Five Kings In A Cave

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Joshua 10:16-27, NLT

During the battle the five kings escaped and hid in a cave at Makkedah. 17 When Joshua heard that they had been found, 18 he issued this command: “Cover the opening of the cave with large rocks, and place guards at the entrance to keep the kings inside. 19 The rest of you continue chasing the enemy and cut them down from the rear. Don’t give them a chance to get back to their towns, for the Lord your God has given you victory over them.” 20 So Joshua and the Israelite army continued the slaughter and completely crushed the enemy. They totally wiped out the five armies except for a tiny remnant that managed to reach their fortified towns. 21 Then the Israelites returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah. After that, no one dared to speak even a word against Israel. 22 Then Joshua said, “Remove the rocks covering the opening of the cave, and bring the five kings to me.” 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. 24 When they brought them out, Joshua told the commanders of his army, “Come and put your feet on the kings’ necks.” And they did as they were told. 25 “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men. “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord is going to do this to all of your enemies.” 26 Then Joshua killed each of the five kings and impaled them on five sharpened poles, where they hung until evening. 27 As the sun was going down, Joshua gave instructions for the bodies of the kings to be taken down from the poles and thrown into the cave where they had been hiding. Then they covered the opening of the cave with a pile of large rocks, which remains to this very day.

INTRODUCTION

When Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua and the Israelites had virtually destroyed Jericho and Ai and that they had signed a peace treaty with the Gibeonites who had a reputation of being fierce warriors he became afraid that he was going to be next so he created an alliance of five kings. Hoham of Hebron, Piram of Jarmuth, Japhia of Lachish and Debir of Eglon. There plan was to destroy Gibeon and send a message to all the others as to what would happen if you allied yourself with Joshua and then they would take on Joshua and the Israelites but the Gibeonites sent word to Joshua that they were under attack and Joshua’s army marched all night long to confront this Amorite alliance. In what is recorded as the longest day in history, Joshua and the Israeli army won an overwhelming victory. During the battle, the five kings fled and took refuge in a cave at Makkedah. They were hiding in the darkness of a cave; hoping not to be discovered. These Amorite kings are symbolic of the fleshly kings that war with and seek to lord over God’s children. I think they are symbols of the strongholds that sin has in our flesh. The biggest part of our sanctification is to identify and destroy these strongholds. Today, I going to talk about five fleshly strongholds that seek to rule you and I. Two things are very important as we get into this message: our honesty and Jesus help. I want you to keep in mind that Joshua {Yahweh saves}  a type of Christ. With that in mind, let’s talk about FIVE KINGS IN A CAVE.

THE FIRST KING IS PRIDE

Augustine believed that pride was the root of all sin and that humility is the foundation of all virtue.  He said, “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” I know this, at the center of Pride and Sin is the unbroken I. I remind you that the Greek word for I is ‘ego‘. Someone has said that pride is the only disease that everyone recognizes except the person who has it. We need not kid ourselves, it likes to go undetected. What I am saying is that PRIDE can be deeply rooted in your life and you not even know it. Many people who act humble are in fact very proud. I heard about a man who was given an award for his humility. It was a gold tie pin but they had to take it away from him because he wore it everywhere he went. He was proud of his humility. Those of you my age can remember Mrs. Bertha Smith and the tract she use to refer to again and again…it is called NOT I BUT CHRIST and it focuses on identifying the secret spirit of pride. Let me list a few of the indicators in that tract…

  • Exalted feeling in view of your success or position.
  • Spirit of independence.
  • Love of human praise and a secret fondness to be noticed.
  • Love of supremacy, drawing attention to self in conversation.
  • The stirrings of anger or impatience.
  • A touchy, sensitive spirit; a disposition to resent and retaliate when others disapprove.
  • Self-will; a stubborn, unteachable spirit; an arguing, harsh, sarcastic expression; an unyielding, headstrong disposition; a driving, commanding spirit; a disposition to criticize and pick flaws when set aside and unnoticed; a peevish, fretful spirit; a disposition that loves to be coaxed and humored.
  • Carnal fear; a man-fearing spirit; a compromising spirit?
  • A jealous disposition, a secret spirit of envy shut up in your heart.
  • An unpleasant sensation in view of the success of another.
  • A disposition to speak of the faults and failings, rather than the gifts and virtues of those more talented and appreciated than yourself.
  • A dishonest, deceitful disposition; the evading and covering of the truth; the covering up of your real faults.
  • Leaving a better impression of yourself than is strictly true.
  • False humility; exaggeration; straining the truth.
  • Lack of faith and trust in God; a disposition to worry and complain in the midst of pain, poverty, or at the dispensations of Divine Providence; an overanxious feeling whether everything will come out all right.
  • Lack of concern for lost souls; dryness and indifference? Selfishness; love of ease; love of money.

