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Joshua: The God Who Fights for Us, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
August 30, 2021 9:00 am

Joshua: The God Who Fights for Us, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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August 30, 2021 9:00 am

How do you judge success in life? As we look at the book of Joshua, Pastor J.D. is explaining how to find success in surrender.

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Today on Summit Life with JD Greer. What God wanted to do in them was much more significant than what he wanted to do through them. You see, as they were walking around the walls, nothing may have been happening to those walls, but something important was happening to them. God wanted them less focused on the outcome and more focused on obedience because outcome is God's responsibility. Faithful obedience is ours. Welcome to another week of trusted biblical teaching here on Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian, JD Greer.

I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Let me ask you a question. How do you judge success in your life? Is it tied to your bank account, your job title, or owning the respect of your peers?

Maybe it's based on your marital status or how well your kids do at school. We all have different things that we love to do. We look to for validation, but today pastor JD reminds us that God has a different way of measuring success. He titled this message, the God who fights for us. And it's part of our series called the whole story. We begin today by reading from the book of Joshua. And it's mighty men of valor. Then God proceeds to give Joshua instructions on how to take Jericho.

But the instructions are really odd. God tells him, I don't want you to fight. I want you to put the Ark of the covenant, which houses my presence in front of you. And I want you to march around the city in silence. One time each day for six days. And then on the seventh day, I want you to march around seven times in silence. And on the seventh time you then shout and I'll take care of the rest.

Do not lose sight of how bizarre this is. How hard must this have been for Joshua? He wants to prove himself, but God says, no fighting.

I'll do the fighting. Then God says verse 18. Then young and old auction sheep and donkeys with the edge of the sword, chapter seven, verse one, but the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things for Achan of the tribe of Judah took some of the devoted things.

Remember God told him not to touch those things, but he took him, hit him in his tent and the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel. Now Joshua has no knowledge of this. And Joshua sent out spies from Jericho to the next city Ai, which is just the city over. And they returned and said to him, this is such a little town. I mean, compared to Jericho, it's nothing, but it's just like, you know, it's like, this is nothing. I mean, we just, it let two or 3000 people go up there and attack Ai for the people.

There are few. So 3000 men went up, but they fled before the men of Ai. And then the hearts of the people melted and became his water. And so the people are distraught.

They're like, what happened? Why is the power of God left us? So Joshua gets on his face before God and God reveals to him what Achan had done and that they got to get out that sin before God's presence at his power will come back.

On them. Notice how God describes what Achan did. It's really important to understand everything that's going on in the story. Chapter seven, verse one says that Achan broke faith in God.

He broke his own control. He says, I don't trust God to give me enough. I don't trust God to provide for me. So when this one little area, I'm gonna take matters back into my hands and I'm going to, to hide these things in my tent. From these stories, I want us to focus on three postures that God had the people reassume as they went into this new arena in the promised land for you to succeed with God in any area of your life.

These three postures, you must reassume in every arena. What is it that you keep hidden in your tent because you feel like you can't trust God with it? Because Lordship is one of those words that's got to be total if it has any meaning at all. In order for Jesus to be Lord at all in your life, he's got to be Lord of all.

He doesn't come to be a part of your life. He comes to take the whole thing over. And the good news, Joshua, the good news, Joshua, is he's got plans far, beyond what you ever dreamed.

C.S. Lewis said that coming to Jesus, it was like living in this old rickety house. It's just totally falling apart. And so Jesus comes in and immediately Jesus goes to work on fixing up the house. And you're so excited about it because he's, you know, patching the roof and he's, he's taking the mold out of the walls and he's, you know, fixing the pipes. But then all of a sudden Jesus tears out a wall and you're like, why did you tear out that wall? But then you notice there's shiplap behind the wall and you're like, oh, that's cool. And then he rips up a carpet and you're like, oh, there was this like hardwood floor. And you're getting a little excited. But then he just totally knocks out an entire section of the house. Lewis said, you're like, what's happening? What is going on? Let me quote C.S.

Lewis. The explanation is that he's building quite a different house than the one you were expecting. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage, but he is building a palace and he intends to come and live in that palace himself. God had a better plan for Joshua, but it started with surrender. God's got a better plan.

A better plan for you. And it starts with total surrender on your part as well. So the first word is surrender.

Here's your second posture. Courage. Courage. Throughout the book of Joshua, the primary thing that derails obedience is fear.

That one theologian said this, you ought to write this down. In the book of Joshua, fear equals rebellion. Fear equals rebellion, which brings us to perhaps why God did things the way that he did them in the story.

