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Joshua 1-2

Taught on | Keywords: trust, promise, covenant, victory, baptism, Christian living, Holy Spirit, commission, Promised Land, faith, meditate, resurrection, salvage, restoration

After forty years of wandering in the desert, the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land. As we begin our study in the book of Joshua, we learn that though the Israelites had failed to trust in God's promises in the past, they were now ready to step out in faith and claim their covenant.

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Joshua 1-2
Joshua 1-2
Skip Heitzig
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After forty years of wandering in the desert, the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land. As we begin our study in the book of Joshua, we learn that though the Israelites had failed to trust in God's promises in the past, they were now ready to step out in faith and claim their covenant.
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06 Joshua - 2017

06 Joshua - 2017

After forty years of wandering in the desert, the Israelites were ready to enter the Promised Land. The book of Joshua details the conflict, victory, and blessings they experienced as they conquered and divided their new homeland. In this verse-by-verse study, Skip Heitzig reveals the power of God and the victory that can be achieved by following His commands. We are challenged to "be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you" (Joshua 1:9).

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. The children of Israel neglected the basic exercise of trusting in God's promises
      1. God promised them a land they would occupy—a gift to them
      2. He expected them to hold onto that promise and apply it
      3. Instead of living in confidence, they lived in fear and did not go into the land (see Numbers 13:17-14:45)
        1. Because of this, they turned an eleven-day march into a forty-year meander
        2. They went from being worshipers to being wanderers
    2. That entire generation died, and the new generation was ready to enter the land
      1. Moses led the people to the plains of Moab, then he died
      2. Joshua took over for Moses
    3. The longest funeral march
      1. About 1.2 million people died during those years
      2. About eighty-five people per day
      3. Constant reminder that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23)
    4. One of the great things about God is His stubborn love
      1. Moses told the new generation that God brought them out to bring them in (see Deuteronomy 6:23)
      2. God is committed to keeping His covenants
      3. If you are struggling, remember God always finishes what He starts (see Hebrews 12:2)
    5. This is a historical book
      1. History of how the twelve tribes of Israel had grown, wandered, and would occupy the land
      2. Two big themes: the people and the land
      3. Chapters 1-5: entering the land
      4. Chapters 6-12: conquering the land
      5. Chapters 13-24: distributing the land
    6. This is a practical book
      1. The Old Testament was the Bible that Jesus, Paul, and the apostles read from
      2. It is even practical for us
      3. The New Testament tells us about the Old Testament (see Romans 15:4)
      4. Joshua is one of the most relevant books about victorious Christian living
    7. This is a typical book
      1. The land of Canaan is a type of something
        1. Some people believe it is a type of heaven, with the crossing of the Jordan representing death
          1. If so, we will be very disappointed in heaven
          2. There is a lot of trouble, fighting, and judgment in the book of Joshua
            1. Heaven will be far better than this
            2. Philippians 1:23
        2. It represents the Christian life now in the Spirit
          1. Life of the Spirit followed by a second baptism
          2. The Israelites were symbolically baptized as they crossed the Red Sea on dry ground (see 1 Corinthians 10:2)
          3. Moses could not take them all the way to the Promised Land; only Joshua (Jesus) could (see Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16)
      2. Jesus and Joshua are the same name
        1. The name Joshua is the Hebrew name Yeshua
        2. That was Jesus' name growing up
        3. Joshua's name was originally Hoshea, meaning salvation
          1. Moses renamed him Yehoshua, meaning the Lord is salvation
          2. Moses saw the powerful working of God on his life
        4. Jesus is Iésous in Greek
        5. John 1:17
        6. He brings us into the fullness of the Spirit, the baptism of the Holy Spirit
      3. Jesus commissioned His disciples to preach the gospel to the world (see Mark 16:15)
        1. He told them to wait until they were filled with the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:4-5)
        2. They were filled with power on the day of Pentecost (see Acts 2)
        3. How else do you explain Peter going from denying Jesus to preaching to thousands? (see Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:25-27)
  2. Joshua 1:1-9
    1. God's workmen die, but God's work never dies
      1. The work of God is done by the Word of God in the lives of the people of God
      2. They mourned after Moses' death
      3. When God buries His workers, He raises up new ones
    2. Joshua was Moses' assistant
      1. He was like a valet serving Moses
        1. Led the army of Israel (see Exodus 17:9-10, 13)
        2. Stood guard outside the special tent where Moses met with the Lord
      2. Prepared him for the greater role of serving the people
    3. God promised Israel a vast amount of land
      1. 300,000 square miles
      2. At their peak under King David and King Solomon, they only took 30,000
      3. God promised them a huge allotment, but they only took one-tenth
      4. You have to possess your possession (see Ephesians 1:3)
      5. This is exactly what Joshua and Caleb told the first generation of Israelites who refused to enter the land (see Numbers 13:30; 14:6-9)
    4. God gave them the land as a process (see Exodus 23:29-31)
      1. It didn't happen overnight; it happened little by little
      2. Give yourself time to live the victorious Christian life
      3. In the Christian life, there are no shortcuts; just keep walking in the Spirit
    5. The weight of filling Moses' shoes must have been overwhelming to Joshua
      1. God assured him He would be there
      2. God makes people great leaders and great servants
      3. The main character in the book of Joshua is not Joshua—it is Joshua's God
    6. The balance of living by faith
      1. Marriage between divine operation and human cooperation (see Philippians 2:12-13)
      2. Add to your faith by cooperating with God (see 2 Peter 1:3-8)
      3. God cares for the birds, and they aren't worried, but they also work hard and are diligent (see Matthew 6:26)
    7. Meditate on the Bible day and night
      1. You get good success by doing this
      2. Meditate literally refers to the low moaning of an animal chewing its cud; it's sometimes translated mutter
      3. The Word is something to be communicated to others and yourself (see 2 Timothy 4:2)
  3. Joshua 1:10-18
    1. Words of faith
      1. Joshua told them they were going to cross over
      2. No room for doubt
    2. They would cross over in three days
      1. They would have a whole new life
      2. Beautiful picture of the resurrection
        1. Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected in three days
        2. Similar to Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac (see Genesis 22:1-14)
          1. In Abraham's mind, his son was already dead
          2. On the third day, his son was delivered
    3. The Reubenites, Gadites, and half of the tribe of Manasseh were required to help the rest of the nation take the land
      1. They had asked Moses to give them the land on the east side of the Jordan
      2. The deal was that they had to send their men to help the rest of their brethren take and settle the land
      3. It's always a problem when someone wants to go just to the edge of God's promises
        1. "Good enough"
        2. The most vulnerable tribes were the ones on the east
        3. They were the first to go into captivity
  4. Joshua 2
    1. Joshua sent two men to spy out the land of Jericho
      1. He had been a spy, too
        1. He had been one of twelve
        2. Of the twelve, only two gave a good report
      2. He knew he only needed two men of faith
    2. They came to the house of Rahab
      1. Rahab was a harlot
      2. She shows up in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (see Matthew 1:5)
        1. One of three women mentioned in His genealogy
        2. Ruth the Moabite
        3. Bathsheba (see Matthew 1:6)
      3. She shows up in the hall of faith (see Hebrews 11:31)
      4. Rahab believed in her heart and confessed with her mouth that Yahweh (the God of Israel) was the one true God
      5. This means she was saved (see Romans 10:9)
    3. Rahab said that terror filled the hearts of the people in her city because of the Israelites and what God had done for them
      1. In Numbers 13, the Israelites' hearts had been filled with terror because of the Canaanites (see vv. 31-33)
      2. God said the Canaanites would be terrified of the Israelites, and they were
      3. They did not take God into account
        1. If you serve a big God, any obstacle is small
        2. If you have a small God, your obstacles are huge
        3. Difficulty must always be measured by the capacity of the agent doing the work
  5. Closing
    1. God is into salvaging people
      1. All it took for Rahab was faith
      2. 1 Timothy 1:12-13
    2. We become valuable and useful to God if we allow Him to restore us
Figures referenced: Alan Redpath, St. Francis

