Andrew Fountain - Be Strong and Very Courageous


Sermon notes - Be Strong and Very Courageous

Introduction: The Story

  • All descended from a man called Israel
    • He had 12 sons who became 12 tribes
  • Slaves in Egypt for 400 years
    • Numbers of Israelites grew until the Egyptians saw them as a threat
    • Decided to kill all the baby boys to keep the numbers down
    • Moses escaped being killed—God had his hand on him
  • Eventually Moses let the nation to escape from slavery
    • They set off on a journey to a land that God had promised them
    • To get there they had to travel across the wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula
  • Finally they reached the borders of the promised land
    • They became very scared to go into the land, even though God had promised to be with them
    • They rebelled against God and refused to go in
    • God was angry that they refused to trust him, and they spent another 40 years in the wilderness
  • Once again it was time to enter the promised land
    • At that point, Moses died and Joshua was appointed to take over
    • Can you imagine being Joshua? —what problems did he face?

The Christian Warfare—God’s Solutions

  1. Joshua’s problems (and ours)
  2. & 3. God’s Solutions (and how they apply to us)

Joshua’s Problems

  1. Enemies
    • The land was indeed very beautiful and fertile bunch of grapes…
    • But the people who lived there were very hostile later banded together and attacked them
    • Joshua didn’t have an army, but an un-armed rabble of ex-slaves
  2. His own people
    • A history of constant rebellion against their leaders and God
  • How does this related to us?
  • In the book of Hebrews, chapters 3&4, we are taught that the story of the Israelite’s journey mirrors our own story.
    • They started as slaves in Egypt
      • We start being enslaved to our old self-centered sins
    • They were freed by a dramatic act: going down into the middle of the Red Sea and coming up the other side into freedom
      • Paul tells us that we have made the same journey, dying to the slavery of the old and receiving new life in the new
    • But the book of Hebrews tells us that the goal was rest and they were not there yet.
      • They had to enter into the rest by enduring the challenges of the wilderness
      • So we are enduring challenges right now but will enter eternal rest with God in heaven
    • But Hebrews tells us there is a slight difference—we get some of it now
      • We are not just experiencing the wilderness now, but also entering the land
      • Hebrews calls is a rest and says that right now we should be focussed on entering the promised rest
        • Heb 4:11 “Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest”
  • The second parallel is warfare
    • God promised them the land, but they still had to fight for it.
    • God has given us many amazing promises for good things now, but we can’t just sit back and wait for them
      • There is a warfare
      • But just as with the Israelites, we fight in God’s strength

2 Corinthians 10

  1. For though we live as human beings, we do not wage war according to human standards,
  2. for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down arguments
  3. and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.
  • Of course the warfare is not just inside, but external as well as we spread the Gospel and people come from darkness to light
  • But there were two sides to Joshua’s probem:
    • the warfare outside
    • the problems with his own people and their weakness
  • We have the same issues with weakness and doubting God
    • We complain and fail to trust God, just like they did
  • So if we can find the solution to Joshua’s problems, it will probably be useful for us!

Having looked at the Problems, we come to God’S Solution

Joshua 1:1–9

  1. After Moses the Lord‘s servant died, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant:
  2. “Moses my servant is dead. Get ready! Cross the Jordan River! Lead these people into the land which I am ready to hand over to them.
  3. I am handing over to you every place you set foot, as I promised Moses.
  4. Your territory will extend from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north. It will extend all the way to the great River Euphrates in the east (including all of Syria) and all the way to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.
  5. No one will be able to resist you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.
  6. Be strong and courageous! You must lead these people in the conquest of this land that I solemnly promised their ancestors I would hand over to them.
  7. Only be strong and very courageous! Carefully obey all the law my servant Moses charged you to keep! Do not swerve from it to the right or to the left, so that you may be successful in all you do.
  8. This Book of the Law must not leave your lips! You must meditate on it day and night so you can carefully obey all that is written in it. Then you will prosper and be successful.
  9. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

