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Importance of Obedience - Joshua 1:1-18

God 1st / Brian C Thomas
The Truth Network Radio
March 12, 2023 9:00 am

Importance of Obedience - Joshua 1:1-18

God 1st / Brian C Thomas

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March 12, 2023 9:00 am

God requires obedience. He blesses us when we obey and he chastens us when we disobey. We look today in how Moses and the Israelites learned this lesson the hard way.


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Welcome to God First with Brian C. Thomas, a program committed to encouraging you to put God first while viewing life through the window of the Bible.

Now, in honor of the one and only true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, let's join Brian C. Thomas for today's message. Before I get into today's message, I want to remind you that your eternal state is far more important than your current state. And the reason I say that is because maybe life is not played out the way you had dreamed of, maybe that dream job or that dream home, that dream spouse or family, children, whatever it may be.

Maybe those things have not come to pass and you feel disappointment. But I want you to know that the best is yet to come. That is, if you have put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, because in eternity, we will live in a perfect world in the presence of our Lord. But the alternative for those who have not received him is eternal damnation in the lake of fire. So I want to encourage you today to profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, confess your sins as he has already died on the cross, but you have to receive the gift from him willingly in order to inherit eternal life.

So if you never received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, put your faith and trust in him on today. Well, folks, we live in a society today where there is a lack of accountability. The lack of accountability reigns today, as many take the attitude of if it feels good, do it. Fulfill the desires and cravings of my flesh and people just jump at it with no regard to consequences. But contrary to popular belief, God did not create us to be happy. God instead created us to worship and to serve him.

Now, don't get me wrong. Doing so will bring joy. But the Bible says we must die to our wheels and submit to his will. Remember, before going to the cross, Jesus said, Father, if there's any way that this cup could be passed from me so that I not have to go through this, may it be. But if not, he said, not my will, but your will be done.

And Jesus said to be a follower of him, we must deny ourselves, take up the cross and follow him daily. And folks, this means suffering. It's not something that you hear preached a lot today, but it means that we will suffer and we must be willing to suffer. And I encourage you to embrace the suffering.

But again, we live in a time in which, you know, this lack of accountability and people just seem to think they should be able to do what they want. But we serve a God of love. And let me just say this. I hear people say things like, well, God is a God who has a side of love, but then he also has a side of judgment. But let me say that God is love. All of God is love.

There's no love side and then another side. And we know that because he says in his word that he chastens those whom he loves. As a parent, I, I discipline my children because I love them, because I want what's best for them in the future. And so all of God is love. And so therefore, we need to be obedient to him.

And when we do otherwise, there are consequences to follow. So we're going to look today at the importance of obedience. We're coming from the book of Joshua chapter one.

We're going to look at the entire chapter on today. So please turn your Bibles there with me to Joshua chapter one. Heavenly Father, we thank you, Lord, for this day. We thank you for your word, Lord. And we pray, Lord, that all things that are spoken, that it be nothing but sound doctrine. And may you be honored and glorified in all things. In your name, Jesus.

Amen. The word of God reads as follows in Joshua chapter one, verses one and two. After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua, the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, saying, Moses, my servant is dead.

Now, therefore, arise. Go over this Jordan, you and all this people to the land which I am giving to them, the children of Israel. Remember that when we come to this point in the passage that Moses had led the children of Israel for a 40 year journey out of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites have been in slavery for 400 years and Moses had led them out of this slavery. And it reminds me of a time in which I had a conversation with a pastor several years ago. And this pastor is black and he was challenging me, saying that no other ethnic group had suffered in slavery to the degree that blacks have in the United States of America.

And I said, well, hey, hang on a minute. Have you not read the Book of Exodus in which the Bible says that God sent Moses because the cry was so great of the bondage that they were in in Egypt? The Jewish people, without a doubt, have faced the most suffering of any ethnic group of all time. And that is because Israel is God's special chosen nation and Satan has a concerted effort to destroy them.

