Confidence: His Perseverance (Part 1)

June 9, 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

What I gather from our present day is this uncertainty of whether God is instrumental in accomplishing His work through us as He did in the Old Testament. 

But before I answer that. Let me provide a guide on how to glean wisdom and application from the Old testament. It can be easy to get lost in all these stories. Even forget the big picture. Leading you to that all too familiar question. WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?! 

Remember, we are pulling principals out of the text. We’re reading the history of our salvation. The reason we can pull principals from the text is because one. God never changes His word, and His character is eternal. So, His character is always the same. He does not change. Secondly, since the fall, humanity has suffered from the same problem—our sin. So, as we read the Old Testament, we can see the same human condition: For instance, our desire to rebel and worship other idols is still strong. The hatred humanity can hold for each other in our hearts is also alive. Just turn to any news channel. We are not so far removed from the humanity we read about in Scripture. Sure, we have technological advances, but sin is still at the heart of humanity. And from the Fall, God has carved out the plan of redemption to reconcile us to Himself. That’s the focus when reading through the Old Testament. 

We read chapter 7 last week, and it’s chapter 8 today. These are part of the same story—a small part of the big picture of the coming Messiah Jesus Christ through the lineage of Judah. 

Remember to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, Not just that He existed or that he was simply a “good man” who said some pretty profound things. But God in the flesh. He came to redeem humanity from our sins. Our Messiah, Our only means to salvation. To hold to this belief is to know that God has purchased you. In the same way, he set apart the Israelites we are reading about today. We are set apart from the rest of humanity. And If you are here today or listening online and you think I don’t know if I believe in all this, or I’m not sure if I believe enough, I know for certain that if you are hearing my words, it is on purpose. It’s not by accident. I didn’t just walk up on stage today accidentally and somehow randomly reveal some great truth of God. NO! God has been working in my life for a long time now. Long before I was even a believer. Before repentance and Faith, spiritually, I was resisting Him, but every day I was alive proves His great mercy and patience. 

I didn’t bring myself into existence and then decide, HMMM, yes, I think there is a God. NOOO!!! Lol, God had to remove my heart of stone that suppressed him.

I can now say that there is a purpose for myself and all the image-bearers around us with Confidence. the Latin root for confidence is Con+Fidus which is, (“with”+” Faith”)  because of my Christian framework. my Biblical worldview…This Framework or worldview begins and ends with my Confidence in Jesus. Here’s the kicker. I can say I did not come to this faith on my own. It’s Jesus who gets the glory for my confidence my faith.

Jesus said himself when he asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answers and says to Jesus. You are the Christ the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.“

The Holy Spirit that indwells in you, is the same God and author who inspired the writers of the Scriptures we’re reading today. 

So, my starting place when coming to all texts in the Bible is GOD. What does it say at the beginning of the bible? ‘In the beginning GOD…” Genesis Chapter 1: what does the bible say at the end? “The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all. AMEN.” Revelation chapter 22 

The Bible is about God. My point may sound trivial to some of you, but having this as your foundation when reading scripture is essential. He reveals His Power, His providence/ provision, and His Promises.

I am saying all this to keep you from inserting yourself into the text or to start allegorizing the main characters into certain archetypes or categories. You will get lost if you are not grounded in God.

As we are in Joshua, we are reading a historical narrative, which means this is a historical account. That is how we come to the text. We are reading the thread that started in Genesis 3, where God promises the Messiah, which will come through the People of Israel.

And so here we are in Joshua Chapter 8. Here are my 3 points of teaching in this chapter.

 Listen, there is so much God is revealing in this chapter 

  • The Loss we need
  • The Love we need
  • The Lord we need

Let’s start with… The Loss we need

For those of you who were not here last week, Michael taught through chapter 7, when Israel first tried to take AI. Unfortunately, they were trying to do it on their terms. Not only were they disobeying God’s covenant by keeping banned items in their possession, but they were also arrogant, thinking they did not need to use all their resources to defeat AI. God made it clear to Joshua that he would not tolerate disobedience regarding His people. 

