February 12, 2006
“Along the road of life…”
o I figured out what happened in the super bowl.
Show Ref. slide.
o I want you guys to look at a few confusing things that you might see along the road of life…
Show road signs.
o We have been walking through the book of Joshua; we have seen Joshua take over command of Israel. We saw God use Rahab… a prostitute, for God’s purpose. Just last week we saw Israel… finally after 40 years in the wilderness, cross over into the land that was promised to them.
o For the purposes today, however, I think we need to look all the way back to the beginning at God’s deliverance of His people Israel.
Israel is oppressed in Egypt
God promises to deliver them by way of Moses
God sends plagues throughout Egypt to overthrow Pharaoh.
In Exodus 12 God intercedes for Israel by passing over their houses during a plague.
He delivers Israel from Egypt
Israel crosses the Red Sea.
Israel starts to worship Idols
God tells Israel that they will not see Promised Land, because of their rebellion.
Joshua takes over
God brings Israel to the Promised Land.
o Along our road of life we have a lot of ups and downs too…
List a few
• You believe
• Someone in the family dies
• A son or daughter gets married.
• Someone close to you gets cancer.
• You bring a friend to Christ.
o I will summarize these events in this way… Along the road of life… Things Happen.
• Who gave this guy the microphone?
• I promise I will expand throughout our time.
o We see on this road for Israel, things happening, and usually our response to what Israel does is, “They are so stupid… how could they do that… I would never do that…”
Well… I am here today to tell you that Israel has finally done something for us to model.
In Joshua 5 we see Israel doing 3 essential actions that are prescriptive for us today.
• Explain descriptive and prescriptive.
o In Genesis: we see Abraham have two wives… descriptive passage.
o In Acts: we see the disciples of Jesus continuing on even though they are being persecuted… prescriptive.
o Read verses 1-9
• The first of these actions that we are going to look at is Trust.
o There is an old story of a father who took his young son out and stood him on the railing of the back porch. He then went down, stood on the lawn, and encouraged the little fellow to jump into his arms. "I’ll catch you," the father said confidently. After a lot of coaxing, the little boy finally made the leap. When he did, the father stepped back and let the child fall to the ground. He then picked his son up, dusted him off, and dried his tears.
"Let that be a lesson," he said sternly. "Don’t ever trust anyone."
o We hear this story and kind of chuckle, but the real funny thing is that today in this world… this is the attitude.
o How many of you watched the beginning of the winter Olympics on Friday night?
o As incredible as the athletes are in the Winter Olympics, I heard about a television special that was on just before the start of the 1988 Winter Olympics that I found to be even more incredible.
o This television special featured blind skiers being trained for slalom skiing, impossible as that sounds. Paired with sighted skiers, the blind skiers were taught on the flats how to make right and left turns. When that was mastered, they were taken to the slalom slope, where their sighted partners skied beside them shouting, "Left!" and "Right!" As they obeyed the commands, they were able to negotiate the course and cross the finish line, depending solely on the sighted skiers’ word. It was either complete trust or catastrophe.
This is the Christian model of Trust.
• Completely blind as to what the future holds, relying on God to direct the way.
In these first 9 verses of Joshua 5 we see an amazing trust on the part of Joshua and on the part of Israel for that matter.
Lets review what has just happened to Israel:
• They have just crossed the Jordan into the promise land, in which they are going to have to fight for.
This has got to be the worst military strategy in the history of the world.
• We are in the most hostile territory now, with people wanting to fight us for this land, and we are going to circumcise our men now.
• I realize that I don’t have to go too deep into what circumcision is, but when I think of circumcision, especially as pertaining to grown men, one word comes to mind… OUCH!!!!
o This is the true meaning of going under the knife.
• They are going to need to fight now more then ever before and God wants to have all the men circumcised… and for sure have them unable to fight for a while.
• Well… as crazy as it sounds to us, and as horrible as a military strategy it may be, …. Israel did it!!
o What amazing Trust this must have taken.
o This reminds me of a story in Genesis 22, where Abraham was asked to sacrifice his beloved son, in which he had waited 90 years for. Abraham was going to do, until God stopped him.
• Sometimes God asks us to do things that seem so ridiculous, but we must remember that we are simply blind skiers, waiting on every word that our seer tells us.
