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Five Slaughtered Kings

When we think about war, we may tend to either romanticize it or discard it altogether. But those who have served in the armed forces know it is brutal. Today’s text recalls the graphic reality of war for Joshua and his army. After capturing the five opposing kings, he ordered them to be executed and their bodies exposed. In the time before artillery, war was gritty, up close and personal.

Joshua 10 recounts such a gruesome account that it may make you ask questions about the mercy and compassion of the Lord. However, it’s important to remember the bigger picture. Like a general, Yahweh led His people to take over the Promised Land. This quest was a part of the fulfillment of His promises. Professor Robert Hubbard writes, “This is a one-time-only event to achieve a specific purpose: to provide Israel a homeland and God a geographical base from which He eventually blesses the world.” But God did not take delight in the destruction of others . . . quite the contrary.

We know from Scripture that God takes “no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezek. 33:11). Rather, He desires for them to turn from their ways and live. However, the five kings defied the Lord and their fate was written with their denials. The Lord would have gladly let them live and prosper if they had turned to Him, just as He had with the Gibeonites, Rahab, and her family. Sadly, the kings refused to turn to God, even when death was imminent. This was a lesson for Joshua’s commanders: Yahweh was the only king who would reign.

>> It doesn’t matter whether you are a millionaire or an inmate in prison, you still have a kingdom: things, events, or people that are important to you. But that doesn’t make you the king or queen. We should surrender our personal kingdom to God. Allow Him to reign in your life.

BY Chris Rappazini

Chris Rappazini is the associate professor and program head of the BA and MA in Pastoral Studies at Moody Bible Institute and Moody Theological Seminary. He is the vice president of the Evangelical Homiletics Society and previously served as the associate minister of preaching and teaching at Southside Christian Church in Spokane, Washington. Chris and his wife, Ashley, and their three children reside in Northwest Indiana.

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