Sermon Summary. Obedience to God’s goals: God’s Way or No Way was focused on following God’s direction to achieve God’s purposes in our lives. When we come to Christ, our lives our lives are no longer our own. God has goals and purposes he desires to fulfill. To fulfill his goals, we must do things God’s way-not at our own way. In this Joshua community we see a people who are swiftly obedient to God’s will and to God’s way. He has unusual ways of accomplishing his goals (parting the Jordan, marching around Jericho) but our place is to follow in obedience. Too many times, we see the people of God lead themselves into a wilderness experience by substituting our judgment, our way, or our ideas for God’s ways. We must remember to follow God’s way into all battles and watch as he brings I Jericho walls down
Delivery of Enemies by The Lord (v1-2). A continuing theme in Joshua’s journey (and ours) is the fear that God’s power in our lives places in the heart of the enemy. We see that here again in verses 1 and 2. It is God’s battle and he delivers the enemy.
- Why is it important to remember that God goes before us in battle?
- Why is it important to remember that the battle is not ours but the Lords? (1 Samuel 17:47)
God’s Directions to Joshua (v3-5). Here, God directs his leader, Joshua, on the steps to win the battle. Joshua has a familiarity with warfare and probably had his own ideas. But God had a specific and unusual plan.
- Joshua always appears to respond immediately to God’s direction . . . we don’t see him question but we see him act. How are we? Do we respond immediately to God’s direction or delay? Why?
- God’s direction may seem strange but, will we follow? Consider 1 Corinthians 1:20-25
God’s Direction to the People (v6-7). Joshua passes God’s direction to the people and all are involved – God, the leader, the priests, the army and the people. The people appear to be prompt in their response (in contrast to their response under Moses).
- What are some examples how the community under Moses’ leadership didn’t respond quickly to God?
- Why do we think there was a change under Joshua’s leadership?
- What are some of the challenges we experience in following leadership?
The Action – Day 1(v8-11)/The First Day is the Fun Day. The first day of most things is the “fun” day. People are engaged and excited. People fall into line and do as they have been directed (think about weddings, business start ups, CD release parties, first day of school, etc.) That’s what we see here. The people are prepared and ready to follow God’s leading through Joshua.
- How do people act over time? Do they/we continue to follow God’s lead on the next day and the next day and the next day?
The Next Days (v12-15) – Continued Obedience . . . don’t break from God’s plan. The first day is easy; there is excitement over the new thing. But can we continue with God’s plan? This community of faith didn’t get anxious and decide to choose their way. God’s way or no way.
- The community had to do the exact same thing six days in a row. Can you envision how some do them might have been anxious and thought about doing something different?
- Remember when Israel became impatient with God’s plan in Exodus 32:1? What can happen when we become impatient with a God’s way?
The Moment of Truth (v16-18) The day of victory was at hand; and it came with a warning. The people have been faithful to God’s direction and God shall deliver. But also, be careful not to get caught up in the victory. Success and victory can bring temptation.
- What did God direct them not to do in victory?
- How can success sometimes make us lax in following God? What temptations can success bring?
The Victory (v20). God delivers the victory; God’s goals are accomplished. Joshua and the people followed God’s way and not their own.
Take some time and reflect on what obstacles . . . Jericho walls that The Lord has in front of you. Pray to God and ask God to tell you what walls he has for you to bring down. How does he want you to approach it?