• Israel realized that they were blind skiers going down the moguls, and that they could not see what was coming, but instead knew that their God could. And they obeyed.
The second action we see Israel practice is Dedication.
• We are going to look at verses 6-8 to see the dedication that Israel showed to God.
• Read Verses 6-8
o God kept his promise… in Numbers 14: 21-23… God says, “Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times- not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.”
o Verse 6 tells us that all the men that were in the military when they left Egypt had died, and now their sons were fighting.
o Verse 7 tells us that these men were not yet circumcised because they had not yet been circumcised on the way.
• It sounds to me like they were so busy doing things on the way to the promise land, that they neglected to circumcise the males, which was the very act that showed the covenant between them and God.
• Read Genesis 17:10
o “This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.
o This is a commandment from God to the people of Israel. At first they obeyed… as time went along they neglected to obey the commandment.
• Along the road of life things happen… we have so many distractions,and our eyes focus on other things besides God. Israel did the same thing, but in Joshua 5, God commanded them to be circumcised to show the covenant between God and man, and they listened once again.
• Let’s not let our lives get so busy and distracted that we neglect to obey God’s commandments. We must dedicate our whole lives to Him.
o When D.L. Moody was visiting England he heard Henry Varley say, "the world has yet to see what God will do with a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to the Holy Spirit." Moody would later comment, "He said ’a man." He did not say a ’great man’ nor ’a learned man’ nor a ’rich man’ but simply ’a man.’ I am a man, and it lies within the man himself whether he will or will not make that entire and full consecration. I will try my utmost to be that man."
• We see Israel finally in Joshua chapter 5… Trust God, Dedicate themselves to God, and last but certainly not least Celebrate God for what He has done.
o Read verses 10-12
o I often think of celebrating as related to song, this is a very common way to celebrate. So instead of me just telling you about celebrating, why don’t we listen to a song that illustrates it pretty well?
o Play David Crowder Band (I saw the light/Joy)
In verses 10-12 we see Israel celebrate the Passover that we learn about in Exodus 12.
• This was when God told Israel to get a young, male lamb… slaughter it and wipe the blood on the door frame of the house they lived in. On that night God passed over and struck down all the first born in Egypt, but the houses that had the blood of the lamb on the door frame, God would Passover.
• The Israelites choose to celebrate God for what He had done for them… from the Exodus of Egypt to the deliverance to the land promised.
• It is not hard for us to see the parallels between the Lamb of the Passover and Jesus Christ. It was the blood of the lamb on the door frame that cause God to Passover the house and save the Israelites from destruction, and it was the blood of Jesus Christ that causes our sins to be forgiven and for God to look beyond our sins.
o Multiple New Testament passages refer to Christ as the Lamb:
John 1:29: “Look, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”
1 Peter 1:18-19: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
Rev. 5:12: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.”
Israel had the Passover to celebrate the deliverance by God, we now have even more reason to celebrate; we have the Son of God coming down in the flesh and being that young, male lamb, without blemish, to die for our sins.
The fact of the matter is that we don’t celebrate all that often. Yeah we get together and sing songs in worship to our God, but celebration is more about our constant attitude towards life because of what God has done.
Read Psalm 35:9-10
• “Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in His salvation. My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you, O Lord? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.”
• In the ESV it says “all my bones will exclaim…”
One thing that people often forget is that celebration is a spiritual discipline.
In a book on spiritual disciplines, John Ortberg writes about celebration.
Read from John Ortberg
We get so consumed along the road of life that we forget to celebrate what God has done for us.
Israel shows us here in Joshua 5, 3 actions towards God.
• They show us Trust, Dedication, and celebration. None of which they showed continuously along the road of life. But they finally got it right when they reached the promise land.
• This is a prescriptive passage for us today… What we are to do along the road of life. There will be ups and downs, but along the road of life we must Trust God, Dedicate ourselves to God, and celebrate for what He has already done for us.
• What ridiculous things (by humans standards) has God asked you to do that you are having a hard time obeying because of your lack of trust?
• What area have you neglected to dedicate to God?
• How often do you purposely remember and celebrate what God has done for you?
• Let us be people that are wholly concentrated on God and what He is doing along this road of life… and let us never cease to Trust, dedicate, and celebrate along the way.