Intro: We as Americans have declared war on terrorism. The most difficult aspect of this war is identifying and locating our enemies. Fighting the war on terrorism is not as simple as finding one man and bringing him to justice. Terrorism is not a person or a people for that matter; it’s a state of mind, a cowardly way of fighting. We all realize that this war is so very different from any other war because we’re not fighting a specific people in a specific place. One of the most difficult aspects of terrorism is exposing our enemy. Soon after the nation of Israel crossed over the Jordan River into the promise land they came upon one of the most fortified cities of there time the city of Jericho. The great of walls of this city made it a fortress that was impossible for the Israelites to penetrate in there own power. Jericho was not a large city in terms of land dimensions. It only covered about 8 acres. But it was a city surrounded by two enormous walls, 15 feet apart. Each wall was lined with soldiers and watchmen stood at every gate. God’s will was to deliver the city of Jericho over to the Israelites, but first they had to follow God’s leadership to victory.
On a more personal level our enemies might be better defined as obstacles. Sometimes the obstacles we face is running short on money. Or it might be a person you work with, that is constantly holding you back, or a personality conflict that makes the workplace tense. Some people have what seem to be insurmountable obstacles in there family relationships. Maybe it’s a life threatening illness. We all face obstacles of some sort or another whether it be War with terrorism or personal finances we sometimes find ourselves with the odds stacked against us.
Transition: God has given us His promises. But the interesting and sometimes confusing things about His promises is that there are walls between the promises.
1. EVERY OBSTICLE WE FACE IS SUBJECT TO THE POWER OF GOD.
17"Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.
37 For nothing is impossible with God."
The problem we have many times is we take the opportunity away from God by fighting our own battles. When we fail to seek God and go about things our own way and totally disregard our relationship with God and His leadership we are failing to allow God the opportunity to work for us. When we take matters into our own hands we are in affect taking them out of God’s hands. Now don’t misunderstand me I know we need to couple prayer with action. I’m not saying lets just pray when faced with difficultly and do nothing. What I am saying is we need to first pray about our issues, bring them before God and seek His leadership and will allowing Him access to lead us.
2. WHY DO WE GET DOWN IN THE DUMPS WHEN WE FACE OBSTICLES?
a). Because we focus too much on the obstacle and not enough on God. This lesson the Israelites learned the first time they came to the Jordan River and sent the 12 spies in to spy out the land.
b). We look at obstacles in light of our own power. There was no way, humanly speaking, that Joshua and his followers were going to break through the walls of Jericho and overcome its inhabitants. This great city was the first formidable foe that stood between the people of God and the promises of God. Many times we face problems and difficulties that we can’t overcome in our own power. This is where the ministry of the Holy Spirit is so important to us as believers. The fact that the Holy Spirit dwells in us makes it so very personal. Aren’t you glad it doesn’t dwell near you or over you but it dwells in you?
1 Cor 6:19
19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
13I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
So many times when we face impossible situations in our lives we say there is NO WAY. There is always a way when God is involved. If you would have been there at the crucifixion you would’ve thought their was no way Jesus would be walking around talking and teaching His disciples three days later.
c). We fail to view our obstacles as an opportunity for God to demonstrate His power. God can turn our gloom into gladness. Let me stay with the analogy of the disciples and the crucifixion. What about when the disciples were making their way to the tomb on Sunday morning? Do you think they were filled with gloom? Of course they were. What happened on Saturday? The day between the crucifixion and the resurrection? What a gloomy day that must have been. But on Sunday morning God turned our gloom to gladness.
3. GOD IS USUALLY AT WORK REMOVING OUR OBSTICLES BEFOR WE EVER REALIZE IT.
In Joshua chapter two when Rahab hid the Hebrew spies she confessed that they were fearful of the Israelites.
8Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9and said to them, "I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
God had sent news ahead of time to destroy the confidence of Jericho. They were filled with fear and had lost their fighting spirit. This is one of the blessings of following God’s leadership, if we follow Him; He is sure to go before us. The difficulty for us is trusting that He is working for us when we can’t see it. Did the Israelites know that God was spreading fear through the land concerning His people? Many times when God is going before us and working on our behalf, and we don’t even realize it.
4. GOD CONFERMS HIS PRESENCE AND LEADERSHIP TO JOSHUA. (Jos. 5:13-15)
With Moses gone Joshua had everyone looking to him for leadership. Could you imagine the pressure he must have been under to fill the sandals of Moses? With this kind of pressure he really needed confirmation from the Lord. Notice how similarities of the call of Joshua and Moses. Both are commanded to take off their shoes because they were standing on holy ground. This is to confirm the call of Joshua, to give him courage and faith so he can trust God and know that he is God’s man for the job. The Angel told Joshua that he didn’t come to take sides but to take over. We shouldn’t ask, is God on our side? To be phrased properly, “are we on God’s side?”
5. OFTEN TIMES WHAT GOD REQUIRES US TO DO TAKES COURAGE.
Do you think somewhere in the process of marching around the city in silence someone might have questioned the purpose behind something so passive? This has nothing to do with common sense or military strategy. This is neither defensive nor offensive what possible good could marching around a city do? This makes about as much sense as Naaman the leper going and dipping seven times in the Jordan River. The rational behind the action is not important; the significance is in the obedience. Could you imagine being there on that day and Joshua stands before the people and says, “O.K. this is the battle plan we’re going to march around the city.” March around the city and do what? You might ask. That’s it, march around the city; that’s all God told me. Well I think you better go back to the Lord Joshua because you obviously missed something. But the cool thing about this story is, Joshua didn’t miss anything.
6. WE CAN’T ADJUST GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS AND STILL BE VICTORIOUS.
What if Joshua would’ve added to the Lord’s plans? What if he would’ve had the archers shot over the wall as they marched around the city? I mean at least they would have been doing something offensive, some sort of military force would be applied. Or maybe, he could let part of the people march around the city while the other part worked on braking down the gates, or climbing over the walls. We know that’s ridiculous don’t we? But don’t we do the same thing? We do things that we know are wrong and we justify our actions by saying “oh, that’s just the way I’m, or I can’t help myself.” We jump into sin and turn to others around us and tell them they just don’t understand. Have you ever thought about what would’ve happened if Noah would’ve modified the plans God made for the Ark? What if Noah tried to make the Ark a little more aerodynamic? Scientist have scaled down the measurements God gave to Noah and built a replica of the Ark. When they placed it in water and tested it to see if it would turn over they discovered it was nearly impossible to turn over.