Confidence: His People

May 12, 2024

Series: Confidence

Book: Joshua

This is a part of a sermon series on the book of Joshua. You can watch more here.

Sermon Manuscript

All this transition reminds me how God works in our life.  There are going to be ups and downs in life, so that the circumstances might look different but the constant theme is our eyes being in awe of God’s glory.  

In January we were talking about where we were financially as a church family and our hope isn’t in the finances but being in awe of God’s glory.  A year ago, we were talking about where we were in momentum as a church family and were still focused on being in awe of God’s glory.  

I think about some of the life stories in our church in Austin.  New people getting involved.  Established people walking through challenges.  Disagreements and conflict working through resolution.  The circumstances might change but the focus is always on being in awe of God’s glory.  

This morning we are going to see something similar in our passage.  We are going to see the ups and downs of life in the Old Testament, the circumstances might change, but the glory of the Lord is what’s most important.  Let’s look Joshua 5:1:  

Joshua 5:1, “1 Now it came about when all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard how the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed, that their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the sons of Israel.”

There has been a pattern of Israel sending out spies, Israel being overcome with fear but now in Joshua we see the pattern is being reversed.  Do you see that in verse 1?  It isn’t Israel being filled with fear in verse 1 but instead it is the Canaanite people being filled with fear.  

Why are the Canaanites filled with fear?  Look at verse 1, “All the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard how the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel.”  

Do you remember Joshua 4?  Do you remember how Israel brings the “Ark of the Covenant” to the edge of the Jordan River and the waters part so that Israel might make it through to the other side. 

In verse 1 we see the Canaanites heard about the parting of the Jordan River and it melted their hearts with fear.  Do you see that in verse 1?  This is the same pattern we saw in Joshua 2 with Rahab.  Look at Joshua 2:10-11: 

Joshua 2:10, “10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” 

If you didn’t get a chance to listen to Joshua, go to YouTube, take in Joshua 2 because the pattern we see in Joshua 2 and Joshua 5 doesn’t make any sense from a human perspective.

Israel is not an intimidating nation.  Israel doesn’t have a stacked army with powerful weapons.  They don’t have horses and chariots.  They don’t have MMA fighters trained in Krav Maga.  That’s Israeli martial arts.  Krav Maga doesn’t come until the 1900’s.  

Joshua 5:1, “1 Now it came about when all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard how the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed, that their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the sons of Israel.”

But I want you to see the glory of God being put on display.  Hearts aren’t melting because of Israel.  The Canaanites aren’t filled with fear because Joshua is this great leader.  This pattern we see in Joshua 2 and Joshua 5 is because of God’s glory being made known in the God of Scripture.  Amen?

I know Israel is in the news a lot lately but Israel as a nation didn’t always exist.  Israel exists because God speaks to Abraham, basically worshipping rocks at the time, and says, “I am going to reveal My glory to you, I am going to melt your heart, I am going to give you My righteousness by grace through faith as a gift”, so that as a result the nation of Israel is established.  

But it’s not about Israel.  I get it, we read the bible and it’s a lot about Israel.  It’s not about Israel.  It’s not about Abraham.  It’s not about Old Testament stories.  It’s about God’s glory being made known and He does so through a people, Israel, to point us to a Savior, so that we would be in awe of His glory!  

It’s possible you might be thinking, “Well, if God is so glorious, how come Israel rejects Jesus?”  Yeah!  How come?  A couple of weeks ago, someone in our church in Austin stopped me in the hallway and said, “How does Israel reject Jesus?”

That’s a primary question in the New Testament.  When you read about the life of Jesus we see Jesus goes to Israel over and over and over and Israel rejects Jesus over and over and over, so Jesus says, “I am going to go to a people who are not a people.  That’s Gentiles.  

I am going to go to a people who don’t have the law, don’t have the miracles, don’t have the kings, don’t have the sacrifices and I am going to melt their hearts. That’s the church in Austin!  

I am going to call them to myself.  I am going to work in their life and this is going to be such a shock for Israel, that He will use it to draw Israel to Himself.”  That’s the bible in 3 sentences!  It’s not about Israel.  It’s about His glory!  

Listen this is important because sometimes today we think our relationship with God is about going to non-denominational church in Austin.  We think it’s about following the rules.  We think it’s about reading the bible, serving the community, getting married, raising kids; and it’s not.  Those things happen but you can be a Muslim and do that.  You can be a Mormon and do that.  

The story of God isn’t about trying to get people all around the world to live out some religious habits.  The story of God is about His glory, so that our hearts are melted.  Amen?  That’s verse 1.  It gets even better.  Let’s look at verse 2: 

Joshua 5:2, “2 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Make for yourself flint knives and circumcise again the sons of Israel the second time.’”

