Summary: We are in partnership with God. He is always faithful but the other side of the coin is that we need to be faithfulful to Him as well.
Iliff and Saltillo UM
September 19, 2004
Faithfulness --God’s and Yours
INTRODUCTION: In chapter 23 the great leader of Israel had reached old age and this chapter records some of his last words to the people. To the very end of his life he remained full of faith and full of the Spirit. He knew what it meant to conquer by faith and to possess God’s inheritance. There are many things in this chapter that point out God’s faithfulness. I want to especially look at the following four verses: 3, 5, 10, 14
vs. 3 "For the Lord your God is he that has fought for you.
vs. 5 you shall possess their land as the Lord your God has promised unto you.
vs. 10 The Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you as he has promised.
vs. 14 "Not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you."
The faithfulness of God is one of the great truths of scripture. Just as Joshua was able to conquer through God’s faithfulness, so we live victorious Christian lives. Within these verses we have some keys for our own life today.
1. Reliance--The Israelites and their leader Joshua had to rely completely on God as they traveled through the land. They couldn’t rely solely on their own abilities to get them through. Whenever they left God out of their lives, they found that they would experience difficulty. When they relied on God’s trustworthiness, they found that He did not let them down. Many people start out in their Christian journey today trusting God and seeking His direction for their lives and then at some point grow careless and forget about Him. God becomes crowded out at one point or another. Joshua was reviewing some of the things the Lord had done over the years for them. He said, "You remember that it was the Lord who fought for you. " There were many battles they faced that they just couldn’t handle on their own and they needed the intervention of God in order to come out of it victoriously.
You may face problems from time to time that there is no way you can handle them on your own. The more you try to work them out the worse they get. You might try to bring about peace in family situations and the more you try to smooth things over, they just get worse. People just get more upset with you. Situations on the job can get so tense and tangled up and you feel you’ve been treated unfairly. There could be people who do all they can to cause you to not get the promotion or the raise you feel you deserve. In a lot of these cases, we are powerless to do something about it. These are times when we need to back off, quit trying to work out things for ourselves and allow God to "fight for us." He intervenes in many situations for us just as he did for the Israelites. Joshua said, "For the Lord your God is He that has FOUGHT for you." Our main business is to live as close to the Lord as we can and not allow ourselves to be caught up in the fighting and conflicts that seek to pull us in. When we see that we have done all we can do, what does scripture say to do??? Ephesians 6:13 "Having done all, to STAND." That’s the time to remember the faithfulness of God to Joshua as well as us today.
Another scripture in II Thess. 3:3 says that God is faithful to give us STABILITY and PROTECTION against all evil. Most of the time we think we have to DO something or SAY something. I asked a group of teenagers, "How important is it for you to have the last word." They thought it was pretty important. That’s what gets us in trouble at times. When we think of God’s faithfulness to intervene for us, we don’t have to always have the last word. We stand in His Stability with reliance upon His power and ability to come through for us in difficult circumstances.
Another scripture to remember when the pressure is on us is I Corinthians 10:13 which indicates that God does not allow us to be tested beyond His willingness to provide a way of escape. We think we cannot take the pressure of some of the circumstances of life another minute. Joshua’s reliance upon God’s faithfulness got him through many such pressures as he led these people in possessing the land. Joshua constantly held before the people’s eyes the PROMISE of God’s inheritance. He spurred them on to POSSESS it. He said in verse 5 "You SHALL possess the land"--why? because of God’s faithfulness.