Time to Take the Land
Text: Joshua 1:1-9
1. Illustration: A hurricane had struck. People were huddled together. A preacher was praying with great oratorical effects in the midst of this violent storm, crying out "Send us the spirit of the children of Israel, the children of Moses, the children of the Promised land." At this, an old man with less oratory but more directness prayed, "Lord, don’t send nobody. Come yourself. This ain’t no time for children.
2. The vision that God has given me for New Life Church is that we are like the Children of Israel under Joshua. We have been living in tents too long, and it’s time to go in and take the land.
3. I believe that we can take the land because of:
a. God’s Promise
b. God’s Challenge
c. God’s Command
4. Read Joshua 1:1-9
Proposition: We can go in and take the land because of God’s promise.
Transition: First, we must stand on...
I. God’s Promise (1-5)
A. Get Ready to Cross
1. Let’s set the scene: The Israelites were on the precipice of the Promised Land, but Moses their leader was dead.
a. They have been in the wilderness for forty years, and they are now so close to the Promised Land that they can taste it.
b. However, Moses was dead. So what’s next? Where do we go from here?
2. It was at this time that the Lord came to Joshua and said "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River..."
a. First Joshua has to follow in Moses foot steps.
b. He is referred to by the Lord himself as "Moses my servant."
c. There were only two other people in the OT who carried that title: Abraham and David (Woudstra, NICOT: Joshua, 57).
d. To Joshua, Moses was a hard act to follow.
3. However, he was also given the tremendous task of leading the people across the Jordan and into the Promised Land.
a. This was indeed a daunting task.
b. The Jordan formed a barrier that was indeed formidable.
c. It runs through a deep jorge which may be called the earth’s deepest valley (Woudstra, 58).
d. It’s slopes are steep and sudden.
4. Joshua must have felt ill prepared for what God was calling him to do.
• In many ways, I know exactly how Joshua must have felt.
• Pastor Eric is a hard act to follow.
• The task that God has given me is also a difficult one.
5. Yet look at what God says next, "into the land I am about to give to them--to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses."
a. The book of Joshua announces to everyone that reads it that God kept his promise to Abraham and his descendants.
b. It had nothing to do with Moses or Joshua; it was the Lord who gave the land to them.
c. To show that when the Lord makes a promise it is as if it has already happened, the verb at the beginning of verse 3 should actually be translated "have given to you" (Barnes, CBL: Joshua-Ruth, 15).
d. When God makes a promise it is that sure; as if it has already happened.
6. He goes on to tell Joshua "No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you."
a. The Lord’s words imply that Joshua would face opposition, but that this opposition would come to nothing (Woudstra, 61).
b. The Lord would be with him every step of the way and no one would be able to stand up against him.
c. The Lord would always be with him to overcome every enemy, every obstacle, and every difficulty.
B. Standing on the Promises
1. Illustration: William Carey said, "The future is as bright as the promises of God."
2. Num. 13:30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it."
3. We don’t need to be like the spies who came back and said "Didn’t you see the size of those giants," but we need to be like Caleb and Joshua who said, "Don’t you see the size of these grapes!"
4. I don’t know about you this morning, but I believe God is saying to us it’s time to take the land!
a. It’s time to stop worrying about our obstacles.
b. It’s time to stop worrying about our limitations.
c. It’s time to stop worrying about our problems.
d. It’s time to start believing God and take the land.
5. We can take the land:
a. Not because I am a great leader.
b. Not because you are great followers.
c. Because we serve a big God who is able.
Transition: Next, we must take up...
II. God’s Challenge (6-7a)
A. Be Strong and Courageous
1. The Lord next tells Joshua to "Be strong and courageous..."
a. The phrase "be strong," in Hebrew has the meaning "be(come) strong." —Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
b. Most often the word is used for strength in battle.
c. The word "courageous" means to be stout-hearted and determined in the mind (Wakely, NIDOTE, vol. 1, 435-436).
