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Joshua 1 – Part Of The Plan
Joshua 1 Commentary – Part of the Plan
+One of the most challenging questions we can ever ask in the Christian life is also a very simple one, “Lord, what does it mean for me to be used by you?” The answer to this question is equally simple, as well as exponentially more powerful. “Yes, if you so desire.” The role our human will has in participating in God's plan for this world is up to us concerning just how usable we want to be.
2 Timothy 2:20-21:
+An example of a man who was useful to God because he chose to be is Joshua. His example isn't just one that was in the right place at the right time. God had done a serious work in his heart and life that we can also see happen in our own lives in the following ways.
1. The Man God Uses: Joshua was usable by God because of the work He had done in Joshua's heart.
2. The Message God Uses: Joshua was able to speak God's word because he knew it himself.
3. The Mighty Work God Uses: Joshua was able to minister to people, even at their worst, because the heart of God had replaced his own.
+This is not a book of the Bible that stands on its own. The first word that begins the book according to a more accurate translation of the text records the first word of Joshua as “Now.” This book immediately follows historically where Deuteronomy left off.
-If Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy, how did he write about his own death and how long Israel mourned for him? Some believe that God gave Moses a prophetic understanding of his death as well as the events that would immediately follow to give his own eulogy in advance. More likely, however, Joshua was the one who took up the inspired pen to continue the work that God called Moses to do as what was detailed in excruciating detail throughout the books of Exodus through Deuteronomy. Since it wasn't a question whether or not God had called Joshua to the position, the real matter at hand was how Joshua would be able to follow up on such an impressive legacy. That's where the dependence and calling of God was so necessary in Joshua's life. The same factor between the two of them that allowed Moses to be the one known as their guide in the wilderness, their leader at Sanai, and even the one who famously parted the Red Sea to provide the people of God passage, was the God that Joshua served too. The work that God would do through Joshua would ultimately be greater because the work God did through Moses could only lead them to the border of receiving God's promises. The work God is about to do in Joshua's life would see them actually receiving it. The reason for this was what they represented about God's character. Moses revealed the Law of God. And it's purpose was never to bring us into God's promises. Any honest look at God's promises shows that you don't measure up to it. If anything, it just shows you how desperate you need to depend on God's mercy and goodness more than anything else. It can't bring you to eternal life. It just shows how far you are from it. That's where the significance of Joshua's ministry comes in. Not just in the fact he led them into the Promised Land, but what that implied in Joshua bringing across the border of God's Law into receiving God's blessings and mercy. Joshua's name in scripture is the Anglican equivalent of what it originally was in Hebrew. The name Yeshua, or more literally, Yah-hoshea means God our Savior. This was the same name that Messiah bore when He physically came to this earth. The Greek name Jesus literally described His purpose in coming to this world just like Joshua provided a foreshadowing of Him.
-Besides similar names, what exactly was the work God did in Joshua's life that prepared him not only to fill Moses' shoes, but also set a standard for the Messiah Himself when He came along?
1. Joshua knew God's power.
+This is the earliest mention of Joshua's name in scripture. In this battle, it needs to be noted that Joshua was not a military leader, nor was the battle determined by his skill in leadership. Joshua was willing to enter a battle that was contingent on God's provision. As long as Moses held his hands up, God gave Israel the victory. This showed Joshua something very important. The battle was the Lord's. He would give Israel victory or they were dead where they stood.
-We need to understand this as much as Joshua did. Regardless of how aware we are of it being the case, we are in a battle and the church of God is an army. Our enemies aren't the nations of the world, and our weapons aren't those that affect the physical. We are an army that marches on its knees. That's a lesson that Joshua learned early on in life. Hopefully it's a lesson we learn as soon as possible as well.
