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Start Walking

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
June 5, 2022 3:00 pm

Start Walking

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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This is Anne Graham Lotz.

Listen to me. You have the power of God in your life to enable you to do the work. You're listening to Living in the Light with Anne Graham Lotz and today's message from the Old Testament book of Joshua, Start Walking. After many years of slavery in Egypt and 40 years in the desert, the Israelites were finally allowed to enter the land promised to their fathers. Joshua was destined to turn that promise into a reality. Anne begins her message with God's powerful words to Joshua in chapter 1.

Here's Anne. God is saying, Joshua, be strong in your walk. Moses is dead. And I think He's saying, Joshua, Moses is dead and we're not going to do things the way we were doing things. And I used Moses to get my children out of Egypt into the wilderness, but I'm going to use you, Joshua, to get them out of the wilderness into the Promised Land and Moses is dead. Close the gate.

Close the door on the past. If you lead these people and you're always looking over your shoulder to see how Moses did it and try to lead it like Moses did, wouldn't that have been a disaster? I mean, Moses was like a shepherd. He was a lawgiver. Joshua was a warrior.

He was a military general. It would have been disaster had Joshua tried to lead like Moses led. And so God is saying, Joshua, be strong in your walk and before you can really be strong in your walk, you have to close the door on the past. And you know, the wilderness can be comfortable, very familiar, you know, just going in circles, no big responsibility, just move when God says move. Go with the flow. Everybody else is doing it and you have to close the gate on that. Maybe it's a past memory.

Maybe it's a past relationship. You keep comparing your leadership with somebody else's or you compare what God's calling you to to what He's called somebody else to. And He says, Moses, my servant is dead. Close the gate on the past.

You'll never be strong in your walk if you're always looking over your shoulder. So not only do you need to close the gate on the past, but you need to cross over the Jordan. He says get ready to cross the Jordan. And the Jordan was the border between the wilderness and the promised land. It was the barrier between wasted wilderness living and experiencing everything God had for them. It was the border between waste and experiencing the fullness of God's blessing. And I'll tell you up front what it represents. It represents the total surrender of your life to Christ. Giving Him everything.

Giving Him your will and your dreams and your goals and your future, your hopes, your families, your life, everything. And He says if you want to be strong in your walk, you're going to cross the Jordan. You're going to go farther in your Christian life than you've ever been.

You're going to advance. You're going to go higher in your faith. You're going to cross the Jordan and surrender your life once and for all and experience everything that I have for you.

When have you crossed the Jordan? When have you totally surrendered everything to the Lord? And thirdly, if you're going to be strong in your walk, you not only close the gate and cross the Jordan, you have to claim everything God has for you. In verse 3, He says I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. And where you set your foot, that's where you walk. You're not going to receive everything God has for you if you don't start walking, reading your Bible every day, listening for His voice to speak to you, applying it to your life, being obedient, surrendering your will to Him, letting Him have control. And then everywhere you place your foot, when you begin to walk, God will give it to you. And you'll begin to experience the fullness of His blessing.

But you can't do it unless you start walking. So be strong in your walk. And be strong in your work.

What is your work? Verse 5, God said no one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, I will be with you. I will never leave you or forsake you, so be strong and courageous.

You will lead these people. Joshua's work was to get the people out of the wilderness into the Promised Land. And He says you have His power. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life because you'll have the power of God in your life to enable you to do the work. And He says you can be strong in the work God calls you to because you have His power in your life. Jesus said in Acts 1-8 that you're going to receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And 1 John 4 says that the power that comes upon you, the power that's in you in the person of the Holy Spirit is greater than he that's out in the world. And then Ephesians 1 says that power is the same power that raised Jesus up from the dead through all those principalities and powers and seated Him at the right hand of the Father.

You have the power of God in your life to enable you to do the work. He says in verse 6 you will lead these people to inherit the land. That was God's purpose for Joshua. And Ephesians 2 says that God has created you for certain preordained works that you're to do.

