Joshua 4-7, Meet With God For Direction

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amen. Well, as we look at the book of Joshua this morning and consider the life the person, Joshua, Joshua was a man who really had a lot of incredible qualities and one of the strengths that I consider when it comes to Joshua is that he was a man who spent time with God. It's one of the things that I've always liked and appreciated about Joshua and the example that he sets for us, he was a man who spent a lot of time with God. We really see it early in the life of Joshua in Exodus Chapter 33. This is while moses was still alive before Joshua was ever appointed as the new leader, uh Joshua was the servant of moses or the assistant of moses. And in that we see that as moses would spend some time with the Lord in the Tabernacle, we see the special relationship that God and moses had. The Lord would speak to moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend, he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua, the son of nun. A young man did not depart from the Tabernacle. And so you see that moses would meet with God, he would hear, get the marching orders and then he would go back to the camp to go about the business that God had sent him on. But Joshua had the opportunity as the servant, not being the one given instruction to go do stuff right away. He was able to just stay back, hang out there in the presence of the Lord, hang out at the Tabernacle of the Lord and spend some time with God and you see this throughout the book, as you continue to consider the life of Joshua and his uh leading the Children of Israel into the promised land. You see him connecting with the Lord repeatedly regularly. It was a substantial part of his life and so in his example, I've titled the message this morning, meet with God for direction. It's something that every one of us needs and it's a great encouragement for each one of us, no matter what status we have, whether we have authority or don't have authority, whether we are in difficult times or easy times, whatever we might be going through, there is the need for us to meet with God for direction in our lives. And there's a lot of things that God wants to show us in that. And really it reminds me of so many people have this as their all time favorite verse, Proverbs, Chapter 3: verse five and 6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways, acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths. This classic verse. This really all time favorite for so many people is such a crucial part of our relationship with God and our walk with God that we trust God with all of our heart, that we really believe God at his word, that we really believe that God will work in us, that God will lead us, that God will direct us and really put our faith in our hope and our confidence in the Lord above our own understanding. And this is something that we can see Joshua doing as we walk through a few chapters this morning. That the things that God asked him to do many times, they don't make sense strategically. Like if you were getting just strategic counsel from a military leader, the things that the Lord instructs Joshua to do would be considered as bad counsel. No, no, that's a bad idea. Don't do that. Don't go that way. Don't do this right now. That's not good strategy that leaves you vulnerable. That's not a good approach to this situation would be a council that is just limited to logic, reasoning and strategy. But God's ways are not our ways. And the problem is when we rely upon our own understanding more than what God says, what we don't trust the Lord with all of our heart than we trust more in our own understanding, we trust what we can see what we can come up with and our understanding of things more than what God says. And so here the proverb is teaching us to put God as a higher authority in our lives than even our own understanding and what we can come up with what we can agree with and what we think is right. And so instead we acknowledge him in all of our ways. We put God first in everything that we do and the instruction, the encouragement there is that he will direct our paths. He will give us the direction that we need. He will direct our steps and keep us in line with what is best. And so meet with God for direction. Trust in the Lord meet with him and let him override what you understand, what you see, what you think to give you the direction that you need for the path ahead. And so there's four things that will look at this morning. We're going to work our way through Joshua, chapter 456 and seven. Just looking at the first few verses of each chapter, but looking at some times and occasions in Joshua's life where he met with God received direction and how that helps us in considering his example to do the same. And so let's learn how to meet with God and those times and occasions where it's important. The first consideration, the first thing that will look at here point number one, is in Joshua, chapter four, verses one through six. Meet with God during big events, meet with God during big events. Look at versus one through three again it says, and it came to pass when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan that the Lord spoke to Joshua saying, take for yourselves, 12 men from the people, one man from every tribe and commend them saying, Take for yourselves, 12 stones from here. Out of the midst of the Jordan from the place where the priests feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight. This is right in the middle of the Children of Israel crossing over the Jordan river, Chapter three Records the Miracle God stopped up the water a little bit away, the river that was overflowing its banks, that was a huge obstacle for the people to cross over now was removed and they were able to cross over on dry land as God had stopped the flow of the Jordan River. And so the Children of Israel have gone across. We're talking about a massive undertaking with two or 3 million people crossing over this Jordan River. And so there's this big responsibility that Joshua has. It's a massive group of people that he's leading. And as they have crossed over the Jordan river, it tells us in verse one that the Lord spoke to Joshua and what I would ask you to consider as we look at this is consider the timing of this And verse one, it tells us that all the people had completely crossed over. And