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Let's Get Ready For Battle – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
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January 16, 2024 1:00 am

Let's Get Ready For Battle – Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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January 16, 2024 1:00 am

At Gilgal, the Israelites found renewal and got right with God. More importantly, they saw their physical challenges for what they really were: spiritual battles. In this message from Joshua 5, Pastor Lutzer shows us how to prepare for spiritual conflict. We can face our battles with a clean heart and a renewed sense of God’s presence.

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Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
Chosen Generation
Pastor Greg Young
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

Being morose is no fun. Our attitude makes a big difference, and that's something we can change. The book of Joshua teaches us to get up and get going. There is a future and there is a hope. Today, more lessons from a place called Gilgal.

Stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, why did God require that all the men of Israel be circumcised before they went into battle?

Well, you know, Dave, you mentioned Gilgal. That was the place where the shame of the past was taken away. And Israel needed to renew the covenant.

Circumcision was, of course, a sign of the covenant, and they had not been obedient in that area. And God was saying, I'm bringing you to a brand new point of obedience. And that's what God does in our lives as well. There are times when we have to put the past away. We have to march toward the future.

But there has to be a new renewal, if I can put it that way. I've written a book entitled Conquering the Fear of Failure, Lessons from the Life of Joshua. And I have to say this, that this book is so rich with spiritual truth, it will help us as we fight our own battles.

Why? It's a realistic book. Joshua had success, but he also had failure. How did he handle failure?

How did he handle some bad decisions? All that is in this book. For a gift of any amount, we're making it available. Here's what you can do. Go to

That's or call us at 1-888-218-9337. We learn whenever we open God's Word. Well, I told you Gilgal was a place of remembrance. It was a place of renewal. They finally obeyed God. Verse 2, they circumcised the males.

Now, why had they not done that before? You know, it's difficult when you're in the desert because that was a symbol of the covenant of God. It's difficult to rejoice in the promises of God when you're walking in unbelief and in a backslidden state. It's hard to talk about the promises of God. You say, well, where are God's promises? All that we see is unending sand.

We don't see God in those situations. But the minute they began to obey God, something else happened. The Passover was then observed. You'll notice it says, verse 9, God says, now at last that you've had a renewed obedience, I've rolled away your disgrace. Verse 10 of chapter 5, on the evening of the 14th day of the month while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. The very day after the Passover, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened bread and roasted grain.

Isn't that interesting? They said, now we can actually rejoice. This is only the third time they celebrated the Passover. Once in Egypt, once after they crossed the Red Sea, and now again.

Why? Why not celebrate the Passover in the wilderness? Well, again, it's hard to celebrate the Passover. It's hard to rejoice. It's hard to rejoice in your redemption when you're walking around in that land of disobedience and joylessness.

It's hard. Remember the story of a woman who was planning to commit suicide. The pills were already in her purse, but she thought that she would go to church one last time just to say goodbye to God. She thought, I'm just going to go there and say goodbye, and then it's it. She even cleaned her house very nicely so that the family would not come back to a mess. She walked in and, you know, I don't know, Jerry, do you remember, we don't, we haven't sung it in 25 years, but you know that song, Oh, say, but I'm glad, I'm glad we used to sing it way back when you and I were boys. Little diddy, oh, say, but I'm glad, I'm glad. She walked in and she heard these women singing that and she became so angry. She felt like shouting, oh, say, but I'm mad, I'm mad. And somebody saw her distressed and took her into the prayer room and said, we're going to stay here and we're going to pray with you until that depression leaves. And it did leave.

And years later I wrote her a letter because of something I was writing and she said, even though I still have physical problems, the depression never returned. What is my point? It's hard when you're in disobedience. It's hard when you are depressed to sing the songs of Zion.

It is hard to celebrate. And the people were experiencing that now they were called to a new obedience and so they could celebrate the Passover and also the produce of the land and they didn't need manna anymore. I love this because right there under the nose of the enemy, because remember now Jericho had not yet been conquered.

That's in our message next time. Right there under the nose of the enemy they already began to enjoy the blessings of Canaan. And the minute you and I come to that place of brokenness and death to self, we begin then to already begin to enjoy Christ's blessings even if there are still giants in the land that have not been conquered.

This is from my heart to your heart. I want you to know today that God did not save you so that you could spend years and years of a boring life in a spiritual wilderness. That's not why you were converted. It was to bring you into the land to enjoy God. And that's why the scripture says that we might know the length and the breadth and the depth and the height and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge that you might be filled with a fullness of God.

That's why we were saved. Not to stay in the wilderness but to get into the land of Canaan. We sometimes think my father is rich with houses and lands. He holds the wealth of the world in his hands. Of rubies, of diamonds, of silver and gold, his coffers are filled. He has riches untold. I'm a child of the king, a child of the king with Jesus my savior.

I'm a child of the king. Gilgal was a place of remembrance. It was a place of renewed obedience to God. And it was also a place of realization.

