Finding Rest in Obedience

by | Jun 16, 2024 | Podcast, Sermons

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Preacher: Pastor David Ball

Scripture: Joshua 11

God promises us rest and peace in faithful obedience to His Word. The challenge of the human heart is trust in those promises. We tend to think that we can find rest and fulfilment by doing the things we want to do and fear following God will bring us heartache and disappointment. How can we come to a place of trusting in the promises of God? Only through the goodness of God in the perfect obedience of His Son Jesus Christ.



Yeah how does this passage point us to Jesus right this was uh again another uh brutal uh brutal account from from Joshua uh for those who maybe are our guests for the first time or haven’t been with us uh we’re going through the Book of Joshua uh as we as the Lord Was preparing uh a people for himself his people to be his representatives to for them to be his people in The Chosen land uh to be a blessing to the Nations through this whole time of Conquest he was preparing them he was preparing them to be the people uh that he wanted them to be a people that would listen to his voice a people that would follow him a people that would be a reflection of who he was to to the rest of the Nations to the rest of the world and I believe as we’ve been using we’ve been preaching through and reading this uh this book of Joshua because I believe the Lord’s preparing us to be the kind of people that he wants us to be as he prepares us for the promised land of our our new building uh that is being uh worked on right now uh in this time of waiting he he’s working on our hearts he’s showing us just as he was showing his people who he wants us to be that we might be a blessing to the Nations that we might be a blessing to our communities that we might be uh a blessing and a reflection of the Lord and of his gospel to a people who don’t know him and so last week in Joshua 10 uh we we look closely at these group of gibian ites who are mentioned uh here uh this evening in in Joshua 11 as well of how these these gibian ites who who were the recipients of a very undeserved Grace from God uh they were the only ones who had uh who had come over to the Lord and who had s sought a covenant with uh with God’s people as we heard in that reading no one else did uh but if you’ll remember they did it in a very dubious way in fact in an underhanded way they tricked God’s people uh they told them that they were a people from a far off land but they had heard about all the things that God was doing and so they wanted to come and they wanted to throw their lot in with uh with Israel they tricked them and so uh Israel did make a covenant with them uh only to find out that they had been tricked uh but God didn’t uh didn’t destroy them in fact uh God’s people upheld that agreement uh and lived by it and then in in Joshua 10 specifically when the five Kings of the amorites had heard uh what what these giban ites had done that they had thrown their lot in with Israel they ra the king of Jerusalem uh raised up all the five Kings of the amorites and they came up against the