It’s a beautiful observation. You are truly seeing the consistency of God. His punishment shows no partiality. If you’re familiar with the Old Testament, Israel is punished throughout scripture for their iniquity. God loves His people, but he does not tolerate sin and disobedience. As Paul puts it in 1st Corinthians, love does not rejoice in unrighteousness. 

Listen to the description of the people in verse 5 of chapter 7. So the hearts of the people(that’s the Israelites) melted and became like water. In the context of the chapter, don’t take this literally. It’s an expression. It means that terror and fear consumed them. Does this sound like Israel is getting away with their sin of idolatry? 

Let me take you to Leviticus chapter 26. In there, we read God’s warnings about how he is to discipline those who are His—such a beautiful chapter. Here, we read God’s warnings for disobedience. 

You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the Lord your God.  then a few verses down he starts to explain the consequences.

Starting in verse 14

14 ‘But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments, 

15 if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, and so break My covenant, 

16 I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that will waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you will sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies will eat it up. 

17 I will set My face against you so that you will be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you. 

18 If also after these things you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 

19 I will also break down your pride of power; I will also make your sky like iron and your earth like bronze. 

20 Your strength will be spent uselessly, for your land will not yield its produce and the trees of the land will not yield their fruit.

He continues several more times in the same chapter. And if you continue to ignore my discipline. And if you continue. And after that, if you are still!!! God gives so many chances. 

For those familiar with the Old Testament, The blessings and curses all come to fruition. God warns, and Israel does not obey. They go into crisis and repents, The Lord Faithfully restores them, and then they fall away again. In Joshua 7 and 8, we glimpse what God was talking about in his warnings.

So, as we read Joshua Chapter 7 and now Chapter 8, listen for the consistency of God’s blessings and punishments. Are they one-sided? Are there moments where the Israelites can be idolaters and not receive due punishment? So, why would we think we can get away with our idolatry?…. We need the Loss. Just like the loss Israel had in chapter 7. Meaning, we need moments in our life where we don’t prevail. Where everything doesn’t just work out for us without any consequence. God is growing us through that. 

There’s a verse in the New Testament you can find it in Matthew. It’s written plainly, but it’s short. So it can be easy to read past it. It’s in Matthew chapter 22. 

Keep this in your notes. I am starting in verse 29. Jesus speaks in response to the Sadducees attempting to use a hypothetical to convey their belief of the ridiculousness of the resurrection. (life after death) They do not believe in the spiritual things of this world. It’s similar to the materialists of today.

29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

Jesus holds the Sadducees accountable; they have heard God Speak to them through the Scriptures. The very same ones we’re reading today. He doesn’t say Have you not read was spoken to by your teachers growing up? He says, “spoken to you by God”. Paul picks this up in 2nd Timothy 3:16: All Scripture is inspired by God(literally God-breathed) and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; 

17 so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.

Here’s how insidious the world is. You have scholarly academics who can’t argue with Paul’s writings. Or with any of Paul’s articulated, concise descriptions of things abhorrent to God. So, they’ll just say he may not have written his letters. Or they’ll paint this false dichotomy that Paul and Jesus are saying two different things, causing division among brothers and sisters. I mean, which is it? He didn’t write them, or are his words contradictory to Jesus’s? I love the scriptures so much. None of this attempt at division is new. It’s as if God, in His providence, knows this will happen. 

Doesn’t the world’s dismissal of Paul sound a little too close to the serpent’s statement in the garden?  “Has God said?”

Well, what does Peter’s second letter say about Paul? You know which Peter this is, right? The one I mentioned earlier, the one who Jesus confirmed who was given divine revelation by the Father that Jesus is the Messiah. Mark this verse in your notes. I’ll just read it quickly. 

2nd Peter 3:15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 

16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 

17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,

There is harmony in the Bible, but you must start with God to see that.

I hope we receive the discipline of the Lord with a soft heart. Take the L and learn from Him. Listen to the Lord. 

Are there things in your life that you know shouldn’t be there? 

Are there ideas we hold firm to that contradict the words of God? 

Listen as he speaks in Leviticus. 

Listen as He speaks in Joshua. 

Listen as He speaks to you throughout all his written revelation. 