so picturing the Jordan River being parted, picturing the Children of Israel crossing over again, probably 2-3 million people crossing over, crossing over Joshua's watching people cross over and cross over. There's all this hustle and bustle as this massive group of people is getting from one side of Jordan to the other side of the Jordan. Now, it's not just as simple as a crossing of the river because they're crossing over into hostile territory, they on the side of the Jordan where they were, they had already conquered all the kings and the major nations in that area. So they were relatively safe. They were not under direct threat at that time, but crossing over the Jordan now they're entering into enemy territory, they're entering into territory that is controlled by other nations and they're going to be vulnerable if one of those nations decides to come against them and attack them as they're crossing over. And so in the midst of this, I understand I picture Joshua really being attentive to what's going on. He's not just like laying back in his hammock. Okay, wake me up when the last person crossover, like he's watching out, he's looking at the horizon and looking for any dangerous to come. He's looking at the people crossing over and okay, when is the last one come in? And are they there? And he's kind of looking back and forth any problems, you know, any wheels falling off in the middle that I need to go and address that situation, you know, he's paying attention to make sure everything goes smooth. Once everybody's crossed over the waters are still held back at this time, The priests are still in the river Joshua. Chapter 3: verse 17 it describes their the priests holding the ark of the covenant there in the midst of the Jordan River and they haven't left the Jordan river yet, the priests haven't got out. So the people have crossed over, but the priests are still back there and it was at that time, verse one, the Lord spoke to Joshua and I really find this significant. I find it kind of a striking thing to consider in the midst of this huge event with all of these people involved with all of this different activity that's happening. The Lord spoke to Joshua now, I don't know if you've ever really paid attention to me during a big event, but when I'm in the midst of a big event, I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I am scrambling. There is so many things to do, right. This was the, you got to see it every sunday when we were doing services outside every sunday for the year, right? Like there was just, oh my goodness, there's always more to do. It's not quite done yet and still, you know, services going on and there's still things to be checked and things to be worked on and there's just so much happening and it's so easy in the midst of that big event where there's a lot of activity and there's a lot of responsibility and there's potential dangerous and threats and potential problems and you're waiting to see what's happening and how things are unfolding. It's it's very difficult in those times. Often to take a breath uh and meet with the Lord. But here in the midst of this situation, this isn't like Joshua went away for a couple of days and went on a retreat and got up to the mountain and spent some time, you know this is right in the middle of activity and responsibility and chaos. I would suggest in many ways the Lord speaks to Joshua that Joshua gives God a moment. He gives got an opportunity to speak into that situation and into that life even though God had given Joshua the instruction about how to cross the river and putting the priests in the water and the water would stop and the people would cross over. Got it laid out all that instruction for him in advance. There was still more instruction that God wanted to give him. He didn't give him every detail of all the instruction for the whole crossing. He gave him what he needed to get started and then Joshua needed to meet with God in the midst of this big event while the activity is happening in order to continue to receive that instruction from the Lord. It's a great example for us to teach us to remind us that we need to keep on listening to God and giving the opportunity to speak to us even while we're in the process of obeying the last thing he said and even while we're in the process of this big activity or this much chaos that is going on. now, the instruction that God gives him is to grab 12 guys from the tribes of Israel one from each tribe there to go and get these large stones and carry them out of the Jordan and they're going to take them to where they camp. So they'll set up a monument to remind them of how the Lord brought them across the Jordan river. And that would also be 12 stones from the shore. That would be taken into the Jordan river and set up there as a monument so that it would forever testify of God's work in bringing them across. And so this instruction was reserved for right in the middle. It's kind of like near the end we thought it was over just about to call in the priest, a priest, come on in. You know, everybody is over, it's safe. Now wait, here's you know, breaking news from the Lord. There's a little bit more, one more piece of instruction that we need to execute to accomplish in this event. Meet with God during big events. Now that's not just church events, right? I'm not, I use that as an example because that's my real life, but you know, whatever that means for you in the midst of a crazy situation in the midst of some difficult things, some things that are just, it's hard, you just barely managing and coping with the situation, make sure that you give God some moments, make sure that you give God some opportunity to connect with him and hear from him that you would get direction from him if he desires to give it. It reminded me of Nehemiah remember Nehemiah the beginning part of the book, he heard about the condition of Jerusalem. This is many years after Israel had been in the land and then conquered and taken out of the land. So near Mya's not in Israel, he's far away, he's in slavery in a sense, he's in submission to a king as a servant of the king. He hears about the situation back in Israel, He wants to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. So he's praying about it, he's seeking the Lord, about it, spending a lot of time. And chapter one records that. But then near my chapter two, the king notices that