Russell and Duenes

No Courage Remained in Any Man

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I’m convinced that God’s sovereignty is the bedrock of the gospel. When St. Paul says, “From Him and through Him and to Him are all things, he is saying something foundational and axiomatic about God. If God is to be God, He must be sovereign, down to the last molecule. That is His glory which no one else shares. The church’s faintheartedness on this point is a great source of our weakness and ineffectiveness today. When we go wobbly on God’s sovereignty, we inevitably start going off the rails in all sorts of other ways too.

I have been reading in Joshua, hence the focus there right now. We see God’s sovereignty in Joshua 2, where the Israelites go in to spy out the land. They stay with Rahab the harlot, and she explains to them what the Canaanite people living in the land have heard about God’s reputation. She says,

We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. (emphasis mine)

It was God who ruled over the substance and form of the Red Sea. He made the waters recede and He brought them back in again on the Egyptians. Rahab then relays how her people have heard what “you” did to Sihon and Og. But was it really the Israelites who did it? They were the direct agents, but God tells us in Deuteronomy that Moses was not the fear Og, King of Bashan, because “I have delivered him and all his people and his land into your hand; and you shall do to him just as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.’ So the Lord our God delivered Og also, king of Bashan, with all his people into our hand, and we smote them until no survivor was left.” In other words, God was the sovereign ruler who subdued Og and Sihon before the Israelites. The Israelites did nothing of their own strength. 

Rahab’s ultimate conclusion is that “God is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” The Canaanites did not stand a chance against Israel because God rules heaven and earth – rules every person and every circumstance – and God is working for Israel. Having heard Rahab’s story, the spies tell Joshua: “Surely the Lord has given all the land into our hands.” He is sovereign.


Written by Michael Duenes

April 12, 2015 at 8:08 am

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