Summary: This is part four of the expository sermon series from Joshua and was preached the Sunday before the Super Bowl in South Florida. Message deals with God’s training in the lives of His people prior to going into battle.
THE CANAAN CONQUEST – PART FOUR
TRAINING CAMP: PREPARING FOR BATTLE
Joshua 5:1-13 - ©Dr. Larry L. Thompson (2007)
Today is SUPER BOWL SUNDAY and it is the culmination of the NFL season when the WORLD CHAMPION COLTS will be crowned right here in South Florida! Sorry for the personal endorsement but that’s the team I’m pulling for tonight.
What is amazing is when you consider how much these teams have gone through to get to this point when the CONQUEST will determine the VICTOR of the NFL. It actually all began last June. The Colts and Bears actually began the same why ever other NFL team began. They started with their TRAINING CAMP. You can’t get to the SUPER BOWL unless first you are willing to go through training camp. Well, as we continue our sermon series “THE CANAAN CONQUEST” today we find God’s team headed to training camp. You would think that crossing the Jordan would have been all the preparation this team needed but when God’s your coach, He will insure your are ready and He will insist that you play be His rules and according to HIS GAME PLAN!
“Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the LORD had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until we had crossed over, their hearts melted and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites.” Jos 5:1
This verse tells us that the pagan nations in Canaan saw the powerful manner in which the Lord brought His children through the Jordan and that they were totally demoralized by these events. It would appear that this would be the perfect time for Joshua to lead the people forward into the attack. However, instead of commanding His people to take the field, God directs them instead to TRAINING CAMP! On the surface it doesn’t make sense but: God’s ways are not always our ways: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
God never gets in a hurry! Before the battle ever begins in the physical realm, it has already begun in the spiritual realm. God’s battles are spiritual battles. If we expect to fight in these battles and do well, then we must make the right kind of spiritual preparations and that means OUR VICTORY WILL COME FROM WHAT WE LEARNED IN OUR TRAINING CAMP:
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)
What God did for Israel, He wants to do in our lives today. We must go through His Training Camp and take time to make spiritual preparations.
Israel ‘appeared’ ready for the battle. They possessed a large army and they faced an enemy that was terrified at their presence. However, God knew that they would never be ready to fight and win the battle until the proper spiritual preparations had been made. That is what today’s biblical truth is all about!
In today’s SUPER BOWL, both the Colts and Bears have made the necessary preparations they feel are essential for them to experience the ultimate conquest today. They have a goal. On the field, for those of us who will be watching by television, we will see the superimposed “FIRST DOWN MARKER” that television gives us to let us know how far our team has to go to gain the necessary momentum that will take them to the end zone and ultimately to the victory. TODAY WE HAVE ALSO PROVIDED YOU WITH THE GOD MARKER that will allow you to see how you are doing in God’s training camp as you prepare for the victories in your own life. (Show superimposed marker) It all begins with a…
I. COMMITMENT TO THE TEAM (v. 2-7)
“At that time the LORD said to Joshua, "Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again." 3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth. 4 Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt--all the men of military age--died in the desert on the way after leaving Egypt. 5 All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the desert during the journey from Egypt had not. 6 The Israelites had moved about in the desert forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD. For the LORD had sworn to them that they would not see the land that he had solemnly promised their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7 So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way.” Joshua 5:2-7 (NIV)