You might be thinking, “Michael spent a lot of time on verse 1.”  It’s because of verse 2.  I am assuming we are all on the same page about circumcision.  We don’t need slides, right?  In verse 2 we see the Lord leading Joshua to circumcise the men of Israel with a flint knife, which isn’t impressive.

I don’t like to think about circumcision in a hospital.  I winced when I thought about my son getting circumcised in a hospital and in verse 2 this is all taking place on the edge of a river with a flint knife for the second time.  Can you imagine?  

Israel is about to go into battle.  Genesis 34 describes a scene where the men were unable to fight for 3 days because of circumcision, so from a human perspective verse 2 isn’t a great idea but remember this isn’t about human glory but God’s glory.  Look at verses 3-5:

 Joshua 5:3-5, “3 So Joshua made himself flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth.4 This is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, died in the wilderness along the way after they came out of Egypt. 5 For all the people who came out were circumcised, but all the people who were born in the wilderness along the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised.”

Listen to me, there is a process of spiritual renewal taking place in Joshua 5.  These children should have been circumcised on the 8th day.  We can talk about the purpose of circumcision at a later time but in general circumcision was established with Abraham in Genesis 17 as a sign that Israel belonged to the Lord.  

But the generation in the wilderness were spiritually relaxed, so that our passage this morning isn’t just about the Canaanites being in awe of His glory but also about Israel being in awe of His glory. Does that make sense?

I don’t know what’s going on in your life but I can tell you it isn’t about your circumstances.  You might be wrestling with things in your career, in relationships, children, future of our country, social events in the world but all those things are secondary to our hearts being in awe of His glory.  It’s a constant theme throughout Scripture.  Look at verses 6-7: 

Joshua 5:6-7, “6 For the sons of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, that is, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished because they did not listen to the voice of the Lord, to whom the Lord had sworn that He would not let them see the land which the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7 Their children whom He raised up in their place, Joshua circumcised; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them along the way.”

Look at that phrase “Because they did not listen to the voice of the Lord.”  Do you see that phase in verse 6?  The challenge in Israel wasn’t knowledge or information about God’s glory.  

These are the men and women who saw the plagues in Egypt.  They’ve seen His glory!  These are the men and women who crossed through the parting of the Red Sea. These are the men and women who put the blood of the lamb on their doorpost while the angel of death passed over their homes.  They knew information about God’s glory but they weren’t listening to the voice of the Lord.  You with me?

Our relationship with God isn’t about information.  Our relationship with God isn’t about being able to read a book about His glory.  It’s about our hearts melting in awe of His glory, so that when our hearts aren’t melting we should be concerned.  

When we’re able to sit through a sermon over and over and just walk away we should be concerned.  When we are able to read God’s Word and it feels like an academic exercise over and over we should have red alerts going off in our soul, “Something is off!”

The Apostle Paul picks up on this language in 1 Corinthians 10.  The Apostle Paul references these men and women “being exposed to God’ glory but not listening to the voice of the Lord” and the Apostle Paul says, “Be careful when this happens in our life!”

Be careful playing with religious habits and being casual about God’s glory.  Be careful going to worship services over and over and never seeing your heart melt at His glory.  

Be careful thinking we know all there is to know about God’s glory because we participated in some religious experiences.  Be careful professing Christ outwardly and inwardly having hearts that are far from Him because, when we do, we are playing with God’s glory.

I was talking with someone one time and they said, “I had always believed in God but then I saw His glory, so that God wasn’t there to just help me when I had problems.  He is worthy of every part of my life.”

One pastor said it this way, “We don’t love God for what He does for us.  We love God because He is lovely.  This is the point in our passage this morning.  Look at verses 8-9: 

Joshua 5:8-9, “8 Now when they had finished circumcising all the nation, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed. 9 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.”

Look at that phrase “rolled away the reproach” in verse 9.  It’s as if the Lord is removing the barrier between Himself and Israel as a nation.  

It’s as if the Hand of the Lord is wiping away the rebellion, the sin, the old life of doing what is right in their own eyes and calling Israel to Himself.  Do you see what the Lord is doing in Joshua 5?  

It isn’t about Israel following religious rules.  It’s about Israel knowing the Lord and following the Lord.  Right?  It’s not knowing ABOUT God but it’s knowing God.  And for that to happen our hearts have to be melted by His glory.  Does that make sense?

I know we live in a busy city.  I know it’s easy to show up to a worship service and check Jesus off your list for the week but our faith in Jesus isn’t ever presented as one of the things we do in life.  Jesus never presents Himself as someone to think about and consider if you have time.  

Jesus always says, “Follow Me, die to yourself and follow Me, pick up your cross and follow Me, put Me first, seek Me first” and it’s because Jesus is the One who “rolls back the reproach of our sin.”  Amen?

