Intro: We read in verse 1 that when the heathen nations of Canaan saw how powerfully the Lord led His children through the Jordan, they were completely demoralized. It would appear that they were completely content with their situation. Joshua would seem to have the perfect opportunity at this point to lead the people into the attack. However, rather than instructing His people to advance into the battle, God instructs them to remain at Gilgal and perform a number of strange actions. Even the actions they are required to take appear to put them in danger before their adversaries.
Let me remind you, Isa, that the Lord's ways are not our ways, even though they may seem strange to you and me. 55:8-9. Clearly, God is never impatient! He is free to work when it suits him and take his time. Despite the fact that the events in this chapter appear out of place in light of the approaching conflict, God is merely preparing His army for battle. When they are getting ready for the battle, he asks them to do some strange things, but let me remind you that God's people are fighting battles that go far beyond the physical world. In point of fact, the conflict had already begun in the spiritual realm long before it took place in the physical world. Spiritual battles are what God fights for. According to 2 Corinthians, if we want to succeed in these battles, we must make the right spiritual preparations. 10:3-5. That is exactly what the Lord is doing in the lives of His people Israel right now. This is also what He intends to accomplish in both my and your lives this morning. You see, we all have a battle to fight, and if we want to win, we need to learn how to make the right spiritual preparations. Israel seemed prepared for battle. They faced an enemy who was terrified by their presence and had a large army. However, God was aware that until the necessary spiritual preparations were made, they would never be ready to fight and win the battle. This is the whole point of this passage. This morning, we can benefit from the lessons taught here. Permit me to inquire of you. Are you prepared to take over Canaan? The response? Only in the event that you are prepared to make the appropriate spiritual preparations. This morning, let's take a few moments to think about the steps that Israel was told to take before they could conquer Canaan. As we do, consider whether you have taken care of these things in your life. Because you will never be able to conquer Canaan until they are. Are you prepared to take over Canaan? This morning, let's find out. I. V. 2–7 REIGNING INTO THE COVENANT WITH THE LORD A. The Lord's first command to Israel is to circumcise all men. All of the men who emerged from Egypt appear to have been circumcised in accordance with the requirements of the Abrahamic covenant. However, men born during the 40 years of wandering through the wilderness were not circumcised. The fact of the matter is that the rebellious generation that was dying out was no longer a covenant people after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Now, these men must be circumcised before they can claim their Canaan. If they want the Lord to bless them and guarantee them victory, they must renew their covenant with Him. B. The simple takeaway for us is this: just as Israel was required to remove a piece of flesh from their bodies as a sign that they were a part of the covenant, so too must we remove anything from our lives that prevents us from surrendering completely to the Lord. It is abundantly clear in the Bible that you and I will need to undergo spiritual transformation at times. Col. Ill. 3:1-17; 2 Cor. 6:17.) C. Circumcision served as a reminder for Jews that they were a "marked people." They were to never lose sight of the fact that they were the living God's servants and that they were obligated to obey Him in all circumstances. Deuteronomy says that circumcision was to symbolize an inner work of faith. 10:16. (Ill. As a child of God, you are expected to live as if you have been saved! You need to get rid of anything that doesn't please the Lord. It must be cut off and removed from your life forever. This morning, some people in this room have broken the covenant they made with the Lord when He saved them. You must come this morning to make good on that promise. Reconnect with the Father and serve Him as you know you ought to. Do you remember the first vows you made? Do you remember your promises to Him? Isn't it about time that you lived like the person you say you are? Isn't it about time that you lived like the new creature that God said you were because He saved you? 5:17?) I. Making New Promises to the Lord II. V. 8: REESTABLISHING THEMSELVES' BELIEF IN THE LORD A. At this point, Israel has set up camp in the center of hostile territory. Every male in Israel loses his ability to fight and becomes temporarily disabled after being circumcised. They had to have a lot of faith to do the circumcision rite! They needed to be willing to put their faith in the Lord to guard them until they got better. They were the enemy's literal "sitting ducks." However, the key to their success was their faith. These men had learned the important lesson that military might