Summary: Trusting Jesus as our Christ gives us eternal life, but three obstacles stand between us and possessing God’s promises--finding rest in our faith.
THREE OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME:
In Possessing God’s promises
Once we have accepted Jesus as our Christ … we find that there are 3 obstacles between us and all the promises of God.
It is a march to Spiritual maturity.
It is the process of growing up in the new life of our salvation.
It is the only way to claim all the blessings of the heavenlies.
God loves us beyond belief.
And He wants to bless us beyond belief.
The story of Joshua gives us a picture of the obstacles between us and the promises of God.
Joshua was a man of faith.
He was selected by God to replace Moses to lead God’s chosen people into their promised land.
In doing this … Joshua and Israel … encountered three levels of opposition.
These are the same obstacles that we face today in claiming the promises of God--in finding rest in our faith.
The first one is the WORLD – the world system.
It’s the politics of business and government.
Jericho represented the world system to Joshua.
This world system is our environment too.
It’s where we live.
It’s where we work.
The Jericho of Joshua was an imposing obstacle:
A city with walls 5-stories high.
A sloped approach made it impossible to attack the walls.
An army of the world would lay siege to such a city.
Starve them into submission.
But this is the Lord’s army.
This is a spiritual battle.
The city is not the enemy.
It’s the system that it represents.
Spiritual battles require spiritual approaches.
The first step is Spiritual preparation.
God commanded Joshua to circumcise all who were born during the wilderness wandering.
Remember this was Israel’s Logo with God.
After that … Jesus Christ … acting as the Captain of the Lord’s Host, gave him the battle plan.
We won’t belabor the point.
Surely we remember how all of Israel marched around Jericho once a day for six days.
On the seventh, they circled the city 7 times.
Then as instructed by the Captain of the Lord’s Host … they turned … faced the walls … blew their ram’s horns … and everyone shouted.
This was an absurd battle plan by worldly standards.
But this was God’s battle.
It was fought his way … without firing a shot … the walls collapsed.
In John 15:19 Jesus told us …If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
Later, he says: 17:15, "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one."
The world system is Satan’s system.
Jesus extracted his Church out of the system.
Paul explained it by pointing out that we are ambassadors of Christ.
Our citizenship transferred the moment we accepted Jesus as our Christ.
We belong to him.
We belong to his Kingdom.
We represent him here on earth … among those who are of this world – the spiritually dead.
We, who are spiritually alive … are IN this world … but not OF this world!
Back to Joshua: The battle was the Lord’s.
So were the spoils of the battle.
Joshua 6:19, "All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury."
Israel was to take nothing from the city, but was to give all the riches to God – a tribute to him…to his greatness.
One man – Achan – kept a single Babylonian dress,
20 shekels of silver, and 50 shekels of gold.
He knew it was wrong … and he hid it under his tent.
It was a small thing … in comparison to the wealth of the city.
But it was a great thing in the sight of God.
This small thing cost them defeat at the small town of Ai.
Then fear replaced faith in the camp of Israel.
Sin is like that.
A small one turns off all the power of God.
Joshua … and all of Israel … went into the: "Why me," mode … for fear the Canaanites would unite and defeat them.
Our next obstacle is The Flesh
Ai represents our second obstacle – the flesh … our old sin nature!
It was a small town of mud huts and simple people.
Joshua and his army was all fired up over the defeat of mighty Jericho.
Without so much as one word with God, he dispatched a small detachment to mop up Ai.
Jericho was God’s victory.
Ai was Joshua’s defeat.
He left God out of the planning… and the fighting.