Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sermon --8/12/07-- From Vision to Victory

2 weeks ago as we continued our look at Joshua—we saw the Demonstration of Faith in the Crossing of the Jordan, the Demonstration of Renewal in the Circumcision, and the Demonstration of Expectation in the Celebration of the Passover.

We started by looking at the Declaration of Dependence, then how Joshua had the Foundation for Crossing over into Victory laid by his walk with Moses. Later we looked at God’s Responses to Our Uncertainties.

Now we have followed Joshua from his time as an aide to Moses, to his testimony as a spy, to his succession of Moses as leader of Israel—to leading them to Cross the Jordan.

Now here they are—their first days in the Promised Land—they have crossed the Jordan—it is a barrier behind them—God won’t open it up for retreat—Joshua and the Israelites could not go back—the Manna had stopped—what God had given to carry them through the desert was now replaced with the better fruit of promise—the Manna would not be restored if they went back.They could only go forward and trust in the Promise of God. And they had to… because what was in front of them was not the path way to victory by Human Standards. Joshua had to trust that

1. God Knows the Way to Victory—despite what his eyes were telling him

a. God Led them to Jericho—of all the places to cross the Jordan River—Israel probably would have put this location pretty far down on the list—definitely not Top 10 because they were walking straight into the closest and most fortified city on the Western side of the Jordan.

b. Artist Renditions of Jericho's fortifications

c. This would be like if I wanted to start a new Pee Wee/Pop Warner Football team and I scheduled the first game against Ditka and the 85 Bears.

d. God knew exactly where He wanted to take them—into the heart of enemy territory. It served as a Dramatic entrance that set the tone for the Victory that God would provide for His people

e. One thing this teaches me is that God does not play games or beat around the bush

f. He is bold—

g. He is courageous.

h. He sees Victory in Hopeless situations.

i. He sees Power in apparent defeat.

j. He sees Wisdom in the foolish things of this world.

k. God knows the way to Victory—He sees exactly what it will take to supply Victory. Just like He saw it when He sent His One and Only Son as a helpless baby. Just like He saw Victory when Jesus was arrested, crucified, buried and dead

l. In the same way—God sees what it will take for this church to experience Victory in our lives, in the lives of the lost, in Macomb. I don’t believe He wants us to avoid the difficult or challenging or bold. We need more boldness. We need more courage to follow.

m. Because as Joshua learned early on—the Victory belongs only to God. and thankfully…

2. God was prepared to fight for the Victory—5:13-14

a. Joshua was likely headed to Jericho to look around--:looked up means he was surprised to find someone else there with him.

b. His Captain was already there “in front of him”—Between him and Jericho. He had already looked over the situation—He knew that Jericho was—“tightly shut up b/c of the Israelites. [and that] no one went out and no one went in.”—6:1.

c. He had already decided the course of the Battle—the planning stages were over—His sword was drawn.

d. His Sword was Drawn-- In His hand, held at the ready—not on the ground, not leaning against a rock, not still in its sheath. God was ready for the battle.

e. The Battle Belongs to the LORD—this was one of the first lessons that Joshua learned back in Exodus 17.

f. If Joshua tried to fight Jericho on his own, by tactics or numbers, he would fail. Only God could provide the Victory. The enemy Joshua was facing was too much for him and the Israelites.

g. In the same way, God has already looked over our situation—He already knows how high the walls, how high the barriers are in front of us. He has already decided the course of the Battle here in Macomb and I believe He is ready to fight for Victory in our lives, and overcome the barriers that people have erected around themselves.

h. If God didn’t fight this battle—they would be defeated. God had Prepared for the Battle, He had Planned for the Battle and He was willing to Provide the Victory.

i. If God doesn’t fight our battles—we will be defeated. But if God was prepared to fight the battle with Joshua, don’t we believe that He is ready to fight the battles that we are involved in?

j. It takes Courage to Follow God and Let Him Fight the Battles

k. Joshua showed his courage by approaching this man ready for battle and he showed wisdom by not drawing his own sword assuming he had something to defend himself with.

l. While He showed his courage and his wisdom, Joshua still needed to know who this potentially dangerous man was. In his mind, like so often in ours, there are only two sides—Us v. Them—Are you for us or for our enemies?”—vs. 13

m. But his perspective is too limited--His response was not what Joshua expected he said, “Neither.” I’m sure in that moment, Joshua was a bit confused. What other options are there? “But as Commander of the Army of the LORD I have now come.” When God walks onto the scene he does not come to take sides….He is the side--He comes to take over because all other claimants are just fooling themselves.

n. It’s not that we hope and pray that God’s on our side, the real issue is whether we are on God’s side. He is here for His glory, for His Name, for His purpose—that may surprise some of you. As much as He loves us—He will do anything necessary to bring glory to His Name—He will do anything to make us grow in our faith even if the world defines what happens as a defeat.

o. I believe this was what was called a Christophany—an appearance of Jesus before His coming to earth and one of the reasons why I believe so is because of the response to Joshua’s reaction.

p. Joshua does the right thing and falls down in reverence and worship. But when anyone falls before an angel in worship—they always tell them to get up—the will not receive the worship due only to God alone.

q. This Commander of the Army of the Lord has come, receives the worship

r. God Came to Prepare for Victory

s. God Came to Plan for Victory

t. God Came to Provide the Victory

u. God Came to Share the Vision for Victory

3. God Shares the Vision for Victory With His People

a. He believed this Commander had a Vision for Victory and Joshua believed that God desired to share it with him. So he did something we need to remember to do—he asked for it.

b. Joshua Asks for the vision—vs. 14—“What message does my Lord have for His servant.”

c. The message he’s asking for is the marching orders. The instructions for what to do next.

d. How many times are we faced with a challenge before us—when we don’t know what to do or how to proceed and we fail to ask God about it? We fail to seek Him and see if He has a message for us.

e. We are His servants, we are standing before a great challenge. Are we going to do it on our own? Or call out to Him to hear His Vision for our Victory today? We as a church body need to fully and completely get down before God and seek Him if we want to experience Victory.

f. But before he is able to fully hear the message, Joshua needed to be reminded of just who He is dealing with. He needed a Reminder of the Holiness of God. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.”

g. Just like Moses had to take off His sandals at the burning bush, Joshua had to as well standing before this Commander. It is when we are truly aware of His holiness that we are ready to hear from Him.

h. And God was willing to share the Vision of Victory—even though it may have sounded a bit strange to Joshua.

i. READ vs. 2-5

j. “I have delivered”—God is speaking as if this is already a done deal. Victory is Assured. I have delivered, this is how you will see it.

k. March around the city—get moving, start going—You Must Be Involved. Don’t sit back expecting God to do it all. Wait for them to come to you—go out and march—make the walk next door, down your street

l. You Are a Part of God’s Plan for Victory

m. Put the Ark in Front—make God the prominent and leading part of what they are doing.

n. This is a visual reminder that God is the one leading that they are to be faithfully following Him.

o. As we go, follow God,

p. As we go, listen for His opportunities

q. As we go, do not fear the walls

r. As we Go, He will make the way

s. Blast of the Trumpets—the clear proclamation of Battle—in our case the faithful declaration of the Saving Truth of Jesus Christ.

4. God has the Vision for Victory

a. That is the Vision:

b. Victory is Assured

c. You must be Involved--Get Moving directly confronting the walls and barriers that those around you who do not have a relationship with Christ around you

d. Confront the Walls and Barriers with Boldness

e. Faithfully Follow and the Will come Down


g. If they would faithfully follow Him and do everything

Do you believe that God has the Vision for us—then we need to get on our faces before God and ask Him for it.

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