God’s Miraculous Faithfulness, Israel’s Obedience, and the Rest of God

by | Jun 23, 2024 | Podcast, Sermons

Watch & listen to every sermon on your favorite podcast software:

Information about this sermon:

Preacher: Pastor Jim McCaslin

Scripture: Joshua 12

God miraculously enabled Joshua to lead the Israelites into Canaan, the Promised Land, through their faithful obedience, but they lapsed into sinful behavior and therefore enjoyed a time of rest from warfare for only a short while. Joshua obeyed the voice of God, which can often be difficult to discern, despite overwhelming odds and thereby defeated the many kings that controlled the land of Cannan. God continues to offer eternal rest to those who truly come to Jesus, who gained our salvation by his sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary for his burden is easy and whose burden is light.



When Pastor David invited me to preach on Joshua

12 here’s what I texted back to

him to be honest at first glance I have no idea what I would preach about all those kings

I will say this to you we are fortunate to have had Veronica today read our

lesson an obvious expert in ancient HEB ancient Hebrew so I thank you for for getting that through

us we will now learn more about all of the people’s of the land of the Hittites the amorites the Canaanites the perizzites hivites and the jebusites who were these Kings now a king here does not have the sense it typically has in the west today of a ruler of a recognizable Nation more probably these kings were Chiefs in their own towns though there was most likely a hierarchy of kings so that uh some of these such as the kings of Jerusalem or hazor reigned over lesser Kings uh and the list in Joshua 12 as I’m sure you noted is divided into two parts first in verses 1- six we have a listing of the territory captured under Moses east of the Jordan now this is the land occupied by the tribes east of that Jordan River who had left the land behind to join in the campaign you may remember way back in the 32nd chapter of the book of numbers that we got a lengthy descrition description of how the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the Hal tribe of Manasseh who was Joseph’s son stayed on the east side of the Jordan because these tribes had a great number of livestock so they came to Moses and the other tribal Chiefs and asked permission to stay there and not take the westward crossing over the Jordan but Moses said in effect now wait a minute do you expect your brothers and the other tribes to cross over to fight for the promised land while you stay on the Eastern side out of the battle well the issue was resolved when the Eastern tribes promised to leave their wives and their children and their livestock behind on the Eastern side while their men would go over the Jordan and join the fight until the land of Canaan was subdued now second in verses 7 to 24 we have the list of the Kings defeated by Joshua here he is once again affirmed as Moses successor again linking this chapter with the opening chapter of Joshua chapter 1 where we read the Lord said to Joshua the son of nun Moses assistant Moses my servant is dead now therefore arise go over this Jordan you and all this people into the land that I am going to give them to the people of Israel every place that the soul of your feet will tread upon I have given to you just as I promised to Moses well as I first did when I read Joshua 12 you might wonder about the value of a text like this it’s just a listing of all these Kings but it is a roll call of God’s faithfulness as we read in the last chapter of Joshua 11 so Joshua took the whole land according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according according to their tribal allotments and the land had rest from war now the remaining chapters that are still in front of us the remaining chapters of Joshua will focus primarily on the distribution of the land to the various tribes but for now we see that the land had rest because Yahweh won the battle he won the battle because of the OB Obedience of the people and this Victory clearly shows that the Canaanite Kings had no place in God’s purposes and that God Alone was indeed the one true king for Israel God’s purpose was to give them their promised inheritance for Canaan God’s purpose was to bring the long delayed judgment against their sinfulness the Canaanites were known to practice child sacrifice divination sorcery and necromancy which was communication with the dead and Witchcraft which God could not tolerate in the midst of the people he had chosen to be a blessing to the world this week in Joshua 12 despite what seemed like a rather dull listing of these places and kings that Joshua defeated we see the importance of Obed obedience and we see how God’s amazing and miraculous faithfulness to Joshua and the nation of Israel enable these longsuffering people to move into the promised land and to enter into a time of rest all the tribes including those from the east of the Jordan had to commit themselves to God’s purposes for them and only as they obeyed were they allowed to find rest for a time even though the territory east of the Jordan River was not part of God’s initial promise it now became part of the land so that a United people who obeyed God could live in the blessing of his peaceful rest it would not stay that way but it is a sign to us of what a people who are obedient to the faith God can experience God does indeed work through the miraculous but this list is one more pointer that God works more often Through The Obedience of his people it seemed best to Pastor David and our leadership team that we should move to Ocean Park Baptist Church while our building was under renovation we were faced with a question would we follow and be obedient to our senior pastor and our leadership just as the people of Israel were obedient to Joshua I admit I wasn’t wild about driving a bit further for a 5:00 pm worship

