Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning May 19th, 2019.
The Bible is full of ordinary people that God has walked with, encouraged, empowered, and placed in hard places in order that His name be made great. These were ORDINARY people. But with God, they did extraordinary things. Their lives have been recorded for us to see, examine and find encouraging insight in our daily lives. In this series we will look at many ordinary people who God used.
But first, we must embrace the method for learning about these people. God reveals His relationship in His way, in His story, in His Book. God loves to reveal through story. Simple stories, complex stories, long stories, short stories. That is very eastern. These stories are not a form of entertainment but for gaining knowledge. Stories teach. It is not so much about information transfer, but an invitation to join... Join the story.
As you hear a story you are drawn into the action, the characters, identifying with someone. God wants us to join the great story, not just simply know the story or what the story means.
To start this series, we are going to look at the story of Joshua.
So let’s go to Joshua 1 and read a bit of God’s interaction with Joshua…
Joshua 1:1-7 NIV
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
This is a pivotal time in Joshua’s life. Moses is dead and God has just tapped him and said, you’re up…
How was this a challenging position to fill?
In order to fulfill God’s plan, Joshua is told that God was with Him
>Joshua 1:3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
>Joshua 1:5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
>Joshua 1:6 - 7 - Joshua is told twice to be strong and courageous (once of those times (very) courageous - vs 7.
God is calling Joshua to walk by faith and not by sight.
As I have looked at Joshua’s life, I see a few things that I feel we need to glean from… I am sure there is more but these are key.
1. He knew God was with Him
-Joshua heard the cries from captivity
-Joshua saw God bring Moses the deliverer
-Joshua saw the 10 plagues
-Joshua saw how God delivered Israel from captivity
-Joshua saw how God parted the Red Sea and rescued Israel
-Joshua was there when God gave Israel water from a bitter brook, the rock and quail and manna to eat in the wilderness.
A significant moment that Joshua knew God was with Him:
Exodus 17:8-16 NIV
8 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9 Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” 10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. 16 He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”
Why tell Joshua? (verse 14) Could it be that God wanted Joshua to know and understand how he was victorious in battle? I believe so…The result: Joshua saw God working in the life of His people to deliver them, provide for them and protect them. (All faith builders)
Where have you seen God work in your life? Most of the time, we don’t acknowledge God’s provision properly, but sure long for it when it’s not there.
A faith-builder for us, look back over your life, ask God to help you see and remember those moments of deliverance, provision and protection.
Another thing that made Joshua strong and courageous:
2. He spent time in God’s Presence
-As Moses assistant (Exodus 24:12-18)
-At the Tent of Meeting (Exodus 33:7-11)
Exodus 24:12-18 NIV
12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.” 13 Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. 14 He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.” 15 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, 16 and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. 17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. 18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
Exodus 33:7-11 NIV
7 Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. 8 And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9 As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.
All of this had great effect on Joshua - what he had seen God do, what He had heard God say. He knew God was with Israel.
Joshua was confidant in his knowledge that God was with them (him). We hear this in his words to Moses after they had been sent out to spy the land they were promised. 12 spies were sent out - only 2 had a good report - Joshua and Caleb. (Numbers 14:6-9)
Numbers 14:6-9 NIV
6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
Sadly, the people continued to rebel against God, so God punished them all. Even Caleb and Joshua had to walk through it… After forty years, Moses dies, and the whole of that rebellious generation except Joshua and Caleb died. Then, Joshua is chosen to lead.
God is calling him back to his earlier faith... "Be strong and courageous" (as you were). In order to stay strong and courageous, God gives Joshua clear commands: (Joshua 1:7-9)
Joshua 1:7-9 NIV
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
God gave Joshua 3 things here to do in order to have the right results:
2. STAY ON THE RIGHT PATH
3. PUT GOD's WORD IN, SO GOD’s WORD COMES OUT
To do this: Joshua must meditate on it constantly.
Define: Meditate (haggah)
Result - Overcome fear because of strength
Result - Overcome discouragement because of knowledge. (you know - “God is with you.”)
Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we find strength and courage in the issues of daily life. We too can have strength and courage - it is given when we realize God is with us, He has given His Holy Spirit to be our guide, teacher, and encourager. The Holy Spirit gives us rebirth and renewal into a new and glorious purpose (Titus 3). We have God’s living word that we can learn, embrace, live in and live out. His words need to be our words, His Word gives us guidance and sets out the right path for us to walk on. He empowers us by the Holy Spirit to walk this path and gives us the Body of Christ. Strength and Courage are ours - today. Join His story... live in the strength and courage He gives in order that you reveal His love and life to those around you. Then you lead them like Joshua into a land flowing with God's blessing.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 NIV
14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.