And if that is not to dismiss what blacks suffered in slavery, I'm not at all making light of that because there are some who endured just tremendous, harsh persecution, unspeakable things. But I am just saying that the Israelites we see from the Bible, that their slavery began thousands of years ago and their persecution is continuing even today. And so Joshua, the assistant of Moses, is now being commissioned by God to take the leadership role. It would be he, not Moses, that would lead them across the Jordan River and into Canaan, which is the promised land.

Remember that God had promised this land to Abram more than 400 years prior. But the question is, why did Moses die before entering the promised land? Look at Deuteronomy chapter 32 and let's look at verses 51 and 52. Deuteronomy chapter 32, verses 51 and 52 read as follows. Because you trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Merabah Kadesh in the wilderness of Zen, because you did not hollow me in the midst of the children of Israel.

Yet you shall see the land before you, though you shall not go there into the land which I am giving to the children of Israel. So if you recall, as they were coming out of Egypt and they were in the wilderness, the Israelites were griping. They were complaining to Moses about this and about that. Every time he turned around, there was some complaint, even after seeing all these miracles that God had done, sending the 10 plagues upon Egypt and parting of the Red Sea so that they could be rescued from Pharaoh. After seeing all of that, they still constantly complained and griped about not having water, not having the food that they liked or this and that. And so here was a point in which they were complaining to Moses about there not being any water.

And they were saying, oh, if we had died in the in the wilderness, things would be better. And so Moses went to God with their complaint. And God told Moses to take the rod and speak to the rock before the people and water will come out.

Now, here is what happened in Numbers, chapter 20, verse 12, because Moses, seemingly in anger, gathered the people and struck the rock twice. Here's what the Lord said. Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron because you did not believe me to hollow me in the eyes of the children of Israel. Therefore, you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.

Now, if we look at that, that may seem harsh. But remember, we serve a God who is a God of perfection, who is a God who expects obedience. And the Bible tells us that where much is giving, much is expected. And so Moses walked and had a personal relationship with God. The Bible tells us, like no other man that has ever lived, he spoke directly with God. And yet God told Moses to speak to the rock. But in Moses' frustration and anger with the people, he instead did what? He struck the rock. He hid it.

Not once, but he hid it twice. This is a lesson on consequences for disobeying God and not honoring him because God deserves the honor. He deserves the recognition. He deserves the credit.

I see a lot of people today who have great talents, whether it be in sports or maybe to sing, whatever it may be, even their good looks. And they take credit for it themselves and they do not give credit and honor to God. But it is God who gives us all the things that we have, all the talents.

God deserves the credit. And so Moses, in his frustration, he did not credit God. He did not hollow him, as the Bible says. And he disobeyed God by striking the rock. And if you also look at the text carefully at this account, Moses said, must we bring you water out of this rock? Speaking of he and Aaron, he wasn't saying that it was the power of God that was doing it. He was saying that, well, must me and Aaron do it? God said, your punishment, Moses, is that you will see the land, the promised land, but you will not cross over.

You will not enter it. And look at the response of Moses in the scriptures. Did Moses complain that his punishment was not fair? No, he didn't. He accepted it as he should have.

Moses saw the land, but he died at Mount Nebo and did not enter. And again, folks, this is a lesson on why we should be obedient to God and follow him and give God honor. Give God credit. Give God glory.

Don't boast about what you have accomplished on your job and your career, whatever it may be, because of what you deem to be your own great skills and talents. But instead, you need to give God credit. Give God glory for every opportunity you get. So let's go back to our text in the book of Joshua. Let's pick up with verses three and five. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon, I have given you, as I said to Moses from the wilderness and this Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites into the great sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life as I was with Moses. So I will be with you.

I will not leave you nor forsake you. So God is reiterating that the land promised to Abram. He is reiterating to Joshua that they will receive this land.

The reference to the great sea is the Mediterranean. And this is why there is so much fighting even today over the land of Israel because of the promise that God made thousands of years ago. And the sad thing is many churches today are oblivious to this things that are happening in what we call the Middle East. Many churches don't speak about it and they are clueless and many have embraced what is called replacement theology, which says the church has taken the promises that God promised to Israel, but have have now come to the church. And they say that, well, the church has replaced Israel.

