Last week we talked about how the time had come for Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promise. God gave Joshua clear direction and told him four different times to be strong and courageous. Today let's look at Joshua taking the people of Israel into the promised land. Let's also see what he did differently than Moses and how this impacted their moving into the land.
I. The impact of fear on our lives
Joshua 2:1-5: Then Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia Grove. He instructed them, “Scout out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho.” So the two men set out and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there that night. But someone told the king of Jericho, “Some Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab: “Bring out the men who have come into your house, for they have come here to spy out the whole land.” Rahab had hidden the two men, but she replied, “Yes, the men were here earlier, but I didn’t know where they were from. They left the town at dusk, as the gates were about to close. I don’t know where they went. If you hurry, you can probably catch up with them.”
Joshua sent out two spies. God directed them to a prostitute's house who ended up helping them escape town and report back to Joshua.
Joshua 2:23-24: Then the two spies came down from the hill country, crossed the Jordan River, and reported to Joshua all that had happened to them. “The Lord has given us the whole land,” they said, “for all the people in the land are terrified of us.”
These two men came to Joshua and gave a good report. The Lord has given us the land and the people of the land are terrified of us.
Numbers 13:17-20: Moses gave the men these instructions as he sent them out to explore the land: “Go north through the Negev into the hill country. See what the land is like, and find out whether the people living there are strong or weak, few or many. See what kind of land they live in. Is it good or bad? Do their towns have walls, or are they unprotected like open camps? Is the soil fertile or poor? Are there many trees? Do your best to bring back samples of the crops you see.” (It happened to be the season for harvesting the first ripe grapes.)
The Lord commanded Moses to send out twelve men (one from each tribe) to spy out the land, report what they saw, and bring back some samples of the crops.
Numbers 13:25-33: After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan Valley.” But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”
Differences between Moses and Joshua:
Joshua sent out two
The two spies reported Joshua only. Joshua was smart - he didn’t want fear to break out for the second time. He knew this would derail them from entering into what God had promised them.
Moses sent out twelve (as the Lord directed)
The twelve reported to Moses and the whole community. Everything went well during the report util they started talking about how powerful the enemy was. The people must have started rumbling because Caleb had to quiet them down and assure them that they could take the land.
Going into the territory that God wants us to go through can be scary. I think most of fear comes from the unknown or going through things that we have never before gone through. Staying within our comfort zone can be one of most detrimental things for a believer. We never get to experience life to the fullest, complacency sets in and the world around us suffers. They suffer because were are okay in our bubble and we don’t want to go to where the lost are. We never takes steps of faith and experience the Jesus we read about in the Bible.
II. Knowing that God is with us
Numbers 14:6-9: Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”
Joshua and Caleb knew that they had the Lord and the enemies did not. God was going to give them the land.
Joshua 1:9: This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Don’t be afraid or discouraged. God is with us wherever we go.
Joshua 2:8-11: Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them. “I know the Lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.
Rahab recognized God as the supreme God over heaven and earth. She didn’t even see the mighty exploits of God - she only heard about Him and yet she believed.
Hebrews 11:31: It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
An immoral woman is mentioned in the hall of fame of faith, because she helped the spies and kept herself and family from being destroyed. She also let the Israelites know that everyone was afraid of them and no one had the courage to fight them because of their mighty God.
We can’t just believe God can do something - we have to know that He can do something. I am tired of simply having church and not encountering Jesus. I am tired of reading about Jesus healing people, setting the captives free, and performing miracles, but not seeing it released here in our city. He has given us the authority to do these things, but we are not walking in it. We are preaching a powerless Gospel that is not affecting the people in our city. This is what I am longing to see and it is only going to flow in our lives as we know Jesus and do what He tells us to do.
If we have been going to church for several years and we haven’t changed, then there is something wrong. If we are struggling with the same fears, then we don’t know Jesus and we don’t know our identity in Him. My desire is for us to finally trust Jesus and know Him more - to know who we are in Him.
Isaiah 40:18-31: To whom can you compare God? What image can you find to resemble him? Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold, overlaid with gold, and decorated with silver chains? Or if people are too poor for that, they might at least choose wood that won’t decay and a skilled craftsman to carve an image that won’t fall down! Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand? Are you deaf to the words of God— the words he gave before the world began? Are you so ignorant? God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them. He judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing. They hardly get started, barely taking root, when he blows on them and they wither. The wind carries them off like chaff. “To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One. Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing. O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
We have to move from believing to knowing. That can only come from being with Jesus - not just doing devotion, but knowing Him.