- Sermon Notes
On the Way to Victory
Joshua 5:13 – 6:17
Intro– Golf crash course…
There are situations and obstacles we face in our walk with Christ that are daunting and outside of our ability. These circumstances, or walls we face, can exist relationally, in our marriages, and daily lives. These very real obstacles are more than we can handle or overcome alone, victory seems unattainable in every way.
Today we are going to look at the nation of Israel and the walls they faced upon crossing the Jordan River into the land God promised. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, those who had faith finally entered into the Promised Land. After crossing the Jordan River, an impossible challenge is looming.
There are many battles in the process of becoming a victorious and mature believer even when we are pursuing God’s plan for us.
The Israelites begin the process of conquering their land by facing Jericho, a city with impossible walls. The walls of Jericho were over 25 feet high and 25 feet wide in some places. The walls surrounding Jericho would seem an impossible obstacle.
Read Joshua 5:13-6:5
The Israelites are camped on the plains of Jericho. In the midst of entering this Promised Land they had waited for, there was an imminent battle in front of them.
In our lives, there are obstacles and walls we face personally that in our understanding are impossible to overcome, immobilizing and even terrifying. When obstacles come and we face walls of various shapes and sizes, it is important we look to the Lord and place him in the center of our trial. Understanding lessons for spiritual victory is critical for our own lives today.
I. Recognize your Need for the Lord
- With the walls of Jericho not far off, Joshua looks towards the walls of Jericho. The challenge ahead must have been on his mind in an overwhelming way.
- Just as the Israelites needed the Lord up to this point, they would still need him if they were to get into the heart of the Promised Land.
- This is an important part of this scripture to grasp. The Israelites had wandered 40 years and were finally crossing over into the land they had waited for.
- While they had experienced the victory of crossing the Jordan River, they still needed the Lord to guide their steps.
Psalm 62:8, Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.
- Where this nation stood was in uncertainty between victory and greater victory. They needed the Lord to make a way, again.
- When you face impossible battles and walls, victory can only come when the Lord makes a way.
- The Lord was ready to lead the Israelites (vs. 14), to fight for them, He alone would make a way, but the question was not whether God was with the Israelites, it was the other way around.
A. Know whose side you’re on
- This man, with sword drawn is referred to as a Christophany or Theophany, which was an appearance of the Lord.
- God was prepared to lead the Israelites into victory with sword drawn.
- Joshua first asked, “are you with us, or our adversaries? Jesus answered, “no, rather I indeed come as captain of the host of the Lord.”
- Often we ask these types of questions when facing walls in our own life.
- Lord, are you hearing me? Are you for me?
Illus. The first day at our “new to us” home.
- When we are facing trials, the question is not whether God is for us or against us; thequestion is whether we are for or with Him.
- In the pursuit of walking victoriously, it is important to understand that victorious living means we are on His side, this is the only side that matters.
Illus. – This afternoon, there will be people rooting for one side or the other during the super bowl. Who is God for one might ask?
- When we come up against walls in our relationships, friendships, in our marriage or family, there only one side we must pursue.
James 4:8, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
- Drawing near to Him will give true victory.
- This moves us from a place of uncertainty to a place of resolve in that the Lord will make a way.
Joshua 3:7-8, ..you shall stand still in the Jordan.
- Once Joshua realizes that he is before the Lord and falls to his face, he asks the question: “What has my lord to say to his servant?”
- Joshua responds with complete humility and is ready to hear whatever God wants to say to him.
- Vs. 15 The Lord asks him to remove his sandals from his feet.
- Joshua was in the presence of God, an appearance of Christ Jesus in the Old Testament, and needed to treat God as holy by humbling himself in the sight of the Lord.
- Asking Joshua take off his shoes is a picture of setting self-reliance and self- trust aside and honoring God as holy.
B. Remove all barriers
- What must be removed prior to God’s best?
- Instead of hanging onto pride or our own strength, we have to bow down and ask, “What do you want from me Lord?”
- Upon recognizing the Lord, Joshua shifts from giving orders, to reporting for duty.
- We too should recognize that he is God.
Isaiah 55:9, As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your way and my thoughts than your thoughts.
- In order to be spiritually victorious, we must remove any barriers in front of God’s will.
- Even Jesus came to His Father with the heart of submission and complete trust. On the night he was arrested he prayed to the Father…
Luke 22:42, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
- Trusting in God’s wisdom means believing that our own plans are often what get us into trouble.
Proverbs 14:12, There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
- What are you hanging on to today? Are you willing to trust the Lord’s will over your own?
- On the way to victory, removing our barriers means coming to the end of our own knowledge, and trusting.
II. The Lord will make a way
- Jericho was tightly shut because they were afraid of Israel after hearing that they crossed the Jordan River on dry land.
- The Lord instructed Joshua to have seven priests with seven trumpets of rams horns lead the Israelites into battle.
- The Israelites would circle the walls once daily for six days and then seven times on the seventh day.
- Certainly their faith was going to be challenged throughout this process. Recognizing their need for God.
- These walls were impossible to bring down by anything that Joshua could come up with. But the Lord was going to make a way.
- Whatever you are facing today, it is important to recognize that the Lord has a plan his plan will likely look nothing like the plan you would have for yourself.
Illus. – Becoming a worship leader...
- Notice that in verse 2 that God told Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hands.”
- In other words, he had already given victory. Our victory is a finished work in Jesus Christ. God has already given us what we need for a victorious life.
- This is because everything we need is found in Jesus Christ and He was given to us when we asked him into our hearts as Lord and Savior.
Romans 8:32, He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
- Paul also wrote similarly to the church at Corinth…
2 Corinthians 2:14, But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ,
- Our problem is that we’re still trying to come up with our own strategies.
Isaiah 43:19, …I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
- The Lord will make a way when there is no way.
- They had become familiar with the desert from operating in their own strength. They needed to move forward in faith.
A. We need greater faith
- When we recognize that the Lord is showing us the way, our steps must be met with faith.
Isaiah 41:13, For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’
Illus., A friend who was always on the fence.
- Greater faith on the way to victory means greater victory. Stand in faith.
James 1:2-3, Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
- After 40 years of wandering and experiencing the victory of crossing the Jordan River, the Israelites had another battle. They needed faith to conquer this land.
- You may be in a place today where you feel as if you have surrendered your life, experienced some victory, and another wall or obstacle is on the horizon.
B. Commit your way to the Lord
- The Israelites had already tried to proceed in their own way, just many of us have.
Psalm 37:5, Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
- The plan that God gave Joshua was that they were to walk around the city once each day for six days and then on the seventh day they were to walk around the city seven times.
- They walked around the city 13 times patiently waiting for what God was going to do. They had to walk and wait, walk and wait, while keeping silent.
- Notice that he asked them to remain silent. Commit your way to the Lord, don’t give voice to any other, there is no commentary needed, just walk and wait.
Hebrews 12:1-2, let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.
- Joshua kept his faith in God and knew the best option was to remain inside of his will.
- God has brought you to this place.
Deut. 31:8, The Lord is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.
Closing Illus., To the point of no turning back…
Joshua 5:13-6:17 NASB
13 Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, "Are you for us or for our adversaries?" 14 He said, "No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?" 15 The captain of the Lord's host said to Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.