Summary: We have to follow God’s battle orders.
Text: Joshua 1:10-18
1. Illustration: Video clip from the movie "Gettysburg," side A; scene 24.
2. God can promise to give us the land, but until we pick up our armor and go into battle, it’s just a promise.
3. We have to execute God’s battle plan.
a. God’s Orders are Specific
b. God’s Orders are Encompassing
c. God’s Orders Require a Responsive
4. Read Joshua 1:10-18
Proposition: We have to follow God’s battle orders.
Transition: First, we must realize that...
I. God’s Orders Are Specific (10-11)
A. Take Possession of the Land
1. Again, let’s set the scene.
a. The Lord told Joshua that He was going to give the people the Promised Land and fulfill His promise to Abraham.
b. He told Joshua that everywhere he set his foot would be his.
c. He told Joshua that He would never leave him or forsake him.
d. But now Joshua had to act!
2. Verse 10 tells us, "Joshua ordered the officers of the people..."
a. A key word in this first chapter of Joshua is the word "order."
b. It appears forty-three times in Joshua, and seven of those are in the first chapter.
c. It refers mostly to God’s commands for his people. —New American Commentary
d. However, like any good leader, God delegated His authority to Joshua, who in turn delegated it to his officers.
3. Joshua commands his officers to "Go through the camp and tell the people ’Get your supplies ready."
a. Now what exactly these supplies were is not stated, and scholars disagree as to what they may have been.
b. However, the point here is that they had to take what they needed and get ready to use it.
c. Each man was responsible for his own supplies since there was no regular quartermaster’s corps. - (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM)
d. Illustration: When our dog Star wants a treat she knows she has to sit and "speak" to get it.
e. God can promise us the land from now until the second coming, but until we take and use what He’s given us, it will never happen.
f. God didn’t give us gifts so we could sit on them.
4. Next, Joshua gives them a timetable. He tells them "Three days from now you will cross the Jordan..."
a. It is possible that Joshua meant they would merely be setting out from their present encampment within three days, not actually crossing within three days—New American Commentary
b. In actuality, they didn’t cross for seven days due to delays.
c. However, the issue here is not the number of days it took to move, but that the decision had been made to move.
d. Talk is cheap. What really counts is action.
5. The concept that matters here is "go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.’"
a. The phrase "take possession of" carries with it the idea of taking by force.
b. Elsewhere in the OT, it is simply translated "drive out."
c. Sometimes even those things that are given to us we have to go in and claim for our own.
d. We can get an inheritance, but until we take it to the bank, it doesn’t do us any good.
B. Following God’s Orders
1. Illustration: Dr. J.B. Gambrel tells an amusing story from General Stonewall Jackson’s famous valley campaign. Jackson’s army found itself on one side of a river when it needed to be on the other side. After telling his engineers to plan and build a bridge so the army could cross, he called his wagon master in to tell him that it was urgent the wagon train cross the river as soon as possible. The wagon master started gathering all the logs, rocks and fence rails he could find and built a bridge. Long before day light General Jackson was told by his wagon master all the wagons and artillery had crossed the river. General Jackson asked where are the engineers and what are they doing? The wagon master’s only reply was that they were in their tent drawing up plans for a bridge.
2. Church, we can be like the wagon master and get the job done, or we can go and sit in our tent and draw up plans.
3. We can:
a. Make plans
b. Do programs
d. And accomplish nothing
4. Or we can:
a. Get up
b. Go out
c. Get it done
5. It is easy to talk about the promises of God, but we need to lay claim to the promises.
6. It is easy to talk about taking the land in here, but until we go out there and take hold of it, we will accomplish nothing.