Jesus is the One who comes to remove the barrier of our sin.  Jesus is the One who comes to “roll back the reproach” of our sin so that we might be reconciled to God.  Jesus is the One who comes to take our sin at the cross, conquer our sin in the resurrection, so that by grace through faith in Him the old has passed away and new things have come.  Look at verse 10: 

Joshua 5:10, “10 While the sons of Israel camped at Gilgal they observed the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the desert plains of Jericho.11 On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. 12 The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year.”

In verses 3-9 we see circumcision and in verse 10 we see the Passover observed and I know there are a lot of biblical references in our passage that we could draw out but I want us to remember the big picture of our passage this morning.  

Israel hides in the house of Rahab.  The Lord provides.  Israel crosses through the parted waters of the Jordan River.  The Lord provides.  The men have committed themselves to the Lord in circumcision.  The Lord provides, so that the Lord is drawing Israel to Himself over and over and over and in verse 12 we see the Lord provide produce from the land that is flowing with milk and honey.  

Up to this point Israel has been eating manna from heaven, a bread like substance that you took what you needed for the day, but in verse 12 the manna ceases, so that Israel begins to taste produce of the land like bread cakes, figs, pomegranate, so that it is as if the Lord is saying, “Follow Me, taste of My goodness, walk with Me, there is life in Me, there is goodness in Me.”  Does that make sense?

It isn’t about religious exercises.  It’s about living out life as He intended.  He created us to be with Him.  Sin has come to kill and destroy what He created to be good but the Lord provides a way for us to come back to Him, to roll back the reproach and not just come back to Him but walk with Him and taste of His goodness.  

Sometimes we feel like our faith in Jesus is so complicated.  It’s not.  Open His Word, see His glory.  Go walk in creation and see of His glory.  Go meditate on the glory of the cross and see of His glory, so that our hearts melt and as a result we will voluntarily give Him our life.  Does that make sense?

Isn’t that what we see in our Christian church in Austin?  Men and women being brought to a place where they are in awe of His glory.  It’s beautiful to see.  Sometimes some of us don’t even know how to say it.  

Sometimes there are moments where tears will come to people’s eyes because they don’t know how to describe what it’s been like to be in darkness, separated from His glory, and then have this moment where they taste and see that the Lord is good, so that we don’t follow the Lord because we have to but because we want to follow Him.  Amen?  Look at verse 13: 

Joshua 5:13, “13 Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” 

This is going to flip your lid.  In verse 13 Joshua takes a walk toward Jericho.  Surely Joshua is wondering how this is all going to play out.  We’ve read the story.  We know how it ends but, in the moment, Joshua must be asking questions, wondering about next steps, waiting on the Lord, standing before the most fortified city in all the land and a man seemingly comes out of nowhere.  

Who is this man?  Some say this man is an angel.  It’s possible but I think this man is the eternal Son, pre-incarnate Christ.  I know some of us might think Jesus began at His birth but Jesus is eternal, and this isn’t uncommon in Scripture.  

Someone shows up in Genesis 18 and appears to Abraham, Genesis 32 someone wrestles with Jacob, Numbers 22 someone shows up with a sword drawn, and Revelation 19 tells us Jesus returns in glory with a sword drawn, so let’s see how Joshua responds.  Look at verses 14-15: 

Joshua 5:14-15, “14 He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” 15 The captain of the Lord’s host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

In verse 13 Joshua asks, “Are you for me or against me?”  Verse 14, “Neither.”  I am the captain.  I am the captain now.  I am not another soldier.  I am the Creator of all things.  I am in Charge of all things.  

Like Moses of old speaking to the burning bush we see Joshua fall on his face like a dead man, so that Joshua melts.  Do you see that in verse 14?  

Like the Apostle Peter responds, “Depart from me, O Lord, I am a sinful man.”  Like Isaiah, “Woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips.”  

It’s not, “I will follow you if You do this or that.”  Joshua bows down in total submission.  Joshua is the appointed leader of Israel but in this moment Joshua’s only response is, “What has my lord to say to His servant?”

I don’t know what view you have of Jesus.  I don’t know where you are on your spiritual journey.  I don’t know if you have become too casual in your faith.  I don’t know if you see your relationship with God as “attending a worship service.”  

But He’s not interested in religious habits.  He’s not interested in a transfer of ownership.  He’s looking for followers who are wholly devoted to Him.  He’s looking for men and women who are in awe of His glory.  

 

North Village Church

This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.

Are you looking for a church in Austin? At North Village Church we put Jesus at the center of our church family. We worship together every Sunday at 10:30am, encourage Christ centered fellowship through groups, and host special events such as Bible studies and Theological Training, to ensure that we are rooted in in God’s Word. We also serve our local community in association with several Austin based organizations.

North Village Church is made up of professionals, married couples, singles, and families who are wanting to experience the life-transforming power of Jesus. If you are a family with children or teens, we can support you with either or both our Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.

 

You are welcome to contact us if you would like more information.

 

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