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Sermon Summary God's people have continuously struggled with honoring-with action-the truth of God's promises and God's power. God continually asks us to “walk by faith and not by sight”. How will God's people respond? In the Book of Numbers, Israel had the chance to achieve the Promised Land but operated in fear and failed to act like a people who had knowledge of an all powerful God. Thus, as sometimes happens in our lives, they wandered in the wilderness for far too long. In this text, we see several people “act like they know”. Moses has died and Joshua is now in leadership. He received a directive from God in Joshua 1; he's moving swiftly to follow God's direction. In addition, a new Bible personality – Rahab – is now on the scene. By title, she is someone to perhaps be despised and discounted. Not only is she a woman (with few rights in those days) but she is also a prostitute-despised. Nonetheless, Rahab shows more boldness and confidence in a God that she has not served than those spies who were cowards many years ago. Her knowledge of our God causes her to risk her life to advance the plan of God. Rahab could “act like you know”. In the same way, as we see the new territory that God lays out in our lives individually, and as the church, we have to acknowledge his promises and his power. We must “act like we know.”
Joshua Acts Like He Knows/Takes Action. (v1) A seasoned Joshua seizes the moment and the direction from the Lord. From the transitional moment in Joshua 1 (Moses is dead), Joshua gets clear direction from the Lord and then gives clear direction to the people. In this verse he moves into immediate action to pursue what God had directed. The campaign is about to begin.
- We must reflect on this moment in the life of Joshua and God's people. They've been here before at the moment where God's promise is right in front of them. How do we envision Joshua might have felt at this moment? (Consider the last time he was one of the spies and the people refused to hear him and as a result they suffered and toiled for 40 years.)
- Do we recognize that there are times in our lives where we may have failed to “act like we know” and to capture a promise that God has placed in front of us?
- Have we ever, like Joshua here, had a second chance from God to pursue those dreams and directions? What did we do?A real enemy. (v2-3) The narrative moves from Joshua's action in sending the two spies to the existence of a real enemy in the King of Jericho. The enemy is real and he has some idea of Joshua's plans.
- There is real and different tension in this text. In numbers, some of the spies created their own fear with a bad report. Here the enemy is real. Why is it important for us to know that enemies will attempt to derail or destroy God's plans? (Consider Matthew 10:16)
- We know the outcome so we are not worried but what do we think about the fact that the King of Jericho knew exactly where the spies were?
- How important is it for us to be clear and to follow God's plan? How might those spies have felt knowing the enemy was on the way?
We must trust in Gods' plans. We never know how God will work and, if we lean to our own understanding, we might stop short of what he has in store.
Rahab the outsider. (v 4-6). God has placed the lives of these men and the success of this mission in the hands of somebody society would despise. In the natural, one would expect Rahab-“the prostitute”- to turn these men over to the king right away. She had no other God relationship that we know of (until Verse 8!). Nonetheless, she saves these men.
- What does it mean to us that God would work through a prostitute…someone that society would despise?
- Are there limits to whom God can/will work through? Can he work through us? Others?
- How significant is this work in the history of God’s people? (Look at Hebrews 11 30 and 31). God is not a respecter of persons. While man looks at the outside God looks at the condition of the heart. Rahab had a heart for God and as a result has a prominent place in the roll call of faith. How about you?
Acknowledge and Act Like You Know. (v8-11) In this narrative Joshua and Rahab are people of action and people of faith. We know Joshua’s history. Now look at the bold proclamation of this woman who doesn’t even call on our God. She is aware of what God has done. She is aware of God’s promises. And she acts on those. How about you?
- What do we find out about Rahab's knowledge of God’s promises in Verse 9? How do she and her people respond to God’s promises in Verse 9?
- What do they know of God’s power as expressed in Verse 10? Do they know the history of God’s people? Having heard of his power and his promise how do she and her people respond in Verse 11?
- What is their testimony about God, our God in Verse 11? Now, looking at the testimony and activity of this woman who does not call on our God, how should we act on the promises and power of our God? Act like you know!