“As soon as Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured Ai and had devoted it to destruction … and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel … he feared greatly.” – Joshua 10:1-2a
Scripture reading: Joshua 10:1-5
We’re not sure how much difference it makes why the king of Jerusalem responded the way he did to the news that the Gibeonites had made peace with Israel, but the writer of Joshua obviously thought that was an important part of the story. The Holy Spirit keeps coming back to this in the book of Joshua, how the Canaanite kings and their people responded to the news of what the LORD did to Jericho and to Ai, and before that, to Sihon and Og on the far side of the Jordan. They’re always afraid.
On the one hand, we say, of course, those people were afraid when they heard what the LORD had done. The foundations of their world were shaking. This is how the world naturally feels and responds when God comes into their land and into their world, so to speak. They don’t welcome the arrival of this righteous and almighty God. It terrifies them. But they don’t surrender.
Of all the people in Canaan, it seems like Rahab was the only one who repented and believed. The overwhelming response is fear and hostility. Jesus explains this natural response to God in John 3: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. This is the suicidal impulse of the guilty conscience: to fight God rather than repent of sin.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank God for His sovereign grace, by which you were brought to repentance and faith in Jesus, so that you would not perish, but have eternal life.
Rev. Dick Wynia is currently the minister of the Vineyard Canadian Reformed Church in Beamsville, ON.