Sermon Page 2

     


                                                             

.      This account differs from the previous war texts in that the Israelites are not initiating the battle.  This time the battle comes to them.

C.      There are three statements made that follow one another in the text.

1.      “Let us attack,” states the Canaanite king.

2.      “Do not abandon us,” says the concerned Gibeonites.

3.      “Do not fear,” says the Lord.

D.     As Joshua and his army go to the battlefield they hear God’s encouragement: “Fear them not, for I have delivered them into your hand.  There shall not a man of them stand before you.”

E.      If we apply this to the internal strife of the Christian life, we can say that just as “not a man” stood before Joshua, so any temptation we face is resistible.

a.      Do we always win?  No, but the temptations are resistible.  That is why the failure to resist is called sinning. 

b.      However, we have that famous verse of 1 Corinthians 10:13  “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.”

(1.) I had said that any temptation is resistible and that is true since a temptation presents us with a choice and chance to exercise our will.

(2.) I Corinthians 10:13 does seem to designate that while all temptations are resistible, not all temptations are the same in and of themselves.

The nature of temptation is the same but not all temptations are the same.

(a.) Some temptations are simply stronger than others and different Christians react to them in different ways, depending on levels of spiritual growth and maturity.  Some Christians are more susceptible to certain temptations than others due to life experiences, exhaustion, illness, etc.

c.       God’s help is promised in these temptations and we see this principle in the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus instructs us to pray, “Deliver us from evil.”

 

V.                  Joshua marches all night long, a march of 12 to 18 miles and they hit the Canaanite armies early.  And that is how we should deal with our temptations, begin to resist them early, before they can generate more strength. 

 

VI.                We now arrive at this scenario where Joshua declares a prayer in the hearing of Israel: “O sun, stand still at Gibeon; and O moon, in the valley of Aijalon”.

A.      First, a main point to see is that Joshua is bearing witness to the sovereignty of God in the battle.  No matter how this miracle takes place, God is the source of the power and is fighting on Israel’s behalf.

B.      For the sake of Israel, God is willing to interfere in the movement of planetary type bodies: stars and moons.  The sky isn’t the limit, God is active in outer space for Israel’s sake.

1.      In our regard, to save us, God goes to the great length of sending the Divine Son to die upon a cross.

C.      Now if God will interfere in the movement of worlds for Israel’s sake, how can any middle eastern power interfere in Israel taking the land?

 

VII.              Events in the sky and space were important to the ancients.  They were frightened by unusual things like meteors and comets.

A.      For example, we have all seen that phenomena when the sun is out and the moon is still hanging around the morning sky.  This was considered disturbing to the later Assyrian empire. 

B.      Now the skies are disturbing the Canaanite kings and their armies.

1.      The hailstones have begun to fall and no doubt the Canaanites noticed that the Israelites were not being hit by them.

C.      The sun and moon were also seen by many ancient people as gods.

1.      While the request is a really a prayer to God to deal with the heavenly bodies, the idea that Joshua is identifying both sun and moon directly makes it look like Joshua is ordering around the gods of the Canaannites.

D.     We also see that Joshua has now been allowed to go beyond Moses.

1.      Moses had the miracle of the Red Sea to demonstrate his authority from God.  Now Joshua is allowed to command planetary objects, far beyond anything Moses demonstrated.

E.      “It was a day like no other”: not only because a mighty work of power had occurred, but because, “the LORD heeded the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel.”  It was a day like no other because God heard prayer.

F.       The prayer of Joshua, who expressed to God the need for an impossible thing he could not accomplish, and the providential will of God were in sync.

G.     And like Joshua, we can take solace in that God will hear the prayers of you and me; and will consider those prayers in relation to the Divine’s all-knowing and wise providential will.

 

Muncy Presbyterian Church