Lastly, listen to HIM as He speaks to you through the testimony of your life

It says in Ephesians that “he has a great work set before us’ ‘ which means that He is actively engaging in our lives. In real time. Do you know the Risen Christ? If you don’t know Him, The invitation to know him stands before you. Right here. Seek the Lord and be saved. The GOD of all creation actively speaks to you through His word. 

Listen, God has revealed my idols.

At a point in my life, God was putting His hand on me.  I was recently converted, but I had no idea what it meant. All I knew was that the gospel was true, but I still didn’t know what it meant to step out in faith. This undeniable sense of something more significant was going on in my spirit. I still sought my rest and peace in worldly things. And at the heart of it was the desire to drink to the point of drunkenness. This was going on long before I was a believer. But I couldn’t see it until God opened my eyes.

 Once everyone was asleep. That is, my wife and son who was around 2. I would consider myself “clocked out”. I would pop over to the store to buy enough beer to get drunk. And I would do this alone, just the TV as my company. I would wake up hungover and endure the next day. I would have a sense of pride or accomplishment that I got through it, and then I found myself in the same situation. Everyone is asleep. I’m “clocked out” back to the store again. Eventually, I started to feel the conviction of what I was doing. One day, I came across Leviticus 26. It played on my speaker while getting some housework done, bringing me to my knees. I listened to God describe His consequences for idolatry. It was around verses 19 and 20

19 I will also break down your pride of power; I will also make your sky like iron and your earth like bronze. 

20 Your strength will be spent uselessly, for your land will not yield its produce and the trees of the land will not yield their fruit.

I was living out those consequences right then and there. I felt that trying to use alcohol as my means of escape wore on me. Kimberly and I would fight. I would be insufferable. My fuse would be short. As it said in Leviticus 19, I will make your sky like Iron and earth like bronze. The principal there is that your days will be difficult and heavy. The more I sought my pride and strength, The heavier the days were. The Lord had his hand on me, and I thought I could wrestle my way out. 

The Love we Need

What path will you take? The Lord said to my spirit. Do you want to enjoy the blessings I’ve given you with this family, a loving, Godly wife and sweet little boy, or the path of “selfishness/false freedoms” to indulge in your drunken stooper and silly meaningless entertainment?

 I am a child of divorce. And if I were to continue down this selfish path, that’s where it could have headed. By God’s favor, Kimberly and I never had the conversation about divorce, but I know that I was chipping away at our relationship because of my sin. I certainly wasn’t making it easy. I was not responsible, and she picked up all the Slack.

At that moment, I caught a glimpse into my mind of what it would be like. To live out my life separated from my wife and son. I transposed what it was like for me growing up. Except I am the grown-up. Having to navigate the pain and loss of having to look kimberly in the eyes as we sort out logistics with Alex, knowing we were once together but not anymore. Have you heard the Beatles’ song For No One? The thought of being unable to be there for them every night to show my affection anytime I wanted, having only  moments with my son. Feeling like I’m only getting fragments of his life. That broke me. I stopped listening to my sinful heart, the lies in my head, and my pride. And I stopped fighting God and his will.

He revealed my sin. This moment of reflection with the Lord led me to my knees. I cried out to the Lord our God, and all I could repeatedly say was: “You are above all things. I don’t want this brokenness anymore. You’re above all things,” at that moment, I could breathe deeply again. God lifted a great weight from my spirit. It’s difficult to explain, but it was like I was a child again. Do you know how you had that sense of your whole life ahead of you when you were a child? Well, at that moment, I tasted eternity. The words “Just Follow me” rang out loud in my spirit. My heart felt like a water spring was flooding my chest, like a living water was pouring out. After that, I began to feel the true freedom and rest I was trying to replicate. I knew now I could rest because I am made righteous before the creator of heaven and earth through what Christ accomplished, not by my actions/or works. I was done using my own understanding to determine the meaning of my existence/ my worth and how to define my success and My purpose in life. Until then, I didn’t know how to figure these things out, which was exhausting. I was constantly fighting this panic of feeling like a failure, with this sense of time running out.

Let’s get back to Chapter 8

Chapter 8 Now the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear or be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you and arise, go up to Ai; see, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. 

2 You shall do to Ai and its king just as you did to Jericho and its king; you shall take only its spoil and its cattle as plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it.”