2. Anxiety, inadequacy, fear, and despair are overcome and replaced by courage and confidence in the realization of God’s powerful presence (Miller, 219).
a. 2 Chron. 32:7 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him.
b. Joshua has no need to be afraid or intimidated because he is now moving in the anointing of God.
3. The Lord is challenging Joshua to lay aside all of the thoughts and attitudes that are holding him and the people back.
a. Lay aside fear
b. Lay aside worry
c. Lay aside inadequacy
d. Lay aside limitations
e. Lay aside hurts
4. He tells him to lay all of this aside "because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them."
a. Joshua needs to get over the past, and move to the next level.
b. He was no longer going to be the follower; now he was going to be the leader.
c. In order to do this he had to accept God’s challenge to move forward.
B. Moving Forward
1. Illustration: "One step forward in obedience is worth years of study about it." -- Chambers in Our Daily Bread, March 4, 1993
2. It’s time to move forward and leave our limitations behind us.
3. In order to do that we have to step out in faith and obedience.
a. Too often we get a case of the "Yeahbutts."
b. God tells us to step out in faith and we say "yeahbutt..."
4. The time for the "yeahbutts" has come and gone. It’s time to say "Yes Lord!"
a. Yes, Lord, lead and I’ll follow.
b. Yes, Lord, tell me and I’ll go.
c. Yes, Lord, tell me and I’ll do it.
5. The Bible says that perfect love casts out fear, so let’s leave our fear and inhibitions behind and follow the Lord!
Transition: We need to stand on God’s promise, accept God’s challenge, and follow...e
III. God’s Command (7b-9)
A. Be Careful to Obey
1. To be successful at taking the land requires obedience to God’s word.
2. The Lord tells Joshua "Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go."
a. Covenant precedes law; and the law was given only to the nation which had entered into covenant with God.
b. The law specifically is the stipulations of the covenant.—Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
3. God’s covenant with Israel included both blessings and curses.
a. If you went against the law and broke the covenant you faced serious consequences.
b. However, if you kept the law and the covenant you would experience abundance of blessings, prosperity, and success.
4. One thing is for certain: without God’s assistance taking the land is impossible.
a. Joshua’s success was assured only if he and the people obeyed the law.
b. Straying from it ever so slightly meant disaster.
5. In order to obey the word, you have to know the word. So the Lord tells Joshua, "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
6. To enjoy prosperity and be... successful in the Conquest of Canaan Joshua was to do three things with regard to the Scriptures:
a. The Law was not to depart from his mouth; he was to talk about it.
b. He was to meditate on it day and night, to think about it.
c. He was to do everything written in it, to obey its commands fully and to act by it —Bible Knowledge Commentary
7. Joshua lived out the word in a practical ways, and this was the reason for his success.
a. If we want to be successful and prosperous they Joshua was we need to do the same.
b. The word of God has priority in our every day lives.
B. Standing on the Word
1. Illustration: George Barna Research reports "Our most recent surveys indicate that about half of all adult Americans listen to preaching or Bible teaching in a typical week." Although 1 out of 3 read the Bible during the week, only 1 out of 10 claim to study the Bible weekly and fewer than 1 out of 25 devote themselves to memorizing at least one new Bible verse per week. (The Pastor’s Weekly Briefing, 12/12/97)
2. We will not take the land if the word of God is not a high priority.
a. If you brought your Bible with you this morning hold it up.
b. How about the rest of you?
3. Ps. 1:1-3 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
4. We cannot receive the blessings of the word if we are not in the word. We’ve got to:
a. Read it
b. Study it
c. Meditate on it
d. Memorize it
e. Obey it
Transition: If we do these things, we will take the land.
1. It is time to take the land.
2. In order to do so we have to:
a. Stand on God’s promise
b. Accept God’s challenge
c. Obey God’s command
3. Are you ready to take the land?
4. Are you ready to do what it takes to make that happen?
5. God is calling us. How will we respond?