MOVING FORWARD - GUEST SPEAKER ADRIAN AGRIPPA
You can listen to the sermon by clicking here or you can read the notes below.
Scripture references: Joshua 5: 1,13-15; and Joshua 6:1-27.
Facts about Jericho: Jericho is the first city in the series of Israel’s conquests to claim the land that God had promised to them. Its inhabitants were predominantly a group of people known as the Amorites. Jericho was built at a crossroads North of the Dead sea. Because of its location, it experienced heavy traffic of East to West travelers. As a result, Jericho increased in size and importance but it also increased in potential dangers. Jericho became subject to many threats made by invaders and robbers within the surrounding area. In response , they built a wall system around the city. The city itself stood on a hill and the walls were built on a slope which made the city near impregnable. Giving it, what was known at the time, as the ultimate defense.
So how did Joshua prepare to lay siege to Jericho?
He sent spies to scout the land
He set up an offensive point at Gilgal
He prepared his heart and mind for battle (Circumcision and Passover)
He gathered Provision
He planned for victory
Looking at Joshua's victory in Jericho, what lessons can we learn to help us achieve God's best for our lives?
1. Recognize God
God gave the Israelites a new testimony. One that was their own. The sign and reminder of God’s power was now an experience that was personal to them. This reaffirmed the ever-fearing and doubting Israelites and reminded the people of Canaan exactly who the Israelites served.
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.” Joshua 5:13-14a. Because His sword was drawn, it showed a posture that indicated that God was set to give Israel victory in Jericho.
Jesus has already won the battle against sin, death and the world, and has hand-delivered it to us. All we have to do is recognize and accept Him.
Isaiah 43 says "When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." So if you are told by doctors that this is your incurable diagnosis, and you only have so long left to live; if you are facing a hardship in your marriage and everyone is telling you to walk away; when you don’t know what the future looks like, when you’re staring at your budget and there isn’t enough, Jesus says RECOGNIZE ME. I am in this with you. Not only have I seen your future, but I have written it. My sword is drawn and I have already fought this fight. The victory is yours! Over your health, over your marriage, over your finances, over your future. So recognize Him.
2. Follow God's Instructions
The Israelites were ordered by God to march around the city of Jericho for seven days. It must have seemed like a strange request and like an inefficient battle plan. But this exercise served two purposes: It put the faith of the Israelites into action; and it waged psychological warfare against the Amorites.
In Joshua 6:16, Joshua says “shout for the Lord has given you the city.” This was preemptive, for they had not yet taken the city. In fact the walls were still standing. But the Israelites praised God in advance because they recognized God, and followed his instructions, holding on with the expectation that He would do what He said He would do. And He did. It was only after the trumpets sounded and the people of Israel let out their cry that the walls come down.
As we await our promised future, even if that means sitting in a time of uncertainty, let this be our posture, that we may Praise Jesus even when we can’t see the end result - and hold on to the assurance that He will do what He said He will do.
We should praise the Lord even when we are uncertain about what tomorrow holds - because we know who holds it.
3. Cut Out Our Sin and Curse Our Sinful Past
Joshua 6:24,26 - Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: “Cursed before the Lord is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: “At the cost of his firstborn son he will lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest he will set up its gates.”
Not going to war with the people of Jericho would have meant living alongside the Amorites' idol worship. This would have been worse than going to war because complacency, comfortability and compromise would have set in, allowing for sinful living to eventually overtake the Israelites.
Have we cut out our sin and and cursed our past in repentance? Or do we have vices that we keep falling for/running back to?
The siege of Jericho would have taken months using any other means - but with God, it took only one week. God makes a way where there seems to be no way. So if you’re facing an impossible situation or staring into a future that seems to be filled with uncertainty, fear, and doubt, you can take heart knowing that since you belong to Jesus, the future will always end in your favour. God has gone running before you, sword drawn victory in hand. So recognize Him. Follow His instructions, and cut out your sin and curse your sinful past, because your future is waiting.