when Satan will be loosed again most people in the pulpits will be preaching a works gospel. Let us see the evidence of this fact. Rev 13:7-8

Rev 13:7-8, “7  And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

This passage tells us that Antichrist will make war with the saints and will overcome the saints. It means that the true Gospel will be silenced. The true Gospel, which was preached from the pulpits in the churches and which was proclaimed to the unsaved outside the churches, is no longer preached, because those who are in authority in the churches no longer want to bring that Gospel. They want to bring their own gospel of works. For example, the Psalter-Hymnals that were in the Christian Reformed Church for 200 years have been trucked to the dump. These were the only witnesses to the Canons of Dort which were hammered out 400 years ago. The Canons of Dort proclaimed the true Gospel. Is it possible that this was the reason why these Psalter Hymnals were destroyed? Presently the Canons of Dort are no longer preached in the Christian Reformed Church. Presently spiritual blindness is covering the earth, and eventually only a small number of saved people will remain. Everyone else is following Antichrist. But Satan is not satisfied until completely everyone in the world is following a false gospel of one kind or another. Please turn now to Rev 20:7-9,

In Rev 20 we see in verses 7-9 a symbolic representation of the Last Battle. It must be symbolic, for we cannot understand how an army moves literally across the breath of the earth. Look at it honestly: today physical battles are not fought this way. But what does this verse say? It says that the saints are outnumbered and surrounded. We read in Rev 20:7-9.

Rev 20:7-9, “7  And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8  And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9  And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

The pressure is great on the saints to succumb to a false gospel. But when they almost will give up their fight, the Lord will interfere, and Christ shall make His appearance. This then is what we can be looking forward to. This spiritual battle is also called the battle of Armageddon. The Final Tribulation Period is the battle of Armageddon, which is a spiritual battle, and it is the last battle between God and Satan, or between Christ and Antichrist. And we are presently in the midst of it. Yes we are presently in the midst of the Final Tribulation Period. We are presently surrounded and outnumbered by the blind in the churches, and they shall have it their way, for God confirms it in Rev 13:7-8. Why is no one else sounding this warning? Is it not because blindness has covered all the denominations worldwide? They refuse to discuss this blindness that Rev 13:7-8 prophesies, even though it is mentioned in several places in the Bible.

#3.       Our Battles With the Blind (Josh 11:20,9,15, 2King 6:18-23, 1Pet 3:1)

What are our present battles with the spiritually blind? We must resist to come under the hearing of a gospel that is very close to what we consider the true Gospel. Presently the doctrine of Limited Atonement, or Particular Atonement, is under attack in almost every denomination. This attack is based on a few verses which have been mistranslated in the King James Version, but if we go to the Hebrew or Greek text the contradictions are resolved. Nevertheless the doctrine of universal atonement is adopted by more and more churches. They claim that the Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died for everyone in this world. And from there it is only a small step to the Arminian theology whereby we must accept the Lord Jesus as our lord and savior. This is an insult to the Lord Jesus Christ who did 100% of the work of salvation, but this is what universal atonement leads to.

Please turn again to the Prophecy of Joshua, chapter 11. We must apply the physical battles of Joshua and the children of Israel to spiritual battles in our time. Just like in the days of Joshua our battles on this earth are with the spiritually blind. We do not fight them with guns and bombs.

Why did God say so many times, here in Joshua and in many other parts of the Old Testament, that they were to kill the enemy’s horses and they had to burn their chariots with fire? Josh 11:9,

Josh 11:9, “And Joshua did unto them as the LORD bade him: he houghed their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire.” Chariots were the equivalent of tanks today. Chariots were valuable items that could be obtained from the enemy as a prize of war. Chariots were outfitted with knives and swords on their wheels, which could be deadly. And chariots could be used in other battles against the enemies of Israel. But God’s command was always that they should kill the enemy’s horses and they should burn their chariots with fire. Why did God give them this command?

#1. The principle was this: Do not trust in horses or chariots; trust that the Lord will give you the victory. And when we translate this into our spiritual battles today we have to say: There is always going to be war, for we live in a sin-cursed world. Do not trust in your own devices, for your own devices only represent money, and money does not buy you the spiritual victory. Do not trust in your own wits, for spiritual victories are not won with humor or flair. Do not trust in your own scheme of giving gifts, for gift giving has not bought the victory for anyone. Hold fast what the Bible teaches you and do not compromise in even the littlest deviations from your faith. Now, here is where you always will be under attack, for Satan knows that he must win the battle one little step at a time.

#2.  What God says you must do. Do not try to wiggle out. Do not try to find loopholes. Josh 11:15

Josh 11:15, “As the LORD commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.”

Through the years people have tried to find loopholes in the law of God. They have tried to justify that they became unequally yoked with people from another faith. But someone from another faith is essentially an unbeliever in many aspects of your own faith.

People have tried to justify that they remained in an apostate church. They claim that they must stay in a church which is reasonably true to the Word of God. But this is not true, for they risk that they will be contaminated with a false gospel, and then their witness shall be worthless in God’s sight.

#3.  When we encounter the spiritually blind we should treat them with kindness. We are shown God’s example in 2Kings 6:18-23, which refers to the encounter of Elisha and the Syrian army.

2Kings 6:18-23, “18  And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. 19  And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria. 20  And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. 21  And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them? 22  And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master. 23  And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.”

Pray for them, and treat them with respect and with kindness.

#4. Spiritual blindness is widespread and it is in the churches already: Most people have it.

Rev 20:8, “And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” How are the saints responding to this nasty environment?

#5.  You cannot change a spiritually blind marriage partner. God says in 1Pet 3:1,

1Pet 3:1, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;”

This is one place where spiritual blindness is recognized very often. Most of the time one marriage partner wants to change the other with much discussion. It will not work. Only God can change the marriage partner. Do not be a slow learner. Let God do the battles for you. But you have to remain faithful. We should not try to change others. We must change and grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.

AMEN.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.