gianitsos uh but they were full of fear they struggled uh with being able to have a sense of security uh probably because they had been so dubious and how they had uh they had gained the uh the Covenant and the the treaty with Israel itself but how did God respond to these uh to these deceiving giban ites he sent Joshua and the people of Israel they came in a hurry uh as giban ites cried out for help and for Mercy uh that God answered it and God brought Joshua and they rushed to to Israel rushed to the rescue and defeated uh those uh th those five Kings who were attacking and so we learned in the process that to be to be a people who trust in the grace of God that when you have received the grace of God that he is with us and that he helps us and he will rescue us even in the darkest and hardest times of Our Lives that God is worthy of our trust and this week as we turn to Joshua 11 what would I believe Joshua 11 is teaching us and what the Lord is teaching us is that we are to be a people of obedience he’s teaching us that we are to be a people who are obedient to his word but a heart of obedience doesn’t come from just trying harder it doesn’t come from just uh hearing the harsh words of your father on Father’s Day right uh and listening to his word being more doesn’t come being obedient doesn’t come from just being more determined to do what’s right true obedience the kind of obedience that is pleasing to the Lord the kind of obedience that the Lord is looking for from us is birthed by the inworking of the goodness of God in our lives and we see that happening in Joshua 11 and consquently in the way the gospel is revealed to us in Joshua 11 and so I want to to look at this passage a little more closely together this evening uh no one apparently noticed that last week I omitted uh verse chapter 10 verses 29 to 43 43 uh and I was expecting someone to call me on it uh because I had boldly made a claim a few weeks ago that we were going to go through every single word of the Book of Joshua and that I was determined uh well I had to give in it was really long and there was not enough time so uh so I hope you went back and you you read about the the rest of the conquest of Southern Canaan uh because that’s what those verses were about uh and since you didn’t complain you either didn’t notice uh or you’re just so full of grace and compassion and love for me that uh uh which I’m sure is the case that uh that you didn’t care to mention it uh but today we turn to Joshua 11 and here as we ended that chapter the previous chapter ended with the conquest of Southern Canaan uh today is the conquest of Northern Canaan and in truth it’s much the same it’s much the same as what was revealed in southern Canaan uh when the northern Nations and their kings heard about the southern Conquest uh they they rose up together they gathered their troops and unified as one Army uh it was a little different the five Kings they all in the in the South and the amorites they gathered but they weren’t really unified under one leader uh they were a little bit scattered with the five Kings Still uh leading their respective armies but here they came together and they fight against the Israel as one and we’re told in verse four that they were a great horde a number like the sand that is on the seashore with very many horses and chariots so it’s it’s a formidable force that is uh that is standing before Joshua in Israel but in verse six the Lord said this to Joshua do not be afraid of them for tomorrow at this time I will give over all of them slain to Israel does this sound familiar it should if you’ve been with us during this series this is a repeated pattern over and over and over again it started in Joshua chapter 1 and since I know our memories are not so great uh I’m going to go back to to remind you this is what uh in calling and commissioning Joshua this is what God Said to Joshua no man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life just as I was with Moses so I will be with you I will not leave you or forsake you be strong and courageous for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them only be strong and very courageous being careful to do according to the law that which Moses my servant commanded you do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left that you may have good success wherever you go this book of the law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful 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 have I not commanded you be strong and courageous do not be frightened and do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go and then in Joshua CH 3: 7 and 8 the Lord said to Joshua today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all of Israel that they may know that as I was with Moses so I will be with you and as you command the priest to Bear the Ark of the Covenant again God pro makes a promise and he gives Direction in Joshua CH 4 verses 1 through3 the Lord says when when all the nations had finished passing over the Jordan the Lord said to Joshua take 12 men from the people from each tribe a man and command them saying take 12 Stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan from The Very place where the priest Fe feet stood firmly and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you where you lodge tonight again the command to Joshua and Joshua listened and the people followed Joshua to five God commanded Joshua to circumcise the sons of Israel and they obey Joshua then follows where the Lord LED and Joshua six in the fall of Jericho verses 2 and three this is what we’re told and the Lord said to Joshua see I have given Jericho into your hands and its king and the Mighty Men of Valor you shall March around the city all the men of War going around the city once remember and then the big display of the Anglican procession that happened around uh around Jericho but then we get to Joshua 7 and there was a break there was a break and Joshua 7 God did not command and yet the people took it on themselves to go and scout out Ai and they took uh and then their own human judgment they sent just a few to conquer the city and they were routed and defeated but then after repentance and returning to the Lord in Joshua 8 verses 1 and two and the Lord said to Joshua do not fear and do not be dismayed take all the fighting men with you and arise go to AI see I have given into your hand the king of AI and his people his City and his land and then Joshua 10 and defend being called to defend gibian and the Lord said to Joshua do not fear them for I have given them into your hand it’s a pattern that go over and repeats itself over and over and over again and God makes a promise and a command at the same time calling them to action and then we see again and again Joshua obeys by faith and directs Israel into following where the Lord’s leading and by obedience and following the Lord and where he’s leading they’re Victorious they succeed they’re prosperous just as God had had promised to Joshua when he commanded when he uh consecrated him and called him to take command of Israel the pattern this pattern goes all the way up back even further it goes for we see it in Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and in Moses god commands by way of Promise he calls to faithful obedience and through faithful obedience there’s success and blessing and victory and here in Joshua it continues God gives Joshua the promise and with that promise a command and Joshua obeys by faith and God gives them the victory over the northern

