05/26/2020 – You’re Serious, Aren’t You?
The Bible, especially the Old Testament, is often criticized for being extremely brutal and violent. The truth is that the ancient world was a very brutal and violent place and extreme measures were needed to survive. The Bible shows us how our God, the only real God, is greater than all the other gods that are created out of the hearts and minds of a sinful world. Our God alone can defend us, protect us, provide for us, deliver us, save us, and display His love for us. Our God alone is worthy of our love, our trust, and our praise.
The important lesson for us to learn from reading about the many battles Israel had to fight in the Old Testament, is that ALL these battles teach us something about our struggle against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”(Ephesians 6:12)
When we study the battle of Jericho and study all the many other battles fought against the “flesh and blood” enemies of Israel, we learn the basic strategies and principles that make us victorious in our spiritual battles that we may be fighting daily.
The Lord’s battle plan for taking the city of Jericho and for being victorious in spiritual warfare, unfolds in three phases: knowing the word of God, proclaiming the word of God, and living out the word of God.
PHASE 1 – Knowing the word of God: learning the will and the ways of the Lord and how He gets things done.
First, the Lord reveals His will to Joshua. The Lord is unfolding His unique and perfect plan for victory. This is how God wants it done. We can’t take a step without knowing the word of God, learning the plan of God, and discovering the will of God. Doing it any other way always ends in disaster.
Joshua 6:3-5: “March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of ram’s 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.”
So, you’re telling us to march, blow trumpets and shout until those walls fall down. Then we walk in and take the city. That’s it? That’s your battle plan? You’re kidding, right? I know your ways are nothing like our ways, but that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. But you’re not smiling. You’re serious, aren’t you, Lord? Thinking we know better, challenging the wisdom of the Lord with our human understanding is a tragic and fatal mistake.
1 Corinthians 1:19-20 – “For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. Where is the wise man? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has God not made foolish the wisdom of the world?”
The world really has no wisdom except in its own mind, but it keeps trying to convince everyone that it does. Believe what you want. Think what you want and laugh at me all you want. But if the Bible says those walls will collapse when the people start shouting and those trumpets are blowing, you’d better get out of the way because those walls are coming down. The battle begins with knowing what the Bible says.
PHASE 2 – Proclaiming the word of God.
Joshua 6:6 – “So Joshua…called the priests and said to them, ‘Take up the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.’”
Joshua told the priests exactly what the Lord had told him. This is more commonly known as “the foolishness of preaching.”
I Corinthians 1:21 – “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.”
I Corinthians 1: 23-25: “But we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who God has called…Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is greater than human strength.”
It’s not enough for me, as a preacher, to believe something that seems so ridiculous and foolish to the world. Because it’s gotten me so excited, I’m determined to get you to believe it too. I want to share what I’ve discovered. I want to keep talking about what I’ve heard from God’s word until you can hear it too and become as excited about it as I am.
Joshua 6:7 – “Advance! March around the city, with the armed guard going ahead of the Ark of the Lord.”
“Advance!” Step out. Start marching! Jesus has told us to “Advance.” He said go out into the whole world. Preach the gospel and make disciples. “Repentance and forgiveness of sin will be preached in His name to all nations,”(Luke 24:47) The march has finally begun.
We’re ready for PHASE 3 of the Lord’s battle plan, living out the word of God; taking all the faith that our knowledge has created, taking all the information that we’ve gained from preaching and all those Bible studies and putting it to work in our lives. It’s going out and doing what the Lord has called us and taught us to do.
But, to keep this post from becoming too long, I think we’d better save that for next Tuesday. I appreciate hearing if these postings have been clear and helpful for you.