Why? Why did God do it this way? In fact, put yourself, if you will, in the place of an Israelite warrior. You're ready to fight. But instead, God tells you not to fight. He tells you to march. But he never tells you why or even how long you're supposed to march.

It never says that Joshua relayed that information to them. And while you're marching, literally nothing is happening. It's not like the bricks slowly start to quake. No, on day six, it looked exactly like it did on day one. Not a single thing has happened.

Y'all, I don't know about you, but I feel like I need to see a little progress in what I'm doing in order for me to stay motivated. Are y'all like that? I mean, imagine these men going home at night to their wives. I'm sure that men and women were not that much different back then. So your wife asks you, how was your day?

And guys, you know what that means. This is not a straight recounting of the facts. This is lots of details. And then what you thought about what happened. And then how you thought about what you thought. And then how you thought about how you thought about what you thought.

That's what we're talking about. It's a 90 minute conversation that involves a lot of words, a lot of facial expressions, a lot of nodding, a lot of grunts. You've been there, right? So your wife says, how did it go? And you're like, we walked around. I think Joshua had us on a kind of a vision trip or something.

I don't know. So day two, you know, you come back home and she was like, so baby, how was the battle? You big warrior man, did you slay the bad guy for me? And you're like, nah, we kind of walked around again. We just sort of walked around.

You do this for six days. Can you imagine how, I mean, what do you say? What do you say? Meanwhile, the people on the wall are taunting you. You know that was happening.

They're throwing stuff at you and making fun of you because you're just walking around. Why did God do it that way? Because what God wanted to do in them was much more significant than what he wanted to do through them. God was preparing them for a promise they were about to receive.

You see, as they were walking around the walls, nothing may have been happening to those walls, but something important was happening to them. God wanted them less focused on the outcome and more focused on obedience because outcome is God's responsibility. Faithful obedience is ours. You see, God does not really need you or them or any of us to accomplish anything for him. Does he? No, he can speak the world into existence. He doesn't need your money. God does not need us for anything.

So what we do for God is not nearly as important as who we become in God. There she is, boys. There she is.

Look at what I did. Now his tapping had nothing to do with that pole splitting. It was heaven, you know, the lightning that split the pole. What you've got is you've got obedience that often feels like that woodpecker that's just tapping away. And then God sends the power. It's not like your tapping caused it, but your tapping was the faith expression day after day that God's going to do what God said he was going to do. So here's my question.

Where are you right now? Feel like you're in the place of that woodpecker? Maybe it's in your parenting. Maybe you just plugging away at a job. Maybe you just faithfully praying for or sharing Christ with somebody who doesn't seem to be listening. And you feel like it's not doing any good. Again, y'all, there are two things that I feel like I need from God whenever I obey.

I need the why and I need the when. I'm like, God, I will go through anything. I'll go through anything. I just got to see it working. And I got to know when it's over. That's the thing. God rarely gives us either the why or the when.

He rarely does. And the greatest danger is that you're going to quit. What if these people had stopped on day six? I wouldn't have made it to day six, I don't think. I'd have been like day three.

I'd be like, this ain't working. Every day, all I'm doing, my Fitbit thing's going off. Every day, I'm getting my 10,000 steps. That's the only thing that's happening.

That's it. There's no way I would have made it to day six. What if they had stopped at day six? What if you stop at day six?

What if you stop at day six and say it's not working? Courage is the ability to keep going, even when you can't see the results, because you know that God is faithful. Courage is the ability to keep going for a long time, even when you don't see any progress, because you know that God's going to do what he said he's going to do. In fact, write this down, endurance is what courage looks like over the long haul.

Endurance is just courage repeated day in and day out, because God's going to do what he says he's going to do. What God is faithful, what derails most of us in obedience, admitting your problem. Maybe it's in obeying God with your sexuality and you've got like, how is this going to work?

I don't even know how this is going to work. Maybe it's in obeying God with your finances and being obedient like he's told you with the first fruits of what he's given you or making the financial sacrifice. Maybe it's in having the hard conversation with somebody, maybe telling that person about Jesus or confronting them with hard truth and you're not sure how they're going to react. For some of you ladies, maybe it's quitting the job and staying home with your kids.

For some of you ladies, maybe it's to go back to work and you feel like everybody's going to judge you for doing that. I don't know, I'm not the Holy Spirit. I'm just telling you that you have to listen to him and you have to shut out the other voices and you have to act without fear. Maybe God's been telling you in this season to quit the job or start the business, but you're just so scared because this is the only security you've ever known and you've got so many questions. God has so much for you, but it starts with obedience. Maybe it's going on your first mission trip and there are a thousand reasons you can think of why you should not go.