Nehemiah is preoccupied, he notices that there's something going on in his mind. And so he says, hey Nehemiah, what's going on? Like, why, why are you down? Why are you, I can see that you're struggling with something, you've got something heavy on your mind. What's happening and what is it that you need? And I like near my chapter two verse four, the king said to me, what do you request? So I prayed to the God of heaven and I said to the king if it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah to the city of my father's tunes that I may rebuild it. And here again. The noteworthy thing here is that it's just a moment. The king says, what is it that you request? Nehemiah says a prayer and then answers the king's question. When we talk about meeting with God, it doesn't necessarily have to be an hour and a half church service or a two hour church services. If jerry is teaching right, it doesn't have to be a long drawn out encounter. We need those encounters in our life, those long periods of time. But when we talk about meeting with God during big events, I'm suggesting that we give God lots of little opportunities that in the midst of a moment maybe it's even in the middle of a conversation, I pray to the Lord and then I continue, I pray to the Lord. I seek him. I'm asking him for help. I'm inviting him to speak. I give him a moment to speak to my heart and then you know, continue on with the responsibilities that he's given to me and continue to press forward with the instruction that he has given. So Joshua here provides a good example for us meet with God during big events it's a way for us to express coverage. 35 and six, trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding and all of your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths. That we would give him opportunity to direct us. Even in the midst of those crazy moments, those crazy busy times, those big events and activities that were involved with. Well continuing on now we're going to jump onto Joshua chapter five and look at verse one through five for point number two, here's point to meet with God after miracles. Meet with God after miracles, here's what it says, Joshua chapter five, verses one through five. So it was when all the kings of the Emirates who were on the west side of the Jordan and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before. The Children of Israel until we had crossed over that their heart melted and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the Children of Israel at that time, the Lord said to Joshua make flint knives for yourselves and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time. So Joshua made flint knives for himself and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins and this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them all The people who came out of Egypt who were males. All the men of war had died in the wilderness on the way after they had come out of Egypt. For all the people who had come out had been circumcised. But all the people born in the wilderness on the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised Here in Joshua, Chapter five just after they've crossed the river. Now God gives them some very strange instruction strategically. It's very strange. Again, looking at this just from a human perspective, if you're looking at it, you know, seeking military council or strategy, it would seem that now would be the perfect time as they've crossed over to attack the nations that God has sent them in to drive out. Because verse one tells us all the nations are completely discouraged and freaked out at this time because they heard about this miracle. Now, as always, whenever they're miracles recorded in the bible, there are some who, you know, try to tone down. The miracle is not so amazing as maybe it sounds right. But here we can understand it was a miracle because the people of the land were so astonished by it. It says that they their hearts are melted within them. They had no strength because they heard about this miracle. It was a testimony to them that Israel's God was a big God who had done this incredible thing. And so now the enemies of Israel are in a position of great weakness. great discouragement seems like a great opportunity militarily strategically to advance to push the people out to run out or drive out the inhabitants of the land as God had instructed them and we could look at the situation and it expects Joshua here too, get the army to march forward and go on the attack on the offensive. But instead God chose this time for Israel to become incredibly vulnerable. He chose for this time for them to become the weakest that they could possibly be because in verse two and three, God instructs Joshua to now circumcise the men of the nation. The men of the Children of Israel strategically. This is really bad timing because this process would physically basically take all of the soldiers out of action out of commission. They would not be available for any kind of conflict, any kind of battle for some time after this, they would be vulnerable because they would have no defenses. All the men would be on the sidelines essentially, they would be unable to defend if they were under attack. We have a really A good example of this or a description of this in Genesis chapter 34 where earlier in their history, they were passing through the land, There was a situation that happened with one of the daughters of Jacob and Genesis chapter 34 records this event where this city wants to do business essentially with the brothers of Israel, The sons of Israel. Now, I'm not talking about the nation at this time, it's just the family. Right? So Israel is actually the name of the father and then he has 12 sons. And so that's what we're talking about in Genesis chapter 34. But so anyways, they make a deal with the town. They say, look, we'll hang out here, we'll trade and do business together. It'll be a good economical arrangement. But in order for that to happen, you need to be circumcised, they said to this city and the greediness of the guys in the city said, okay, that's the sacrifice will make. So they go through that. But when they're in this incredible pain, it tells us in genesis chapter 34 verse 25 two of the sons of Jacob, also known as Israel Simeon and Levi. These are the two brothers uh they take their sort, they come boldly upon the city and they kill all the males. So in