And so they don't recognize present day Israel as anything significant. But God has promises to Abram that were given way back in the Old Testament. And if you look at a map, Israel does not possess all of this land today, but it will occur during the millennial kingdom because we serve a God who is just.

We serve a God who is faithful and we serve a God who is loving. Let us continue in Joshua Chapter one, verses six through nine, be strong and of good courage for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to your fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses, my servant, commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left that you may prosper wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.

For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you be strong and of good courage? Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. What a powerful passage this is, as God was letting Joshua know that there would be tough times, but be strong and be courageous. And folks, some of us today are going through tough times, but God wants us to trust him and to remember his promises. He says, be strong, be courageous, do not fear, do not be dismayed. There are tough times that are happening, but God has promised what is to come for all who put their faith and trust in him. And that is why I say for eternity, the best is still yet to come. We're going to pause for a brief announcement, but please don't go away.

We'll be back with more on the other side of the break. You are tuned into the God First program. You are listening to Brian C. Thomas on God First. For more of Brian's teachings, please visit to browse our extensive library of material. There you will find devotionals, blogs, articles, and audio messages available as MP3 downloads on various topics such as salvation, Bible prophecy, marriage, and the significance of Lesson Israel, just to name a few.

You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter and visit our web store, so please visit us at Now, let's return to the conclusion of today's message. Welcome back to the program. My name is Brian Thomas, and we are looking today at the account of Joshua chapter one in which we are looking at the importance of obedience. And as I was saying before the break, some of us are going through tough times. It may be health related and maybe the doctors have given up.

It may be something related to a wayward child or it may be a situation on your job, maybe financially, whatever it is. God says, be strong. Do not be afraid. Do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you if you put your faith and trust in him. And that is what he told Joshua. He said, Joshua, you are going to get this land because I promised it to you. But he was letting him know there is going to be some tough times ahead. But Joshua, don't be afraid. And God is faithful, folks, and he is faithful to where he can deliver you from your situation in this life. But if it is his will to allow it to be, know that in eternity, the best is yet to come.

All the things you are going through today will be nothing but a vapor in comparison to eternity. So when we come back to our text, Moses wrote the book of the law that we see reference here in Joshua chapter one through inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But the question is, what is the book of the law? The book of the law is the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Pentateuch, which means five books. It is also known as Torah in Hebrew. Now, here's the thing, though, folks, no man can perfectly follow follow the law.

So what is its purpose? The purpose of why God gave us the law in the scriptures is because it demonstrates God's standard, which is perfection, which is holiness. That is God.

He is perfect. But he gave us the law so that we can see what his standard is. But no man could follow it to perfection.

No man other than the one Jesus Christ who came to the earth. Think of it this way. What if I made a requirement for my home, for my family, that the only way that my wife and kids could live in our home was for someone to do 75 pushups? Now, could they do it?

Well, you may not know them, but I can tell you now the answer is no. My son is 14. He's in good physical condition, but he's not yet developed the strength and the stamina to to do that. My daughter is 12. Same thing. My wife. I'm not going to say how old she is, but I can guarantee you she cannot do 75 consecutive pushups. But let's say that is the requirement. And I tell them the only way that anyone can live in this house is that someone has to do 75 pushups. And so they go down to the floor and they're struggling and they're straining and they're huffing and puffing.

And they they my my son burns out at 10 and my daughter burns out at seven and my wife burns out at eight. They can't do it. And so I'm sitting there watching them and I say, OK, that is the requirement, but they they can't do it. They don't have the ability to.

But there is someone in the home that can. And that is me. And I don't say that to boast. When I first started doing pushups many years ago, way back in high school, I could barely do 20. But I worked my way up through conditioning. Within a few months, I could do 100 consecutive pushups.

Now, that was a couple of decades ago. So now that I'm older, I've gained weight and I don't have the stamina and endurance like I used to. So I can't I can't do 100, but I can do 75. So as I'm watching them, I say, OK, you can't do it, but I'm going to come down there with you on the floor and I push out 75 pushups. Now, not that it's an easy feat for me. You know, I'm I'm I'm I'm going through the physical pain.

