Jesus said in Matthew 5:20, "Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven." What He is saying is that if you really are a justified man or woman, if His righteousness really has been imputed to you, if you have been made spiritually alive, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, there will be such a power in you and such a desire to please God that your good deeds will exceed the good deeds of the scribes and Pharisees. One thing that bothers me about the church today is that the church is so much like the world. Where do people turn to believers and say, "There is something different about them"?

Yesterday, we listed the first thing we must do if we are to fulfill Joshua 11:15, which is to truly believe on Jesus Christ by following him as a faithful disciple. The second thing is this. In Matthew 28, at the very end of that chapter where we have the Great Commission, we’re told that if we believe on Jesus, then we have an obligation to tell other people about Him. When I think of the Great Commission in terms of this verse in Joshua, what impresses me is the word “all.” What we’re told to do in the Great Commission is to teach them to obey all or everything that Jesus has commanded.

In some ways, at least as his story is told to us, Joshua was not a spectacular individual. At least he did not have a lot of spectacular experiences. There were miracles, of course, but basically, Joshua was a soldier. He was told what to do, and he did it. His strength was found in that, and that kind of obedience is a great thing.

In our study of the southern campaign I talked about Joshua’s leadership characteristics. This story of the northern campaign reminds us of the importance of spiritual leadership. The same principles that he put into practice in his military campaigns are principles that you and I need to put into our spiritual campaigns. We saw in the first place that Joshua never seemed to allow short-term gains to turn him back from long-range objectives. He knew what he was there to do. He was there to conquer the land and to do away with the kings and the armies of the cities. And even though he saw short-term things that might have been quite attractive at the time, he never turned aside to what was a lesser objective.

We already looked in some detail at the southern campaign. The northern one is given in even less detail than the southern one, although it is similar in many respects. Like the southern campaign, the one in the north is also waged against a coalition of kings who gathered together to try and repulse the Israelite conquest of Canaan. We’re told at the very beginning of chapter 11 that there was a king in the north, the king of Hazor, whose name was Jabin. He saw what was happening and decided to respond by getting together all of the forces at his disposal. So he sent out a call to all of these cities, saying that they had to get together and fight against Israel, or else they were going to suffer the same fate as the cities in the south. They amassed a great army, and they gathered together at the waters of Merom, which is a small lake just north of the Sea of Galilee. And there this great host of the kings of the north gathered together to fight against Joshua.