Once the alliance of five kings was routed, the other cities in the southern half of the promised land fell in rapid sequence, like dominoes. It’s challenging to find meaning in such an abstract, sterile account of the southern campaign. It might be tempting to read through this passage rapidly, with eyes glazed over. But don’t do it! Appreciate the rapid pace of this part of the conquest because it will help you understand the importance of verse 43: After the southern cities were defeated, Joshua and the Israelites returned to their camp at Gilgal, presumably to rest.
Yes, God had been the One delivering victory after victory. And yes, there was still work to be done—the northern cities had to be defeated so that all of the land would be Israel’s possession. But God’s people needed rest. Just as God established the Sabbath rest in the creation account and just as Israel was to abstain from collecting manna on the Sabbath, we see here a reminder of our limits as people. Even while doing the Lord’s work, we still need to find time to rest.
How do you guard time to rest as a rhythm of life? Do you tend to fall more toward working too much or resting too much? Why?