and superior battlefield tactics would not win their battles. They were aware that God gave them victory if they ever achieved it. Their victory would be solely based on faith. B. Just like these men in Israel, we go through times of trial throughout life. They had just won a big victory, and this is often the time when we feel self-confident and believe we can't be stopped. You can be certain that the Lord will permit us to undergo a period of testing in your life as well as mine when those times occur. We must have faith in the Lord when we do! Being spiritually pure is not enough; we must also walk in faith before the Lord. Keep in mind that our God is capable of and will care for His children. C. The Bible teaches this spiritual truth over and over again. God is more than capable when God's people are unable to take care of themselves. Take note of just a few instances where having faith in a great God resulted in incredible rewards. 1. During the time that the rest of humanity perished, Noah was safeguarded in the Ark (Genesis 6–9). While Egyptian children perished, Israel's firstborn were spared (Ex. 12. 3. Dan says that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were spared the fire. 3. 4. Dan, the hungry lion, was spared Daniel. 6. 5. 1 Kings 17 says that the ravens and a poor widow fed Elijah. 6. 2 Cor. says that Paul received grace for his race. 12. This morning, I want to reassure you that the Lord will care for you even in your most trying times. He is still God, and He can provide everything you require. The only thing He asks of you is that you trust Him. This morning, are you walking by faith? I. Making New Promises to the Lord II. reassuring them of their faith in the Lord III. The phrase "reproach of Egypt" refers to two events that occurred during Israel's wanderings through the wilderness. The initial can be found in Ex. 32:1–12, when the Israelites worshiped a golden calf as if it were God. The second took place at Kadesh-Barnea, where the Israelites showed their unbelief and refused to enter the promised land (Num 14:11–14). Both times, the Lord threatened to exterminate Israel and begin anew with Moses. Additionally, Moses pleaded with the Lord both times and reminded Him that He would cause the Egyptians to mock God. They would assert that He delivered them from Egypt but was unable to deliver them to Canaan. However, God has demonstrated that He is capable of bringing His people into the land now that they are there. As a result, He informs them that He had ignored that criticism! To put it another way, their past was no longer a concern. The day had begun! B. In a sense, a lot of God's children continue to live in "the reproach of Egypt." It's possible that the things you did prior to coming to faith in Christ cause you to live with shame. Since being saved, you may be ashamed of times when you have failed the Lord. In either case, self-pity is a constant threat to your existence. C. I want to remind you this morning that your past is no longer a concern if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ for your salvation, Psa. 103:12, Isa. 38:17; Isa. 43:25; Jer. 50:20; Micah 7:19; 1 John 1:7. The old life's reproach has vanished forever! Before you can take your Canaan to victory, you need to let go of the guilt you felt in those days! In the same way, numerous Christians have significantly disobeyed the Lord. They lose and feel like second-class citizens in the kingdom of God as a result. My friend, according to 1 John 1:9, if you have confessed your sin and confessed your repentance, then God has dealt with it. (Ill. God is telling Israel that yesterday is over and that they should focus on today's victory rather than yesterday's defeat. If you have atoned for your sins before God, you might as well forget about them because the Lord has already forgotten about them! Until you realize that the Lord has forgave your past, you will never be able to triumph.) I. Making New Promises to the Lord II. reassuring them of their faith in the Lord III. removing the Lord IV's condemnation of them. V. 10-12 REMEMBERING THE LORD'S COMMITMENT A. In these verses, Israel observes the Passover holiday once more. When they were still in Egypt, Ex., they first noticed it. 9-14. Before departing for Kadesh-Barnea, Num, they also celebrated it at Mount Sinai. 9:1-14. On the other hand, there is no evidence that they had celebrated Passover in the previous forty years. They simply couldn't! For the new generation to participate in the Passover, they needed to be circumcised. Now, it might be helpful for us to recall the significance of the Passover. The Lord instructed His people to select a lamb, slaughter it, apply its blood to the door posts and lintels of their homes, and then cook and consume the lamb when the first plague, the death of the firstborn, struck Egypt. The Lord would "pass over" those safe houses that night and let the firstborn live because He would see the blood on their doors. At that time, it was mandated that Israel hold this celebration annually. They were supposed to remember that night when the Lord passed over them and spared them from the death plague. They were supposed to keep in mind that it was on that night that the Lord released them from their slavery in Egypt. The Jews celebrated Passover as a time to remember the Lord's deliverance! They are to observe the Passover holiday now that they have arrived in the promised land. They are supposed to keep in mind how God helped them out of Egypt and provided for them along the way. B. What a valuable lesson for the Lord's redeemed people! We need to keep in mind some of the great things that the Lord has done for us in the past as we face the challenges of life. We must keep in mind when: 1. He adoredly called us. 2. By grace, he saved us. 3. He remitted our transgressions. 