Works referenced: Victorious Christian Living, USA Today

Greek/Hebrew words: Hoshea, Iésous, Yahweh, Yehoshua

Cross references: Genesis 22:1-14; Exodus 17:9-10, 13; 23:29-31; Numbers 13:17-14:45; Deuteronomy 6:23; Matthew 1:5-6; 3:11; 6:26; 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; 16:15; Luke 3:16; 22:54-62; John 1:17; 18:25-27; Acts 1:4-5; 2; Romans 6:23; 10:9; 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:2; Ephesians 1:3; Philippians 1:23; 2:12-13; 1 Timothy 1:12-13; 2 Timothy 4:2; Hebrews 11:31; 12:2; 2 Peter 1:3-8

Topic: Faith


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Welcome to Expound, our verse by verse study of God's word. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God by explaining the word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.

So, this morning I read an article that was sent to me from USA Today. And it caught my attention because the title of the article was what would happen if you didn't brush your teeth for one year. I thought, that's a weird article. First of all, who writes things like this? But I read the article, and what would happen if you didn't brush your teeth for a year. And the long and short of it is nothing good would happen.

You'll lose all your friends, you'll probably lose your teeth, you'll get gum disease. But more than that, by neglecting the simple task of brushing your teeth daily it would whack your immune system to the point where it could cause respiratory disease, and even accentuate heart disease. So if some of you are wondering why you've been feeling bad lately. No, I'm just kidding. I'm sure you all brush your teeth. But just neglecting a simple thing like that could create havoc.

The children of Israel neglected the most basic exercise of trusting in God's promises. God promised them a land. And the book of Joshua is all about a land and a people. God promised them a land that they would occupy, it would be a gift to them. They had to go in and walk through it and take it, but it was a promise. And he expected to those people, his people, to hold on to that promise, and to apply it, to live in it.

But because they did not, when Joshua and Caleb came back from spying out the land-- when they came back and gave the report, the people were shuddering, they were shaking in their boots, they were afraid. They were living not in confidence, but in fear. And they managed, by that simple neglect, to turn what should have been an 11 day march-- that's what the Bible tells us. It takes 11 days to go from Egypt to the border of that promised land.

They turned an 11 day March into a 40 year meander. They went from worshippers to wanderers all because they didn't just keep the basic tenant of believe it when God says it. Apply it to my life, lay hold of it. But that generation is dead, and a new generation, a younger generation, has arisen. And now Moses, who led them to the brink, to the border, to the Jordan River-- and if you remember, even though John was a lengthy study, you may remember that in the Book of Deuteronomy, which precedes this book, Moses has led the people to the Plains of Moab.