this state of great vulnerability, the whole city is wiped out because they are unable to defend themselves against two guides Simeon and Levi because well they're in incredible pain as a result of the circumcision. So that gives us a little bit of an idea of the danger that Israel could be in in this moment in the book of Joshua because if two guys can take out the whole city and there's nations around Israel in their position of vulnerability, they're completely weak and open to this kind of attack with no real defense against it. And if you're thinking strategically, I think we could probably come up with 100 other times. That would have been a better time to do this. Like just a few days earlier on the other side of the Jordan would have been a better time because again the enemies all around them on that side of the Jordan had been defeated and so they were relatively safe and at least they had the border of the wall of the overflowing Jordan river on that side to protect them from the other enemies that were there. So it would have been so much safer for them to do the circumcision before they crossed the Jordan. But God didn't do that, it would have been so much safer for them to do it in the wilderness. You know, they spent 40 years wandering around around, around, around, around the were attacked here and there, but they were relatively safe during that time. They wouldn't have experienced such a great threat. They're in the wilderness as they did now just entering into enemy territory strategically, it might have been a better time to do it in the wilderness, might have been a better time to do it before they crossed the Jordan river or strategically, it might have been a better time after they finished conquering the promised land, like, you know, wait until you in and then you know, do this where you're going to become so vulnerable, wait until the victory is established and sure, and then do this would be perhaps the strategic council that we would give. But that's not what God chose to do after this great miracle, where it seems so logical, so likely that there's going to be now in advancing in a great way, Joshua in meeting with God, understood now there's something else that we must do first. Yeah, because the nation of Israel was only as strong as the relationship with God. The nation of Israel is only as strong as their relationship with God. That's the reality for us as well. Circumcision was a physical act that pictured a spiritual condition. It pictured the covenant that God had made with his people. It was a covenant that began with Abraham and I'm not going to go into all of the details of that. But but circumcision was the indication that they were participating in that covenant that they were part of the promises that God had given to Abraham, You've heard of the ark of the covenant. Well, we're in where as we call it circumcision. The mark of the covenant, I kind of like that, it's the mark of the covenants. The indicator that that we are part of the promises that God has given to Abraham. And so it was a physical thing, but it represented something really strong, that connection to God, the relationship with God. It also pictured for them that obedience to God in Deuteronomy chapter 10 moses explains that circumcision refers to the foreskin of the heart. It pictures the sinful nature and the cutting off of that sinful nature, that stubbornness, that it would leave us then obedient to God submitted to God. And so this is an important thing for them to declare it's an important thing for them to come to the Lord in this attitude, this heart, the physical act was important because it pictured this spiritual condition and the fact that they would do this in the midst of the danger and the threat. The vulnerability pictures for us. This was really the condition of their heart. They were not going to be stubborn, they were going to listen to God and be submitted to God, even if it meant that they were incredibly vulnerable in enemy territory, in a dangerous place to be. It was their reestablishing of this covenant with God, establishing themselves as obedient servants of the Lord. And so meet with God after miracles and you're like, well after reading this, I don't know if I want to, but that's the point, You know, sometimes after a miracle after a great victory in our lives, we can kind of feel invincible. And so we don't check in with the Lord because we're on this like victory high. We feel so great about the things that have happened. And so we does march forward Now on to the next thing. And let's have victory in that area too. And and we can get into this mode of going forth to conquer and to accomplish. And we need to make sure after a victory, after a miracle after God has done something great in our lives that we take some time to meet with the Lord and allow him to give us the direction the next steps that we need. Because maybe what we need is not another victory. But maybe what we need is a great vulnerability. Maybe what we need is to re evaluate our covenant with God, reaffirm and reconnect with God in a special way. Maybe what we need is some downtime with the Lord. Maybe what we need is something completely different than what we think. Pastor Warren Rizvi says it took faith for Joshua and the people to obey the Lord, but their obedience to the law was the secret of their success. The obedience to the law was the secret of their success. Remember back in Joshua, Chapter one, God told Joshua, don't let this book of the law depart from your lips, meditate on it day and night and then you will be prosperous and successful. He told Joshua, Look, the key to your success is found in obedience to the word of God. The key to your success is found in the scriptures and the carrying out of my instruction. That was the key to their success. The secrets of their success. The same is true for us. We want to have victory. We want to have success. We want to experience all that God has for us. It comes back to that obedience to God the listening to the instruction of the Lord. Many times it's after miracles that we rush ahead. We don't check in and we forget to allow God to redirect us. