Summary: The story of Joshua leading the people into Israel. Inspired by Frazee and Lucado.
The Story - Chapter 7
The Battle Begins
October 24, 2010
Can you think back to a time in your life when you were facing an overwhelming challenge? It was right in front of you and you had to confront it. But you were scared to death. Maybe it’s happening right now and you need to charge at it, but reality is . . . you’re scared to death. What do you do? Do you retreat or advance?
Today as we come to chapter 7 in The Story, the children of Israel are faced with such an overwhelming challenge. After 600 years of waiting, it’s time to enter the land of Canaan and take possession of it. 600 years earlier God told Abraham He would build a nation through him, and one day He would give the land of Canaan to these people.
The people of Israel are on the east side of the Jordan River, looking into the land they’re about to live in. There’s a problem with taking the land, it’s already inhabited by others.
40 years earlier, under the leadership of Moses, God sent 12 spies into the land to check it out. They came back and said, the land was super fantastic. However, they said there a lot of wicked people in the land and there were giants, or really tall and mean dudes; and these brave spies were afraid, and more than that, they said, ‘we don’t have the courage to do it. We don’t trust God.’ So, now it’s 40 years later and Joshua is their leader, and they’re faced with the same challenge.
As we look at chapter 7 of The Story, 4 times in Joshua 1, God told Joshua, “be strong and courageous.” You see, Joshua and Caleb are the only 2 spies who gave a positive report 40 years earlier, saying ‘we can do it. Let’s take the land.’
How can they possibly be strong and courageous when they looked at the people they had to face? All the odds were stacked against them. In addition to God speaking to Joshua and the people of Israel, He gave them 3 ingredients or weapons which would help them be successful in the conquest of the land.
Open your copies of the Story or open your Bible to Joshua 1 and write these 3 weapons of divine warfare.
God told Joshua on page 73 of The Story, or Joshua 1:8, Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
The very first thing God said, if you want to be successful in your conquest of the land of Canaan, you need to be people of the Word. The only time the Israelites were unsuccessful in their conquering of the various cities, was when they came up against a city called Ai. They were unsuccessful because a guy named Achan violated the clear instruction of God’s word and kept some of the spoils of the victory over the people of Jericho when God had given clear instructions not to take anything.
So, they failed in their battle. After Joshua dealt with the sin of Achan, God told the people of Israel, under the leadership of Joshua, to go back into Ai, because now God would give them victory. After they were successful, Joshua called all the people of Israel around him and he read the Word of God, or the law. On page 78, or Joshua 8:34, we read . . .
34 Joshua read all the words of the law — the blessings and the curses — just as it is written in the Book of the Law.
35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the foreigners who lived among them.
To avoid another Achan situation, it was important for Joshua to be a man of the word. But Joshua understood not only did he need to be a man of the word, but the Israelites needed to be people of the word. So he sat them down and he read every single word to the people. After he read to them, they were encouraged to meditate on the word, and challenged to do everything the word said for them to do. This would be their first secret of success.
The 2nd weapon of divine warfare was they needed to be people of prayer. God told Joshua they could be strong and courageous because He would be going with them wherever they would go. However, before you go, you need to talk with me, to make sure I am in on it. If I’m in on it, I will go before you and you will be successful. There was no way the people were going to be successful against the giants without God going before and with them.