3 So Joshua rose with all the people of war to go up to Ai; and Joshua chose 30,000 men, valiant warriors, and sent them out at night. 

4 He commanded them, saying, “See, you are going to ambush the city from behind it. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you be ready. 

5 Then I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. And when they come out to meet us as at the first, we will flee before them.

When we read the circumstances in chapter 8, We see God’s love for His people and God’s people’s love for each other. 

We need to understand the concepts of love. As I mentioned earlier, we need the loss and the uncomfortableness of being disciplined. But that can be difficult to realize since we live in a time when love is described chiefly or defined as an emotional aspect or feeling. That’s not true. Love. True Love is an action. Christ showed God’s love for us on the cross. In Joshua Chapter 8, God is working His way there. Some things needed to happen for that moment on the cross. So even in the bloody war-filled moments that take place in scripture. God’s love and faithfulness shine through. Because through that horror, God was working towards something. Something that we wouldn’t understand until that day on the cross. Even now, some things have to occur in our lives and community that we will not understand before His second coming. We won’t know why until We see Him in glory.  So when we talk about love, remember it’s not just a verbal expression or that love only confirmed when we are in complete agreement. One of the characteristics of Love described in 1st Corinthians is that Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness but delights in the truth. Don’t be surprised if even when you communicate your concern with a loved one in the most reasoned, articulate, and compassionate way, they may still not want to reconcile with you. Do not use their reaction to determine whether you did it correctly or not. Sometimes, people need time to process the truth in love you conveyed because God, through the Holy Spirit, had His hand on them.

Jesus tells us that our love for Him will cause division, even amongst our family. So, to say that what we read in Joshua 8 this morning contradicts the life of Jesus in the New Testament is a false teaching and should be rejected. Remember, Jesus has been since the beginning. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have been in perfect relationship for eternity, long before creation.

We can take from today’s text that the outcome of God establishing His holy nation is messy and filled with conflict. In the same way, our walk with the Lord is messy and filled with conflict. In both instances, God calls us to step out in faith so as not to fear or be dismayed. The thing is, God is the one who goes before us in all matters. He went before the Israelites in today’s text, and he went before us when He laid down His life on that cross for our sins. 

The second aspect of the Love I want to draw attention to is the love for each other. Joshua called to lead the Israelite people into the promised land. Israel is a nation with a lot of people. It isn’t some small group. Thousands and thousands of people are united to serve the Living God. They are doing life together. It’s not as though they break out into song and dance every evening before bedtime. We read the hard truth of conflict and putting to death those who knew the full repercussions of their idolatrous actions. But the moment when God speaks, they listen. Have they done so perfectly? No, not at all. The point is that there is a connection to a community that God has brought together in Joshua 8. Similarly, like here this morning. United by their outspoken faith in GOD.

By this point, I hope God has clarified how we draw on the experiences of the Old Testament. To be clear, God is not calling us to spy out the land around us, develop a militia, or start taking ground. So please don’t walk away today thinking that God is giving us the go-ahead to use violence to further His kingdom. But the parallels we can pull, and Peter explains it best in His letter, is that We, the Church, the believers of Jesus Christ, are a holy nation, a royal priesthood. Paul also adds to that when he says, “We are ambassadors of Christ.” Also, in Ephesians, there is a description of the current battle we are facing.  Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the ruler and the powers against the world forces of this darkness against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. That doesn’t mean we are yelling into the wind rebukes. No, we are having hard conversations with our neighbors, as this is the loving thing to do. We point them to the Gospel, inviting reconciliation and peace with the Father through Jesus Christ, not just in word but deed. 

The Lord we need

I’ve heard it said by secularists that in this age of technology and the internet, we are more connected to people all over the world than at any other time in history. And Yet! We are the most isolated we have ever been. They then bring up statistics of suicide rates, clinical depression, drug and alcohol-related deaths, murders, and mental health issues. It’s evident to even the secularists that there is a problem. Since the pandemic, I’ve heard amazing things come out of notable atheists’ mouths. They publicly affirm a sense of spiritual evil that permeates the world systems. And It’s only spiraling further into chaos and destruction. Jesus himself said this would happen. So don’t be discouraged, brothers and sisters. 