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all of your ways, acknowledge him and he shot director paths Moving on to Joshua. Chapter six We get the third point to consider this morning and that is meet with God before battles. This one is probably maybe the most obvious of them so far right. Yes, I understand. After a miracle, I might just Russian, you know, I might not think about it, I might just head on into the next thing, but before a battle, that's when I'm most likely To spend some time with God is I'm facing a challenge that is big. That is difficult. And so we see them face something like that here in Joshua. Chapter six. Their first battle in the land Against Jericho. Let's check out Joshua. Chapter six, verses 1 through five. Here's what it says. Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the Children of Israel. None went out and none came in and the Lord said to Joshua, see I have given Jericho into your hand. It's king and the mighty men of Valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war, you shall go all around the city once This you shall do six days and seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of ram's horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times and the priest shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass when they make a long blast with the ram's horn. And when you hear the sound of the trumpet that all the people shall shout with a great shout. Then the wall of the city will fall down flat and the people shall go up every man straight before him. Here we have the famous accounts, the battle of Jericho and God gives Joshua the battle plans here in these first five verses, it tells us in verse one that Jericho was securely shut up. It was locked down. They were on lockdown. They're on high alert because the Children of Israel had come into the land. They were preparing for this attack from Israel. Jericho was the strongest fortress in the area There. uh city was secured not just by a wall, but by double walls. They had two layers of walls. So they had the outer wall that went around the city and About 15 ft inside from that they had another wall. And so this was protecting them doubly. They had extra protection against attacks like they were about to experience with the Children of Israel and there's um excavations of the area that Show The Foundation of these two walls that were around the city of Jericho and so it was incredibly secure. They were prepared for the battle. This was going to be kind of the hardest of the cities to conquer in that way because while their strength Was strong, their fortress was strong and they were not going to be caught off guard. They weren't going to be like surprised, they couldn't ambush them. They knew everything that was going on. In fact you saw with the spies that went on in chapter 2 uh the king of Jericho is being informed hey, these two guys crossed over the river, they made their way into the city of Jericho that like they were watching, they were prepared, they were ready for this battle. It was the strongest city people that were strong and ready for the battle. But notice what God says in verse to see, I have given Jericho into your hand, notice the way that God talks about this, he talks about it in the past tense, I have given Jericho into your head. This victory is for sure this victory is assured. It is guaranteed. I have given this city into your hand. You are going to win this battle. But what's interesting is the method God's promises there. His instruction is not what you would think to go along with that promise or to fulfill that promise. He doesn't say, okay, Joshua, here's how to build good siege equipment. Here's how to attack the city that is locked down with double walls and I'm going to teach you, you know how to scale the wall and jump from one wall to the other wall and then you know, he's not going to teach them how to be superheroes or anything like that. He is instead going to instruct them to not attack the city directly, but instead to walk around it Verse three, you shall March around the city, all you men of war, you shall go around the city once and you should do that for sixties and so for six days they'll just get up, they'll march around the perimeter of the city and then go home, go back to camp the seven day they marched around the city seven days. God gives them all this instruction At the end of that 7th time around then they would sound the trumpets, The people would shout with a great shout and God says the walls will fall down flat, so much so that the people will go up every man straight before him. So if you can picture you know them kind of surrounding the city of Jericho after this trumpet sounds and all the people shout that the walls are just going to collapse and essentially build ramps up for them to rush into the city to conquer it. It's not going to fall in a way that is now an obstacle for the people they have to get over but the walls are going to fall down flat so they can just, it's like they just built a road right into the city as these walls collapsed. You can look at verses three through five and properly identify it as strange battle tactics, right? This is not something that would be given strategically by any military person or general. This is not something that we would come up with in our own minds because it doesn't make sense. This is not how you attack a city, but God tells Joshua you have the victory. I've given the city into your hand and so here's what to do. Here is the plan and it may not make sense to us, but that's okay because well Isaiah chapter 55 or 69. Very important. God says my thoughts are not your thoughts and we can look at what the Lord told Joshua hear and understand the thoughts that God gave to Joshua there. Those were not Joshua's thoughts, Joshua didn't pitch this to Lord. Okay, Lord, I have this idea what if we march around the city and they're just completely quiet for six days. And then on the seventh day we marched around the city were quiet, still quiet until the very end and then we shout like that would be amazing. I think we should do that plan. That was not Joshua's pitched to the Lord, Joshua didn't come up with this plan, Joshua would have never come up with this plan because Joshua's thoughts were not God's thoughts and God's thoughts are not your thoughts. Your ways are not God's ways. He goes on to say in Isaiah 55 9 as the heavens are higher than the Earth. So are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts, God says you're playing at this level, right? I'm playing at that level. I know what's going on. The Lord says, I know the best strategies. I