Preparing for the Promised Land

by | Apr 7, 2024 | Podcast, Sermons

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Preacher: Pastor David Ball

Scripture: Joshua 1

The book of Joshua marks a significant transition in the life of Gods people. Transitions are always difficult with dangers lurking around every corner. In Joshua 1 we are reminded that victory has already been assured through Jesus and in him we can be strong and courageous no matter what challenges await us. 


So how was your morning weird yeah weird right you know uh H having extra time in the morning is a is a blessing and in many ways a curse uh you know it’s hard to figure out kind of what to do with uh with your time like how to how to best use it for a for a preacher just give you more time just means more time to procrastinate uh and so more time on Sunday morning means more time to to work on a sermon right uh but since that we’re in a Baptist Church I feel like it’s only appropriate to uh to take on our more Bap Baptist tradition of I get at least 45 minutes in this

Pulpit I’m sure that’s what Chris takes and I’m going to take it too I’m I’m just kidding I we’re we’re not we’re not ready for that uh quite yet you know we’re we’re beginning here now as we as we come to uh to Ocean Park and begin this this time of transition for us as a church we’re uh we’re also going to be begin this new series on the Book of Joshua um we’re going to walk through it uh all the way uh through the summer it’ll take us into into September and God willing into right in the uh into our our new building will be be ready for us uh and the the reason why uh we’re choosing or I chose to to go through the Book of Joshua during this time is because uh Joshua in many ways uh was a time of preparing God’s people uh you know the desert wandering was a time to prepare God’s people for the conquest and what was before them uh but the time of the conquest itself in Joshua I believe was a time that God was teaching and preparing the hearts of his people for what would be the possession of the land he was teaching them all that they needed to know about him and about themselves and what he was calling them to as they would take possession of this promised land and so for us I’m calling this time in Joshua in this series preparing for the promised land as we’re preparing uh to take possession of God’s gracious provision of a new building uh it’s exciting but there’s lots that that the Lord wants to teach just in it Joshua uh really it’s a book of transition in many ways uh we see transition of leadership from Moses to to Joshua uh we see a transition of God’s people from being Nomads to possessors of the the the promised land uh we see God’s people going from a Wandering people to a holy Army we also see God’s people going from a place of in some sense victims meaning as they were enslaved in Egypt and transitioning into Victorious conquerors so there’s a lot of transition and and and I couldn’t help but see uh the connections between us and where we are uh right now and that we’re in a time of transition from uh 2092 Beach bulvard to 16th Avenue South you know from church of our savior to Ocean Park Baptist uh and and that’s and transitions are a tough time they’re a challenging time uh but I think that the Lord has a lot to teach us about what he wants us to learn uh about who we are and to prepare us for what he is so graciously provided for us in a new building uh when the time comes for us to return and so we’re going to learn uh quite a bit uh because Joshua uh whereas the the desert wandering as I said was a time of preparing God’s people for the task that was before them uh and then Joshua in in the conquest of the promised land Was preparing them to be faithful stewards of that promised land where the people list learned how to listen to God they they learned how to trust him they they learned to obey him and to Magnify Him in the world around them reaching the Nations for the one true God I believe that that this time of transition position that we’re in it’s exactly what the Lord’s preparing us for and so I’m excited about what God’s going to uh going to teach us and do in US during this time of transition and in our time of uh of working through the the Book of Joshua uh together but some background about the Book of Joshua we really uh have to to spend a little bit of time this morning to really set the stage uh and so the book is all about the conquest it’s the gift of God’s to that God gave to his people that he had promised for a long time that he had promised the gift of of this grace of his of this promised land that went all the way back to his promise to to Abraham uh parents would use the Book of Joshua to tell their children about the mighty works of God priests and teachers in the Old Testament used it to explain to God’s people that God God is the ultimate power that’s at work in this world he’s the protector of the weak he’s the one who breaks the the chains of bondage he’s the one who gives his people Victory and this is a major transition in the Bible itself a transition from the Torah the books of the law to uh making its way into the the prophecy and the prophetic Works uh it’s a trans transition from leadership as I said just a moment