Spend time in prayer and silence with God asking him to meet you and speak to you.
So Joshua took all that land, the hill country and all the Negev and all the land of Goshen and the lowland and the Arabah and the hill country of Israel and its lowland from Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir, as far as Baal-gad in the Valley of Lebanon below Mount Hermon. And he captured all their kings and struck them and put them to death. Joshua made war a long time with all those kings. There was not a city that made peace with the people of Israel except the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon. They took them all in battle. For it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the Lord commanded Moses.
And Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua devoted them to destruction with their cities. There was none of the Anakim left in the land of the people of Israel. Only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod did some remain. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments. And the land had rest from war.
– Joshua 11:16-23
Joshua continues to decimate the surrounding kings and takes control of the Promised Land. During this time he devotes entire towns to destruction so that they cannot negatively influence the Israelites to follow their practices and worship their gods.
Verse 20 says that the Lord hardened the hearts of the people so that they would be completely devoted to destruction. Does this mean that God has sentenced this people to death apart from their own will?
Similar language is seen throughout the Pentateuch where different people continue to harden their hearts until God allows them to follow their own will and hardens their hearts.
Pharaoh is a good example of this (see Exodus 7:3, 7:13-14, 7:22-23, 8:15, 8:19, 8:32, 9:7, 9:12, 9:34-35, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10, 14:8). Though he was directly confronted with the one true living God, he could not relinquish his control of Israel because he desired to be God himself.
The inhabitants of the land of Palestine were allowed 400 years to repent of their sins, but their hardness of heart prevented them from turning to God and instead they chose to fight against him.
This example becomes a good reminder of us to not harden our hearts to God’s leading in our lives but to allow His plans to rule our lives instead.
The Big Question
Are there any situations in your life right now or in the past that have caused you to harden your heart from following the one true God?
If so, why don’t you reconcile with God for now and ask his forgiveness?
Conclude in prayer and silence, reflecting on what you’ve learned.