Summary: The defeat of Jericho provides us with five principles of spiritual victory.
A Study of Joshua
Sermon # 5
Five Principles For Spiritual Victory
Joshua 5: 13- 6:21
Many of the present generation may not remember that Sergeant Alvin York was the most famous soldier of World War I. Neither do they realize that Alvin C. York was a most unlikely man to become a legendary hero. York felt that his Christian faith barred him from killing anyone, even in war. After being drafted, York went home on a ten-day leave and considered the scriptures a Christian captain had shared with him. Finally in a crisis of faith, God showed York that he could obey God and defend the helpless in Europe at the same time. He wrote, “As I prayed there alone… I knew that He was there. He understood I didn’t want to be a fighter or a killing man… He took pity on me and gave me the assurance I needed… It was His will and that was enough for me.” Sgt. York had to win the war in his mind before he could win the battles that lay ahead of him in the trenches of France and so it was with Joshua. [John Perry. Sgt. York; His Life and His Legend. (Broadman and Holman Pub. 1997) pp. 30-31 as quoted by Tim George. “Winning the War Before the Battle Begins.” Sermon on Joshua 5:13-15. SermonCentral.com ]
1. THE BATTLE IS WON BY REMEMBERING WHO IS IN CHARGE
After receiving the report of the two spies, readying the troops, and crossing the Jordan, Joshua sought to ready himself. He evidently went out to survey the landscape around Jericho, perhaps to devise a battle plan. It was there that he encountered a man with a sword in his hand. Verse thirteen, “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand….” The phrase “ looked up” conveys an element of surprise. Wisely Joshua did not draw his sword, supposing I assume that if this individual were looking for a fight he would have already attacked. Instead he asked the man if he were a friend or a foe. Verse thirteen continues with, “And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”
Now I don’t want you to miss his response, verse fourteen, “ So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” His response was not what Joshua expected he said, “Neither.” When God walks onto the scene he does not come to take sides….He comes to take over. We are not ask if God is on our side, but determine that whether we are on God’s side. The more appropriate question is, “Are we on the Lord’s side or against Him?” Today it is important as we face many battles – physically, emotionally and spiritual that we make sure that we are on the Lord’s side in all our confrontations.
We need to remember that Israel once tried to take Canaan in their own power. Forty years earlier Moses had told the Israelites that the consequence of their unbelief in receiving the reports of the spies, was that they would have to wander in the wilderness for forty years. The very next morning the Israelite got up and decided to take Canaan without God. According to Numbers 14:40-45, “And they rose early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, “Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the LORD has promised, for we have sinned!” (41) And Moses said, “Now why do you transgress the command of the LORD? For this will not succeed. (42) Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the LORD is not among you. (43) Or the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned away from the LORD, the LORD will not be with you.” (44) But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop. Nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses departed from the camp. (45) Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah”
When the messenger identified himself, “… Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” Verse fifteen continues the story, “Then the Commander of the LORD’S army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.” What we have here is what is referred to as a “Christopany.” This is Christ appearing a man 1,400 years before he appears in Bethlehem as a baby. In shock and amazement and awe Joshua flung himself face down before the Lord. Joshua assuming that the messenger has a message from God he asks that he deliver it.