And on the Plains of Moab, looking across the Jordan River, you could see Jericho in the distance and the mountains beyond it. You can see, to this day, Jerusalem in the distance. He led them there, but then he went up on Mount Nebo and he died, and Joshua will take over for Moses in this book. And we're going to read about his leadership at this point.

But during those years of wandering-- I call it the longest funeral march in history because if you think of an entire generation dying, and you think of the millions they came out of Egypt, by the best reckoning of scholars it was about 1.2 million people who died during those years. 1.2 million dying would average about 85 people a day kicking the bucket.

So every waking hour of the day, as people were dying off over that period of time, there was that constant reminder of the truth that the wages of sin is death because death was all around them. However, even though people died, even though that whole generation except for two of them died-- and you'll see both of those two highlighted in this book-- one of the great things about God is his stubborn love.

Moses told them, in Deuteronomy chapter six, told that new generation-- now they're going over across into the promised land under Joshua, but Moses told them God brought you out from there that he might bring you in. I love that verse. When God brings you out, he brings you out to bring you in. He didn't bring you out to leave you out, he brings you out to take you somewhere. It's a transition. So the Lord brought you out from there that he might bring you in.

And I love God's love, I love his stubborn love, he's committed. When he makes a covenant-- and he made a covenant-- that they would occupy the land, He brings them in. Just know this, if you are struggling, if you are wandering, if you are wondering, if you feel like you're just holding on by a breath, God always finishes what He starts. He brought you out, He's taking you somewhere. He's not done with you yet. He is the author and the finisher of our fate.

As we get into the book of Joshua, a few preliminaries. Number one, this book is a historical book. It's a book of the history of the people, the 12 tribes of Jacob, AKA Israel, and how they have grown, how they have wandered, and how they will occupy the land. So the two big themes of this book are the people and the land, and most specifically that those people what occupied this land of Israel. God made a covenant with them.

If you go to Israel today, you will see God's promise right before your eyes. The ancestors of these very same people occupying the very same land that God gave them. God always finishes what He starts. It's a historical book, and you will see the history of the occupation. Chapters one through five, entering the land. Chapters six through 12, conquering the land. Chapters 13 through 24, distributing the land. That sums up the whole book of Joshua.

They enter it, they conquer the enemies that are within it, they distribute it to the 12 tribes of Israel. It continues the narrative from Deuteronomy. So, it's a historical book. The second thing to note, it's a practical book. Even though we are reading the Old Testament, even though these things happened thousands of years ago, it was the Bible from which the Lord Jesus, the apostle Paul, and all the disciples read from.

When they quoted the Bible, they quoted the Old Testament. This was their Bible, and it's practical even for us. I'm always leery of churches, of church leadership, that thinks, well, you know, we're in the new covenant. We never read the old covenant, the Old Testament. Listen, I'm interested to find out what book Jesus, the apostles, and early church leadership quoted from, read from, lived by.

Not only that, but we are told plainly in the New Testament about the Old Testament and the stories in the Old Testament. In the book of Romans chapter 15, Paul writes this. For whatever things were written before-- speaking of the Old Testament, including the book of Joshua. Whatever things were written before were written for our learning that we, through the patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.

What's scriptures was he referring to? He wasn't referring to the Gospel of Matthew, or Mark, or Luke, or John. They weren't codified yet. They weren't being circulated at that point. He was referring to the Old Testament scriptures, the very ones we are reading. So don't think it's antiquated, it's outdated. It's relevant, and let me just say this. One of the most relevant books you will ever find four victorious Christian living is the book of Joshua.

In fact, there's a great book out called Victorious Christian Living by Alan Redpath, and it is a commentary on the book of Joshua. Powerful book. It's also not only a historical book, not only a practical book, it's also a typical book. Typical. What do I mean by typical? That it's a type of something. The land of Canaan that they occupy is a type of something. It typifies something for us, and that's where the practical value comes.

The question is, what is it a type of? What is the land of Canaan-- where they cross over the Jordan and occupy-- what is it a type of? Well, some people will say it's a type of heaven. That when you cross over the Jordan River, that's a type of death and you enter into the promised land. It's a type of heaven.

And I bring it up because if you study hymnology, if you study the songs of our predecessors, you will find much of the theology of the land of Canaan in their hymns and how they were relegated to crossing the Jordan and entering into this new land as dying and going to heaven. One of the most famous ones is (SINGING) swing low sweet chariot.

(SPEAKING) I won't annoy you with singing anymore than that, but the lyrics-- listen to the lyrics. When I look over Jordan coming for to carry me home, I see a band of angels coming after me, coming for to carry me home. So there is a hymn, an old spiritual, that talks about this and sees Canaan as going to heaven.

Well, if Canaan represents dying and going to heaven, you're going to be very disappointed in heaven because as you read through the book of Joshua, there's a lot of fighting going on. There's a lot of failure going on, there's a lot of conquering and trouble going on, judgment going on before they occupy the land. I don't picture heaven like that. Do you? Unless you like to fight a lot. Maybe that's your idea of heaven, but it's not my idea.

In the Book of Phillipians, Paul said I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. I'm looking for something far better than putting up a fight with somebody. I get enough of that here. So what does it represent? Not heaven. It represents your life now, the Christian life now. It represents life in the spirit under the control of the spirit as opposed to the control of the flesh right now.

That's why I say it's a great and relevant book to study for victorious Christian living. And you may even go as far as to say it's the life of the spirit followed by a second baptism. You know, the Bible says that when Moses brought them through the Red Sea they were baptized by going through the Red Sea. That's the language the New Testament uses.