My my muscles are burning and my my lungs are burning. But I get through it. I endured. And I say, OK, I have fulfilled the requirement now for anyone that wants to live in this house. All you have to do is say that you will follow me in my ways, except what I have done. And you can live here. And let's say two of them say, yes, we will do that. Then they have a home.

They have a roof over their head. But let's say one wants to be rebellious and say, well, I don't like your rules. I don't like your ways. So I don't I don't accept what you have done and continue trying to do it themselves.

Well, you know, you can't do it. So they are out of the house now. They're out living in the woods and they're struggling and straining to survive. And that is what a lot of people do because they reject Jesus Christ. They're trying to do it on their own. But, folks, we cannot do it on our own. The only way by which we can have eternal life is by accepting Jesus Christ, the sacrifice that he made. It seems too easy to say, well, is that all there is to it to just accept Jesus?

But that truly is all there is to it. Receive his sacrifice. But in doing so, you have to be obedient and follow his ways. But the thing is, so many today love their sin that they don't want to give up. So they choose to reject Jesus and say, well, I'm going to go my own way and you can't do it.

So Jesus came and fulfilled the law that is presented to us in the scripture that no other human being could fulfill. Think of it this way. What if Elon Musk, who's the richest man in the world, he's valued at about two hundred and nineteen billion dollars. What if Elon Musk were to say, if anyone follows me and follows my ways, you can become a millionaire? Now, Elon Musk has two hundred and nineteen billion dollars, so he says, OK, but if you follow me, I'll distribute the money so you will be a millionaire.

Now, how many people would not take that deal? I mean, you would have people coming out of the woodwork saying, yes, Elon, I follow you, Elon. I trust you, Elon. What can I do for you, Elon? Can I get you some water?

Can I get you a hot meal? Maybe I'll run a nice hot bath for you, whatever you want, Elon, in order to get this money. But Jesus gave a better deal than that because he gave eternal life if you will receive him.

But it is a deal that most reject. He said all who receive him will never thirst again. You see, money that Elon Musk has is going to run out someday. And when Elon Musk dies, when he goes into eternity, that money is staying right where it is.

It's not going with him. But Jesus gives us something that will never end. And he said, come to me, all who thirst and you will never thirst again. And so that is why we have the law presented to us. And Jesus came to fulfill the law, not do away with it, but to fulfill it. And through accepting him, therefore we are found righteous concerning Abraham's faith in God.

Paul wrote the following in Romans chapter four, verses 22 through 25. He said, and therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in him, who raised up Jesus, our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses and was raised because of our justification. So, folks, we are justified through Jesus Christ. What better deal can you have to say if I just receive him, then the sin debt that we have for our sins, which is to die and be separated from God. Jesus Christ says he will take on that debt himself. He already did it when he died at Calvary. And then he gives us his righteousness.

You see, a transfer takes place and then we are found justified. So, folks, come to Jesus today. Receive the gift of salvation.

Is that simple? You just confess your sins, repent and profess him as Lord and Savior. Let's close out the last eight verses. Joshua chapter one, verses 10 through 18. Then Joshua commanded the offices of the people, saying, pass through the camp and command the people, saying, prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God has given you to possess.

And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh. Joshua spoke, saying, Remember the word which Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you, saying, The Lord your God is giving you rest and is giving you this land. Your wives, your little ones and your livestock shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan. But you shall pass before your brethren armed all your mighty men of valor and help them until the Lord has given your brethren rest as he gave you.

And they also have taken possession of the land which the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and enjoy it, which Moses, the Lord's servant, gave you on this side of the Jordan toward the sunrise. So the answer, Joshua was saying, all that you command us, we will do. And wherever you send us, we will go just as we heeded Moses in all things. So we will heed you. Only the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your command and does not heed your words in all that you command him shall be put to death.

Only be strong and of good courage. So what we find here is Joshua tells the officers to tell the people to prepare to possess the land in three days. Remember that Canaanites were in the land already, so the land is not just sitting there bare and empty for them to go in.

