Summary: It’s easy to say we trust God, but do we really? Or do we put our trust where everyone else does; the stock market, real estate, banking institutions, or whatever the newest quick fix solution may be.
Three men were hiking and they came upon a large raging river. They needed to get to the other side, but they didn’t know how. The first man said, "God, give me the strength to cross this river."
Poof! God gave him big arms and strong legs, and he swam across the raging river. It took him two hours, but he made it.
Seeing this, the second man prayed, "God, give me the strength . . . and the tools . . . to cross this river."
Poof! God gave him a rowboat, and he rowed across the raging river. It took him 90 minutes, but he made it.
Seeing this, the third man said, "God, give me the strength and the tools and the intelligence . . to cross this river."
And poof! God turned him into a woman. She looked at the map, hiked upstream for 50 yards, and then walked across the bridge!
Last week we talked about trusting God in everything we do. We read the words of Isaiah, chapter 40, verses 28-31; “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, He gives strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
This week we are continuing the same theme, trusting God. Our scripture reference is a little longer, we will be discussing the 2nd chapter of Joshua found in the Old Testament. Although the author is not named, the most probable candidate, and most scholars agree, is Joshua himself. When Moses passed the baton of leadership onto Joshua before he died (Deuteronomy 34), Israel was at the end of its 40 year wandering period, approx 1400 years before the birth of Christ. Joshua was approaching 90 years of age when he became Israel’s leader. Joshua lived another 20 years after driving out most of the Canaanites from the Promised Land, and dividing the land among the twelve tribes. God gave Israel this land by conquest, primarily to fulfill the covenant He had pledged to Abraham and to his descendents.
So who was Joshua? How many of us remember our Old Testament Biblical history? To begin with, Joshua was the personal attendant of Moses from his youth. Moses changed his name from Hosea, which means ‘salvation’ to Joshua which means ‘the Lord saves.’ We often overlook the verses in Exodus where Joshua was present on Mount Sinai when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments inscribed on the tablets of stone .Joshua and Caleb spied out the land of Canaan with 10 others. Only Joshua and Caleb urged the nation to possess the land, and thus, only they of the 12 spies actually entered Canaan. We also read that Joshua was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and also filled with the spirit of wisdom.
So we read from the beginning of Joshua. God has commissioned him and Joshua has addressed the nation telling them they will soon cross over the river Jordan into the land God promised them. They cross the river just north of the Dead Sea and stop at a place known as Gilgal. And now the focus is on the city of Jericho, less than a mile from Gilgal. Jericho is nestled at the foot of a small mountain range. If you travel south, uphill seven miles, you’ll reach the city of Jerusalem at the top. When we were in Israel, we drove past the city of Jericho. As much as I wanted to walk the streets of this historic city, we were unable to even enter because of guards, roadblocks and unsafe surroundings. Jericho today is Palestinian controlled.
What comes to mind when we think of Jericho? Certainly the familiar Sunday school song, “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho. Joshua fit the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down.” This fascinating story of God’s miracles, His guidance, direction, is found a few chapters later, but first it was important to send spies into the city of Jericho to report back to Joshua various features of the topography, food, drinking water and the defenses to be overcome by the invasion.
And this is where we start. As we read, please take note of the absolute importance of trusting God in anything and everything we do, and how God can use anyone He chooses no matter what our background, or our current condition. In this case, God uses an ordinary harlot named Rahab.