kingdoms it’s a beautiful site it’s one that makes sense right but there’s a flips side to this as well back in back back to Joshua’s call from God in the beginning in Joshua 1 he said only be strong and courageous being careful to do according to all the law that Moses the servant my servant commanded you do not turn from it to the right or to the left that you may have good success wherever you go God’s promise is dependent upon their obedience for its success but what and what success would that be well uh Joshua 1 says that they will prosper so the other side of it is depart from God’s command and you will face defeat and failure it’s what happened at AI that we saw in Joshua 7 Joshua 11 gives us another picture though of what faithful obedience to God’s command ultimately gives us in our lives at the very end of 11 in verse 23 that very last sentence almost kind of seems like a throwaway sentence right we’re told this and the land had rest from War and the land had rest from war after all the conflict after all the battles after all the the Bloodshed all the the cleansing of what had been happening in Israel under under these nations that have been occupying the promised land that God had had an abundance of patience for but now had brought his judgment upon now through faithful obedience to the command of God there’s finally rest there’s finally rest well what does that mean that there’s finally rest well the word the Hebrew word it means to be quiet or to be undisturbed it’s also translated as peace there was finally peace in the land faithful obedience to the command of God brings peace in the land peace between nations and peace with God and this is what we’re really longing for isn’t it aren’t we all longing for that peace isn’t there just a sense of of relief especially having been been reading Joshua all this time uh and it’s been harsh it’s been difficult I mean to make a movie of Joshua it’s getting an our rating uh unless you really dumb it down it’s getting an R rating there’s there’s no there’s no other way but there’s this longing we have in the human heart for peace what a relief that finally rest has come and I think we all every one of us want that kind of Peace we want that kind of rest on this Father’s Day don’t we just us fathers don’t you just want a little rest don’t ask me anything don’t tell me to do anything today I just want peace but we want peace in our lives we want peace in our country we want peace in our world and God has given us and Joshua 11’s pointing us to the path of peace that he is offering to us it’s through faithful obedience to his command that’s where peace comes from there’s no other way the only way to peace is righteousness with God to be in a right relationship with him and so if you want peace be obedient that’s the right just requirement of the law no problem right so go home resolve your will be obedient tomorrow you’ll have

peace this is actually a big problem it’s a big problem and it’s a problem that’s more than we ourselves can bear because no matter how righteous we think that we are and I know we all think that we are Romans 3:10 Paul who’s referencing Psalm 14 and Psalm 53 he wrote this no one is righteous not one no one understand understands no one seeks after

God this peace that we long for this rest with God and man it requires it’s demanded perfect obedience to God’s law all the time not just in in in fleeting moments it requires perfect obedience without exception and we can’t make it through one morning without seeking after our own good and our own desires and our own wants above Gods Joshua 11 reveals the righteous requirement of God and the blessing of the obedience through the leadership of one man Joshua and Israel under his leadership is now enjoying peace as he has directed them to act Faithfully in obedience to God’s promise and command but that peace that came through The Obedience of God’s command this rest that’s now upon the land it’s going to be shortlived

in the coming chapters things are going to turn and it’s going to be a constant up and down up and

down in the coming chapters this peace this rest is going to turn to a curse the curse of Disobedience to God the curse of conflict of Brokenness and ultimately The Curse Of Death itself so so what is the good news here how does this point us to the gospel all of the Gospel all of the Old Testament all the prophets all of the law it all is pointing us to Jesus he’s the Fulfillment of it so how is this pointing us to him how is this good news for us is there any good news in this for us is there a hope for rest is there a hope a possibility for the peace that we’re l longing for when Faithful righteous obedience is the only way and none of us is righteous not one of