They were baptized by going through the Red Sea. Even though they didn't get wet, they went through the opening where the Red Sea was, and the New Testament calls that a baptism. Joshua will take them to a second baptism where they'll cross over the Jordan River into this promised land. And John the Baptist said I baptize you with water, but there is somebody who is coming who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Now Moses couldn't bring them all the way into the land, only Jesus could, only Joshua could. Moses took them to the edge of it, and you said wait a minute. You just messed up, Skip. You said Jesus. No I didn't mess up because did you know Jesus is the name of Joshua in the New Testament? It's the same name. So, don't you find it interesting that there's a book in the Bible named after your savior? And so it's of special interest.

The name Joshua is the anglicized version of Yeshua. That's the Hebrew word, Yeshua. And that was Jesus' name growing up. He was Yeshua of Nazareth. Now Joshua's name, Yeshua, originally was Hoshea. That's what his mom and dad called him, Hoshea, which means deliverer, or one who delivers, or deliverance. That was his name, deliverance. Moses renamed him, the Bible tells us, and called him Yahshua.

Joshua is the shortened form of Yahshua, which means not deliver but God is the deliverer. God saves. Not just savior, but our God saves. And that's because he saw the evidence of God's powerful working in Joshua's life. So we have a name, the book of Joshua, named after our savior, Jesus. Jesus, Yesus is the Greek form of Yeshua, and Jesus is the anglicized version of the Greek Yesus. So, it's the same name.

And what an incredible type that is. For the law came by Moses, John tells us, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. And just as Moses brought them to the edge of the land, it was Joshua who brought them in. It is Jesus, our Joshua, our Yeshua, who brings us into the fullness of the spirit. And there's a case to be made here for the baptism of the Holy Spirit to empower you in a way you could never be powered before.

You know, Jesus told his disciples go in to all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. You know that, that's the great commission. But you know what Jesus told them besides that? He said don't go yet. He said wait in Jerusalem until you are filled with power from on high. So even though they had a commission to go into all the world, they were told to stay put until they were filled with power.

And they were filled with power on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came in empowered them to live a life that they couldn't live any other way. How else do you explain Peter, who denied Jesus three times? We just read that in the last few weeks.

How do you explain Peter, who denied Jesus in front of a woman who wasn't even a powerful woman-- she just was like a gatekeeper. Oh, I don't know him. I don't know him-- to standing in front of thousands of people in Jerusalem preaching the gospel? The only explanation is he was filled with the Spirit, he wasn't filled with Peter as much as he was filled with God's power. So there's a lot to be said about that in the book of Joshua.

With that, we go to verse one of Joshua one. After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua, the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, saying Moses, my servant, is dead. Now, therefore, arise. Go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving them, the children of Israel. Moses, my servant, is dead. Now, therefore, move. God's workmen die, but God's work never dies.

God buries his workmen, but his work goes on because the work of God is done by the word of God in the lives of the people of God. So Moses is dead, you've mourned enough, and the traditional time of mourning was 30 days in Judaism. He's dead, you've mourned him, now it's time to get moving. Get everybody ready, you're going to cross over the Jordan River. So, I've stood at the graves of leaders and men and women of God that I've loved, and it's always sad to see their passing.

But God has something up his sleeve. When he buries one of his workers, he raises up new ones. And I'm always encouraged in every generation to just keep my eye out and watch the ones at the Lord is selecting that he's going to empower and use. Now Joshua was called Moses' assistant. What does that mean? Simply that. He was sort of like a valet serving Moses, and he did it by doing a couple of things.

Number one, he led the army. According to Exodus chapter 17, he was the general of Israel's army. Also he stood guard in front of a special tent that Moses would talk to God in. You know, there was the Tabernacle. But then outside the Tabernacle, there was this special tent on the east side where Moses would go in and meet with the Lord, the Bible tells us, face to face. Joshua stood guard at that tent probably because people said, I want to talk to Moses. I'm sorry, he's talking to God right now.

Now's not a good time. So he was the assistant. Now being the assistant to Moses prepared him for the role he is undertaking at this moment. In serving him, he will now have a greater role of serving the nation. By the way, if you have an old King James version, it says Moses my-- what does it say? It says minister is dead. Moses, the minister of the Lord, and the minister-- he was Moses, minister.

And I love the translation servant because that's exactly what a minister. People say, well you're a minister. You must have people serving you hand and foot. No, it's my job to serve people hand and foot. The job of a minister is to serve people. So Moses had a servant who served him, but that prepared him to serve the whole nation, more people. Faithful in something small, God will give you more to do. And so, Moses becomes the servant to the people. He is Moses' assistant-- Joshua does.

And therefore, verse two, arise. Go over this Jordan, you and all the people, to the land that I am giving to them, to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. Notice the borders from the wilderness, or the wilderness and this Lebanon-- that's up in modern day Lebanon-- as far as the great river, the river Euphrates-- that's over in Iraq-- and all the land of the Hittites.

And to the great sea, that is the Mediterranean, toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. If you were to look at this on a world map, you would see how fast the territory God promised them is. 300,000 square miles. At their peak under King David followed by King Solomon, they only took 30,000. Here's what I want you to see. God promised them, as their land allotment, their territory, this huge amount of which they only took 1/10 of what God had for them.

