Summary: This is the second sermon in a series on The Book of Joshua
COURAGEOUS LIVING P.2
What You Need Most When Facing A Challenge
Deut. 31:6- Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
The one thing you need when facing an insurmountable challenge, is ENCOURAGEMENT.
When seeking to offer encouragement, you need to be careful for example,
A young couple, very much in love, were getting married in church. However, the bride was very nervous about the big occasion and so the preacher chose one verse that he felt would be a great encouragement to them. The verse was 1 John 4:18 which says: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear."
The preacher asked the best man to read it during the ceremony. The preacher did not know the best man was not a regular churchgoer and did not know the difference between the Gospel of John and the First Letter of John.
During the service the best man introduced the reading by saying that the preacher felt this was a very good verse for the bride and that he would say more about it later in the service and then read John 4:18, which says:
"The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband."
(From a sermon by Davon Huss, I Am Bound for the Promised Land, 2/21/2011)
That was an encouragement that went humorously wrong. This is a major reason why I always have the service written out.
Encouragement is the thing we most desire and most need when facing the challengs of life.
What sort of challenge are you facing today?
Is it a challenge in your home, a husband or wife who does not seem to understand you.
Is it a child that constantly pushes all your buttons and you want to pull your hair out.
Perhaps it is a physical challenge you are facing; an unknown challenge that only the doctor and God know about.
Then there is the ever pressing financial challenges we all face with work and careers.
Or maybe it is a challenge that God has placed before you that could change your lfe course forever, such as a new job or educational opportunity.
One thing you know is FEAR. How will all this play out? Do I have the ‘right stuff’ to make it through the challenge?
That is why we are looking at Joshua. Here is a man who was facing a terrific challenge.
As Joshua stands on the edge of the promised land there are a million emotions and thoughts going through his mind.
To begin, his mentor, friend and leader Moses has died leaving Joshua the heir apparent to lead the people.
I wonder if his mind flashed back 40 years where at this very spot he and Caleb tried in vain to convince the people to trust God and move forward. Due to the failure of the nation to believe, Joshua spent 40 needless years wandering in the wilderness, waiting for God’s promise to be realized.
Now, 40 years later Joshua wonders, Would this be a success or just a repeat of past events?
Then there was the size of the task itself. He was left by Moses and commissioned by God to lead a nation of over 2 million people. He was a general yes, but a political and spiritual leader? He had never done anything like this before.
Talk about a daunting task.
In addition, as Joshua gazed over the waters of the Jordon he could see smoke rising from the Cities of Jericho. There was a formidable foe on the other side. Joshua had never faced an enemy as prepared and foreboding as the Canaanites before. Would he have the strength?
You no doubt can identify with some of what Joshua and Isreal were experiencing. You believe God’s word, but you are at the same time afraid.
You fear change.; you fear confrontation; your fear the past; you fear the future; you fear poverty; you fear conflict; you may even fear death.
What you need at times like this is what Joshua received from the Lord and his leaders. You need an incredible infusion of ENCOURAGEMENT.
Someone has said, We should seize every opportunity to give encouragement. Encouragement is oxygen to the soul.
As God’s people today face the challenges that God gives us, we would do well to learn from the threefold encouragement Joshua receives as he begins to embark on his new challenge.
1. SAY GOODBYE TO THE PAST
Joshua’s challenge begins with God’s commission in verse 1-2
1 After the death of Moses the (A)servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' (B)assistant, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel.