06(Joshua 05,13-15) Which Side Are You On
The Jericho Wars:
Joshua was out looking the situation over, getting ready for the conquest of the land. Now can you imagine how Joshua must have felt? He was following a very great leader, Moses. “Moses my servant is dead, now arise and conquer the land.”
Joshua knew that his biggest problem was not the PAST and trying to live up to Moses achievements. His biggest problem was not BEFORE him, conquering the land. God had given them promise about that. IT WAS WITHIN HIM.
And by the way, when we are defeated on the outside, it is because first of all we’ve been defeated on the inside. We win the battle before the war ever starts or we lose the battle before the war starts. And God wanted to make sure that before this battle began, Joshua had the victory---and that is why Jesus came to see him. YOU SEE.....PUBLIC VICTORIES ARE WON IN PRIVATE.
The most important part of your life is the part only God sees. The people didn’t see this event take place. Just as it was with Jacob; Jacob was left alone and wound up wrestling all night long. .Jacob was alone with God; it determined the course of his public life afterward. Nobody saw David kill the lion and the bear. He did that ALONE, but it prepared him to fight the giant.
You’re liable to think to yourself, “Well, it’s really important when I’m standing in front of the Sunday school class, or behind the pulpit, or seated at an instrument”. They are important places. But the most important part of your life is THE PART ONLY GOD SEES, when you and God meet alone. It is there that God gives you victory.
Joshua made THREE very encouraging discoveries when he went through this crisis experience. I think if you and I would lay hold of these same discoveries it might help us when we face crisis experiences. There is someone here today who is so glad to be here, because you are away from the battlefield. Oh, you have had a rough time. There are problems to solve, there are people to help and when you came this morning it was as though God had said, “Look—you’ll have to go home again, you can’t run away. You can’t do like Jonah. But when you go back you’re going to be better equipped to face your Jericho. If you will lay hold of these 3 discoveries that Joshua made, you can face your Jericho.
1st - JOSHUA DISCOVERED HE WASN’T ALONE! You say, “Well, he had a million Jews working with him, fighting with him.” I’m not talking about that. Have you ever considered the loneliness of leadership? I remember when I first started going to church I’d sit there and say of those preachers, “They’ve got it made!” Now, I’m beginning to understand some of the loneliness of leadership.
A leader has to make decisions that have far reaching consciences. If I were on my own, just doing my own thing, going where I want to go and preaching were I want to preach, it would be a relatively simple thing. But every decision I make involves other people. And it has far reaching results. That is the loneliness of leadership. But, you say, “You are surrounded by people. There are people praying for you.” That’s right! And I have council and this is good, thank God for that. But as the late President Harry Truman had on his desk---“the buck stops here”.
Here is Joshua looking at his army and saying, “These people have put their lives in my hands. Here are families, here are children.” Joshua is the man who is going to give them a place to live, water to drink, and food to eat. Here is Joshua with the future of a nation in his hand. That is a big undertaking; that is the loneliness of leadership. And yet, Joshua discovered he wasn’t alone.
Now he knew he would not be alone, because, back in chapter 1 God had promised to be with him. God has promised that He would be with us. “Lo, I am with you always, or at least till it gets rough”. If your Bible says that you better get a new Bible. “Lo, I am with you always, even till the end of the age.”
It is one thing to read my Bible that God is with me, and it is another to experience it. You say, “I don’t think God is with me the way He was with Joshua.” I think He is. Hebrews 13:5 says, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” Lo, I am with you always is the assurance that in every circumstance of life, the Lord is with us. Joshua discovered he was not alone.
The devil wants you to feel alone. In fact, when you are going through a crisis experience, one of the worse things you can do is to isolate yourself from God’s people. That’s what Elijah did. Be careful, when the devil comes to you and says, “You’re all alone. Your friends don’t care, your pastor doesn’t care about you, God doesn’t care; you are all alone.” That’s when you’re the target for every kind of assault. Discovery #1 was that he discovered he was not alone.
#2 - HE DISCOVERED THAT HE WAS 2nd IN COMMAND. That must have been a revolting development, second in command. Joshua sees this soldier standing with a sword, it’s the Lord Jesus. HE ALWAYS COMES TO US IN THE WAY WE NEED HIM. The Lord Jesus didn’t come to Joshua as a pilgrim, or as a fisherman, or as a carpenter. He came as a soldier. THAT’S WHAT JOSHUA NEEDED.
Joshua says, “Whose side are you on?” The response of the Commander was, “No, but as commander of the Lord’s army I have come.” You see, it is not a question of whether God is on your side; THE QUESTION IS WHETHER YOU ARE ON GOD’S SIDE. The Soldier answered, “You are mistaken. I did not come to take sides, I came to take over!”
Joshua had everything going for him; he had faith and patience, experience. But you know what? But all of that would have been useless had he not done what he did that night. He fell before the Lord Jesus and said, “Alright, I’m second in command”.
You know, it is a great day in the life of a person when he discovers he is 2nd in command. We are not first in command. Every father is 2nd in command. Every mother is 2nd in command. Every pastor is 2nd in command. Every Christian leader is 2nd in command.
A great tragedy takes place when a person thinks he is 1st in command. He realized he was 2nd in command and the first order the Lord gave him was to take off his shoes. What a thing to say to a general. Our Lord said, “He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in that which is greatest.” If I can’t trust you to bring back 10 cents change, when I send you to the store....I can’t trust you with a million dollars.
If you are not faithful with the ministry God has given you, He won’t give you more. “Well done thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”
Joshua discovered he was 2nd in command.
3rd – HE DISCOVERED THAT HE WAS ON HOLY GROUND (5:15). I would have never thought that. I mean this is Canaan Land. God described Canaan Land and the people in it as a filthy place, a godless place. It was filled with immorality, idolatry, ignorance. For years God had held back His judgment on this crowd: the Ammorites, the Hitites, the Jubusites. God had seen all of this filth.
Now Israel crosses the river. Israel comes into the land and God says, “You are standing on holy ground.” Joshua discovered he was on holy ground. Do you know what that means? Wherever God calls you IS HOLY GROUND, no matter what you may see. Everything is holy ground if God is there.
You walk into a hospital room where people are complaining and swearing....when you walk in as God’s ambassador, it is holy ground. That means wherever we go to fight God’s battles, we had better go in a spirit of worship. Did you ever notice in your Bible that worship and warfare are linked together? You cannot separate worship & warfare. Let me give you a verse to think about. Ps. 149:6, which says, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth and a 2 edged sword in their hand.” Now that’s a great verse. And the rest of the Psalm says, “To execute vengeance upon the enemy.” Now wait a minute. The 1st half of the verse is WORSHIP, the last half of the verse, WARFARE.
Do you know why we are failing before the enemy in our warfare, it’s because we are failing before God in our worship. We are using all kinds of weapons to try to defeat the enemy--- the greatest weapon we have is WORSHIP. You may think, “Well I can’t always come by church before engaging in these struggles in my life.” Do you think this is the only place to worship? Is worship a place for you? It was for the woman at the well. She had a similar question: do we worship where the Jews say or where the Samartans say? Jesus said neither. He said worship is not a place, it is an attitude. It is not a place you go to, it is a pattern of life that overtakes you, “in spirit and truth.” This is public worship, and Scripture teaches that it is called for and you should not neglect it. But Jesus spoke of worship wherever you were, worship that preceded the decisions and steps of your life. You want Spirit and Truth on your side wherever you go into battle. They are like two edges of a mighty sword. Remember, when you have the high praises of God in your mouth & a 2-edged sword in your hand, you get victory. We don’t do that today.
4th - HE DISCOVERED HE HAD ALREADY WON THE BATTLE. You see chapter 6 continues, “Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel and non came out and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, see, I have given into thy hands Jericho and its king and the mighty men of valor and ye shall encompass all the city...” Then He goes on and gives the plan for conquering the city. Notice those statements, I HAVE---YOU SHALL --- I have, you shall. I have already given you the victory.
WE DON’T FIGHT FOR VICTORY, WE FIGHT FROM VICTORY. “Be of good cheer,” said Jesus. He’s on His way to the cross now. He has just told Peter, you are going to deny Me, He has just told them there is a traitor in the crowd. You are all going to forsake me and flee away. And, He said, “in the world you are going to have tribulation.” THAT’S GOOD NEWS? “In the world you are going to have tribulation, be of good cheer---I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD. And this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. And faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” And so, that’s why Joshua said, “What do you have to say to me...you speak the word, I’ll hear it by faith and faith will release power----and the Lord said, “Here’s the plan”.