You and I are not supposed, we were never created to stand on the sidelines and watch the parade go by. God means for us to get into the Christian life, to get into God, to get involved in serving Him and living for Him and working for Him. And thirdly He says you can be strong in the Word. You'll be strong in your walk, you'll be strong in your work and you'll be strong in the Word. Verse 7, be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you. Don't turn from it to the right or to the left that you may be successful wherever you go. The challenge is not just to be a hearer but be a doer.

How long have you been hearing the Word, going to church all your life? I don't know if you've ever visited the Dead Sea but it's like a big oily stagnant pond. And it's smelly and they can get a lot of minerals there but it's just a big stagnant pond because the rivers go into it but nothing flows out of it. And there are a lot of Christians just like a stagnant pond.

Everything's flowing in but they don't let anything else. Don't be just a hearer, be a doer, be strong in the Word. And not just a learner but a teacher, get this, verse 8. Do not let the book of the law depart from your mouth. When you go home, when you leave the Bible study, when you're sharing with your friends or your family, don't just share with them books about the Bible or, you know, opinions about the Bible. Don't let the book depart from your mouth. Memorize scripture, quote scripture, study the scripture, share the scripture, teach the scripture. And he goes on and says, meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. The world is hungry for the bread of life, thirsty for the living water.

And you and I have it and we need to be willing to share it. And three times he says, verse 6, be strong and courageous, verse 7, be strong and very courageous, verse 9, be strong and courageous. You get the feeling that Joshua is terrified. I think Joshua was scared to death and his face getting pale, he just didn't think he could do this. Do you feel inadequate when it comes to serving the Lord and you feel like you just can't do it?

Good. God can use somebody who knows they're inadequate because when you know you're inadequate, then what? You're dependent on the Lord, aren't you? And so God says, Joshua, it's good to feel inadequate, but be strong. And you can be strong even while you feel weak. You can be courageous even when you feel scared to death.

You just do it. Be strong and courageous. Paul said in 2 Timothy 1, 7, that God has not given you and me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of love and power and a sound mind.

So be strong in the words and be strong in the walk and be strong in the work. And Joshua is getting ready to experience everything that God has for him. He's opening his ears to God's words.

Would you do the same? Joshua did. And then secondly, he opened his life to God's will. And it was God's will that he lead these people.

Do you remember verse 6, he said, Be strong and courageous because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. And that was God's will for Joshua that he would lead the people out of the wilderness into the Promised Land. It was also God's will for Joshua himself that he would leave the wilderness. Can you imagine for 40 years it wasn't his doing. He wanted to go in the Promised Land 40 years ago.

For 40 years he has been dragged through the wilderness. And now God is saying, Joshua, I want you to leave the wilderness and you can go in and claim everything that I have for you. That was God's will for Joshua.

And I believe, dear friend, it's God's will for you and it's God's will for me. And Joshua just opened his life to God's will. And I can tell that he did because immediately we see his obedience. In verse 10, so Joshua ordered the officers of the people, Go through the camp and tell the people, Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you'll cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God has given you for your own. And we see Joshua's obedience.

He's not standing on the sidelines. He's doing just exactly what God told him to do. Has God told you to do something? Have you been obedient? And just embrace his will for your life. Stop resisting him.

Is there somebody here who is wrestling against God's will for your life? And you struggle against it. Maybe it's because you feel inadequate.

Maybe it's because you feel afraid. But you'll never experience everything God has for you until you just open your life up to the will of God. Whatever it involves.

You may not understand fully. Joshua didn't know everything. He just knew the next step. And the next step was to get ready to cross the Jordan. Opening his ears to God's word. Opening his life to God's will.

He was obedient and he was confident. Verses 12 to 15, he tells two and a half tribes that had agreed with Moses to some territory on the east side of the Jordan. And Moses had said they could settle on the east side of the Jordan if when they crossed the Jordan they would cross also and help their brothers settle the Promised Land on the west side of Jordan. So now Joshua goes to those two and a half tribes and he said, You promised Moses that you would cross the Jordan with us and you would help us settle the Promised Land in Canaan.

And when we're all settled, then you'll go back and take your territory on the east bank. And they agreed, but Joshua was just asserting his authority and we see his confidence. And it was God's will that he lead these people. And not only is he being obedient, but he's being confident.