I am humiliated every time I read the list, there is not much if anything on the list of which I am not guilty. Watch that secret spirit of pride. It likes to hid in the darkness of your deepest soul.

THE SECOND KING IS ADDICTION 

I use to joke about drug addiction but not any more; addiction jokes are no longer funny. Once it happens to someone you love, it will cease to be a laughing matter. The bad thing about addiction is the blindness it creates. Drug addicts do not see drugs as harmful; they think of drugs as being helpful. The Graham Association says that 7 out of every 100 are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I think it higher. I heard a medical doctor say last week that if you have been on pain medicine for more than two weeks, you have a problem and if your doctor keeps prescribing pain medicine, you need to find a new doctor. I have become friends with a doctor in Decatur who says, “There are not enough narcotics in the world to relieve one persons chronic pain.” I think he is right  on! You keep throwing pain med at chronic pain and you will end up with a much worse problem than chronic pain. There are some realities we have to accept…

  • No one lives a pain free life. Pain is a part of life and we must except it.
  • Narcotics are for short term: for people in intense or traumatic pain following an accident or surgery or for the terminally ill. Life and narcotics don’t go together.
  • Narcotics are not enablers; they are disablers. Yes, in the beginning the rocket fuel that narcotics produce will enable you to fly higher, boost your energy enabling you to get more done with less rest but that is going to change. You will have to take more and more just to enable yourself to function. Eventually, your function will be to get the drugs and they are expensive.
  • Long story short: getting addicted to a narcotic or to alcohol can and will destroy your marriage, family, business, health, your social relationships, your mind and your life. They create a vortex that will suck you under.

If you are hurts on prescription drugs or alcohol. I will tell you what to do in the conclusion of this message.

THE THIRD KING IS LUST

We call lust everything but what it is…Webster defines lust as…having a very strong sexual desire for someone. Actually, it is to look of upon the flesh of another person with sensual and selfish desires. Lust has no regard for the other person. We are  so confused in our society that we don’t know the difference between love and lust. Most of what we call love is lust. Having sex with someone is not making love. Love in most cases has nothing to do with sex: it should have. We sin every time we have sex for a selfish reason, married or not. Lust puts my desire above your need. I know for a fact that men have a problem with lust. I also know that old men have a real problem with lust. I am extremely afraid of two things: porn and gambling. Now I am speaking from my perspective and conditioning. I was subjected to both of these evils when I was a kid. I know what both will do to me. Am I tempted? Of course I am, if I were not there would be nothing to fear. While I am on the subject: Ladies don’t make it harder on us: cover up, dress modestly. There are some things that only your husband should see, at home, not at church or Walmart.

THE FOURTH KIND IS ENVY

Envy is a feeling of discontent or resentment aroused by the qualities, abilities, success or possessions of another. It is a secret sin that no one ever confesses. What delivered Jesus to the executioners? The answer is in Matthew 27:18, it is ENVY. Envy crucified Jesus. What motivated the Jewish people that dogged the apostle Paul’s steps and caused trouble in practically every city? Acts 17:5 will tell you, it was ENVY. If you think envy is a petty thing, not to be worried about, just type ENVY into your concordance and study the other things that hang out with envy. Here is what you will find with envy…malice, strife, deceit, hypocrisy, hate, slander and even murder. WOW! Envy is one bad dude. It can destroy a friendship, a family, and it can destroy a fellowship. Here is the sad thing, envious people do not see themselves as envious. Is there some position that you want to hold but you were never asked? Be careful, don’t let a seed of envy begin to grow in the area of disappointment. Over 35 years ago in my first pastorate after graduating Seminary, a pastor friend of mine had his heart broken. He had done a terrific job in a difficult place. He had served this church for almost 20 years, much longer than any previous pastor. A rumor got started about him and the secretary. It broke her heart as well as his. She quit immediately and he was thinking about resigning. He poured his heart out to me in his study and I gave him this piece of advice. “If you know this is not true, then you also know that it is a lie and all lies originate from Satan. Don’t resign, if you do, he gets the victory. I know you feel humiliated but stand strong and follow the crumbs until you find the source of this malicious gossip.” He stayed and he took my advice. He called the person who told him about the rumor, and from there he traced it to its source. It originated with a woman who had applied for the secretarial position and she did not get the job. That made her angry and so she started the rumor that he and the new secretary were having an affair. Thank God she confessed publically and the man’s ministry was saved but her envious rumor did leave scars. Shakespeare was a pretty wise guy and he said, “Hell hath no furry like a woman’s scorn.” He was right of course but men are guilty of envy as well as women. Do not kid yourself, an envious person will do whatever it takes to satisfy the discontent they feel for being rebuffed. The woman started the humor about pastor to make him pay. The Jews falsely accused Jesus to make Him pay. Envy will end in confession or the dishonor, discrediting and sometimes death of the other person.

