November 19, 2023 12:00 am
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You can't look at the battle just with your eyes. It may look like you're losing now, but you know what?
I've read the book from cover to cover. Guess what? We win. I mean, even if you don't win this one victory, you win the ultimate victory as long as you keep walking with Jesus. Amen.
It's not over until it's over. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David Magee. David is the senior pastor of the bridge in Kernersville, North Carolina.
Don't assume defeat when it looks like you're losing a battle. Pastor David talks about winning battles today as he continues in the book of Joshua chapter 8. But before we join Pastor David, when you're in trouble, where do you turn most often?
Do you look to yourself or the advice of your friends or do you go straight to God? We want to help you experience the hope that comes from looking to the Lord when your life turns upside down by sending you Pastor David Magee's CD series titled Lessons from the Wilderness. In this encouraging resource, Pastor David looks at one of the most difficult periods of King David's life to show you how you can wait confidently on God no matter what you're facing. Lessons from the Wilderness is our thank you for your gift this month to share the hope of Christ with others. So please visit crossthebridge.com for your copy of Lessons from the Wilderness.
Now here's David Magee with part two of his teaching, How to Win a Battle. Turn with me to Joshua chapter 8 verse 1. Now the Lord said to Joshua, do not be afraid nor be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you and arise and go up to Ai. See I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king.
Only its spoil and its cattle you shall take his booty for yourselves. Lay in ambush for the city behind it. So Joshua arose and all the people of war to go up against Ai and Joshua chose 30,000 mighty men of valor and sent them away by night. And he commanded them saying behold you shall lie in ambush against the city behind the city. Do not go very far from the city but all of you be ready. And then I and all the people who are with me will approach the city and it will come out about when they come out against us as at the first that we shall flee before them. For they will come out after us till we have drawn them away from the city for they will say they are fleeing before us as at the first. Therefore we will flee before them. Then you shall rise from the ambush and seize the city for the Lord your God will deliver it into your hand. It's an awesome strategy.
It's just awesome. And you know why? Because God was directing what Joshua was supposed to do. See God will tell you some awesome things and they will go far better than you think they will go.
They'll go far better than your plans if you'll stop to ask. But if you don't stop to ask it's going to be harder much harder for the Lord to tell you. So stop and ask, Lord what do you want me to do in this situation?
And then the second part of that when sometimes the harder part is stop and listen to what he's saying. So God comes up with this awesome thing and you know what? I believe that God desires to direct the local church.
This body, this fellowship. I believe that God desires to lead that. That's why I'm always asking God, God what do you want to do about this? God what do you want to do about that? And God lays stuff on my heart. Now that sometimes that might be in the way of you know just confirming something or giving me an idea out of the blue or perhaps sending somebody to me to say hey why don't we do this?
Why don't we fix this like that? I go oh praise God. Thank you Lord for giving me the answer through this brother, through this sister with stopping and listening.
It's important. I believe he wants to do that if we allow him to do that. He wants to do that in your life. First case and it will be when you have taken the city that you shall set the city on fire according to the commandment of the Lord you shall do. See I have commanded you. We have to deal with our sinful nature.
Let me back up. We have to allow God to deal with our sinful nature. The fact that you still have sinful desires, the fact that part of you still wants to do wrong, that's the war that Paul talks about in Romans 8. Your flesh is at war with the Spirit of God within you. That's why there's turmoil. There's turmoil there that didn't used to be there. You didn't used to have a problem with sinning.
Yeah sinning was you know it was great fun and you were okay with it and it didn't matter if anybody else around you was okay with it or not. But once you have the Spirit of God that war starts. There's a battle going on and you yourself can't defeat the flesh. Now God has a he has a plan for your flesh. He has a plan for your self nature. It's not to heal it. It's not to tweak it just a little bit. It's to do away with it. It's to destroy it because if you don't die to your flesh, if you don't die to the that sinful nature it will kill you.
It will destroy you both spiritually and sometimes physically. Now we need we need God's help. We can't do this on our own and Jay Vernon McGee who I'm related to even if I got to go back to Noah is he said trying to deal with the flesh in our own strength is like going out and taking a gallon of French perfume and dumping it on a pile of manure and expecting it to turn into a sandbox our kids can play in.
It ain't gonna happen. That's quite the visual. Some of you are still like oh no no come back okay come back. But it's an accurate picture. We we need the Lord to deal with our flesh and notice this strategy is a lot different than the strategy of Jericho.