ago from Moses to Joshua from Wilderness Wilderness wandering as a punishment from God to a land of Conquest as reward from a covenant curse from the worship of that golden calf that we’ll come back to in a few minutes to Covenant obedience and Renewal by God Joshua the man uh the name itself Joshua uh it’s made up of of two words the first is the name of God it means the Lord uh and then the second is salvation and so the the name itself means the Lord is salvation in first Joshua first appears in Exodus chap 17 uh verse 8 I am going to read some Old Testament passages here to set the stage for who who Joshua uh was so that we can understand it as we as we dive into more of of his life and really what Joshua is in many ways is a biography of the man and so uh this is what we’re told in 17: 8 and9 then amalik came and fought with Israel at rfim so Moses said to Joshua choose for us men and go out and fight with amalik tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand so Joshua did as Moses told him and fought with with amalik while Moses Aaron and her went up to the top of the hill whenever Moses held up his hand Israel prevailed and whenever he lowered his hand amalik prevailed but Moses hands grew weary so they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it while Aaron and her held up his hands one on one side and the other on the other side so that his hands were steady until the going down of the Sun and Joshua over overwhelmed amik and his people with the sword that’s the first mention we we have in the scriptures about Joshua uh and at this time we’re not told where he comes from or or much about him he just appears here but what we learn from this is that uh is that this was the first battle that God’s people had to face when they had come out of the Exodus and in that time for this battle Moses chose Joshua as the leader he chose them to lead the Army into battle and so in this way we with picture we get of who Joshua is is that he’s a general he’s a general of the army given Authority by Moses over this Army for the nation of Israel the second time uh we see uh we have word of um of Joshua is in Exodus 24:3 we’re told Moses rose with his assistant Joshua and Moses went up into the Mountain of God so when when Moses went to ascend to to hear from God and to receive the Ten Commandments uh Joshua went up with him and so we’re told here specifically that he was an assistant to Moses which is a very important role which we’ll come back to in just a moment and then in Exodus 3217 it was Joshua who was the first one to hear the noise uh of the people people down in the camp of God’s people when they were descending from the mountain uh and what uh what we’re told he said to he he heard and he said to Moses there is uh there’s noise of war in the camp well Joshua what he wasn’t hearing was was war but he was hearing the ring and the uh the debauchery that was happening in the camp as they were worshiping the golden uh the golden calf uh but what it tells us as well is that Joseph was not there Joseph was not with the folks who were uh who were turning to the idol of the calf the third mention or really the fourth mention of uh of of Joshua comes in Exodus 33:1 and we learned that Joshua had a place at the tent of meeting the tent of meeting was the place that that Moses would set up the tent outside of of the camp the Israelites camp and that’s where they would commune with God where they would meet with him and and that Joshua had a place there he was invited into that special uh relationship we also learned that Joshua was a young man in that passage he was the son here for the first time we’re told he was the son of nun he was a young man which can also be uh translated as Squire meaning that he was being groomed he was being trained as a leader he was being trained by Moses as a leader and then in numbers 11:24 to 29 it tells us that Joshua uh was still young and he was still learning and in this process he made mistakes uh it was here that uh we’re told that a group of of folks that weren’t in the tent of meeting began prophesying God’s word in the camp and word had come back to to Moses that had been reported to him uh and Joshua was irate how dare anyone prophesy about God without Moses giving them the authority to do so and Moses had to talk him down and say praise God that God’s spirit would fall on all people and that his word would be proclaimed so he was young he was still learning at this time and then in numbers 13 and 14 Joshua was one of the spies that was sent into the Promised Land by by Moses to scout it out to see what was there and we’re told in that story that only Joshua and Caleb provided the positive evaluation of Israel’s ability to conquer Canan that God had promised them and when God’s people rebelled Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes and said this the land which we pass through to spy and to spy out is an exceedingly good land if the Lord Delights in us he will bring us into the land and give it to us the Lord is with us they proclaimed and so Joshua and Caleb therefore were the only ones who were Allowed by God to enter into the promised land because of their their faithfulness and their trust in the Lord and in his word finally in numbers 27