2. Joshua knew God's plan for his generation and wouldn't compromise.
+Despite the majority report these spies gave to Israel, Joshua and Caleb didn't compromise truth in light of God's promises. It wasn't just 2 against 10. It was 2 and 2-5 million people who wanted to stone them to death for not toting the party line. This is the kind of person God uses. If we stand for His word without compromise or apology, and recognize popularity with God is worth far more than popularity with man, God can work effectively in and through our lives.
-Paul notes the same lesson that Joshua learned before chapter 1 of his story. You can't please men and God at the same time. It doesn't mean that we are obnoxious to non-believers, but we aren't willing to bend when pressure is put on us to go against what God's word says.
-The Christian that compromises truth isn't standing for God no matter what they quote from His word.
“In the Christian life, there are negotiables and non-negotiables. If you don't like the way they baptize or take communion, that's a negotiable. If they compromise on the word of God, that's a non-negotiable.” -Chuck Swindoll
-These are the non-negotiables of the Christian life. Is the Bible the inspired, preserved, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God? Is Jesus God in human flesh? Is God three in person but one in essence? And is salvation by grace through faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ? If you compromise in these areas, it doesn't matter how popular your ministry is. God won't use you if you compromise His word.
3. Joshua knew God's presence.
+There's a number of things in this passage that is worth noting about what made Joshua usable by God, but this is the most important one. Joshua was usable by God because he was filled with the Holy Spirit. This is the one thing, the only thing, that qualifies you for ministry.
+Jesus Himself affirmed this before His ascension. They had seen Jesus' miracles. They had witnessed His death and resurrection. They knew the in's and out's of Jewish society. They had full access to the scriptures along with insights from God Himself that made them walking Gospels before they were put into writing and circulated. Yet what did Jesus tell them? Don't speak a word until they are given power from on high. Another promise needed to be fulfilled before an effective witness of His word could be given. What was that promise?
-The Holy Spirit was “with” the disciples at this point. The presence of God could speak to the disciples, but couldn't indwell them until their sins had been permanently cleansed. It was after their salvation was made complete that the Holy Spirit would not only be with them, but “in” them. This fellowship that Jesus and the Father would have with all believers throughout all of time would be through the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit can't enter until Jesus had made the way, and we have taken it.
-There is one other relationship the Holy Spirit has with believers. He is with us through conviction of righteousness, calling us to salvation. He is in us upon receiving the way Jesus has provided through belief in His death and resurrection. But He is also upon us when we are called and equipped to serve Him according to His good pleasure. That's what it means to be used by God. To be filled with power from the Holy Spirit. Not doing something “for God.” But doing anything “through God.”
-This is the fulfillment of Jesus' promise for the Holy Spirit to come upon the disciples in power. And it would be to accomplish the very purpose He sent the Holy Spirit to them in the first place.
-This is the remedy for “pastoral burnout.” Making sure you aren't making yourself your own motivation and fuel source for the work of God in your life. He never calls us to do anything for Him. He calls us to do make ourselves available to do things through Him. What's the difference? Note the fruit. If you find yourself looking at others who aren't doing as “much” as you, you're on the road to burnout. If you are working yourself to the point where you can have some relief, you're on the road to burnout. If you're working for the fear of man and not the love of God, you're on the road to burnout. We aren't good servants. The only way we'll accomplish anything in this life is to be used by God. And the only way we'll be useful to God is if you come to Him first. If you share from an overflow of how good God has been to you, instead of seeking relief from guilt or any other reason, you will serve God from the abundance that comes from the coming upon of the Holy Spirit. Not those who sweat or gather for hours at a time, but those who ask for Him.
-Getting your doctrine straight is only knowing how to take the first step. If you want to make the whole journey, ask! And if you find yourself on empty, understand that the Spirit is a reneuable resource.
-This filling of the Holy Spirit that we are commanded to receive is referring to a daily filling.
+When you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, prepare for the overflow spoken of in the Christian life. We don't have to wonder what God has done for us lately because He'll be with you every living moment. And that kind of company changes lives.