Summary: Why were the Israelites able to conquer Jericho? What was it about Joshua that made him someone God could use?
This morning we’re beginning a new series on Worship. And over the next several weeks, we’ll talk about some of the different components of what worship is. This week, we’re going to talk about how our worship can be expressed through obedience. Jesus said:
John 14:21 (NLT)
Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me.
If we love God and if we worship Him, then it is going to be evidenced through our obedience to His Word and His instructions for our lives. And I’m not talking about obedience at gunpoint… I’m talking about voluntary obedience because we love God want to do what pleases Him. So we’re going to talk about what it means to be obedient to God, and we’re going to centre our talk around a person we’re told about in the Old Testament: Joshua.
Most if not all of us are familiar with how God used Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. We know how God divided the Red Sea for them to cross over it and how He then led them to Mount Sinai where He gave then the Ten Commandments. Then the Israelites set out for the Promised Land that God was leading them to.
As they approached this land, Moses appointed 12 people to go and scout out the land, reporting back what kind of people were living there, how many of them there were, how strong they were, what kinds of crops grew there, what the soil was like and how many trees there were. So the scouts went to scope out this entire area (PowerPoint – Desert of Zin in south all the way up to city of Rehob). They returned with samples of the food that grew there and reports about a great land. But they also reported that the people who were living there were strong and their cities were well fortified.
Two of the scouts, Caleb and Joshua, were ready to storm into the land right then because they believe God when He told them He would give them this land. But the rest of the scouts kept going on and on about how strong the people were and how they could never stand a chance against them, saying things like this:
Numbers 13:31-33 (NLT)
But the other men who had explored the land with him answered, “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread discouraging reports about the land among the Israelites: “The land we explored will swallow up any who go to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. We felt like grasshoppers next to them, and that’s what we looked like to them!”
And so they convinced the rest of the Israelites that there was no way they could defeat the people in the land, despite the fact that God had promised it to them. As a result, God punished them for their lack of faith by declaring that they would wander the desert for 40 years until that entire generation had died with the exception of Caleb and Joshua. And that’s what happened.
So those 40 years passed and it was finally time for them to enter into what was called the Promised Land. By this time, Moses is dead and Joshua who was one of the two scouts who believed God is in command of the Israelites.
Now Joshua was a very unique person in that he had no parents. See, it says it right in the very first verse of the book of Joshua:
Joshua 1:1 (NLT)
After the death of Moses the LORD’s servant, the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant.
Sorry, bad pun. Force of habit.
But Joshua really was quite remarkable. He was one of only two Israelites that was willing to enter the Promised Land the first time despite the size and strength of the people that were already there. He later became the assistant to Moses, and then once Moses died Joshua took over leading the Israelites. So it was now up to him to lead them into the Promised Land.
So there they were at the border once again. But they’ve had enough of the desert, they don’t want to go back for seconds, and this time they’re ready to enter the land. Their first opposition? Jericho.
(Images in PowerPoint - Jericho)
What I want to do for the rest of this time this morning is look at this encounter between the Israelites and the city of Jericho. And I want to make five observations about Joshua and the way he responded to the instructions of God.
Five Observations about Joshua:
1. Joshua Was Ready To Hear From God