18-23 God chose Joshua to lead his people God chose him to lead his people through through his servant Moses and so with the picture we get here uh if we look through all that it took place before this moment in Joshua where he actually takes on the mantle and takes leadership over from Moses we get some really practical uh practical stuff about what leadership is really all about especially being a leader of God in the church Joshua has the first thing we learned is that Joshua has undertaken specific tasks and he’s been successful in them demonstrating his loyalty to God’s word even when it meant standing apart from the crowd the second thing we learn is that Joshua demonstrated that he could act with independent judgment but yet in loyalty to God he was able to make decisions he wasn’t indecisive he could make decisions when they needed to be made the third thing we learn as a leader he was a leader who could make mistakes but learn from them

the fourth thing we learned he was a leader who was recognized by the people they accepted him they received him he was he was brought along in the process and the people had received him as a leader and fifth he was a leader that God had clearly chosen as God shows throughout the Book of Joshua Joshua Joshua could really be used just as a leadership book uh and it is used as a leadership book but for us I believe it’s how God is preparing us to take possession of what he has provided for us in this new building his gracious provision like who does he want us to be as a people a people who listen to him a people who trust him a people who obey his voice a people who Proclaim him as Lord and savior of all to a culture into a community that so desperately need him so that’s what I believe God’s going to be doing in our hearts and in our midst as as we walk through this and so I invite you to uh to open up either your bulletins or your Bibles to Joshua uh chapter 1 and since I have 45 minutes I can do the whole thing um which will be great um but in actuality we’re just going to look at the first nine verses uh this evening together uh just verses 1-9 because verses 1-9 really set up I think what God doing in the whole book of Joshua and so it’s a summary really of what is to come in more detail later but this is what we’re told in verse one after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord the Lord said to Joshua the son of nun Moses’s assistant so we’re the stage is set the stage is set Moses has died he was buried in Moab this moment has been a long time in the making this wasn’t just some spur of the- moment thing uh Mo Joshua’s development has happened over time uh it’s uh he’s gained the trust of the people he had learned under Moses he had learned to trust the Lord he’s been tested he’s been tried it’s what we’ve all been talking about just uh this morning uh as much as anyone can be prepared for the Lord’s instructions in their lives Joshua has been instructed and here’s what the Lord had to say to Joshua now that the moment has finally come in verses 2 through five Moses my servant is dead now therefore arise go over this Jordan you and all this people into the land that I am giving to them to the people of Israel every place that the soul of your foot will tread upon I have given to you just as I promised to Moses from the Wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the Great River the river of Euphrates all the land of the Hittites to the great sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory 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 these verses outline the ENT entire what the entire book of of Joshua is about verse two talks about the Monumental task that’s in front of them the first step and that’s crossing the Jordan River which we’ll get into very quickly uh in in this series together verse three talks about the conquest of the land that God has promised that land that’s been promised for so long to Abraham and Isaac and to Jacob and reaffirmed with Moses and now with Joshua verse four speaks of the important part of organizing all right now that you’ve got it how are you going to split it you ever tried to split inheritance I know many of you have right uh it’s difficult this is a big task that’s going to be in front of them Distributing the land between the tribes of Israel it’s going to be a really trying time and finally verse 5 all the days of your life it says which is how the book itself ends all the days of Joshua’s life taking us all the way to his death but verse five answers an incredibly important question maybe the most important question uh this is seemingly an impossible task that’s before them it seems that way anyway How can any one man as prepared and gifted as Joshua may be how in the world can he pull this off how can he pull P this off this is this is a hostile takeover that he’s facing you know this is uh Nelson pelts trying to win the proxy war with Disney those who were in The no that just that was just to show you like how up to dat I am with h with the news he lost by the way the first round anyway they’ll be more and the short answer that how God answers is is the Lord will do it it’s the Lord who will do it no man shall be able to stand before you says the Lord all the days of your life because I will be with you I will not leave you or forsake you is the promise that God made to Joshua Joshua and his people have the promise of God on their

side friends how do we know that we will be victorious in life how do we know that this transition from church of our savior to Ocean Park and and eventually back again to where we’re finally in in the in the promised uh provision that God has for us how do we know it’s going to be successful how do you know when you’re facing something daunting in your own life something so challenging that’s more than you can possibly handle on your own how do you know that you’ll not only just survive it but that you can