Why? Because God works with man to implement his plans and you know what they they change over time. Now God does not change. The word of God does not change. But the way God speaks his word to people it does change. It changes. Guys you have to realize that. You can walk into some churches and they're trying and they will be exactly the same as 200 years ago. I mean you know clothing and hairstyle and the whole deal but you know that's that's not good.
That's not good. I mean we we take advantage of the internet. We got people hitting that website and downloading the teachings and listening to them all over the world and that's a new technology. That's something God laid on our heart to do.
So there are things and we should be changing. We would be derelict if we weren't changing because the battles are changing. Verse 9 Joshua therefore sent them out and they went to lie in ambush and stayed between Bethel and Ai on the west side of Ai. But Joshua lodged that night among the people. He's a good commander.
He's staying out there with the soldiers. Then Joshua rose up early in the morning and mustered the people and went up and he and the elders of Israel before the people to Ai. And all the people of war who were with him went up and drew near and they came before the city and camped on the north side of Ai. Now a valley lay between them and Ai so he took about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai on the west side of the city. Now the reason he did this is in case this city Bethel decided they want to get involved with the battle he's got people there that they don't their side doesn't get flanked. He's he's got a plan b if you will and and so he sets them out in case they do this and they end up doing it.
It's a well thought out plan again. Verse 13 and when they had set the people all the army that was on the north of the city and its rear guard on the west of the city Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley. Now it happened when the king of Ai saw it that the men of the city hurried and rose early and went out against Israel to battle. He and all his people had an appointed place before the plane but he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city. He was in real danger.
You know why? Because he didn't think he was in danger. Matthew Henry, good teacher, wrote some commentaries a few hundred years ago said those are in the most danger who are not aware that they're in danger. Guys we're in a battle. As you're walking along know you're in a battle.
When something when an opportunity presents itself to you that's not happenstance. That's part of the battle. That's part of the battle and if you recognize that you're in a battle you won't be shocked by being in a battle. I mean if you don't know you're in a battle you're gonna you know you'll be like what what's that noise of all these bullets whizzing around my head?
What's going on here? You know that's a dangerous place to be but understanding you're in a battle puts you in a far less dangerous position. Verse 15 and Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them and fled by the way of the wilderness.
Beloved it looks like they're beaten. If you were a spectator you know if you were like the CNN guy there you would be saying well all is lost they are running and they're surrendering and they're not going to win and it's a horrible defeat for the children of Israel. Their enemy thought that and it reminds me it reminds me of another battle many years later. A battle that looked like it had been lost because the leader had been killed had been crucified but it just looked like that it had been lost because the victory the real victory the ultimate victory ultimate victory was being given. See to the spectators there at Calvary they they probably thought well that we've lost something something went wrong something didn't work out right and the enemies the enemy sure didn't see it and the enemy satan sure didn't see it and he played right into the hands of God he played right into the hands of redeeming all of mankind. The Lord used the plans of the enemy to glorify his name and it might have looked like he had lost and in that moment at at what looked like the ultimate defeat was the ultimate victory. You can't look at the battle just with your eyes because it may at times look like you're losing but God's got a bunch of he's got like five thousand guys right over here they're getting ready to ambush your enemy and you'll be victorious. I think the devil thought he had won I think he thought he won not for very long he didn't think he won but just for a moment he thought he had won. Life lesson there is don't assume defeat when it looks like you were losing a battle don't assume defeat when it looks like you were losing a battle because sometimes it really is dark as before dawn you may think you're in the midst of losing a battle right now and God's gonna do something just like that maybe he's got some plan to to deliver you even this evening or tomorrow morning like that maybe it's a health situation maybe it's financial situation maybe it's just something that's turmoil in your soul and God's gonna resolve it God's gonna resolve it it may look like you're you're losing now but you know what I've read the book from cover to cover guess what we win we win I mean even if you don't win this one victory you win the ultimate victory as long as you keep walking with Jesus amen it's not over till it's over verse 16 so all the people who were in Ai were called together to pursue them and they pursued Joshua and were drawn away from this city played right in their hands there was not a man left in Ai of Bethel who did not go out after Israel so they left the city open and pursued Israel now what was the downfall of Israel in the last chapter overconfidence in their self what's the downfall of these guys in this chapter overconfidence in themselves boy seems to be kind of a theme running through this at it and that's convicting so let's move on quickly don't have confidence in yourself have confidence in the Lord have confidence in the Lord you're listening to pastor David McGee on cross the bridge he'll be back with more powerful insight from God's word in just a moment but first no matter how wise you are listening to your own advice when you should be trusting God is dangerous that's why we want to send you pastor David McGee's cd series