Joshua

Joshua (Part 3)

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.

Joshua (Part 2)

We will be on our second message in our series on the life of Joshua. There is much we can learn from him as he had to lead the Israelites into the promised land. As I have said before, God has brought us into a season of taking the territory that He has already set for us as a church and individually.

I. Your time has come!

Joshua 1:1-5: After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you—from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.

Moses has just died and it is now Joshua’s time to lead. There was a grooming process that Joshua went through to get to this point. What a great picture of discipleship for us! Now God is speaking to Joshua and telling him what he needs to do and assuring him that He will be there with him the whole time.

Verse 3: What I promised to Moses I now promise to you: wherever you set your foot, you will be on land that I have given for you. There are over 5,000 promises in the Bible and they all apply to us.  We are sons and daughters to the King!

Verse 5: I will not fail you nor abandon you - this is God’s guarantee of success because of His presence and help. He will not allow Joshua to sink or fail.

God has the same promise for us. He is going with us personally and he will never abandon us nor fail us. This promise has made this church plant much easier for us. He is the one that is building this church - I just have to do what He tells me.

II. Be strong and courageous

Joshua 1:6-9: “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 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.”

A. Lay hold of God's promise

Verse 6: Be strong and courageous. This phrase occurs four times in this chapter (verses 6, 7, 9, and 18) and is God’s encouragement to Joshua concerning His future tasks.

That phrase "be strong" is the word chazaq, which means "strong or strengthened." It can also mean "to encourage." In 1 Samuel 30:6, David encouraged himself (literally made himself strong) in the Lord.

B. Lay hold of God's pattern

Verse 7: The word that translates as "prosperous" means you're going to know how to do the right thing. It’s not talking about prosperity as cash in the bank but as wisdom and knowing how to live. Life works for people with practical wisdom, no matter how much or how little they have. Success depends on our obedience to stay on the path God has ordained to fulfill His promise. We do that by laying hold of His pattern, His Word.

Verse 8: The Hebrew word for meditate - hagah ("to reflect, to moan, to mutter, to ponder, to meditate or contemplate as one repeats the words") denotes an active recitation, a re-speaking of God's Words ("shall not depart from your mouth"). Meditation is more than a mental exercise. In Hebrew thought, to meditate upon the Scriptures is to quietly repeat them in a soft, droning sound, while utterly abandoning outside distractions.

From this tradition comes a specialized type of Jewish prayer called davening - that is, reciting texts, praying intense prayers, or getting lost in communion with God while bowing and rocking back and forth. This dynamic form of prayer goes back to David’s time.

C. Lay hold of God's presence

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.

Colossians 1:27: To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

When believers understand that Christ is always with us, it will change the way they live. We don’t have to wait for a Sunday morning service to experience Him. It’s not just when we have a devotional time with Him. His presence is always there - it's just a matter of us being aware of it. That comes through relationship which brings familiarity.

III. Take immediate action

Joshua 1:10-18: Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Then Joshua called together the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the halftribe of Manasseh. He told them, “Remember what Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you: ‘The Lord your God is giving you a place of rest. He has given you this land.’ Your wives, children, and livestock may remain here in the land Moses assigned to you on the east side of the Jordan River. But your strong warriors, fully armed, must lead the other tribes across the Jordan to help them conquer their territory. Stay with them until the Lord gives them rest, as he has given you rest, and until they, too, possess the land the Lord your God is giving them. Only then may you return and settle here on the east side of the Jordan River in the land that Moses, the servant of the Lord, assigned to you.” They answered Joshua, “We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!”

Verse 10: Joshua responded to God with immediate obedience. He prepared the people to enter the promised land.

Verses 12-15: I love the picture of all the Israelites fighting for everyone to receive the inheritance. They didn’t just stop after they received their own land.

Verses 16-18: The people were all in. When we step out in faith like Joshua, it inspires others to do the same.

God is calling us to take the territory that He has given us just like Joshua. There will be challenges and obstacles along the way, but God will be with us leading the way. He wants us to be strong and courageous in Him. Lay hold of His promises, His patterns, and His presence. Don’t let go. He will give us the wisdom to succeed and He will fight for us. Let’s take steps of faith and see what He does.

Joshua (Part 1)

I am excited to start this new series on the life of Joshua. I believe we are in a season of advancement for God’s Kingdom through our church. We are going to see many parallels from the Israelites entering into the promised land as we enter into the things that God wants accomplished through us this year! We can learn from their mistakes and we can learn from their successes. Today I want to take a look at the person of Joshua. Why was he chosen to lead the Israelites into the promised land?

I. Who is Joshua

Exodus 17:8-9: While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them. Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.”

This is the first time Joshua is mentioned in Scripture. Moses commanded him to choose some men to fight the army of Amalek.

Exodus 24:12-13: Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain. Stay there, and I will give you the tablets of stone on which I have inscribed the instructions and commands so you can teach the people.” So Moses and his assistant Joshua set out, and Moses climbed up the mountain of God.

Joshua was Moses's personal assistant. He went to the mountain when God gave Moses the ten commandments.

Exodus 33:11: Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting.

Moses spoke to the Lord face to face and Joshua was there watching. This powerful encounter changed Joshua. He would stay there in the presence of God after Moses. Now we can understand more about why God chose Joshua to lead His people into the promised land. Joshua grew to know Him and grew in His faith in the Lord.