Isn't that interesting? They never occupied Iraq, they never occupied all the way up into Syrian and all the way up into Lebanon. Those became territories of others. So even at Israel's zenith, they only took 1/10 of everything God promised to them. Why is that? Because the sole of their foot didn't trend there. That was the condition. It's all yours, it's a gift, but you have to open the gift.

If you give a gift at Christmas time to your children, or you receive a gift-- let's say you get a gift, and you look at it, and it's in a box, and it's nicely wrapped, and you just look at the person and go, OK, thanks. And then they see you a few months later, it's summertime now, and you've still got that gift in your kitchen unopened. They're going to wonder, did you not appreciate the gift I gave you. I wouldn't know, I never opened to see what it is.

So if God gives you all of this land but you only walk on a little portion of it, you're not possessing your possessions. The stipulation is that you have to possess your possession. So God, it says in Ephesians one, has given us every blessing in Christ Jesus in heavenly places. How much do we occupy? How much do we possess? How much victory do we walk in? So you've got to walk through the land.

This is exactly what Joshua and Caleb told the first generation as they were just about to go on the land. And the people said we can't do it, there's giants in the land. Joshua and Caleb said, hey, the Lord gave it to us. Let's walk through it. Let's put our souls down, our feet down, man. But they didn't occupy all that God had for them. So that was the stipulation, every place the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you. And then the borders are given.

Now a note about occupying the land. God gave it to them as a process. It was a process. Way back in the Book of Exodus chapter 23, let me just read this to you. The Lord says this, I will not drive them out, your enemies out, from before you in one year lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. Little by little, I will drive them out from before you until you have increased and you inherit the land.

They're going to take this land. It's not going to happen overnight, it's not going to happen one week, it's going to happen little by little. They will march through, take Jericho, take Ai-- or Ai is the best pronunciation-- they'll occupy the middle portion of the land, then they'll go south, then they'll go north. They'll eventually take it, but it is a process. God didn't say it'll happen all at once. So it is in your life.

Some of you long for victory, some of you long to live the victorious Christian life, and you go, man, I've been saved a month, I can't believe it. Give yourself time, man. Relax a little bit. The Christian life is not a Popeye episode. Remember Popeye? Remember he'd take that can of spinach and down it--


--and he could be Brutus up instantly? Christian life is not like that, it's not a Popeye episode. In fact, it's not an episode. It's a whole season. It's going to take some time. Little by little, God says, I will drive them out. So in the Christian life, there are no shortcuts. You have to walk in the spirit, and a walk is putting one foot in front of the other and some days you don't feel like it. Well just keep walking, just keep walking. Just keep going, just keep moving.

Don't leave the fellowship of the believers, don't lay down the promises of God. Hold on to them, just keep going. Little by little, God says, I'll drive them out. In verse five of Joshua 1, no man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you, nor forsake you. I can only imagine that, for this new leader, the weight of leadership, especially filling Moses shoes-- the great lawgiver.

Moses, to this day, is regarded as the ultimate Jewish persona. To fill his shoes and to feel the weight of that mantle of leadership on Joshua must have been overwhelming. He must have felt so intimidated. And so, I love this promise. You know, I was with Moses, Joshua, in the same way I'm going to be with you. What made Moses a great leader? God. What will make Joshua a great leader? God. What will make you a great leader, a great servant? God.

Moses was a great leader, and it's because Moses believed God to be a great God. So I was with Moses, I'm going to be with you. How else are you going to explain what happens in the book of Joshua without God? How else? How else do walls fall down? How else does a river part unless God's doing it? So I was with Moses, I'm going to be with you also. Nobody will be able to stand against you.

So as we are getting into the book of Joshua, understand this. The main character in the book of Joshua isn't Joshua, it's Joshua's God. It's Joshua's God. Take heart in that. I hope the main character in your life is your God. I hope you are relying on him. I even hope you feel like, man, I'm just burnt out, I'm at the end of my rope. Good. Live at the end of your rope. Quit trying to hold onto your rope. Let God bear you up.

Let your life be great because of the greatness of the God that you believe in and you walk with. That is-- that's the life story of this man. Be strong, verse six. Be strong, the Lord says to Joshua. Be strong, the Lord says to you tonight, right now. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide, as an inheritance, the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

Only be strong and very courageous that you may observe to do, according to all the law, which Moses, my servant, commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand, or to the left that you may prosper wherever you go. So once again, the land is a gift. You have to open the gift. Herein is the balance of living by faith. Herein is the balance of the Christian walk. It's the marriage, and thus the balance, between divine operation and human cooperation.

Get both of those in balance. Work out your own salvation, Paul said to the Philippians, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Divine operation, human cooperation. God says, I'll give you the land, I'll supply what you need, but I need your foot on the dirt. I need you to be courageous, I need you to go through and to march. So it's the balance. Divide operation, human cooperation. It's like two oars of the same boat.

And you find that not just in Joshua, you find out as a principal in the New Testament. Do you know that? Second Peter, chapter one. Peter says as his divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by glory and virtue, whereby have been given to us great and precious promises that, by these, you might be a partaker of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Therefore, listen to this, he says God has given you power, God has given you promises, it's all God. Therefore, here's the directions to you. Therefore, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue and a virtue knowledge, and a knowledge self-control, and a self-control perseverance, and a perseverance brotherly love. For of these things be in you and abound, you will never be unfruitful.