called lessons from the wilderness journey through one of the darkest times in king David's life and discover how you can wait confidently on God no matter what struggles you're facing because his plans are perfect and he always comes through for you lessons from the wilderness is our thank you for your gift this month to share the hope of Christ with others so please visit cross the bridge.com for your copy of lessons from the wilderness now back to today's message verse 18 then the Lord said to Joshua stretch out the spear that is in your hand toward Jai for I will give it into your hand and Joshua stretched out the spear that was in his hand towards the city so those in ambush arose quickly out of their place they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand stretched out his hand and they entered the city and took it and hurried to set the city on fire I was thinking about this because at first I was like how'd this work because you know they're like a ways away was it like a huge spear that he was you know like waving around there's only I think one one answer that really works here is when he held up his spear he moved it around and he reflected it in the sun you can see that from miles away when a piece of metal catches the reflection of the sun and I think that's what he did and so they saw that oh there it is that's our signal let's go let's do the battle verse 20 when the men of Ai looked behind them they saw and behold the smoke of the city ascended to heaven so they had no power to flee this way or that way and the people who had fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers so then the guys they were chasing turned around and started chasing them now when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city and that the smoke of the city ascended they turned back and struck down the men of Ai then the others came out of the city against them so they were caught in the midst of Israel some on this side and some on that side and they struck them down so that they let none of them remain or escape keep in mind this is not the slaughter of innocent people this is people that had rebelled for years and years and years and years against God and then you know the whole time that the Israelites are in Egypt there's several scriptures that seem to indicate he was still trying to pull them to repentance and at this point judgment is is falling on them verse 23 but the king of Ai they took alive and brought him to Joshua and it came to pass when Israel made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field in the wilderness where they pursued them and when they all had fallen by the edge of the sword until they were consumed that all the Israelites returned to Ai and struck it with the edge of the sword so it was that all who fell that day both men and women were 12 000 all the people of Ai for Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the spear until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai so in other words he stood with his spear held up the whole time while the battle was going on I wonder where he got that notion I wonder where he thought of that he'd been taught that he had been taught that because if you remember years ago Exodus chapter 17 verse 11 we read and so it was when Moses held up his hand that Israel prevailed and when he let down his hand Amalek prevailed but Moses hands became heavy so they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it and Aaron and her supported his hands one on one side the other on the other side and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun so Joshua did not draw defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword Joshua won because Moses was up there with his hands up and there were people gathering around Moses helping him hold his hands up we have a concept there of spiritual leadership and what's supposed to happen what would have happened if Aaron and her wouldn't have been gathered around Moses they'd have lost Joshua could have felt he could have fought bravely but they still would have lost there's a concept here and let me let me be real honest I need people to raise my hands up I need people to help me I need people to pray for me because I'm journeying down this road too and if there's one person if there's one family that the enemy would like to take out in this church it's my family it's my kids it's my wife it's me and so I need your prayers and I also need your encouragement you know what I don't need I'm just gonna be rolling this for a minute I don't need anybody jumping on my arms and pulling them down to the ground if that's what your gift is I know this pastor right down the road he's been praying for somebody to be in his church no I'm kidding to win the battle I need to gather people around me who will help me and lift my arms and pray for me and encourage me I need that Moses needed that it doesn't say Joshua needed that but Joshua kept the spear up the whole battle and ended up winning the battle and I think there's an important concept there verse 27 only the livestock in the spool of that city Israel took his booty for themselves according to the word of the lord which he had commanded Joshua now they could have had this in the last battle but there was disobedience there was sin in the camp our next life lesson is sin and disobedience are expensive sin and disobedience are expensive now certainly we can say financially they're expensive I mean there's not a lot of sin that you can tell me about that's not expensive whether it's gambling whether it's drinking whether it's drugs whether it's sexual misconduct it all is terribly expensive both materialistically and spiritually and they cost people they cost taxpayers millions and millions of dollars they've probably damaged your family in some way in sin and disobedience and divorce itself is incredibly expensive sin is expensive and why is that because you can't you can't embrace sin without embracing the devourer who comes with sin you can't do that you can't embrace sin without embracing the damaging aspects of sin you can't do that see god never separates them out it's a safety feature if you will that when you embrace sin you embrace the damages and when those damages are inflicted upon us the lord desires that we turn back to him so be careful
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-19 00:19:22 / 2023-11-19 00:27:10 / 8