He's just taking God's will and taking the authority that God had given him and he's exercising it. And you have that kind of confidence. Confidence to unite your family. Confidence to unite your church.

Confidence to get people together maybe in a Bible study or a prayer group and say, Listen, we're going to get together in this thing and we're all going to cross together. Joshua was not only obedient and confident, we see him affirmed. In verse 16, they answered Joshua, Whatever you have commanded us we will do and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, we will obey you. And the last phrase of verse 18, Only be strong and courageous.

Now isn't that interesting? They didn't know God had just told Joshua that three different times. God has spoken to Joshua in private and yet these people use the very same words to encourage and affirm Joshua.

I can't imagine how encouraged Joshua felt when he heard that. And it's a wonderful thing when we step out in faith and we're embracing God's will for our lives. When somebody comes alongside and affirms us, you're on the right course. You're headed in the right direction.

This is the right decision. And maybe God would even use you and me to affirm somebody else. But Joshua, as he opened his life to God's will, was affirmed by the people around him. If you want to experience everything God has for you, you have to get ready. And you open your ears to God's word and you open your life to God's will, no resistance, no struggle, no arguments. You just open your life to his will, whatever he would have for you, whatever he calls you to. And then thirdly, you open your eyes to God's world. You know, sometimes when we talk about experiencing everything God has for us and coming into the fullness of God's blessing, we can almost become self-centered in it, can't we?

You know, how's God going to bless me and his will for my life and how will I serve him? And I know this one particular lady who is a very spiritual lady. She's a mature Christian. She's known the Lord a long time. She has a very attentive, handsome husband, very wealthy.

All of her material needs are met. She's a wonderful person. She mentors and disciples younger women.

But I've watched this lady. She just has blessing after blessing. All of her material things are met. Her wonderful husband committed Christian children. She has a ministry and she's just soaking in the blessing of God. And I've watched that woman go into a restaurant and work the restaurant until she can find the best table and the best seat at the table. And then I've watched her get on a van with other people and maneuver until she has the front seat in the van. And I've watched her work a room until she works through a room until she gets in front of the person that she thinks in her mind is the most important person in the room.

And she's one of the most selfish women I have ever met. And her eyes just even when she's ministering and serving, she's thinking what a good job she's doing and you can just see her all wrapped up in herself. And I think this third point is a warning when we're seeking to experience everything God has for us. We open our ears to his Word and our life to his will, listen to me, open your eyes to the world around you.

Don't get self-centered. Don't get preoccupied with the blessings he's given you and getting more blessings. And thank God he blesses us and he loves to bless his children.

But you are blessed to be a blessing. So Joshua in chapter 2 sends two spies to go out to Jericho. And he says in verse 1, Go look over the land, especially Jericho. And Joshua sends them out to look at this land that is under the judgment of God.

Now Canaan was the promised land for the Israelites, but when the Israelites took it, that was God's judgment on the Canaanites. So when they're looking at the world out there, they're looking at a world that's under God's judgment. And when you and I look at the world out there, I mean you do know the world out there is coming under God's judgment. You can't help when you read your newspaper and you watch the evening news to know that our world is under condemnation.

And we need to open our eyes to the world that's under judgment. And the spies went to look at the world and they went into Jericho and they slipped into a house of prostitution. Now I'm just going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they went there because it's like a bar or like a meeting house. So they slipped into this house of prostitution and that's where they met Rahab. And Rahab was sinful. And we know that because she was a Canaanite. And archeologists tell us that Canaanites were the most vile, obscene culture, one of the most vile, obscene civilizations that's ever been on the planet. They indulged in male and female prostitution as part of their religious practice.

They indulged in human sacrifice as part of their religious practice. And Rahab was a Canaanite, so we know she was sinful. Now how many sinful people do you know?

Everybody, right? All have sinned. We live in the midst of Canaanites. But Rahab was not only sinful, she was scarred by her sin because she was a prostitute. Now I think in Canaan probably a prostitute was a position of prominence because they used them in their religious worship.

It was sort of a position of honor. So she may have had some prestige. She might have been wealthy. She might have been glamorous.