THE FIFTH KING IS GREED

Greed is one of those secret sins that we hide in the darkness. I want to give you some advice. A lady on a search committee ask me about a person the other days and all I said was, “Check their giving record.” There is only one thing that I need to do to check out your credibility or your integrity: look at your giving. I am sorry folks, but it is a dead give-a-way. For a man to pretend to love his church and not support it financially is a sure indicator that he is lacking in integrity. He does not have things together. If a husband love his wife and children, he will support them financially. It is absurd to think otherwise. Yet Baptist churches are filled with people who want to assume leadership when they are robbing God of HIS tithes. I am very familiar with those who make their own laws regarding giving but only a rebel makes his own laws. You do not give because your heart is not right and you have no integrity because you are pretending that it is right. To have integrity, you have to tell the truth. So stand up and tell the church, “I will not support you financially. I would like to help make decisions but I am not going to give my money.” Do that and see how many committee appointments you get.

THE PATH TO VICTORY

  1. You have to identify the secret sin and call it out just like Joshua called the kings out of the cave. You have to call your sin what it is: you have to use the proper name. An addiction is an addiction. You are hooked and you have to admit it. Alcoholism is not a disease, it is a sin. Drug addition is not a epidemic, it is a sin. Embellishing the truth is not exaggeration, it is lying. Looking at the young lady a second and third time is not admiration of beauty, it is lust. If you are like me, you can not admire the beauty without corrupting it with lust. When you are upset that you have been over looked bring it out in to the open and talk with someone about it. Call it what it is…which is envy. If you get all tensed up every time you have an opportunity to give: call it what it is, Greed. You get no victory until you call it what it is and acknowledge the destruction it is doing. Greed is no small sin: he perpetuates every form of evil: porn, abortion, drugs, gambling, etc.
  2. Next: You bring it out into the light [open]. We call this confession. Perhaps your are thinking… “Will I am not confessing.” No confession, no victory. It is that simple. The devil will keep you in bondage and darkness so long as you refuse to confess. There is no victory a part from confession. I heard a story when I was a kid about another kid…He lived on a big Southern Plantation and he was in good standing with the Master. He had his chores to do but he also had a lot of free time. His master had a small lake in front of the mansion and on that lake, he had some prize swans that he valued highly. He was very clear about the swans, no one was to hurt or injure them. One day this kid is tempted to throw rocks at the swans. He doesn’t intend to hurt them, only frighten them but his rock gets to close and hits one of the swans in the head. He fishes the bird out of the water but the swan is dead. He quickly slips into the forest to bury the dead swan. Then he goes the kitchen to so his chores. The man who runs the kitchen is not a nice man and he was watching the boy through the window and he saw it all. After the boy had done his routine chores, the cook said, “Boy, I want these floors scrubbed.” The kid said, “That’s not my job.” “I saw you kill that swan today,” said the cook, “Do you want me to tell the master?” The boy scrubbed the floors. He became the cooks slave. Finally one day, he just couldn’t take it anymore and he went and confessed to the Master. He was shocked when the Master said, “I saw you, I have known all along but I was waiting to see if you would confess. I believe you have suffered enough for your crime but don’t do it again.” “You don’t have to worry, I’m not going near that lake,” said the boy and then he headed for the kitchen. The cook said, “boy scrub the floors,” and boy said, “not today“. “I’ll tell the Master,” said the cook. “I already told him,” said the boy as he kept walking.
  3. Third, by grace with the help of Jesus, you take authority over the sin. You put your foot on it.
  4. Fourth, you give the Holy Spirit permission to execute the sin. You have no love for this sin and you do not want it to survive. The best thing for sin is death. You either have it executed or it will kill you. No compromise with sin. A family had a little dog that got hit by a car.
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