based on NET Bible

  • 1st part of God’s solution:
    • Total devotion to the Scriptures
  • Of course, Joshua did not have the whole of the Bible...
    • (but 1st 5 books contain much: God’s nature, creation, Man’s rebellion
      and God’s grace, justice, holiness & love.
  • Now, if we look at this PASSAGE in JOSHUA
    wonderful promises… conditions
  • [v7] like a road. He was not to deviate in the slightest bit.
  • but on the contrary
    • [v8] EVERYTHING he found in the Scriptures he must do.
    • in [ch.11:15] we see how faithful he in fact was.
  • You’ll also notice in v8 that
    • [v8 1st part] He was to tell others.
      • Example of this in [23:8–11] as he speaks to the Israelites.
    • also
      • [v8 2nd part] told to Meditate
      • as Ps 1. Not “emptying your mind” but “muttering” ponder, think about, turn over.
  • WHAT ABOUT US? What does this mean for us?

Total devotion to the Scriptures

  • Read the Bible regularly.
  • Meditate on it
  • Be obedient to it.
  • Amazing promises
  • Read the Bible regularly. (Job said God’s Word was more important than food)
  • Meditate on it..
    • no good reading a GREAT CHUNK if we don’t ponder
  • A writer has said concerning Joshua:
    “His finest quality was his utter devotion to the law of God.
    • He saturated his mind and heart with the Word of the Lord”
    • Are we like this?
  • Be obedient to it.
    • But isn’t it about loving God, not just a bunch of rules?
    • Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commandments”
      • “I am the way”
  • To illustrate this: Suppose you heard of a married couple (said to be deeply in love)
    • husband - insisted on LOUD GREEN CHECK PANTS ... hated
    • wife - regularly ate garlic... loathed
  • and what are the promises that go with these condidtions?
    • Amazing Promises

Joshua 1:1–9

  • v3,4 more than we can ask or think (geography)
  • Success and prosperity
    • v5
    • end of v7 “that you may prosper wherever you go”
    • end of v8 “For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success”
    • v9 “do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”
  • what wonderful promises. Is it worth devoting ourselves... ?
    Is he a hard taskmaster.... ?
  • and so the 1st part of God’s solution to Joshua’s problems and ours is:
    • Total devotion to the Scriptures

God’s solution

  1. Total devotion to the Scriptures
  2. Strength and Courage coming from a trust in himself
    • v6 says “Be strong and of good courage”
    • v7 says “Only be strong and very courageous”
    • v9 says “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed”
  • It is very EASY for us to tell someone to be strong and have courage.
    “It’s ok Joshua, don’t worry about all those armies, be strong, have courage!!”
  • Similarly people can say to us:
    “You’re a Christian, cheer up, everthing will be alright, all things are working out for your good.”
    • can be glib
  • But this was not EMPTY ENCOURAGEMENT
    • It was backed up with some tremendous statements from GOD :-
  • v5 “No man will be able to stand before you”
  • also v5 “I will not leave you nor forake you”
    • but someone might object – these promises were for Joshua, not for us. But Heb 13:5!
    • v5 “As I was WITH Moses, so I will be WITH you”
      (Red sea, water from rock, Mana...
      God says to you “as with Paul, Peter, John...)
  • v9 “Have not I commanded you?”
    • It is GOD who has said this, not anybody.
      supposing you were in a dangerous part of a big city, late at night.
      and a little boy offered to walk home with you
      but suppose a police cruiser happened to stop and offer
      this is the Infinite Creator of the universe
  • But we must Believe it
    No good saying, “O yes I know that these things are true, but so what”
  • To live a successful Christian life, we must BE AWARE, REALLY KNOW
    It is HE who tells us to have courage.
    (we might not necessarily feel his presence all the time. But real faith doesnot need the feelings.)
  • So, to sum up,
    • Joshua’s problems are similar to our problems
    • God’s solutions are:
      1. Total devotion to the Scriptures
      2. Strength and Courage Coming from a Trust in Himself
  • I’ll close by readling v7–9

Joshua 1:1–9

  • Let’s repeat together this last verse:

Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be frightened,
and do not be dismayed,
for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

Updated on 2015-08-02 by Andrew Fountain