know the best tactics. I know how to handle these things. I have a better way and you're never going to think of it on your own. There's that saying, you know that God works in mysterious ways And it's a true saying kind of bugs me when it said because usually it's like, you know, God does weird things. But but it's true because God's ways are not our ways. It's true because it's a mystery to us. The biblical idea of the word mystery is something that could could not be known unless God revealed it. And in that way, I wholeheartedly say God's ways are mysterious that we cannot know exactly what God is doing unless he reveals it, unless he shows us, unless he tells us because his ways are so much higher than our ways. You know, even if you are this much smarter than I am and someone else is that much smarter than you and then someone else is not much smarter than that person like we were never going to be close to reaching the height above the heavens. And that's how high God's ways are above our ways and above our thoughts. And so God says, here's what I want you to do. Here's how you're going to have victory. It doesn't make sense. It's not a human strategy, but it's God's strategy and he's a promised victory with it. Now, as you go on through the chapter, you see, it happens exactly like God said, They march around on the seventh day, they marched around a few times and then they shout and then the walls fall down and they go in and they conquered the city. There's much wrestling over the years over how exactly that happened. Did God physically knocked down the walls? Did God perfectly time it with an earthquake so that the walls knocked down and the miracle was that God knew exactly when the earthquake was going to happen. So he timed it. So the Children of Israel shouted at just the right time and then the earthquake shook and the walls fell down. Did God have some insight perhaps into the weakness of the wall we saw just last month, that tragedy in florida, right? The seaside tower collapsing and the weakness, the structural integrity had uh, you know, been compromised and just suddenly came down maybe something like that. So God knew that. And the miracle was that he timed it right, so that all of this took place at that time. Listen, however, you try to figure this out, it's impressive miracle of God that he accomplished this purpose and it was carried out. It happened exactly the way that he had described. And as they followed his instruction, they found victory. Pastor David Music says obviously it was something that God could have done without Israel's help at all. But he wanted them to be part of his work as he wants us to be part of his work today in this battle. In this case, they didn't have to use a lot of military strategy. Now in other battles, God will call them to use traditional types of strategy in their battles. And it's not that every battle is fought this way, but this battle is fought this way. And it's clear from the events that happened, God could have, he didn't need them to march around seven times. He didn't need that, but he involved them in it so that they could be part of his work. The battle belongs to the Lord and that is the truth, but he also gives us parts to play in the battle. But we need to meet with God regarding the battle and before the battle because the part that he gives us to play is different depending on his thoughts and his ways which are far above our own. And sometimes we can face a battle. We can face a challenge a difficulty and have it already in our head. An idea of, okay, this is how to handle this kind of situation. But maybe God wants you to do something completely different than you could come up with or think about. Sometimes God's going to want you to fight in a battle. Sometimes God's going to want you to march quietly. Sometimes God is going to want you to shout and yell. Sometimes he's going to want you to grab a sling and some stones. Sometimes he's going to want you to sing and praise. There's so many different ways that God can work and provide victory for us. And so it's essential for us to not just enter in, even if we fought that battle 100 times before to not just enter in with our battle plan, but to meet with God before the battle and let God lay out the instruction that he wants to give to us as we walk through this life, there's going to be some big battles challenging fortresses, things that tower above us and God has promised as victory. He's promised us, he will work all things together for good. He's promised us to accomplish good things in our lives in the midst of those difficulties that we face. We can trust him in that with all of our hearts. But we need to not lean on our own understanding and just rest in the strategies, the experiences that we have, but to allow him to direct our paths. Pastor Warren Grigsby says no situation is too great for the Lord to handle and no problem is too much for him to solve. God always knows what he will do. Our responsibility is to wait for him to tell us all that we need to know and then we'll be it and all the battles that we face. This is our biggest responsibility to hear from the Lord, get his instruction and then to walk in it. Well, finally, I want to encourage you in one more point. Looking now at chapter seven versus one through five, here's point number four. Do not skip a meeting with God. Here in Chapter seven, we learn a valuable lesson along with Joshua not to skip those meetings that he desires to have with us versus one through five says this, but the Children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed of things for a king. The son of Car me, the son of Zab D. The son of the era of the tribe of Judah took of the accursed and things. So the anger of the Lord burned against the Children of Israel. Now, Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethel, even on the east side of Bethel and spoke to them saying, go up and spy out the country. So the men went up and spied out Ai and they returned to Joshua and said to him, Do not let all the people go up, But let about two or 3000 men go up and attack a. I do not worry all the people there, for the people of Ai are few. So about 3000 men went up from there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai And the men of Ai struck down about 36 men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shabbir um and struck them down on the