But there's one reason you know why you should go and that is God told you to go. For some of you, maybe it's to actually go out, you guys and buy the ring and get down on one knee and ask the question. You've been dating her for seven years, Hoss, all right? You don't need to know anything else, right? She knows you're not doing it because you're scared. You know you're not doing it because you're scared. Right now you're sitting beside each other.

You both feel awkward because you both know I just called you out. You need to act in fear, get your backbone out of your mama's purse and do what you need to do. You know God wants you to do, right? Whatever it is, whatever it is, you need to act with faith. I promise you that when you do, when you say I'm going to do this, what's going to well up in you is fear.

It's going to be like you're going to get crushed. Do you know what is the most often repeated command in the Bible? Now based on the context, you should be able to figure this out. The most often repeated command in the Bible is fear not. 366 times. I always look at that as one for every single day of the year.

Including leap year. There's not a single day you will ever live that God does not look at you and say, fear not. Let me look at it from the other side. There's a very disconcerting line in the book of Revelation. At the very end of the book when God describes all the people that are going to go to hell, here's what he says.

Look at this. The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars. They're the ones who'll be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Now there's a lot of things in that list I would expect. Liars and vile and sexually immoral and idolaters.

People practice magic. People who think Harry Potter is for real and they try it. I get that. But you notice the very first one, the cowardly. But what leads off the list are those who not that hear they didn't know what they were supposed to do.

It's that they didn't have the courage to actually act on it. Fear equals rebellion. It is rebellion to delay doing what God has told you to do today. Number three, the faith to wait. The faith to wait. In Joshua, the people are ready to fight. In the book of Joshua, the question of faith is not, are you ready to fight? The book of Joshua is, are you ready to wait?

I hate waiting. I think it is the source of my troubled relationship with Time Warner Cable. Why do you need my phone number?

Again, do you not have caller ID software on the computers? Why am I re-entering my phone number to you again? It's why I hate flying to Atlanta. I don't know what it is about that city with their airport. And I'm like, why are we circling? Did you not know that we were coming?

Why is there a traffic jam? Just let us. I'm like, I can see the airport. Just give me a backpack and a parachute. I'll jump out right here. I know where I want to go. I hate it.

I hate it. Whenever God calls people to do something in the Bible, always, I can't think of an exception. Maybe you can come up with one, but always there's this time of circling and it drives you crazy. Moses gets called to deliver Israel 40 years in the desert. 40 years exists between the call and when he did. Paul, the apostle, remember this when we went through the book of Acts? Between the time that the apostle was Paul was called on the Damascus road to the time he was actually commissioned in a ministry, 17 years, 17 years exists between the call in Acts nine and when he's commissioned in Acts 13. That's a lot of circling.

That's a lot of re-entering your phone number. King David. King David gets anointed to be the next king of Israel. What happens? You run off to the palace and try on robes and start ordering people around?

No. He goes back to the pasture where he shovels sheep dung for seven years. That is so standard in the Bible.

I would say it is par for the course. That when God is going to call you, what he's going to do first is he is going to begin to prepare you. He's going to have you circling because he doesn't really need you to do that much for him because he's God.

What he wants to do is something in you and that is to teach you to trust and obey. So where are you circling this weekend? Where are you circling? Don't give up.

You might be on lap six. This is the hardest faith of all y'all. It's the hardest faith of all.

It's the faith to wait. The time of circling. The time where you can't see what God is doing. It's that circling pattern, for example, of sickness or poor health. That circling pattern of singleness. That circling pattern of the loss of a job. Maybe you got passed over for a promotion.

Maybe the mission board turned down your application. The circling pattern of infertility. The circling pattern of being a student or an intern when you want to be doing something significant. The circling pattern of praying for a loved one to come to faith. God says don't give up because I'll fight for you, but I want you to obey. Well, Joshua leads him through this and many other conquests in the book of Joshua. And then he ends the book this way. We'll go all the way to the last chapter, chapter 24.

Let me show you this real quick. Chapter 24, Joshua gathers all the tribes of Israel to shechem, summons all the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel. And they present themselves before God. And Joshua gives his farewell sermon and reminding them of everything that God had said and all the things that God had done for them.

And then Joshua closes his farewell sermon like this. Now therefore, fear the Lord the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away those gods that your father served beyond the river and in Egypt.

My question there is why do they still have them? And serve the Lord. If it's evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, then choose this day whom you will serve.

Make up your mind. Is it the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now dwell? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Then the people answered, far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods. Joshua said to the people, you are not able to serve the Lord.

Talk about a dud indeed. I mean imagine that at the end of a political rally. Or you know like in ESPN, they take you into the coach's locker room at halftime. So you got your Roy Williams in there with a team. He's like, guys, we got 20 minutes.