Thrive because prom God’s promise of Victory to Joshua that was just a foraste friends it was just a foretaste a precursor to the ultimate victory that God had planned for you and for me amen Joshua had the promise of God that he would never leave him or forsake Him which was amazing we have the promise of Jesus yes that he’s with us always to the very end of the age we heard it in Our Gospel reading this morning and when Christ is with us there’s no one who can stand against us because Jesus is our Victory he was forsaken by God on the cross when he carried the full penalty for our sin and because he was forsaken friends we’re forgiven but death could not defeat him on the third day he rose Victorious and as Paul proclaimed to the Corinthians death is swallowed up in Victory oh death where is your Victory oh death where is your Sting the sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ yes how do I know that we’ll be victorious how do I know that you are victorious because we already are through our Savior Jesus Christ that’s the amazing love of God for us in Jesus as the praise song says and we’re going to sing it uh together in just a few minutes and just a little while I’m forgiven because you were forsaken I’m accepted you were condemned I’m alive and well your spirit is within me because you died and rose again that’s what we have in Jesus that’s who we are we are victorious because he has defeated sin and death forever but now going back to Joshua they’re heading into this incredible task with the promise ahead of time of Victory the victory is theirs God’s already told them Joshua is heading into this incredible task of leading God’s people with the promise already that Victory will be theirs which makes verses 6-9 make a lot more sense if we look at them within this context now want I’ll read these verses for us for just a moment he said God said 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 all the law that Moses my servant commanded you do not turn from it to the right to your right hand or 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 strong and courageous do not be frightened and do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go three times God says it doesn’t he three times and you’ve probably got it embroidered on something in your house be strong and courageous three times but God wasn’t asking them to just manage to find courage and strength on their own he wasn’t telling them to try to muster up something from from deep inside to try to work harder to be to be courageous and to find strength he was asking them to live out of the assurance and of the promise of what he had already made to them that victory was theirs that’s where the strength and the courage was to come to verse six be strong and courageous because you shall inherit the land that I sore to your fathers to give you don’t be he’s not saying be strong and courageous because you might if everything happens to go just right and the ball happens to bounce your way a few times no he says be strong and be be courageous because I have already given it to you it’s already yours it’s already your inheritance that I have claimed for you and I am giving to you and then verse 7 again says be strong and courageous but this time he says by number one doing everything according to God’s law number two do not turn from it so that all may go well for you and number three meditate on it day and night so that you will do all that is written in it and make your way prosperous and have good success hold on a minute that sounds a little different doesn’t it you know God’s promis Victory and success minute ago but now it’s it’s sounding a little more conditional isn’t it like all of it now depends on them God was saying I’m going to give this to you I’m going to do this victory is yours but now I need you to do these things and if that’s true if that’s what God really is telling them that it’s conditional then the answer the assurance and the confidence in God’s Victory now is in some serious doubt isn’t it

but we have one more be strong and courageous left that I believe puts this in its right perspective in its right order verse 9 says have I not commanded you meaning God is saying this is my plan this is my will this is what I have decided what I have put together for you uh to call Joshua and his people to this task there’s no doubt in that it’s my plan therefore God says be strong and courageous for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go so what God was telling Joshua and the people is they will not be alone in their striving to be obedient to God’s law and God’s command over their lives it’s not just up to them in their own strength to be good enough neither Joshua nor God’s people will succeed because of their obedience to God’s law and command that’s not going to be why they succeed they will succeed because God will be with them and enable them to be Victorious and will start working in them to bring them to a place of obedience to him and to his word friends this is the lesson we have to learn and receive as God prepares our hearts for the promised land of his gracious provision of our new building it’s not our obedience to God God that ensures our success if that were true if it were left up to us we would be bitter

failures through God’s Amazing Grace it’s by faith in God alone through his son Jesus Christ who gives us the victory over sin and death that’s what Joshua is telling us and that in that Victory he’s changing our hearts and reworking us and changing our desires to give us a will that longs for God because he is the one who is with us forever he is the one who never leaves us or forsake us giving us a desire to be with him forever and to follow his will because it’s good and it’s gracious and it’s loving so we can be strong we can be strong because he is strong 1 Corinthians 1:25 Paul said even the weakness of God is stronger than man and we can be courageous we can be courageous because God loves us and proved it through the death of his beloved Son and it’s his perfect love that casts out all fear that gives us the courage to face what he’s calling us to and so we can March onward in this time of transition we can March forward and whatever challenge is facing us in our lives with the promise of God’s ultimate Victory through Christ full of the courage and the strength that comes with putting our faith and the one who is with us for all always who will never leave us or forsake us and trusting him that he has won the victory for us. Amen


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