descent. Therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water. Remember just a few chapters ago the inhabitants of the land, their hearts melted and they became weak. Now it's Israel's turn and it comes about because first of all there's sin in the camp. Back at the Battle of Jericho God had given clear instructions. Don't take anything for yourself. None of the goods that you find are you too keep for yourselves? None of the treasures that you find are yours. Now. Later on other battles, those treasures would be the reward for the soldiers as they fought. But for this first battle God give the instruction. Don't touch anything. Don't take it for yourself. And here we find that this man akin disobeyed. He saw some garments, he saw something that looked really good to him? He said, I really want those things. He took them, buried them in his tent and kept them for himself, deacon new his family knew. But overall the people as a whole, we're not aware of this sin had been committed, but it had been committed. And so it tells us that the universe one that the anger of the lord burned against the Children of Israel even though it was just this one man, this one family that had sinned. It was a problem for the whole nation. Mhm. Because there was this issue of sin that needed to be addressed within their midst. But as you go on in diverse two and 3, you see that Joshua doesn't follow his normal pattern. and verse two, it tells us he sends men to to scope out a I to be scouts to spy out the land That was normal. He did that with Jericho right back in chapter two when the guys returned, they gave their counsel not a problem for them to give their perspective. That's why he sent them. They come back and they say, look, there's a small city and you know, maybe there's some wisdom in not bringing the whole army. We don't want to wear everybody out. It's not going to take the whole army, just a couple of 1000 people should be able to do it because the city is so small and so they give their perspective. Nothing wrong with that. The problem is that now Joshua, does it feel like I'm talking to you Joshua. Alright. So Joshua, he heeds their counsel. He receives their instruction says that sounds great to me. Let's do it. He skips right over connecting with God and seeing if that's the same instruction that God wanted to give, If God says, hey, that's good counsel, go for it, then they could go for it and everything would be great. But he didn't check in with the Lord. Now again, meeting with God was really a strength for Joshua generally speaking in his life, but there were times that he failed in that strength even though it was a strength, even though it was a normal characteristic of his life here at a I he doesn't meet with God and as a result there's a defeat here And 36 people die as a result because he didn't connect with the Lord 1st. He didn't hear from God before he gave his answer and gave his instruction. We're going to see this happen again in Joshua Chapter nine. So as we continue on reading through Joshua this week, there's going to be a group of people from Gibby in that put forth a fake story, but it makes it sound really good. And so it tells us specifically that they did not ask counsel of the Lord because their story made so much sense. It was so convincing. We don't need to pray about this. We don't need to ask God about this. We could see for ourselves very plainly what the what the situation is. And so they made their decision without seeking God's direction. I think this might be the most challenging point for us to really implement because it is situations like that where we get ourselves in trouble, where it just seems so clear and so obvious that were convinced, I don't need to pray about this. I don't need to ask God about this. And so we just move on in the council that were given or the idea that we have the instruction that we think is best and it can be a real challenge to catch those things because how do you catch the things that you don't know to look out for? Right. How do you catch the things that you don't even pause and think about it? Those are hard things to catch. You can really only catch them after the fact. And so perhaps it would be good for you to kind of develop a bit of a review habit for yourself that maybe you at the end of the day review your day and say, okay, Lord was their decisions that I made today that I was just convinced already had the answer. So I didn't give you an opportunity to speak on. Maybe there's some conversations I need to go back and have an uh instruction I need to give or forgiveness. I need to ask for things I need to correct because I just marched ahead thinking I had all the right thoughts, right ideas and right perspective in my mind. The scriptures speak of the importance of in the wisdom of good counsel and we need to have good counsel. We need to have counsel from the wise people around us. These guys come back, they have their counsel. That was good. The problem is when it's just counsel from other people because, well, even when it's counsel from wise people, you could even say, even when it's counsel from spiritual people, Godly people, we're all still limited in the same way Isaiah chapter 55: verse eight and 9 still applies to our good counselors. The Lord's thoughts and the Lord's ways are high above their ways. Now. Many times, God is going to say, here's my way, listen to this council that is being given to you. But there's also this times where God says, I know that's the council that you're being given and that's what seems to be the wise thing. But in this case, I want to do something different again, the Wise counsel of others around Joshua would never Instruct him to March around Jericho seven times or six days and then seven times on the seventh day like that would have never come to the mind of Joshua or his counselors. And so there is a limitation on the council that we receive. It's not the final authority in our lives. It's not the way to trust in the Lord with all of our heart, it's important. We need to seek counsel. But then we also need to give God the final say, the final authority to say. Yeah, that's good counsel. Do it or no, that's not good counsel. I have a different plan for this situation. Joshua heard from these counselors sent the guys out. 3000 went up, but they were defeated strongly. They fled before the men of Ai 36 people died as they ran away