There is no other means by which we are saved except through Christ! The Bible is the only means that provides the preconditions to explain why the world is how it is accurately down to the individual’s heart condition from greed, selfishness, and murder. to compassion and love. Just because the world doesn’t agree with what the bible says doesn’t make it any less accurate. We need God’s word to make sense of anything in this existence. Suppose you study any other philosophies and religions. They either don’t correlate with what we see in the world or can only in part explain our purpose or reason for being here.

What I’m saying is look at what Joshua is doing. How important does Joshua think God’s word is and, by extension, God Himself? How important do you believe God is to the people of Israel?

Let’s look at the text starting in verse 30

30 Then Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, in Mount Ebal, 

31 just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the sons of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of uncut stones on which no man had wielded an iron tool; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings. 

32 He wrote there on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written, in the presence of the sons of Israel. 

33 All Israel with their elders and officers and their judges were standing on both sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, the stranger as well as the native. Half of them stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had given command at first to bless the people of Israel. 

34 Then afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. 

35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them

The first thing Israel does once they take Ai is to make sacrifices of burnt offerings to God and establish God’s word in the land by putting God first. Notice who is there at the ceremony. Everyone! Even the “stranger”. They witness what God is doing with the Israelites as they make their way through the Canaanite land. The Israelites Need God to accomplish anything. They needed God to part the sea when God called them out of Egypt. Also, While walking through the wilderness for over 40 years, who fed them daily and gave them water from the rocks, they are now going through the land God promised them. They are accomplishing amazing, unimaginable things, such as the collapse of the impenetrable walls of Jericho.

It can be easy in our time to not see how much God is working in our lives, holding all things together. Most of society, myself included, was raised through the public school system. In my generation, there was no mention of God in the classroom. So, at the foundation of my understanding of this life, humanity is the arbiter of truth and determines right and wrong; according to the Bible, that is not true. Yes, we are image-bearers of God, so we can see plainly how intelligent our minds are capable of being. I don’t see cows coming up with things like wireless internet. Or dolphins with a space program. Even though we are as capable as we are, we did not will ourselves into existence. 

There is a significant distinction, an uncrossable chasm between the Creator and His creation. I am not here to persuade you of the truth; I’m simply relaying the truth from God, who crossed that chasm. We are holding the recorded accounts, which foretold his coming into His creation to redeem us; this is the Old testament. And the accounts of His arrival and sacrifice to complete our redemption in the New Testament. 

You see, this fallen world will have you believe this lie. The lie is to find your purpose And be successful in life. To know the difference between right and wrong and to do the right and just things in this life, you only need to seek deep inside yourself. Why? “Because to the world, deep down, we are all inherently good. You hear this message loud and clear, and yet, as we hear this, we need only to look out our window into all the chaos that’s taking place. It’s a lie, brothers and sisters. The truth is that the only one who is Good is God. He is so good that while we hated him, while we were still sinners. He took on Flesh and lived a sinless life. So that He can be the once for all sacrifice to pay the penalty we deserve. We are the ones who committed the sins against a holy and just God. We deserve what Jesus received on that Cross. But by his willingness. He took that punishment for us. And so where is our confidence found that His sacrifice was sufficient? By. His. Resurrection. Because of his resurrection. He has conquered death. We don’t even have to fear death!! Do you believe that?! 

Church family. Listen, if you have not put your faith in Jesus Christ today, I urge you to do so. If this isn’t making sense. Come talk to me after the service. Talk to your neighbor next to you. We have people in the back who are there to pray for you. Please don’t leave here today with questions on your mind or heart.

When I say put your faith in Jesus. I’m not saying to put your faith in the fact that he existed in history, but that He is God and paid for your sins. Past, present, and future once and for all on that cross. He was buried and rose from the dead on the 3rd day in fulfillment of the scriptures that foretold this. Believe in him and what he has already done. That means that he has already accomplished his work. You can now be set free. Free from your sin. Free from your fears and your past. You are a new creation. You are born anew. Free from the burden of finding purpose and worth in this life. You have a purpose in Christ. You have worth in so much that the God of all creation died for you. You are free from death—all thanks to our lord and savior, Jesus Christ. 

Let us pray.


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.

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