Standing on the shores of the Red Sea, with Pharaoh’s army buried under the water, Moses leads Israel to praise God for his powerful victory. And in Exodus 15:1–3, he sings,
1 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. 2 The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3 The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name.
This song of Moses rejoices in the God who defeated Pharaoh and his army. And inspired by the Holy Spirit, God teaches us who he is and how we are to worship him. As verse 3 says, “The Lord is a warrior” and he deserves our praise as such.
Today, this image of God as a warrior is not often appreciated. Instead, God, and especially God the Son, is presented in softer colors. As Dale Ralph Davis has put it, “The popular image of Jesus is that he is not only kind and tender but also soft and prissy, as though Jesus comes to us reeking of hand cream” (Joshua, 88).
Think what you will of hand cream, but the truth remains—Jesus as victorious warrior has been replaced by Jesus as a mild-mannered, emotive counselor. Certainly, Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor and one who knows our pains and plight, but he is also a strong and mighty ruler whose enemies are being put under his feet every day.
In Sunday’s sermon, we considered God as a Warrior. From Joshua 10, we saw how the LORD rained down hailstones on the wicked and went to war, defending his people. Moreover, we saw how Joshua, God’s Savior, prayed and judged—two themes that must be kept with salvation. All in all, Joshua 10 presents a corrective to any view of Jesus that only thinks of him in sentimental terms.
You can listen to the sermon here. Response questions and additional resources can be found below.
- What provokes this battle? Or better, who provokes this battle?
- Who is the primary warrior at this battle? How do we see that?
- Read Genesis 14. What is the significance of the five kings, from Canaan, and the ruler of Jerusalem? How should we understand stories in the Bible that depend on earlier stories?
- What are possible ways to understand the sun and moon in verses 12–14? How should we treat those who disagree with us?
- What do we learn about Jesus through the life and work of Joshua? Why is it important to understand Jesus as Savior and Judge? Sacrifice and Intercessor?
- What was commanded in the Law about hanging (Deut 21:22–23)? How does this connect to Jesus? (Acts 5:30, 10:39; Galatians 3:13)
- Why does Joshua devote each city to destruction? (Joshua 10:40–42; Genesis 15:16)
- What truths and attributes of God do you observe in this narrative?
- How does this narrative of God’s judgment impact your heart?
- How ought we to respond to these truths?
Articles About Joshua 10
- Under His Feet: 10 Things about Joshua 10
- Book Review: Sun Stand Still by Stephen Furtick by John Starke
- Did Joshua’s Long Day . . . Really Happen? by Matt Slick (CARM)
Songs That Celebrate God as Warrior
Soli Deo Gloria, ds