In the previous post I reacted to the opinion of a guest speaker at our church. He claimed that Joshua, the Israelites, and the battle of Jericho was the most unusual warfare strategy in the Bible. In my post I politely disagreed and presented five other equally unusual ways that the LORD brought victory to His people. These examples included large stones, hornets, a young man, blindness, and the choir.
My friend, Joel, quickly pointed out another example found in Judges 7. In this case, Gideon was guided by God to take his army to a spring, direct them to drink, and select only those men who “laps the water with their tongue.” After reducing his army from 10,000 to 300, Gideon attacked the Midianites and Amalekites at night using only trumpets and torches. Clearly, we must agree with Joel that this was an unusual tactic.
One final battle that was very unusual is worth mentioning. Then, I will leave it up to you to decide which method of biblical warfare was the most unusual.
In 2 Kings 6, starting at verse 24, we read about the siege of Samaria. Ben-hadad the king of Aram and his army set up camp outside the city and as a result, there was a great famine. The famine became so severe the people actually began eating their own children. Finally, the LORD had mercy on His people. But, the people would not be involved at all in the battle.
2 Kings 7 describes how the LORD defeated in invading army:
Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why do we sit here until we die? “If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ then the famine is in the city and we will die there; and if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us go over to the camp of the Arameans. If they spare us, we will live; and if they kill us, we will but die.” They arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Arameans; when they came to the outskirts of the camp of the Arameans, behold, there was no one there. For the Lord had caused the army of the Arameans to hear a sound of chariots and a sound of horses, even the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.” Therefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents and their horses and their donkeys, even the camp just as it was, and fled for their life.
(2 Kings 7:3–7, NASB)
Four men with leprosy, who were not even allowed to enter the city, realized that they were doomed if they stayed where they were, and doomed if they surrendered. Unknown to them, the LORD had already driven away the enemy army. The sound of chariots, horses, and a great army was enough to drive away the Arameans. No large stones or even hornets. Not even a young warrior or a praise choir. Just sound.
In all of these examples a few things are very clear. First, as mentioned in the previous post, the battle is the LORD’s and He will fight it His way. If the LORD fought through traditional means, people would have a tendency to take credit for the victory. Instead, great commanders, like Joshua, had to give all the credit to the LORD. Second, we learn that we need to trust in the LORD and not depend on our own strength or schemes. Too many times we try to fight the battle on our own, and only cry out for help when we are being defeated. And, third, these examples are great reminders of the truth we read in Isaiah 9.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
(Isaiah 9:8–9, NASB)
So, thanks, guest speaker! Your sermon on living by faith, and specifically your thoughts about the battle of Jericho, provided a great launching pad for a time to reflect on our mighty, unique, and wonderful God.