There are people that are there living, so there's going to be a battle that will ensue. But the Bible says here they will receive rest once they possess the land. Remember that they came out of Egypt and when they came out of Egypt from Egypt to Canaan is approximately 1500 miles.

It would have only taken a few months if they had just went there directly. But because they disobeyed God by building a golden calf to worship while Moses was on Mount Sinai, remember, Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments. And when he did not come down after a few days, the people started to say, what is Moses doing?

Maybe he's dead or maybe he's up there trying to make himself a ruler over us. And and so they made themselves a golden calf to worship. And I say to myself how quickly people forget, because remember, folks, God had sent 10 plagues upon the Egyptians. God had delivered them by parting the Red Sea, parting the waters.

These people witnessed this. And yet when they were in the desert, they decided to build a golden calf to turn away from the true God and to worship it, something that they made with their own hands. And so as their punishment, God said they would wonder for 40 years in the desert until that generation died out that had ordered the building of the golden calf.

So it's just something that I look at this and I just say, how just how can this be? But even in the midst of their punishment, the Bible says that their shoes didn't wear out. They walked for 40 years and nobody's shoes wore out. And God can supernaturally keep our shoes from wearing out. God can keep your washing machine supernaturally running for many years past its expiration date.

He can do that for your car, your refrigerator, whatever it may be, if you put your faith and trust in him. And so to say after going through the wilderness for 40 years that they were tired is an understatement. But the thing about it is, folks, they could have been enjoying their homeland 39 years earlier. If only they had remained faithful to God, if only they had not built this golden calf. And many in our day today are missing or delaying our blessings due to turning away from God.

There are people today that could have had that spouse 20 years ago. But because you were impatient, because you had physical cravings and desires, you chose to go about it your own way. And you chose fornication. And so God's judgment said, OK, you're going to go your own way.

Now, the consequence is a delay. You could have had that spouse 20 years ago if you would have just waited for God. Maybe that dream home, you could have had it 15 years ago, but instead you chose to go after frivolous spending, things that you really didn't need. And so you ran up a lot of debt. The Bible says that the borrower is the slave to the lender.

You could have been enjoying retirement already if you had not hastily left that good paying job because of a perceived injustice. Folks, we have to understand that, yes, injustices are going to happen in life, but we can't always get mad and take our things and leave. We have to consider what impact is this going to have on me and my family in the future and trust in God to see our way through.

As we wrap things up today. It is so important to be obedient to God. God is faithful and God wants to bless us.

That's something we have to understand. It is not God's desire for us to go lacking. And when the Bible says we're going to suffer, that is because of the devil coming after us for believing in Jesus Christ. But God does not want to punish us, but he does it when we get out of line because he wants what's best for us. There are consequences to our wrongdoing, contrary to what today's society tells us. So if you are today living outside of God's obedience. I want you to repent and be honest with yourself, maybe some things that are happening, and I'm not saying that just because you are single and you've been single for 20 years. That means you are walking outside of God's will or disobey him.

Not saying that that's necessarily the case. But if that is the case and you desire your spouse, ask yourself the question, am I compromising? Am I living in fornication? Am I doing things that are against the ways of God?

Because if you are, you are going to delay or miss your blessings because God is true. God is faithful and God is just. Let us pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you, Lord, once again for your word. We thank you for this day. Lord, we just glorify you, praise you. We give you all the honor, Lord, all the glory, all the credit for all the great and wonderful things that you have done in our lives. For you are deserving, Lord, of all the glory, honor and praise. It is my prayer, Lord, that as we depart from here, that we take this word to the world, Lord, to be a shining light of you into this in darkened world for the glorification of your kingdom. And Lord, as we prepare to to leave today and go our separate ways until we come together again, we remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Bless your great nation of Israel and unto you, the only wise God, be glory through Jesus Christ forever.

Amen. You've been listening to the Bible teacher, Brian C. Thomas, founder and president of God First. Brian and God First reserve all copyright protection under applicable law. Our copyright policy is available at our website, Until next time, remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Bless God's great nation of Israel and seek first the kingdom of God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-12 12:12:42 / 2023-03-12 12:24:41 / 12

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