service and yet as a wonderful old hymn says there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and Obey what he said we will do where he sends we will go never fear only trust and obey God has never let our savior down as we’ve obeyed his will for us and I have no doubt that his faithfulness to us will always continue just as was the case when Joshua fit the Battle of Jericho our battles even today are clearly against spiritual

forces when I preached back in in April I mentioned that God talks to his people we heard the Lord say talking to Abram all the way back in Genesis 12 I emphasize that God is always talking to his people in our Joshua readings we read over and over again the Lord said to Joshua you know it’s difficult at times to know when it’s the voice of God we’re hearing and it also can be difficult to obey the voice his voice when the circumstances seem to argue against obedience can you imagine what the Israelites were thinking when Joshua told them that they were going into battle against all those kings many of them had to be saying you’ve got to be

kidding have you ever heard a voice you thought you should obey thinking that it might be the voice of God and you just trusted and obeyed despite the circumstances remember Noah back in the six sixth chapter of Genesis God saw that the Earth was corrupt just as there was widespread and long-standing corruption in Joshua’s day with the Canaanite Kings so God said to Noah make an ark of gopherwood for your family and all the animals because I’m going to destroy the Earth with a flood and Noah did all that the Lord commanded him even though his neighbors must have thought he was just plain

crazy now many of you know how I love a good movie that we can learn from even if it’s not a specifically Christian movie well today I want to remind you of such a movie that gives us examples o of obedience when all logic dictates not to listen to The Voice John lson mentions this movie in his wonderful book movies or prayers even today this voice has become perhaps popular Cinema’s most familiar command if you build it he will come now raise your hands if you know what movie that’s from uhuh ahuh I see most of you if you build it he will come yes it’s from one of those Kevin Cosner baseball movies Field of Dreams now even if you don’t care a bit for Baseball Field of Dreams makes you feel what one of its characters describes as the thrill of the grass Kevin Cosner plays Ray Kella who is standing in his Iowa cornfield when he hears that whisper if you build it he will come if you build it he will come the movie in which Iowa stands in for heaven Des depicts one man’s spiritual journey of prayerful obedience given a vision of a baseball diamond Ry decides to BU to build a fullscale field on his farm complete with bleachers and lights doing so is a considerable sacrifice considering that corn could be planted and grown there for a profit and yet Reay obeys I have just created something totally illogical he says Sur surveying the perfectly manufactured grass and straight white lines with a grin his neighbors aren’t as amused and their disdain is a reminder that Christian obedience often doesn’t make sense to an outside world that operates on a different set of rules remember Noah and his ark remember Joshua and the Canaanite Kings obeying God’s voice certainly didn’t seem to make sense for them either if you build it he will come now in case you haven’t seen the movie I won’t bu be a spoiler and tell you who eventually does come to raise Heavenly Ballfield but what about us here at our savior if you build it they will come we’re building a newly renovated building so that they our neighbors will come and join in worshiping the Living God we want to have more room so we can continue to obey God’s mission of proclaiming his is saving good news of Grace to a lost and hurting World later in the movie Ray receives other voice commands ease his pain Go the Distance ease his pain go the distance and following each one of these commands leads to a certain peace for others but as raised bills build up and the potential Farmland remains unused he begins to wonder if he should have left well enough alone if it was worth putting his his farm and his family at risk do we have some doubts when we trust and obey the voice of God when we move to 5:00 worship away from our home Rey finally becomes so frustrated that he says in exasperation I’ve done everything I’ve been asked to but what’s in it for me obedience to to God however doesn’t necessarily come with immediate rewards God moves in his time and in accordance with his purposes we remember his faithfulness to us and we rejoice in His blessings keeping the big picture perspective that by our Godly living more and more of our neighbors may be worn over to Christ now I think I need a water break

