Feeble? NOT!

Joshua 14: 10 – 11

Now behold, the LORD has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in.

I have told you how Moses accepted his divine calling at age 80, led the children of Israel for 40 years and then at 120 years of age, climbed Mount Nebo. Of course, you already know about Abraham and Sarah. Now look at the words of Joshua.

The link between the words “old” and “feeble” needs to be severed. The Bible says when Moses led the nation of Israel out of Egypt, “He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes,” (Psalm 105: 37 KJV). You know there were old people in that group. It was the entire nation of Israel. None the less, there were no feeble among them. We need to let that revelation sink into our brains and our hearts.

Romans 12: 2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Let me translate this for you, applying it to today’s message. You can either listen to and think like the world and be sick and feeble or you can be transformed in your thinking and live a long, healthy and prosperous life. Which do you want? You cannot listen to the “wisdom” of the world, which is constantly telling you how your body begins to fall apart at age 40 so they can sell you some drugs, and be youthful and vital. You’ve got to turn your ear to God. Your thinking must be transformed into God type of thinking. We need His mind on these things. Am I saying the world is wrong, that many doctors are wrong? Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. However, it will be true for you if you believe what they preach. Why don’t you show them a different model? Be the Joshua of your group. Climb mountains like Moses. Let the people in your church see what happens when someone dares to believe God.

I believe in doctors. I think God blessed us with them, but He never meant for them to take the place of Godly wisdom. Be wise, be strong, be youthful. Live immersed in the grace the Lord has given to His beloved kids.

Inquire of the Lord

Joshua 9: 14

The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord. Then Joshua made a treaty with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.

Israel was a strong nation and feared by others because of their prowess in battle. The leaders of Gibeon devised a plan to trick the Israelites into making a treaty with them. Joshua and the other leaders of Israel looked at the evidence presented by the Gibeonites but they did ask the Lord for His wisdom and guidance.

I hate to see Joshua make this mistake because I like Joshua but in truth this is the same mistake I make frequently. There is no limit to the number of questions we can ask the Lord. There is no limit to the wisdom and instruction He will give us. So why don’t we ask God’s advice about everything we do? Is it that we are so self-reliant or do we just not think of it? Maybe we should tie a string around our finger.

God’s will is to level and pave the road before us. He makes our paths straight and level but when we do not inquire of the Lord we end up on the wrong road. Of course that road is rocky and hilly. Not only that but you will also find that God has placed plenty of provision along the road He has paved for you. There are rest areas and fuel stations, there is food and drink. Everything you need has already been staged on the path God has made for you.  

We need to train ourselves to ask for God’s input on every single thing we do. Believe me, He even cares about the smallest details of our lives. In truth, there are no big things to God so He doesn’t see any of our issues or questions as small matters. He is just as happy to advise you on which shoes you should wear today as which job to choose. And I think we need to get ourselves in the habit of asking Him about the small things so that when a larger matter comes up we have already developed a habit of going to Him with it.

There is no charge for every question over three that you ask God so you may as well talk with Him constantly and you don’t want to end up making a pact with the wrong crew just because you did not get heavenly advice first. So, make it your habit to inquire of the Lord in everything. I think you will find much smoother travels when you do.


Power in Obedience

Joshua 7: 5              NIV

And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.

So to recap, Joshua is in charge of the nation of Israel. They have crossed over the Jordan River by a miracle of God and enjoyed a supernatural victory over Jericho. Jericho was a strong and fortified city but the Israelites took it without a struggle. Now they have gone up against a small town called Ai. Joshua’s advisors told him that he only needed to send up two or three thousand men because the enemy was few. So Joshua sent up about three thousand men but the text says, “They were routed by the men of Ai” (v. 4). So what has happened here?

After the defeat of Jericho, God gave the Israelites specific instructions regarding the disposition of the spoils of war. Some of the spoils they were allowed to keep but other material was designated for the treasury of God. After the defeat at Ai, Joshua fell on his face before the Lord perplexed at how a small band of men could defeat the nation that took Jericho so easily. Wouldn’t you know, when the army of the Lord entered Jericho some of the men took what belonged to the Lord and kept if for themselves. There they sealed their fate.

This would be an appropriate place to talk about the tithe and stealing from God but there is another facet of this behavior worth considering also. Our behaviors, our hearts condemn us. It is hard to receive from God when your heart tells you that you don’t deserve His mercies and kindness. One might argue in one’s mind that the benefits of being a child of God still accrue to them but their heart will not allow them to receive. True, God still loves us, Jesus still died for us but we separate ourselves from God because of the guilt and shame in our heart of hearts.  

If there is any sin keeping you from full fellowship with the Lord of Grace simply confess it and pour the blood of Jesus over it. You never have to feel guilt over it again. But make sure you renounce it and turn away from it too. You are made clean in the blood of the lamb and in Jesus you can and should enjoy the fullness of the abundant life. Be filled with the loving grace and mercy of our Lord.

God’s Logic

Joshua 6: 2                 NIV

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.”

Score massive points for Joshua. Not only did He register that God had spoken these instructions but he also followed them to the letter. I am glad for Israel that I was not the leader of the nation because I would probably still be sitting there saying, “That can’t be God.”

Sometimes we need to follow the Lord in spite of logic because His instructions do not always make sense to our mortal minds but they will deliver wonders and victory when we follow Him. You know the rest of the story. The priests, on the seventh day, blew the long blast on the trumpet during the Israelites’ seventh circuit around Jericho, the people shouted when they heard the blast and, as the song says, the walls came tumbling down. The soldiers did not have to file through a few gates but rather each person just walked straight up and they took the city with ease.

What do you think distinguishes Joshua from those of us who would have questioned the logic of God’s battle plans? Can you picture Joshua arousing this great multitude of people and getting them to march around the walled city of Jericho for seven consecutive days? He must have been very sure that he had heard from God. If you knew beyond all doubt that God spoke specific directions to you wouldn’t you also find the strength and courage to follow His instructions to the “T” just like Joshua?

In all the years that Joshua followed Moses one surmises that Joshua witnessed what was necessary in order to lead the nation of Israel. He must have observed Moses fellowshipping with the Lord and learned how to separate himself from the fray of everyday life so that he could hear the Word of the Lord. I am also reminded of the advice the Lord gave Joshua when he took Moses’ position. God’s sage advice was two-fold. First, be strong and courageous and second, do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth but rather meditate on it day and night being careful to do all contained therein (Joshua 3: 8 – 9).

In conclusion, having walled cities, or any other challenge for that matter, crumble at your feet comes from precisely obeying the Lord’s instructions. We can only have faith and confidence in those oft times seemingly illogical, nonsensical directions when we know beyond doubt that we have heard the voice of the Lord. That kind of confidence and faith comes only from fellowship with the Lord and in His word but fellowship in the Word and in the presence of the Lord yields the bold courage that frees one to follow uncharted paths, it emboldens the heart to do all that the Lord has spoken and it sees obedient zeal in place of questioning critical thought. It gives an ordinary human being the fortitude to do that which seems unreasonable to the human mind and to do such in confidant assurance of the prize.

So if what God is telling you does not seem to make good sense to your logic center, rejoice. You have joined very good company for no one who has ever done anything great for the Lord has not had to face the same fears, doubt and indecision. Just get alone with your Father and let Him confirm His will to you and don’t worry if His logic doesn’t agree with the world’s. That is where the fun begins.