We got 20 minutes in front of us. They're bigger. They're stronger. They're faster. They're better shooters. Which is why we're gonna lose because you guys ain't got it.

They're just better than you are. So we might as well hang it up. Go on out there and endure it. It'll be over soon.

All right, what kind of speech is that? That is exactly the way Joshua ends this book. Joshua, listen like Moses, has been unable to lead the people to be courageous.

This book of the Bible ends like every single book of the Old Testament. Another Joshua. Another Joshua's gonna have to come. This Joshua is gonna give you the courage to actually obey all the way because this Joshua is gonna show you in even clearer ways that he was fighting for you. Because the real city that stood in our way was not Jericho. It was the city of our sin and the curse of death that was upon us.

And Jesus, by the way, which is just the Greek version of the name Joshua, Yeshua, Jesus. Jesus, when he shows up, he says, you can't lift a finger to take the city down. I gotta do it for you.

There's nothing you can do. I'll do it for you. And so we went to the cross and the Bible tells us that when he dies, he shouted with a loud voice. He lifted up his voice and he shouted. And when he did so, he knocked down not walls of brick and mortar, but he knocked down the wall of eternal separation from God. The sword of the cross. The sword of our judgment that he carried in his hands, he turned on himself and placed in his own heart. And then he said to us, just watch, just watch and believe and shout in worship.

You see, that's what it means to be a Christian. Is you just shout, I believe. I believe that you did what you said you did when you knocked down these walls. I believe Jesus, when you died, you knocked out this wall of separation. And when you shout, I believe the walls of separation between you and God fall down immediately. And then for the rest of your life, you just keep shouting, I believe.

Listen, listen. You keep shouting, I believe that if you won that battle for me, then you will also give me the power to live the Christian life. You'll give me the power to be a good husband or to be a good dad or a good mom. You'll give me the power to accomplish your will in my career, to be a faithful witness, to overcome temptation, to face cancer victoriously, to endure this season with patience and joy and victory. Cause if you knock down the biggest city of all my condemnation, then surely you will take care of these lesser cities like cancer.

I'm sure that you'll do it because if you did the bigger, you'll do the lesser. The Christian life is not you for Jesus. It is Jesus for you.

And then Jesus in you and through you. We obtained victory in life, not by superior battle techniques, but by constantly declaring our belief that he overcame the greatest battle of all for us and that he will continue to do so through us as we let him fight for us. All it takes for you to succeed in this season of your life, in any arena of your life is for you to surrender, for you to have the courage to obey and not give up and for you to have the patience to wait on God. That's what it takes.

And that's the secret to true success. A counter-cultural message, but much needed truth from God's word. You're listening to pastor J.D.

Greer on Summit Life. Today's message was titled The God Who Fights for Us. And if you'd like to listen again, you can find the full program online at jdgreer.com. Well, we're in the middle of a teaching series called The Whole Story. And we hope this series has been helping you see these Old Testament books in a whole new way. The Bible is such an incredible book, and we hope that you're getting a new taste of all that God has to offer us through its pages. This month, Pastor J.D. released his newest book on the topic of prayer.

So we're thankful to offer it to our faithful supporters. I was recently able to sit down with him and ask why he named this book Just Ask. And this is what he had to say. You know, I really wanted to capture the simplicity of prayer, Molly, because a lot of people really have a complicated relationship with prayer because like they have all these questions about, is it changing God's mind? And what about the sovereignty of God? And am I saying the right thing and using the right phrases when the driving analogy that you find throughout Jesus's teaching in the gospels is that we come to God like children to a parent, a loving parent and a loving parent. You know, my kids, when they come to me, they don't think about anything. They just ask. They ask whatever is in their heart. And while we want to grow in our maturity as we pray, we also want to have that childlike dependence, that rush toward our Heavenly Father. That's the heartbeat of true prayer.

And I was hoping to communicate that to this book. When you donate to Summit Life, you're helping us stay on your radio station and online so that more people can dive deeper into the message of the gospel every single day. I'd like to personally ask you to consider giving a gift to support this ministry today, and we'll send you a copy of Just Ask as a thank you.

The suggested giving level is $25 or more. Call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.

Or you can give and request the book online at JDGrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch, and I am so glad to have you with us. Be sure to listen again Tuesday when Pastor JD Greer walks us through the story of a woman who lost everything, her home, her family, her financial security. But she found hope to carry her through, even in the darkest season. Do you need a dose of hope? Listen Tuesday to Summit Life with JD Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-17 22:27:26 / 2023-08-17 22:37:57 / 11

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