and so in Joshua 12 we’ve seen the overwhelming importance of obedience for the people of God now I’d like to turn back to what we read in the last chapter of verse 11 so Joshua took the whole land according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments and the land had rest from war the land had rest from war and I want to look for a few minutes as the rest God gives that flows from our faithful obedience in the first chapter of Joshua he reminded the reubenites the gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh to remember the word that Moses commanded them saying the Lord your God Is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land but all the men of valor among you must take arms and help them to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them only then would the Lord give them rest centuries later the weeping prophet Jeremiah foretold of divine judgment an imminent disaster for the city of Jerusalem for warning of the nation’s idolatry social injustices and moral Decay he prophesied The Siege of Jerusalem as consequences for Disobedience and Jeremiah emphasized the urgency of repentance and the restoration of a covenant relationship with God in one of my favorite Old Testament passages Jeremiah said thus says the Lord stand by the roads and look and ask for the ancient pass where the good way is and walk in it and find rest for your souls but they said we will not walk in it it always reminds me that I can find rest for my soul when I return to God’s ancient ways and walk in them the people’s judgment was for their straying from from the ways of the Patriarchs into the ways of idolatry J Jeremiah pictures Travelers who have lost their way and when they arrive at a Crossroads the moment calls for Clear decision to go one way can mean death to go another life the ancient paths and the good way are the same way they are the way of repentance reconciliation and the rest and love of God they are the ways of the Mosaic tradition the result of walking in the way of obedience was peace and rest for the soul but God’s people all too often refuse to walk in the ancient Godly paths in the New Testament Jesus himself speaks of rest for our souls and so we heard today the same gospel as last week in his Great Commission from m Matthew 11: 28-30 Jesus said come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls for my yoke is easy and my burden is light as Pastor David said last week don’t we yearn for God’s rest for our souls I want to close my thoughts on entering God’s Rest by looking briefly at the highly provocative and somewhat complicated fourth chapter of the book of Hebrews first however I need to back up to the end of Hebrews 3 where we learn that those who rebelled against God were those who left Egypt led by Moses they were not allowed to enter God’s rest because of of their Disobedience now as we move on to Hebrews 4 we see that its theme is God’s rest and the need for faithful diligence in reaching it the chapter speaks directly to Israel’s entry into the land of Canaan and Canaan was intended to be a land of rest for the children of Israel most of them however never entered the promised land and those who did enter canaa with Joshua failed to find the ongoing rest that God intended for them they had rest from war for a time but they did not enjoy the final rest which God has prepared for those who love him because there would continue to be conflict sin sorrow suffering and death in Canaan the Israelites had good news preached to them the good news of Rest In the Land of Canaan but they did not benefit from God’s Gospel of rest because of their unbelief and their Disobedience if they had fully entered into God’s promise of rest then he would not have offered it again some 400 years later in the time of David nor would Jesus had have promised us rest for our souls as we come to him and take on his easy yoke Kaa is used here the promised land as a typ or picture of God’s final Eternal rest and we can’t ever think that the promise of rest is no longer B valid because as we continue to study the Book of Joshua and the story of God’s people throughout history we will see that God’s offering of rest has never had a complete and final fulfillment even until this present day therefore the offer of rest for our souls is still in effect we have had the good news preached to us the good news of eternal life through faith in Christ and we are called here to be Faithfully diligent to strive to enter God’s Eternal rest but we must not be confused here our faithful diligence and our striving in no way means that we must work hard to earn our entry into heaven for as Jesus said on the cross of Calvary it is finished he completed the work of salvation for us by his sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection he paid the full price of our sin debt so that we may enter his final Eternal rest

as we are assured in Ephesians 2: 8-10 It Is by God’s grace that we have been saved by faith it is not of our own doing rather it is the gift of God and not the result of our works so that none of us can boast for we are God’s Works workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand for us to walk in and close cling I return once again to the wonderful old hymn there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and Obey what he says we will do where he sends we will go never fear only trust and Obey and as we trust and Obey with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit who dwells in every believer we are certain of entering God’s Eternal rest and so I say once again thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ amen

Get Our Podcasts On Your Device

On The Calendar

No event found!
Load More

Subscribe to our sermons every week on the podcast software of your choice: