Summary: Sermon 2 in a series on the book of Joshua. The sermon focuses on how God often uses the most unusual people to accomplish the most amazing things.
1. This morning is the second sermon in the series entitled, "Possibilities: The Dream of what lies ahead." God is doing big things in the lives of His people, there are great moments ahead for them, but those great moments start in some very unexpected ways. Have you ever noticed that things don’t always work out just the way we would like for them. We try to be pretty conscience about the way our bulletin turns out each Sunday morning, but if you attend here all the time, you know there are mornings when we miss some little something. I can assure you we aren’t the only church where that happens. In fact, a few years ago someone sent me a list of classic church bloopers. Though we’ve had a few things wrong over the years, I don’t think ours come even close to some of these: 1) Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a good chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands. 2) Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say "hell" to someone who doesn’t care much about you. 3) The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict. 4) The sermon this morning: "Jesus Walks on the Water." Tonight’s sermon, "Searching for Jesus." 5) Barbara C. remains in the hospital & needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is having trouble sleeping & requests tapes of the pastor’s sermons.
2. I know all of you can relate to the times when we thought we knew what we were doing only to have things work out very differently than we thought. If you had been Joshua, at this moment in Israel’s history you would have been deep in thought & eager to see what God was going to do, but I believe I can safely say that you wouldn’t have had it all figured out. For certain, God had promised the people that He was going to lead them into the promised land, but the details of how He was going to do that were anything but clear. So, Joshua was left to make the preparations he needed to make.
3. There would be many surprising twists & turns in the story of taking the Promised Land, but God would be with them all the way. One of the first twists in the story takes place this morning. As the readers just read, Joshua had sent two men in to check out the city of Jericho. When they arrive, they encountered a most unexpected situation. However, they found themselves right where God wanted them to be. God was clearly at work. Let’s read the story together. . .
1 Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there.
2 It was told the king of Jericho, saying, "Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land."
3 And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, "Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land."
4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from.
5 "It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them."
6 But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof.
7 So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords; and as soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate.
8 Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof,
9 and said to the men, "I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.
10 "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.
11 "When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.