Summary: Spiritual battles are not won on accident. Victory is not a product of random chance. This textual message provides a three pronged attack plan for spiritual success.
“God’s plan for spiritual victory” Joshua Chs. 5&6
Pastor Bob Hunter
This is the fifth week of our series from Joshua. Have you enjoyed it so far? Have you been challenged? I have! In any case we pick up the story in Ch. 5 & 6 this week. Let’s recap the story for those that haven’t been with us the whole way through or that need it for repetition.
The book of Joshua is about a leader by the same name who led a group of people called Israel. They were miraculously delivered from slave labor in place called Egypt. After their deliverance they wandered aimlessly in the desert for 40 years until God raised up new leadership. Joshua was God’s chosen instrument to lead them into the promise land, the land flowing with milk and honey. The book of Joshua begins with the children of Israel facing a huge obstacle: The raging river of Jordan. God helped them overcome that impossibility by apprehending the flood waters upstream so they could walk across on dry land. They memorialized the event by extracting stones from the middle of the Jordan river, 12 of them, one for each tribe. So when we meet up with the gang in Chapters 5 & 6, we find them facing yet another challenge: The city of Jericho. They are on a collision course with the enemies of God that have taken up residence in that place. God commanded Joshua and His army to conquer it and completely drive out it’s inhabitants.
But in order to be successful they had to have a plan, there needed to be a strategy. Without a plan they could easily suffer defeat. Spiritual battles are not won on accident. Victory is not a product of random chance. You have to have a plan of attack, if your going to conquer and ultimately be successful. You better know what your up against and make sure you have God on your side. That’s what Ch. 5 & 6 are about. God gives Joshua a plan of attack. A strategy of success is revealed in these pages. This is good news my friends, the God we serve has a plan, He’s an orderly God with a specific plan. God had a plan for Israel‘s success. And He has a plan for our success too. And if we execute the plans He’s graciously given us, then we’ll be glad. If we execute the plan, we can avoid the agony of defeat. God has a plan of attack for us when we are facing spiritual battles. There are definitely some things that we can do before venturing out to the front lines and facing the giants. There’s some business that we should take care of before taking on the enemy.
For Joshua the strategy included three things. In order for He and the entire army of Israel to succeed, these three things would have to come to pass. I’m going to outline each of them, because they can help us face the Jericho‘s we have in our lives. The first strategic step into battle includes worship. This is what God commanded Joshua to do, Worship fervently! God commanded Joshua to set aside a time of worshipful preparation.
GOD’S ATTACK PLAN:
1.) Take time to worship fervently.
Part of God’s battle plan for Joshua included worship. The first thing that God told Joshua to do was circumcise the entire male population. Now that may not seem like worship to you, but it was to them. The word circumcision to us, is a word we equate with pain. Especially adult circumcision!! The only word I can think of to describe it is ouch!!
But for Israel, circumcision was an act of worship. It was outward sign of inward obedience. It was a very important means of marking their identity as the people of God. So Joshua set aside a whole day, to perform mass circumcision. The Lord commanded it and the Lord was pleased with these actions, because it represented a serious attempt on the part of Israel to worship.
Think of it this way, in the Church of Jesus Christ, the act of circumcision is fulfilled a little differently. When we talk about circumcision in the N.T. we’re talking about a circumcision of the heart. When we surrender our hearts in obedience to God, a circumcision of loyalty takes place. A circumcised heart is one that obeys God and worships Him alone in Spirit and Truth! There is a place for circumcision in today’s Church. The idea is the same the anatomy different! It’s a spiritual circumcision not a physical one, thank God!
The second element of worship celebration occurred immediately after. Verse 10 says, “While they were camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they celebrated the passover...” The passover was an intense act of worship. It commemorated the deliverance of Israel from the plague of death that visited Egypt. It was a celebration of God’s ability to rescue from death. The customary celebration was held once a year on the 14th day of the month. Joshua took the time to observe this important holiday. After circumcising the masses, Joshua prepared a passover celebration that was attended by everyone. And right there in a makeshift camp called Gilgal, they celebrated an informal passover. They worshipped. Their worship was a celebration of God’s saving power over death.