4. When we fell, he held us. 5. He has previously defeated our foes. 6. When it seemed like there was no hope, he gave us victory. Ill. Take some time to reflect on the ways in which God has demonstrated His strength throughout your life. It will inspire you to prevail in the upcoming conflict. He is still God today, if He was God then! C. V. 11–12 Just as Israel needed to keep in mind the commitment that the Lord had made to them, so did they need to keep in mind their commitment to Him! They had consumed daily manna for forty years. The manna, on the other hand, stopped flowing when they consumed the Canaanite fruit. Israel must have been pleased that there was no more manna. While the Passover feast served as a constant reminder of Israel's exodus from Egypt, the manna served as another reminder. 16:3. You have to understand that God was able to free His people from Egypt with relative ease, but He was unable to free His people from Egypt. (Ill) An excessive number of Christians are like the Israelites. That is, they have an appetite for worldly goods in the same way that Israel did for Egyptian goods. God, help us become hungry for our inheritance's harvest. We were not saved by God to satiate our hunger with worldly goods. We were saved so that we could learn to appreciate Him and enjoy what He would give us. We should not try to satisfy our hungers by returning to the world or the wilderness. Instead, let us learn to eat the Lord's things. If we look to His had, He will feed us in the place of victory. We don't have to look everywhere for scraps! We are the King's children! If we are willing to let the Lord lead and feed us, we can eat from the best.) V. 13–15 ACKNOWLEDGING THE LORD'S CONTROL A. The final step in preparing to conquer Canaan is learning who is in charge. Joshua saw a man standing with a drawn sword one day as he was looking over Jericho. Joshua boldly demanded that the man identify himself and state his side! The man said that he was the Captain of the Lord's Host when he responded. Joshua was informed by Him that He had come to take control, not to pick sides. That is, He exercised command over the Lord's armies on earth and in heaven. Joshua was informed that He was in charge. The Chief Executive had just met General Joshua! Joshua responds by prostrating himself before Him and offering worship to Him. Joshua's knowledge of who is in charge and submission to the Lord's will are demonstrated by this. You see, you have to defeat yourself before you can win. You must first be conquered before you can conquer! We must carry out Joshua's actions here. Specifically, we must surrender our weapons to the Lord's host captain. B. Ill. Many of the Lord's children have yet to learn this lesson. May I remind you that learning to submit one's authority to the will of God is an essential first step toward victory? We are His servants and He is Lord. Therefore, you must strictly adhere to what He says. C. Having said that, we should not overlook the enormous blessing that is contained here. Joshua is putting a lot of pressure on himself. He is attempting to lead an army to victory over a formidable foe. Josh, the most important thing for him to know is that the promises God made to him when He called him are true. 1:5. Joshua is experiencing the fulfillment of those promises right now. Joshua is receiving a message from God that he is not required to fight alone. He even tells Joshua that he is not responsible for the battles. The Lord is the Army of God's Captain, and He is present to direct the battle and win! (Ill. May I reiterate that the same holds true as you and I confront life's challenges? "The battle is the Lord's," as David told Goliath, 1 Sam. 17:47, thus it remains so! He has promised to be with you, to help you, and to lead you to victory, child of God. Do what Joshua did in order to see these promises fulfilled in your life. Put your face in front of the Lord, seek His will for the battle, and let Him direct your path to victory.) Conc: Do you have what it takes to conquer Canaan this morning? Not if you are living a sinful life! Not if you are rebellious inside! Not if one has an uncontrollable desire for worldly goods. Not if you're scared and doubtful. Not if you've lost track of the place where the Lord brought you. Not if you are in charge of your life rather than Jesus. Do you want to win, child of God? If that is the case, why not address the factors in your life that prevent you from having it and prepare to conquer Canaan today?

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