Summary: Encouragement from Joshua
Intro: Last week we learned some lessons about Moses. We talked about Moses giving the leadership of the nation of Israel over to Joshua. This morning, we want to learn some lessons from Joshua’s first days of leadership. Joshua has been with Moses for 40 years in the wilderness wanderings. Yet, his greatest tests came when he assumed the role of leader of the people. He instantly faced some great tests in crossing the Jordan river and facing the immense wall of Jericho.
What do you do when you’re up against a wall? We all face walls in our lives: tension on the job, problems in your marriage, facing serious illness, loss of good friends--how do we face the walls in our lives? Let’s learn some lessons from the life of Joshua. Look with me in Joshua chapter 1. Read 1:1-9. Pray.
I. Joshua drew strength from his relationship with God.
In difficult times, it is our faith in God that carries us through. As Joshua faced the immense task of leading the Israelites, he drew strength from the fact that as God was with Moses, he would also be with Joshua. Look at 1:5 . As we face walls and roadblocks in our lives today, we remember that the same God who was with Moses and who parted the Red Sea is the same God who parted the Jordan River for Joshua is the same God who is available to help us in our problems today.
Joshua drew strength because God had already promised him the victory. Look in 1:6 . God tells Joshua the victory is his, but he must be obedient. Joshua’s success depended on obedience. We will see that lesson more vividly in later chapters when disobedience brings defeat. Sometimes we expect God to help us when we are not obedient to what God asks of us. Let’s remember that we need to live faithful live for God to be able to offer his blessing.
Joshua was sustained because God offered his presence with Joshua. 1:9 - God promises He will be with Joshua wherever he goes. But let’s also remember today that God also gives us those very same promises. Hebrews 13:5 reminds us God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." We draw strength to face our own personal walls of confrontation through the presence and help of God in our lives.
II. Joshua’s victory was dependant upon action.
Sometimes we forget that even though God had promised to give the victory to Joshua, yet Joshua had to do his part in fighting the battles. Look at 3:1 - After receiving the command to cross the Jordan, Joshua takes the whole nation of Israel right up to the river. He believes God and takes action. He constantly looks to the Lord for direction. The ark of the covenant is to move out first, with a great distance behind it, so all can see the ark and follow it.
When we look to follow God, we should also expect God to do great things in our lives. Look at 3:5 - Joshua is excited because he knows God is going to work in wonderful ways. We also should expect great things from God. What has God done for you lately? Has he done anything great? So many times we are unaware of God’s working in our behalf because we are not looking to see him work.
In 3:8 we see it was not until action was taken that the waters of the river parted. The priests had to step into the flooded, raging water. Look at 3:15. It was at the exact moment of action on Israel’s part that God did his part. As we look to see God work on our behalf, we are reminded that we need to do our part. We pray as though everything depends on God, but work as though everything depends on us. Do you want to see God work? Look for him to work through you!
We are reminded in 3:9-13 that whenever we see God working, it is an assurance that we can trust him in everything. As we see God work in small ways, those are reminders that we can also trust him to work in big ways.
III. Joshua used visible reminders of the power of God
After the nation crosses through the parted Jordan river, was does God have Joshua do? Look in 4:4-9 - Joshua sets up an altar so that for generations into the future children and children’s children can see the altar and recount the story of the time that God parted the waters and gave the victory. Joshua uses memorial. How do we celebrate the working of God in our lives? When God works on our behalf, we need to celebrate it. We share it with others. We write it down in a prayer journal. We find a way to memorialize God’s working on our behalf. Joshua uses the stones to be a lasting testimony to remember the faithfulness of God on behalf of his people.