Of realization of what a dramatic story follows. It says in verse 13 of chapter 5, now when Joshua was near Jericho he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked are you for us or for our enemies? Neither he replied but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come. Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence and asked what message does my Lord have for his servant? The commander of the Lord's army replied take off your sandals for the place you are standing is holy. And Joshua did so. First of all Joshua is taking a reconnaissance trip around Jericho trying to scope it out.

He goes around Jericho and suddenly he's confronted with a man. Are you for us? Are you an Israelite who's broken curfew? Or are you an enemy?

If so I'll take you on. And notice what the man says neither neither oh this is exciting. He says I've come as the captain of the host of the Lord the commander of the armies of the Lord. Wherever you have the angel of the Lord referred to in the scripture you always have a reference to Christ in the Old Testament.

That can be shown. There's no question but that this is a pre-incarnate big words but you can follow them pre-incarnate manifestation of Christ. Before Bethlehem this is Jesus taking on human form. That's why Joshua was asked to worship. He would not do that before a man. He would not do that before an angel. He did it before Christ. And Christ said I am commander of the armies of the Lord.

Wow. Two important lessons for Joshua. Number one Joshua this isn't just a physical battle this is a spiritual battle.

Very spiritual. Second Kings chapter six. Elijah is sitting there with his servant and the Assyrian armies are coming against Elijah and the king of Assyria is so mad at Elijah for reasons I won't go into he says I want to get that man and the whole army comes and the horizon is filled with Syrian troops.

The servant is terrified. He's just really scared there because he figures that they're just going to be wiped out in just a matter of time. I mean it's like a whole aircraft carrier going after a fly.

I mean this is just no contest. So the prophet says to the Lord he says Lord open this guy's eyes and he opened his eyes and noticed that the whole horizon was filled with flaming chariots surrounding Elijah and Elijah said you know there are more on our side than there are on theirs and God smote the Syrian army with blindness. I want you to know today that if we could if we could see the spiritual world we discover that it is populated with all kinds of spirits. Good angels yes but also evil spirits but in the midst of that this is the commander of the armies of the Lord.

I love it. God is saying Joshua it's a spiritual battle. It isn't simply a matter of strategy. It's a matter of walking with God. Your battles my friend are not just physical battles.

It isn't just a personality conflict. It's that but it isn't just that because we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and the rejoicing is that we stand with Christ who is the commander of the armies of the Lord. Joshua this is a spiritual battle. You have to understand that the Israelites didn't really have any staves or any swords to speak of. They didn't have iron like the Canaanites. They did not have armies. They didn't have walled cities.

They were living in tents. I mean what a disjointed way to try to win a battle but God says look I am the commander of the armies of the Lord and I say that to you today who are in situations for which there is no human solution available nor in sight. Put your finger on the text. Christ is the commander of God's armies. It is a spiritual battle. Also it is a spiritual character is going to be important here. It's going to be Joshua worshipping.

Take the shoes from off your feet. This is holy ground. I love the answer that Jesus gave to Joshua. Joshua says are you for us or are you for our enemies and he said neither.

That was for emphasis. Just hang on. Hang on. God is speaking here. He says I have not come to take sides. I have come to take over. I am God.

The issue isn't enemy or friend. The issue is you bow before me in submission and take off your shoes because this is holy ground. Same words that were given to Moses at the burning bush. Take the shoes from off your feet for the ground whereupon you are standing is holy ground. It's not a matter of sides. It's a matter of sovereignty. It's a matter of worship.

It's a matter of submission. It's a matter of that death that we spoke about just a moment ago and once they get into the land what does it say? It says the Lord will choose my inheritance for me. I'm anticipating a little bit but you know when the tribes get into the land there are all kinds of squabbles as to where the boundaries should be.

Some people say well I want this land because it's better land. God says no the boundaries to be here and Joshua had to draw some lots and and always you know those squabbles take place and I want you to know today blessed are those who are content to say the Lord will choose my lot and where I am put in the land with that I am content because I'm content with whatever God is content with and I submit to the armies of the Lord the captain. Now what is it in your heart today that is keeping you in the desert? Is it is it unbelief? Have you have you lost God? Is it a mentality of slavery that says I've been a slave so long and I'm never going to be anything for God and therefore all that I can do is to shrivel up in my own little soul?

Is that what it is? Oh my dear friend today have your reproach rolled away. Remember the faithfulness of God. Have renewed obedience to God.

Renewed worship to God as he reveals himself to you and you will be strong in the Lord and God will say and even your enemies the devil is going to tremble and and the fear of the people will be upon him because of their holiness and godliness and commitment to the Lord. In a moment we're going to be seeing a hymn that many of us are acquainted with. It was written by Robert Robinson way back in 1735. He was actually born in 1735 I should say and wrote the hymn in 1758. Robert Robinson was an interesting person because someone said of him he was a good person but as unstable as water.