us well there is there is hope in fact there’s our only hope because God wants us to know peace God wants us to know Eternal rest Everlasting rest in our lives it’s what he Longs for us he created us for rest he created us for peace and it’s only our own sin our own Disobedience that keeps us in a state of conflict in a constant state of strife with one another and God began to reveal his plan for our peace even in the Old Testament even through his prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 32: 14 to1 18 I I’ll paraphrase it for us here but God declares the spirit will be poured out from on high and righteousness will abide and the effects of righteousness will be peace a quietness and a trust forever my people will abide in peaceful habitation in Secure dwellings and in quiet resting places that’s beautiful that’s the kind of place I want and the reason what this reveals is the reason why we struggle so much to obey the reason we struggle is because we don’t in our heart of hearts believe that God’s promises are reliable that’s what’s really going on here that’s why obedience just we can’t muster it not in any kind of a sustainable way we just don’t believe that God way is good and that if we deprive ourselves of what we want and what we think is good in this life that what God’s will is is better and it’s good and that we will actually prosper and that we will actually find rest there and

fulfillment that me think about it the with the implications of this of all of God’s commands right that if we abstain from sex outside of marriage that we’re actually going to be happy and that we’ll actually experience love and that we’ll find fulfillment we don’t believe it and so we don’t obey or that that if uh we love God more than money that we’ll actually find the security that our hearts are longing for we’ll find that rest that peace that wholeness and and so on and so on of all of God’s commands we struggled to obey because we struggled to believe and to trust that God’s

good that’s where the break is the struggle today that so many are having with sexual identity Underneath It All is a disbelief that God’s good and that his plan for our identity how he made us that it was was best for us and that it was good and it was best for all of creation we don’t believe it people don’t believe it how could that be better than the way I want to identify myself because that’s going to bring me fulfillment that’s going to bring me the peace and the rest if I can finally get to that transition to where I want to be at the end of it I’m going to find the rest and peace that I’m so desperately longing

for so what’s God’s answer how does God answer our doubt how does he how does he answer this disbelief in our own lives to prove to us without a doubt how good he actually is and how much he actually loves us and that he wants what’s best for us God’s answer is this that he sent his one and only son into the world to save us friends there’s there’s a reason why Jesus said in in Our Gospel reading this morning or this afternoon sorry or evening it’s getting later and later there’s a reason why Jesus said come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest I will give you rest he’s talking about that same word the rest that we all desire the peace that we’re all longing for that it can in fact be found that it’s available to us the Fulfillment but it’s only found and fulfilled in Jesus because Jesus alone heard the command and the promise of God Faithfully abeed all the way to his own death on the cross and through his obedience he gained our ultimate victory over sin and death and the devil friends that’s the gospel that’s the good news that is our only hope that God in his goodness has according to Titus 3:5 saved us not because of our works of righteousness but according to his own Mercy by the working of the Regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit through our Lord Jesus Christ and then Peter said in 1 Peter 3:18 for Jesus also suffered once for sins the righteous for the unrighteous that we that he might bring us to God being put to death in the flesh but being made alive in the spirit friends our hope is not in our own ability to be obedient that’s not our hope but in the faithful Obedience of Christ unto death and that’s where the Assurance of faith comes from because it’s it is the work of a good and loving God for our

Salvation it’s God’s Act of loving kindness his compassion as a father shows compassion to his children so God shows compassion to those who fear Him it’s through his loving kindness and his goodness that gives birth in our hearts through the work of his holy spirit a new life a newfound desire and a freedom to believe him and to be obedient and to follow where he’s leading because now through the experience of God’s loving grace in our lives we can trust once and for all that he’s good amen let us pray heavenly father thank you that you are good and that we can believe you and we can trust you that you are

compassionate but Lord there’s only one way to obedience and that’s through experiencing your goodness in our lives being given the new birth of the Holy Spirit a new heart that knows we can trust you that your way is best and that if we follow things may not go the way that we want them to but they will go in a way that is good and right and pleasing better than anything we ever could have done done for ourselves will you teach our hearts to obey as we experience your goodness in our own lives through the power of your gospel we pray this Jesus in your mighty name amen

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