So on one hand, God has given you power, his power, and his promises. Therefore, you, giving all diligence, exerting all effort, putting everything you can into it from your side, human cooperation, add to your faith. I love that balance, and it's critical. Jesus said God would provide every need you have. Remember in the sermon on the Mount, he said look at the birds of the air. They don't toil, they don't worry about it, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Right? Are you not of more value than they?

Now don't get the wrong picture when you read that text. If you're picturing a bird just sitting on a branch opening its beak toward heaven waiting for God just to drop a little worm in, not at all. Ever watch a bird in a tree? They're chirping away, they're busy, they're looking they're gathering things, they're building a nest, they're getting food for their young. They're diligent, they're hard working, but they're not worried. Ever see a worried bird?

Ever see a little bird with its be buried in his claw, scratching it's feathered forehead going I don't know how we're going to do it? The rent on the nest is coming up at the end of the week. Sweetheart, we can't do it. It doesn't preclude the hard work, it doesn't include the giving all diligence and the adding to the nest all the variety of things you need to make it strong. But, God takes care of them.

He has so set up the environment, nature, whereby that bird will be cared for. So it's a beautiful balance of divine operation and human cooperation. Verse eight, this book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night. Take that to heart, take note of that. Meditate, in the Bible, day and night that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it, for then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.

I've never met a person that says, I just don't want to be successful in life at all. I really don't want to be prosperous life at all. I don't want any plans to ever be fulfilled ever. Everybody wants good success, here's how you get it. Meditate in God's word day and night, and be courageous to do all that is written. Now he continues, have I not commanded you to be strong and of good courage, to not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go? Question.

Why does the Lord tell Joshua in verse eight, the book of the law shall not depart from your mouth? Didn't say shall not depart from your thought life or from your heart, but it shall not depart from your mouth. It's an interesting phraseology. And I believe the answer, in part, is found in the word in that verse, you will meditate on it day and night.

The word meditate literally means the low moaning of an animal when they're chewing their foods, especially animals that have cuds in they chew their food--


--and they swallow it and they bring it up again. And they chew a little more to get a little more nutrients, and they bring it down, and they regurgitate it, and they chew a little more. They're getting every bit of nourishment they can from that food and the cycles of regurgitate that give them the maximum amount of nourishment. So, they will moan when they do that. And the idea of meditation is sometimes translated to mutter.

And if you ever go to Israel, you will notice the men praying at the Western Wall. And they'll move back and forth, and they'll be praying, and they'll be muttering, moaning, to themselves. They'll be saying the prayer kind of to themselves, but in a low kind of a moan. That's how they meditate. That's how they pray. So the word shall not depart from your mouth, meaning the word is something to be spoken, to be communicated to people. Communicate it to yourself.

I like to read the Bible aloud. I've told you, I like to pray aloud. I like to read the scriptures aloud and hear what I'm saying, hear what they're saying to me. I like to bring it out and tell other people the word. I love having a conversation about the Bible. I'm not great on small talk. But you want to talk scripture? Let's go. So keep the word in your mouth.

I remember-- and I've seen around it for years, and I always get irritated when I see the quote that people ascribe to Saint Francis is preach the gospel and, if necessary, use words. It sounds cute, it sounds clever, it's just theologically wrong. Paul said preach the word, and you always need words in preaching the gospel. You always do. You say, well, no, it's your lifestyle.

Yes, if you have a transformed life, and you're a wonderful person and you live that in front of people. But then people are going to wonder, why is that person so awesome? And if you don't tell them why, they're not going to know why. So give them your testimony. Tell them how God changed you, tell them the scripture, the word of God, the promises of God. You always need to use words. So the words shall be not only in your thought life, but in your mouth as well.

Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people saying-- and I love this because they didn't have texting, they didn't have networking, social networking. But, Moses and Joshua were able to communicate to a couple million people. They were so well organized that Moses, and then Joshua, could meet with just the leaders, who would meet with their leaders, with their leaders.

And you know from previous Old Testament books that God instructed Moses to divide them up into captains of tens and fifties, and hundreds, and thousands, et cetera. So it was a well oiled communication machine. Pass through the camp, verse 11, and command the people saying prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan to go and to possess the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you to possess. Notice the words of faith.

You're to tell them you're going to cross over, not I hope we get to cross over. Maybe we can do it. We're going. Words of faith, speak those words. It's a promise. And notice, how many days? It could be coincidental, but I don't think so. In three days, you're going to have a new life. Three days, you're going to cross over this river and you're in a land God promised. You're going to live a whole new life. It's a beautiful picture of the resurrection. Jesus buried, risen three days.

Similar to Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac. Almost sacrificing his son. God told him take your son, your only son whom you love, and go to the mountain that I tell you to go to and sacrifice him there. So every waking moment of every single day, because God told him to kill his son, in Abraham's mind, his son is dead. But it says this in Genesis 22. Then, on the third day, Moses looked and saw the place of far off. And it was on that day God told him to stop.

For three days, his son was dead in his own mind and heart. On the third day, his son came back to life. And it was his only son, whom he loved, who was taken to that same mountain Jesus was taken to. So here, within three days you're going to have that new life. You're going to cross over.

Verse 12, and to the Reubenites, and the Gaddites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, Joshua spoke saying, remember the word which Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you saying the Lord, your God, is giving you rest and giving you this land. Your wives and your little ones, your livestock, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan, that is the east side in modern day Jordan.

But you shall pass before your brethren armed all your mighty man of valor and help them until the Lord has given your brethren rest as he gave you. And they also have taken possession of the land which the Lord, your God, is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and enjoy it, which Moses, the servant of the Lord, gave you on this side of the Jordan toward the sunrise.

