FAITH TO ENTER GODS PROMISES

Dont Let Past Sin Keep you from Finishing Well

Joshua 10

Jerry A Collins

3/20/05

SCC

 

*               Can we ever expect to recover from temptation to future victory?

*               What exemplifies a person who overcomes deception?

*               What are the characteristics of fighting a battle well?

 

This past week I directed a spiritual life emphasis day for high schoolers from Calvary Christian. In one of the sessions we had invited Carla, a lady who has recovered from a drug addicted past through the ministry of the Muskegon Rescue Mission, to share her testimony about recovering from addiction. She made it clear that a major motivation to stay in drugs and on the street is the shame associated with this choice. Family suffers, society suffers, and the addict suffers. The shame caused in the lives hurt and torn by this addiction produces its own sense of worthlessness and this shame makes a person conclude that there is no hope and no help. That is, until 9/11 shook Carlas world and brought her out of a 27 year stupor to the doorstep of the missionthen to Jesus Christthen to recovery and dignity again. Joshua 10 is about recovery from ones past. Specifically from deception. It is an example of how a good man recovers after falling from temptation. How does one do that?

1. DONT THINK PEOPLE WILL BE IMPRESSED BY GOD 10:1-5

Here is the same songsecond verse. We read the beginning of a confederacy in 9:1-2. Instead of being impressed with Gods work and repenting, these kings decided to attack and fight. With astounding evidence compiled for generations and also contemporary, they refuse to receive it and blindly, rebelliously fight on. Here we pick up this confederacy attacking a traitor city, Gibeon. At this point Joshua unaware of the siege of Gibeon, a strategic center, now threatening the whole Central Benjamin Plateau and the security of the hill country. So far Joshua had only to face individual cities but now a coalition of infuriated and threatened armies gathers. So in the next 24 hours, Joshua faces an immense test of his leadership especially just after being deceived. How will he react to this test in light of this?

2. SPIRITUAL RECOVERY INVOLVES KEEPING OUR WORD 6-7 First, the Gibeonites send a desperate word to Joshua. One mite think it would be easier to ignore this plea and be rid of the ones that deceived youmade you look so foolish. It seems as if the Gibeonites thot this mite happen with words like do not abandon us, come quickly and save us, help us. Second, Joshuas word bound him to act and he did so immediately. And when he received word of the siege, he kept his word to the Gibeonites. Jericho is 850ft below sea level and Gibeon is 2500ft above sea level and he led his men on an all night 20 mile forced march in the dark. Armed only with the knowledge in his heart that this was the right thing to do. Knowing that what you are doing is the right thing to do is essential to face our next challenge competently. It may have been a hard thing to do but keeping our word is often like that. The Gibeonites lied to Joshua but Joshua did not lie to them.

3. SPIRITUAL RECOVERY INCLUDES CONFIDENCE IN GOD

Joshua receives a word from God to bolster his confidence in God and then observes the work of God for success. First, God said to not fear the kings because He gave them into Joshuas hands. It was on this basis that Joshua would move confidently forward into the skirmish. It was this Word that motivated him to aggressively march all night long. Dont let your past sin compromise the Word of God in the future vs 8. Joshuas failure with the treaty with Gibeonites did not keep him from obeying Gods Word after that. Second, while Joshua launches his surprise attack, God threw large stones on them from the sky. God miraculously intervened. Joshuas free will choices, responding to the Gibeonites plea, marching all night and attacking, are combined with the sovereign intervention of God. Be aggressive in pursuing Gods program, even if you are handicapped by the consequences of your sin vs 9-10 just like Joshua did. Then depend upon God to make your ministry successful vs 11. In this case the fleeing armies had begun to outdistance the weary Israelites exhausted from an all nite march so the Lord intervened. You will not know how the Lord may work to bring spiritual success to you but pursue Gods program vigorously in spite of past sin and trust Him to work His work His way. No one could miss the significance of this great storm at this specific time. God was fighting for Israel. Another example to be spread throughout the region (Red Sea, Wilderness provision, Jordan, Jericho, Ai) of Gods powerful ability at work through His people. So God Fights with us and for us and the hailstones teach us that we can never succeed without Gods ability no matter how capable we believe ourselves to be.

4. SPIRTUAL RECOVERY INCLUDES PRAYER WHILE PURSUING GODS PROGRAM

Joshua spoke to God and asked that the sun stand still in the sky vs 12-15. He prayed, asking God to help him do what God wanted him to do. (a) The view that there was a slowing down of the earth to make more hours in the day. (b) The view that there was no irregularity in the rotation but some strange reflection of the sun allowing light to continue making more daylight hours (northpole) but not more hours in the day. We should pray for Gods intervention as we pursue Gods program. Ask for Gods intervention about your debt problem as you pursue getting out of debt. We can not know how God may do that or if He would but we can pray for that while we pursue His will.

5. SPIRITUAL RECOVERY INCLUDES FINISHES WHAT YOU START 16-43

First, we have a record of the systematic victory Joshua had over the five kings vs 16-28. In the aftermath of the initial battle, these kings hid themselves in a cave. Joshua simply instructed his men to roll a huge boulder over its entrance so they could not escape and go and finish the battle. In vs 19 he says, do not stay there yourselves, pursue your enemies and attack themfor the Lord your God has delivered them into your hand. It was only after they had completed this task, that they returned to these kings vs 23 and killed them. Some things need to be done right away and some things need to wait. But finish what you start and dont let your past sin, like Joshuas deception, keep you from finishing well.

Second, he begins the campaign against the other cities in southern and central Palestine vs 29-43. He left no survivor or evil influence behind (30, 32, 33, 35, 37, 39, 40, 42). We should learn from our failure and never leave any other evil influence in your life that might tempt you or deceive you in the future. When you go to battle against sin in your life always determine to fight for complete victory now and in the future. The motivation to do so becomes stronger when you find yourself having to live with the consequences of a past sin. This was the case for Joshua and his past failure became a platform for his spiritual recovery and success.

(1) You can learn from your past mistake or you can repeat it. Either way you get to live with the consequences.

(2) The better choice is to learn from it and not repeat it. That way you limit the consequences you have to respond to.