November 25, 2023 12:00 am
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If you choose well, you will have blessings. Don't be surprised by that. If you choose your way, if you choose the mount of cursing, don't be surprised by that.
Don't be surprised by what comes with that. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. David is the senior pastor of the bridge in Kernersville, North Carolina. In life, the Lord allows us to choose, but He also allows us to have the consequences of our choosing. Pastor David discusses this and more 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 McGee'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 McGee with part three 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. 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. 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.
That'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 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai on the west side of the city. 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 at an appointed place before the plain.
But he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city. And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them and fled by the way of the wilderness. 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 it seems to be kind of a theme running through this, isn't it? Yeah 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. Verse 18 then the Lord said to Joshua stretch out the spear that is in your hand toward Ai 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 and they entered the city and took it and hurried to set the city on fire. 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 are 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 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. Verse 27, only the livestock and the spool of that city Israel took as 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.
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.
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 verse 28. So Joshua burned Ai and made it a heap forever a desolation to this day and the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until evening and as soon as the sun was down Joshua commanded that they should take his corpse down from the tree cast it at the entrance of the gate of the city and raise over the great heap of stones that remains to this day. Now there was a new sense of victory with the people wasn't there? They celebrated the victory. They're like we won praise God these guys beat us before but now you know the Lord has intervened he showed us what was wrong how to deal with it we dealt with it and now we have victory and we're going to celebrate that victory and they celebrated it by building this mound of stones there.
That's an awesome thing thinking about celebrating victory. I don't know how many people that are here tonight were here Sunday morning but man the the baptism video testimony was that I mean was that awesome or what? I watched it again earlier this week and just you know cried and cheered all over again yes praise God. I mean it was just an awesome way for us as a body to realize what the Lord is doing here and it's incredible and over the last couple days speaking with staff and and oh so-and-so got saved and so-and-so got saved so-and-so's mother got saved so-and-so's son got saved so-so's daughter got saved and then after the service Sunday we had a bunch of people that signed up for the next baptist. Praise God man.
I mean we need to we don't want to get to the point where we're just pointing in the history going I remember when this happened but we do want to take the time to celebrate what God is doing here amen. 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 crossthebridge.com for your copy of Lessons from the Wilderness. This is Pastor David McGee with Cross the Bridge.
You know I want to thank you for listening to Cross the Bridge. I also want to tell you about an exciting website. The website is lostlovedones.org and it works very simply like this. You go to the website and you put the first names of up to 10 people that we begin praying that they get saved. Now it takes two things to get saved presentation and prayer and what we're offering is prayer and also there's different tools there to help you present the gospel to them so we're there with you helping you with the presentation helping you with the prayer. There's over 920 people that belong to the prayer team on lost loved ones and you can join the prayer team as well and help us to pray for others who don't yet know Jesus and together we can see a huge revival starting with your lost loved ones.
Now back to today's message. Verse 30. Mount Joshua built an altar to the Lord God of Israel on Mount Ebal as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the children of Israel as is written in the book of the law of Moses an altar of whole stones over which no man has wielded an iron tool and they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings and there in the presence of the children of Israel he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses which he had written. So there were stones and they probably put plaster there and it was probably the 10 commandments that he wrote there.
Verse 33. Then all Israel with their elders and officers and judges stood on either side of the ark before the priests the Levites who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord the stranger as well as he who was born among them half of them were in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before that they should bless the people of Israel. Now if you remember in Deuteronomy chapter 11 verse 29 God had instructed them and said now it shall be when the Lord your God has brought you into the land which you go to possess that you shall put the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. So here they are they're standing at these two mountains which are inland from these places and Joshua they're basically having a service. Now it's interesting that there's like a natural amphitheater that exists between these two mountains where you could in fact put a whole lot of people and you could be heard.
You can still stand there to this day and people all over the place can hear you. Here again is the choice blessing or cursing blessing or cursing this is what these two mounts represented Mount Ebal Mount Gerizim. Now you will remember Gerizim because it plays out this is the valley of Shechem it plays out in the blessing of Abraham it also plays out much later as the woman at the well and where Jacob's well was a place of blessing.
It came up to be a real place of blessing for this woman at the well in John chapter 4. But if you remember in Deuteronomy there was a choice given Deuteronomy chapter 30 verse 19 says I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you that I've set before you life and death blessing and cursing therefore choose life that both you and your descendants may live. Guys this is the deal and this is the next life lesson. The Lord allows us to choose but He also allows us to have the consequences of our choosing. He allows you to choose but He also allows you to have the consequences of your choosing. If you choose well you will have blessings. Don't be surprised by that. If you choose your way if you choose the mount of cursing don't be surprised by that.
Don't be surprised by what comes with that. Because see we have to make decisions. God has given us the opportunity the ability to make decisions. It's not something that He's given to necessarily all the animals or anything this is something that He's given to us.
The opportunity and the ability to make decisions. Why? Because He doesn't want robots that are following Him.
He wants children that love Him. When Ashley was a little girl we had little dolls and you know some of the little dolls had little strings on them and you could pull the string and you know and then the little doll would say I love you or whatever you know never did much for me. You know I mean she's a little girl she loved these dolls but but you know what does something for me is when well she's not really a little girl anymore when she comes up and says dad I love you. Ah that melts me.
Why? Because she's choosing to say that. I'm not going up to her and saying if you don't say I love you I'll spank you right now. I mean because if I did that yeah I mean it's not really a heartfelt I love you you know but when she chooses to express that that means a lot. God wants you to choose to express to Him that you love Him.
And how do you do that? By the choices you make. Jesus said if you love me you will obey my commandments. That's the way we show the Lord that we love Him. As we follow Him. As we do the things that He gives us to do. He tells us to do in His Word. And this is a very graphic picture.
We're talking this is a very graphic picture with these two mountains and Joshua and it's pretty much the choice. You want blessings. You want cursings. Do you want to fight a eye as it went the first time or do you want to fight the way it went the second time? In order to fight the way it went second time you got to listen to the Lord. You got to wait on God.
Because if you don't do that the battle will wind up the way it did the first time. You got to choose. I can't choose for you. I wish I could.
I really do. I wish I could choose for you. I wish I could choose for my children.
That doesn't work either. You have to choose. Nobody else can choose for you. A person beside you can't choose for you.
A person in front of you or behind you they can't choose for you. You have to make the choice between blessings and cursings. I know family that sometimes you'll make the wrong decision and all of a sudden you'll go oh my gosh I'm on the I'm on the wrong mountain here. What am I doing? And you get convicted and you think I gotta I gotta I gotta go over there.
And to go over there you go through this valley you go down in the valley you go down in the valley and you go up on this other mountain. You know what? That's going to happen. Don't let your failures defeat you. The amazing thing is do you understand and this just blows my mind. Do you understand our greatest excuse could be that we messed up. Well I messed up. You know I messed up when I was a teenager. I messed up as a young adult. I messed up as an adult. I just you know there's no way I can do this.
I can't walk in it. I can't be a Christian. I can't follow Jesus because I messed up. Jesus took away your greatest excuse.
You can't say that anymore. You know why? Because He even wants to deal with your failures and have you on the place of blessing. But He loves you so much He's going to allow you to make the decision. What will you decide?
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-25 00:42:23 / 2023-11-25 00:50:26 / 8