Now we won't go deep into this, but you will recall, I trust, that these two and a half tribes, in seeing just how beautiful and verdant, especially up north up in Bashan, the thick grass of the Golan Heights even on the east side of the Jordan. So beautiful, so lush. They said, you know, we like it here. We don't want to cross over. Can we just occupy this land? Now technically, there's nothing wrong with that because God promised them all the way to the border of the Euphrates River.

But Moses said, well, God promised us right now that we need to cross over the Jordan. If you want to stay here, the deal is you have to send your fighting army, your standing army, your men, your young men, to go over and fight the battles until they, the rest of the tribe, settle the land on the west side. Then you can go back. It's always a problem when somebody wants to go just to the edge of God's promises, but never enter into them fully.

You know, this just looks good enough. I really don't want all the rest. This is fine right here. The problem will come later. The most vulnerable tribes of the 12 tribes will be the two and a half tribes east of the Jordan. You want to know why? That's where all their trouble came from. That's where the Assyrians come from. That's where the Babylonians come from. The first tribes to go into captivity were the two and a half tribes east of the Jordan River.

But they worked out a deal. So Joshua says here's the deal, go and fight, help your brethren, then come back and settle down. So the Lord-- or verse 16. So they answer Joshua saying all that you command us we will do. Wherever you send us, we will go. What boss doesn't like to hear that? What leader doesn't love to hear that? That's encouragement.

And so God speaks to Joshua, Joshua speaks to the leaders. Now the leaders speak to Joshua and say we're in, man. We're on your team, we're on your side. Whatever you tell us, we'll do. Just as we heeded Moses in all things. Oh, really? Well, technically, maybe they did. Their forefathers certainly didn't. So we will heed you. Only the Lord, your God, be with you as he was with Moses.

Whoever rebels against your command and does not heed your words in all that you command him shall be put to death. Only be strong and of good courage. Now Joshua, the son of Nun, sent out two men from the Acacia Grove to spy secretly saying go view the land, especially Jericho. And so they went and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab and lodged there.

And it was told, the King of Jericho saying, behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a spy. I loved watching that television show. When I was a kid, The Avengers. Remember that? Now these have been made into movies. Mission Impossible made into a movie, but I remember the original series. That's a long time ago, and I loved the thought of I want to be a spy when I grow up.

And so I practiced on my parents, I practice spying on my brothers, even tried it on my neighbors. You know, you got to practice. You got to get good at it. One day, I'll be a spy. Joshua had been a spy. He went to scope out the land with Caleb 38 years before. Now he sends two spies. Why two spies? Well, you know, that's all you need. You only need two good ones. He was part of a group of 12, you remember, and 10 of them gave a bad report.

Only Joshua and Caleb, two, gave the good report. And in God's economy, less is more. So he's thinking, I don't need 12. I just need two. I just need two good ones. Two men of faith are all you need because those 10 who gave the bad report and discouraged the people, that's what kept everybody in the wilderness. They could have saved the 38 years of problems had they just listened to Joshua and Caleb, the two witnesses.

So he's thinking, I don't need the jokers I just need two spies. Two good ones. He sent them and he came to Rahab. Now what should be interesting to you about Rahab? Well, first of all, not only is she a harlot, she will show up in the genealogical record of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew chapter two. She will show up in Hebrews 11 in the Hall of Faith, the Hall of Faith of fame of faith in Hebrews 11. By faith, Rahab hid the spies it says.

And she does have faith in God, she exhibits faith in God. And I love reading the genie obstacle record in Matthew 1 of Jesus because there are three women named, and one is Rahab the harlot. Another one is Ruth the Moabitess. Not even a Jewish girl. And the third is Bathsheba, the consort of David. And yet, they're included in the genealogy of Christ.

I always make a note of that because in my high school annual, we had the little grouping at the end of the annual that said most likely to succeed. When God puts out his annual, there's a little section, most unlikely to succeed, and those are the ones he picks. They're on this page, most unlikely to succeed. That's in the high school, that's in the world's eyes. But Rahab would be in that section, most unlikely.

She gets lifted out of that by faith, and brought into two places in the New Testament. Hebrews 11, great chapter. Matthew, chapter one. Let's see. We have enough time to see her faith. King of Jericho sent to Rahab, verse three, saying bring out the men whom you have-- who have come to you. Who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country. Then the woman took the two men and hid them.

So she said, yes, the men came to me, but I do not know where they were from. And it happened as the gate was being shut when it was dark that the men went out. Where the men went, I do not know. This is her talking still. Pursue them quickly for you may overtake them. But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with stalks of flax which she laid in order on the roof. Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan to the fjords.

And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate. Now before they laid down, they came up to them on the roof-- she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, now listen to what she says, I know that the Lord-- are you looking at that word Lord there? Do you notice something about it? It's all capitalized. When you see it all capitalized, it's the term Yahweh. That's the Jewish God. Not just whatever generic god, it's specifically your God.

The Lord, Yahweh, the covenant God of the Jews. I know that the Lord has given you the land that the terror of who has fallen on us and all the inhabitants of the land are faint hearted because of you, for we have heard of the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.

As soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted. Neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you for the Lord, your God. He is God in heaven above and on Earth beneath. Now notice what she says about Yahweh. She believed in our heart, and she confessed it with her mouth. So according to Romans 10, she is? Saved because if you believe it in your heart and you confess with your mouth, you're saved. It's that simple act of faith. She believed.