and the hearts of Israel melted and became like water. Here we learn an important lesson. Do not skip a meeting with God. Don't skip that. Even if it just seems so clear, so easy. Even if you've got really good counsel and you got like all of this protection, like we all agree, we're all you know in agreement and understand this is a great course. It should be no problem. Let's go ahead and do it. It could be very dangerous to skip that meeting with God. To skip that receiving of instruction from God and to just move forward into what we think is best. Listen, strengths are often blind spots for us. Meeting with God was a strength in Joshua's life. And so it seemed clear, it seemed like he would not struggle in this. But often times where we are strong is also where we are vulnerable because we think we're strong. Peter thought he was strong and the Lord told him, look, you think you're strong, but the strength that you think you have is not as strong as you think. And when there's going to be a moment of weakness and you're going to fall in this strength, your boldness, your confidence, it's not as strong as you think. Strengths are often blind spots for us And can be problematic for us. And so we need to take heed even in those areas where we think, oh yeah, I got this, I've done this 1000 times. I've taught Sunday school 100 times before. I know how to do this. I can do this and we just march on. And God says, you didn't you didn't give me an opportunity to direct, you didn't give me an opportunity to give you the insight that you needed for this particular battle for this particular situation. Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians chapter 10. These things referring to the old testament, the Children of Israel and their experiences. These things happen to them as examples were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed. Let's see fall. Those areas, especially where we think we stand where we think we've got it covered. We think we know what's going on. We think we know the best route. Again, We have the strength, a lot of experience, paul says, watch out. There's examples here in the old testament of of so many who have gone before us, who thought they hadn't figured out, they thought they had the good plan. But it's not a good plan. If you haven't given got an opportunity to direct and got me confirmed the plan and say yeah that's true, that's good counsel. Go for it. But you need to let God have the final say. You need to give God an opportunity to give the final direction for your life and so meet with God for direction during big events, make sure you take a moment and meet with the Lloyd. Give him an opportunity to redirect to add new instruction to change the instruction shared this example on Wednesday. But you know Abraham, he heard from God about, he was to sacrifice his son Isaac and if he had just continued to march forward without hearing from God again, he would have carried out that sacrifice. But God spoke to him again before the actual event and said no no don't do it. Here's a ram. You can sacrifice that to the Lord. That was just a test. But Abraham had to continue to be seeking the Lord and be hearing from the Lord in order for that to happen for you and I as well, during big events, when we've got instruction from God and things are happening and there's lots of chaos going on. It's easy to just keep marching forward to be caught up in the moment. But take a breath, take a step back and give God opportunity throughout that event, throughout those activities to let God redirect and speak to you new direction that he wants to give meet with God after miracles after victories, it may not seem appearance in the moment. The rejoicing that's going on, the celebration, that's going on, the the good thing that God is done. Oh, it's so great. It may not be apparent that we need to meet with God, but we need to meet with God in those moments and allow God to speak to us and direct us because maybe the things that we're planning now after this victory, now we're going to move on and we have ideas in our minds, but God is going to say no, no, there's something else more important. First, your relationship with me, your covenant with me, your commitment to me is more important than any opportunity that might seem to be there 1st. We need to spend some time together, meet with God before battles, don't just come up with your own strategies for those difficulties that God set the strategies. And even if they don't make sense, even if they seem like nobody would ever come up with this, nobody would ever advise this. Let God give you the battle plans. Let God give you the tactics that he wants you to employ and the difficulty and the challenge that you face. And finally, don't skip those meetings, there's a bunch more that we could consider of course. But looking at the life of Joshua, we see some good examples for us to consider. We need to meet with God so that we trust in the Lord with all of our heart so that we do not lean on our own understanding and just come up with our plans and what we can figure out what we can come up with. But instead we look to him, We acknowledge him and everything that we do give him the opportunity to direct our paths. Meet with God. He has direction for you. Let's pray Lord, We thank you for your word and the great reminder today, Lord of your desire to meet with us and Lord, you have direction for us. You have perfect plans for us, plans of peace and not of evil. You want to do good. You want to lead us to victory. And so what I pray that you would help us to really trust you for that. And Lord, would you give us the direction that we need to hear? I pray Lord that you would stir up our hearts and minds that we would be quick to recognize where we're skipping the direction meeting with you where we're pushing it off or postponing it and putting it to another day. But Lord help us to keep those appointments, Lord, to give you an opportunity to speak into our lives and to speak into the moments of chaos and hustle and bustle. What may we give you opportunity to direct? To redirect, correct or that your instruction that your ways and your thoughts would prevail and have a higher priority in our lives than what we think, than what we want than our goals and our pursuits. Lord May, you truly be first. Help us to trust in you and follow your direction. We pray this in jesus name. Amen.