Numbers 13:16: These are the names of the men Moses sent out to explore the land. (Moses called Hoshea son of Nun by the name Joshua.)

Joshua was one of the twelve men who was went to scout the promised land.

Hoshea means "salvation";

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!”

Numbers 27:15-20: Then Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, you are the God who gives breath to all creatures. Please appoint a new man as leader for the community. Give them someone who will guide them wherever they go and will lead them into battle, so the community of the Lord will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” The Lord replied, “Take Joshua son of Nun, who has the Spirit in him, and lay your hands on him. Present him to Eleazar the priest before the whole community, and publicly commission him to lead the people. Transfer some of your authority to him so the whole community of Israel will obey him.

God chose Joshua as the next leader. He had God's Spirit in him.

II. Taking Territory - things that go wrong

Numbers 13:32-33: 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!”

Ten of the spies gave a bad report, which caused fear to spread among the Israelites and therefore God prevented them from entering the promised land. They spent the next forty years in the wilderness until most of them died.

Consider this: they were delivered from Egypt, no plagues impacted their lives; they crossed through the Red Sea on dry ground; God fed them daily and gave them water to drink; He allowed them to conquer their enemies and they still did not believe God could give them the promised land.

Ephesians 6:10-13: A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

Why would God inspire Paul to write this passage of Scripture in the Bible if He didn’t want us to be ready for battle?

1 Peter 5:8-9: Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. 

We have an enemy that wants to devour us. It’s going to take a firm stance and strong faith to stand against him.

We often hear great messages about God’s plan and purpose for our lives, but we fail to hear messages that talk about the opposition that we are going to face to walk in all that God has for our lives. The Israelites wanted to walk in the promise of the promised land, but they did not want to fight to get it. They had lost sight that God was fighting for them and that He would give them victory.

Consider this: in 1938, France just wanted to live in peace, so they ignored that their neighbor Germany was preparing for war. The desire for peace did not bring peace - Germany was able to take possession of France in a very short period of time. It is not our inclination for war that invites war; rather, it is our having possession of something that someone else wants. The enemy has declared war on us. He wants our worship, our loyalty and our souls. He is willing to war for these things. We are at war, whether we want to be or not.

III. Taking Territory - God fights for us and He leads us in battle

Numbers 33:51-56: “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: When you cross the Jordan River into the land of Canaan, you must drive out all the people living there. You must destroy all their carved and molten images and demolish all their pagan shrines. Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy. You must distribute the land among the clans by sacred lot and in proportion to their size. A larger portion of land will be allotted to each of the larger clans, and a smaller portion will be allotted to each of the smaller clans. The decision of the sacred lot is final. In this way, the portions of land will be divided among your ancestral tribes. But if you fail to drive out the people who live in the land, those who remain will be like splinters in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will harass you in the land where you live. And I will do to you what I had planned to do to them.”

God had given them this land to occupy. He set the boundaries for each person. They were to go in and fight each battle as He directed them and then victory would come. They were to drive out all people living there and demolish all pagan shrines and false gods. If they didn’t, those enemies would be splinters in their eyes and thorns in their sides.

Deuteronomy 31:1-8: When Moses had finished giving these instructions to all the people of Israel, he said, “I am now 120 years old, and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has told me, ‘You will not cross the Jordan River.’ But the Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy the nations living there, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua will lead you across the river, just as the Lord promised. “The Lord will destroy the nations living in the land, just as he destroyed Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites. The Lord will hand over to you the people who live there, and you must deal with them as I have commanded you. So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Then Moses called for Joshua, and as all Israel watched, he said to him, “Be strong and courageous! For you will lead these people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors he would give them. You are the one who will divide it among them as their grants of land. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

The Lord was personally going with them and He assured them of victory. He promised that He would never fail them or abandon them. They just need to to be strong and courageous. He promised the same to Joshua.

God has marked out the boundaries of our lives here in this city. These boundaries always revolve around God’s Kingdom advancing. If His kingdom is advancing, then the enemy's kingdom is decreasing.

If we ignore the enemy, we are going to get pounced. If we walk in fear and refuse to walk in the things that God has called us into, we will be just like the Israelites and wander in the wilderness, never reaching the promised land.

God has a great deal for us to possess, but it will take great faith and perseverance. God is continually putting new conquests before us to develop our faith and perseverance at a higher level. We can decide we want to quit at some point because the gate seems too hard or too unconquerable. We may be tired and weary of the battle. We want to sit down, take a rest, and check out. We have the option of sitting down and living a life of ease. But by doing so we will never reach our potential because fear or weariness overtook us at the threshold. Some make this decision and fail to reach their destiny.
- The Breaker Anointing, Barbara Yoder

That are two ways of thinking. One is that we don’t need to worry about the enemy - the victory is already won. The second is that we are going to have to battle the enemy in order for God’s Kingdom to advance.

God told the Israelites that the promised land was theirs, yet they still had to battle to get it.  There is still going to be a battle of Armageddon even though we know the end result. Jesus never tried to find the devil when He walked upon the earth. He just had to deal with him as He did the will of the Father daily. 

We are not looking for the devil and trying to pick a fight with him. We are going to encounter him every time we try to advance God’s Kingdom in this city. If we are gaining ground for God, then the enemy is losing ground and he does not like that. We must be prepared to battle.