But what's interesting is what she said about the people of the land. She goes, we're in terror because of you. Ever since the Red Sea happened, we have just been-- we've been awestruck. We've heard the reports of that Red Sea drying up, we heard the reports of you killing those two kings, and terror has filled our hearts. I bring this up because, go back 38 years without turning to numbers 13. Just go back in your mind 38 years.

When Joshua, Caleb, and the other 10 spies went into the land, they came back, Joshua and Caleb said let's take it. And the 10 spies say, no, there's giants in the land, and we are grasshoppers in our site, and the terror of the Canaanites filled their hearts. And the 10 looked at the people of Canaan and they thought, they're huge, they're strong. They're not terrified of us. The truth is, they were terrified of the Israelites.

God said they would be, and they were. And we find out the rest of the story 38 years later. Remember they said we're grasshoppers in our site, that was their problem. They didn't take God into account. To the 10 spies they had a little God and big obstacles. Joshua and Caleb at a big God, therefore little obstacles. Truth is still the same today. If you serve a big God, any obstacle or person that comes into your life? So what?

But if you have a little God, if you have a God of vacillating sentiments, a God who can't create the heavens and the Earth, a God who can't dry up the Red Sea, a God who can't do all the things the Bible says he did and does-- if you have a little God, then the obstacles in your life are enormous. You see, difficulty must always be measured by the capacity of the agent doing the work. If you're doing the work, big giants. If God is doing the work, big targets.

Bigger they are, the bigger-- easier they are to hit. Come on, let's go. So now we find the truth. We are in terror because of you ever since we heard about that. Now, therefore, she says swear to me by the Lord since I have shown you kindness but you also will show kindness to my Father's house and give me a true token and spare my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have and deliver our lives from death. So the men answered our lives for yours.

If none of you tell this business of ours, then it shall be when the Lord has given us the land that we will deal kindly and truly with you. And she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall. The walled city of Jericho had homes built into the wall, like even modern Jerusalem has homes built right into the wall, for she dwelt on the wall. She said to them get to the mountain.

Now if you go to Jericho and if you come with us to Israel, we'll show you. As you drive in the tour bus by the road and you look at Jericho, right above Jericho on the opposite side behind you is the Jordan River where Moses was on the Plains of Moab. But right in front of you is Jericho, and then these dirt rock mountains behind it. That's where they were told to hide, just in the mountains outside of Jericho.

Get to the mountains and the pursuers-- lest the pursuers meet you. Hide there for three days until the pursuers have returned. Afterwards, you may go your way. So the men said to her we will be blameless of this oath of ours, which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you buying this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down.

And unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all that is in your household into your home, so it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on its own head. We will be guiltless. And whoever's with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. And you shall tell this business of ours-- and if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath, which you made us swear.

And she said according to your words, so be it. And she sent them away and they departed, and she bound the scarlet cord in the window. They departed and went to the mountain and stayed there three days until the pursuers returned. The pursuer sought them all the way, all along the way, but did not find them. And so the two men returned, descended from the mountain, and crossed over. For they came to Joshua, the son of Nun, and told them all that had befallen them.

Just to note on the scarlet cord. No, I'm looking at the time-- I can't give you the note on the scarlet cord. That'll have to be for next week. And they said to Joshua, verse 24, truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are faint hearted because of us.

I will explain the scarlet cord, and some interesting things about that and corollary to that in the Bible next time because I want to be faithful to your children and the covenant that we make with trying to end on time. I'm already three minutes over. But here's what I love, mankind is into salvaging people. He's into salvaging people. A harlot. All it took was faith, and she is counted in the genealogical record of Jesus and the Hall of Faith. God's into salvaged people.

Paul the Apostle, when he wrote the first Timothy-- to Timothy in first Timothy. Not like he had two Timothys he was writing to, it was one Timothy. But in first Timothy, he said I was a persecutor, I was an insolent man, but I obtained mercy. God salvaged me. God's into going to the back of the annual, finding the most unlikely to succeed, directs the people destroyed by whatever your testimony you have destroyed you, and salvaging you.

And you know what? There's something super cool about a '57 Chevy over and above a 2017 Chevy. I don't care what the 2017 Chevy has in it. You get up '57 Chevy restored it's, like, I want that car, and it's more valuable. And so whatever year you were born in, I'm a '55 Chevy, but God takes and salvages us and we become valuable and useful to his kingdom, like Rahab.

So Father, we thank you, and we give you the glory for that. In Jesus' name, Amen.


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Additional Messages in this Series

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Joshua 3-4
Joshua 3-4
Skip Heitzig
Message Summary
As the Israelites rallied behind Joshua, they stepped out in faith to cross the Jordan River, following the priests who carried the ark of the covenant. As we continue this study in Joshua, we learn about their faith in the living God and the specific memorials they erected to commemorate the fulfillment of His promises.
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Joshua 5-6
Joshua 5-6
Skip Heitzig
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After the Israelites crossed the Jordan river, they were invigorated and ready to take the land God promised them. But God required they worship Him before they went to war. After they were consecrated, the Lord fought and won the battle of Jericho for them, causing the walls to come crumbling down and allowing them to take the city.
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Joshua 7-8
Joshua 7-8
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Joshua 9-10
Joshua 9-10
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There are 4 additional messages in this series.