And so on the outside she looked like she had it all together. But on the inside I can tell you as a woman she was scarred and she felt used and abused and dirty and unworthy and hopeless and helpless. And when we look at our world and we see the sinners that are in our world and we tend to, you know, some of them we witness to and some of them we just sort of write off because they're marching to claim their right to sin and they're asserting their right to live a certain lifestyle. And they're just blatant in their sin. But on the inside I'm telling you they're scarred because sin is contrary to the human spirit.

It's a disease of the human soul. And Rahab was sinful and she was scarred by her sin. And I believe that she was searching. In verse 2 she hid the spies and then the king of Jericho came and said, I understand you've got some Israelite spies that you're hiding.

And Rahab now, she's a Canaanite. She's never read God's moral law. She doesn't know it's wrong to lie. She says, no, I'm not. And she's hiding the menorah up there.

No, I'm not. They went down the road and she sends the king and all the troops down the road. And then she goes up and she speaks to the spies. But I believe she hid the spies risking her own life because she was searching for a way out. She didn't want to stay where she was. She wanted a different kind of life. And so she was not only searching. I think she was scared to death.

I know she was scared to death. Verse 9, I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea. In verse 11, when we heard of it, our hearts sank and everyone's courage failed because of you. For the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that you will show kindness to my family.

Give me a sure sign. Listen to me. Tell me how I can be saved. I know the world is coming under judgment and I'm scared to death of dying and I just want to know how I can be saved from God's judgment. And I believe out there in the world that's coming under God's judgment there are sinful, scarred, searching, scared to death Rahabs, people who want to know how to be saved.

And they're looking for somebody who will tell them about salvation. And to the spy's credit, they weren't so focused on getting everything God had for them and experiencing the fullness of his blessing and possessing the promised land that they didn't have the time to stop and tell one little Canaanite prostitute how she could be saved. And so they said, Rahab, if you'll tie a scarlet cord outside of your window, everybody who's in your house when that scarlet cord dangles from the window, everybody in your house will be saved.

And so Rahab agreed. And she put them out her window and she told them how to go back up into the mountain and then get back to Joshua in three days. And after they left, I can just see Rahab getting the scarlet cord and her fingers just trembling as she ties it on her window and dangles it outside. And will her neighbors ask Rahab, what's that scarlet cord hanging out of your window? And who are you trying to signal? And oh, you just see she's so serious about her salvation.

And it may be stretching, but I don't think so. To see in that scarlet cord a symbol of the blood of the lamb and to see Rahab placing her faith in the word of the spies and doing everything she knew as she had been told in order to claim salvation for herself. Isn't it something that these Israelites have been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and they're poised on the brink of the Jordan, over two million of them, poised to cross the Jordan and swarm over Jericho and take possession of everything God has for them.

They can hardly wait. And God halts the whole thing for one Canaanite prostitute who's sinful and scarred and searching and scared and so serious about her salvation that she'll hang that red cord from her window. And several days later when the Israelites crossed the Jordan and they walked around Jericho once a day for six days, the seventh day they walked around seven times, at the end of that seventh time they blew the trumpet, they shouted and the walls of Jericho collapsed in this huge mushroom cloud of dust. And when the dust settled there was one little section of the wall like a finger still standing.

And on the top was a house and from the window of the house was a scarlet cord dangling, dusty and limp, giving testimony to the faith of the woman on the inside. Rahab was saved. Would you choose to experience everything that God has for you? Would you choose to get ready, open your ears to God's words, and open your life to God's will and open your eyes to God's world? It may be somebody's salvation depends on it.

Now here's Ann with this final word. Who is your Rahab? Someone with whom you've interacted. Someone who desperately wants to belong to God. Someone who wants to embrace all that God offers but doesn't feel they're worthy. Someone whose life would be saved if you would choose to get ready to move forward in your Christian walk, listening for God to speak to you through His word, opening your life up to God's will that may be different than your own, then opening your eyes to the world around you. You may never know who your Rahab is. That other person may never be saved until you start listening as you read God's word and start obeying as you discover God's will and start looking with God's eyes at the world around you that He loves. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-08 21:21:30 / 2023-04-08 21:31:27 / 10

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