Have you met somebody like that? You know he's basically good. It's just that he's as unstable as water. He came to saving faith in Christ, listened to Whitfield preach in fact and had his heart changed and wrote those wonderful words. Come thou fount of every blessing tune my heart to sing thy grace streams of mercy never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise. But there's another stanza in the hymn if you'd give it to me there Jerry just a moment where he talks about the wandering prone to wander Lord I feel it prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart oh take and seal it seal it for thy courts above. Now after he wrote this wonderful hymn he backslid he went into the wilderness he went into the world and one day a woman who was writing a stagecoach saw his worldly ways and gave him this poem and said this has really blessed my heart I think you need it too and he said to her I am the unhappy person who wrote these words I would give a thousand worlds to have my joy back.

Well I hope he had his joy back. Oh to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be. I speak to those of you on the fringes who've got all kinds of hang-ups as to why you're not walking with God.

Come back let God roll all the disgrace and the shame and the wasted years away. Let thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to thee prone to wander Lord I feel it prone to leave the God I love. Oh here's my heart oh take and seal it seal it for thy courts above. That's my prayer today.

Is it yours? Let us pray. Our Father we thank you that there is a Gilgal in our experience.

We thank you that the shame and the reproach and the slavery and the mentality of defeat can be rolled away. Do that in our lives and hearts we pray today. Father I pray for those who struggle. I pray for those who do not see you in their circumstances. I pray for those Father who have not yet been content with their lot. We ask today Father bring all of us back into the fullness of Canaan. Bring us back Lord where there is conflict but where there is a lot of victory in the conflict. Bring us to the point Lord where we can eat the produce of the land and we can eat and we can be satisfied. Do that old God we pray. Make us dissatisfied with the desert but very hungry for the fullness of your love and blessing. We ask in Jesus name. Amen. Amen. Well this is Pastor Lutzer. My friend today perhaps you need your own Gilgal experience.

That word Gilgal means to roll away. Israel came to that place. God had them come to that place so that the past with all of its failures with all of its regrets could be rolled away because they were in for a new level of obedience by which they would be able to capture the land.

What about you? Is God bringing you to a new level of obedience? Dealing with the past but also anticipating victory in the future. I've written a book entitled Conquering the Fear of Failure Lessons from the Life of Joshua. Of course it deals with Gilgal. It deals with Joshua's defeats as well as his successes and in the process it helps us to understand that at root our battles are always spiritual.

As a matter of fact Joshua had to learn that the hard way. For a gift of any amount we're making this book available to you. Here's what you do. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. I'm going to be giving you that contact info again but from my heart to yours I want to thank the many of you who support this ministry because of people just like you we've been able to expand and we are in 50 different countries in five different languages.

All of these things are accomplished not because of us but because of people just like you who have been blessed as a result of this ministry and in response you bless us with your gifts which we invest for the cause of the kingdom. Well remember this resource we're making available to you, Conquering the Fear of Failure Lessons from the Life of Joshua. Here's what you do. Go to Of course rtwoffer is all one word. or pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-218-9337.

That's 1-888-218-9337. Time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Once we realize how crucial it is to know we're saved the more important it becomes for us to have the assurance of salvation.

Beth contacted us recently and here is her story. I was raised in a Christian home and as an adult I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior but when I did I did not feel changed or have a special feeling that so many have described. You preached a few months ago about making sure that you are saved and asked those of us with doubts to ask the Lord again so I did and I still don't feel changed but I keep asking him to give me that conviction that I am saved and I keep asking him to forgive me of my sins and to live in my heart. However I still can't point to a specific date and time when I feel that the Lord saved me and I feel as if I should be able to do that.

Please address this and tell me if you think I'm doing something wrong. Beth a couple of comments first of all thank you so much for your question and you know I think it is important for us sometimes to question our salvation. Now I also think it's important though to have assurance and you seem to lack that. Couple of comments first of all Beth it is very important that you accept God's statements God's promises of salvation by faith whether you are radically changed or not. You know that's exactly the problem I was facing when I was growing up I frequently asked Jesus into my heart and I didn't feel any different. Not until it was explained to me that I had to affirm it by faith did the assurance of the Holy Spirit of God come to me. Beth if you have confessed your sins you have trusted Christ as Savior according to your question you've done that. Affirm the fact that he has received you he has accepted you. It is by faith that we are saved and once assurance comes to you and I believe it will based upon that faith you'll then have that down deep settled assurance that you belong to God. Don't keep asking Jesus into your heart don't keep receiving him over and over again that's an indication of a lack of faith.

The very fact that you've contacted me shows that the Holy Spirit of God works in your heart you desire to know God and whoever comes to me Jesus said I will in no wise cast out you've come he's received you thank him for it. Thank you Beth for contacting us at Running to Win thank you Dr. Lutzer for your help. If you'd like to hear one of your questions answered you can just go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614. Running to Win comes to you from the Moody Church in Chicago. On our next Running to Win Israel marches to Jericho and employs a most unusual strategy. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-16 03:16:58 / 2024-01-16 03:25:34 / 9

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