Deuteronomy 31:7-8 NKJV “Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
God spoke to Joshua through Moses. He was the leader for the next generation. We are called, who know Christ, to lead others into that truth. The call upon Joshua was not to just teach the people but to lead them into the truth. And that truth will eventually possess them and there will be a transformation from a land of wilderness and sin to a land of promise with provision. God’s promise for us (his children) has always been to bless us with his presence that He makes His name through us known and praised in the earth.
God spoke to Joshua and said don’t be dismayed. Dismayed means to be broken, confounded, in despair, crushed, and beaten down. It’s not just fear by itself, but the argument that comes with it. All fear comes with an argument. The argument is always against the truth of the Word of God that He has revealed to us. When the argument is embraced as a greater reality than what God has spoken to your heart, then dismay is the natural consequence. Getting to the place where you don’t see hope in the future where you see no possibility of change. You are so beaten down by a sin or struggle or inward conflict or situation, you are so beaten down you don’t see any hope.
Have you recently been dismayed?
If you are really an active seeker of God you will have to go through this classroom. Every man or woman ever used by God has had to go through some very difficult classrooms (experiences) that the casual seeker will never embrace. Classrooms of isolation, confusion, and despair come into the hearts of those who are true seekers of God. God has to bring us through the whole arm of flesh until you reckon it all dead and the only hope is that which Christ has promised to live through you.
Joshua 1 2 “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Why is it important to meditate on the word?
The first time you run into difficulty you’re going to be dismayed, you’re going to be cast down broken shattered. You might say, hey what my pastor told me is not coming to pass but you see it’s not good enough but just for your pastor or someone else to tell you. You’ve got to hear it from God for yourself. You got to get in this book (The Bible). You cannot walk in Christian life on emotion. You cannot face the Giants on feelings. If you’re trying to do that you’re going to fall. You’re going to fail and the devil will overwhelm you and dismay you. There comes a point in your life and you’ve got to get in the bible by the power of the Holy Ghost and say God make this thing real to me; make these promises real engrave them on my mind and engrave them on my heart and make them more real than any circumstance or any struggle I will ever face in my life.
After hearing from the Lord and conquering the walls of Jericho a little later on they come to another city called Ai and it’s only a little city and the leaders come back and they speak to Joshua on and they say well it’s only a little one. Let’s not bother sending a big army against it. How about maybe two or three thousand men can go up and smite Ai for it’s only a little city. So the two or three thousand warriors went up and stood against this little city called Ai but 36 of Joshua’s men were killed and the people of Ai chased them out. That’s not a lot of men really when you consider that there were tens of thousands armed for war, but it was still a minor defeat.
Joshua 7:6 6 Joshua and the elders of Israel tore their clothing in dismay, threw dust on their heads, and bowed face down to the ground before the Ark of the Lord until evening. 7 Then Joshua cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, why did you bring us across the Jordan River if you are going to let the Amorites kill us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side!
We can go to the nations and see thousands of people a night come to Christ we can go out on the streets and have massive Crusades we can have testimonies of deliverance and victory and have one little thing come into our life. One little struggle. One little defeat and one little time when we seem to be backing away from the enemy and there we are down on our faces there moaning the very day we came to Christ.
Joshua 7:10 10 But the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? 11 Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings. 12 That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat. For now Israel itself has been set apart for destruction. I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction.
This is great revelation. What are you doing? Don’t cast off your confidence in the time of minor setbacks. I’m going after something in you. There’s a little compromise in one of your tents. I’m going after something that you don’t see now. There’s hundreds and thousands of tents out there and families and people on the move and warfare and all types of things going on in and we’re over perhaps in one corner there’s one little wee tent and underneath that little tent as is hidden something this man called Achan who went into Jericho and he took something. It was a Babylonian garment, 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold. He hid it under his tent.
Joshua 7:20 20 Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. 21 Among the plunder I saw a beautiful robe from Babylon, 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold weighing more than a pound. I wanted them so much that I took them. They are hidden in the ground beneath my tent, with the silver buried deeper than the rest.”
And what you see is a little thing now, God sees it as something else if He doesn’t deal with it now. It’s a little bit of covetousness is a little bit of another trust. But if I don’t deal with it, then Achan n is going to get away with it and if he gets away with it he’s going to tell his neighbor about it and the next family’s neighbor’s going to get away with it and he’s going to tell his neighbor and before you know it the whole camp will be disobeying the Word of God and having other loves another trust I’m going to deal with it now.
God isn’t nit-picky when it comes to our lives. Sometimes there are things in us that we don’t see it as a big deal.
What are examples that we don’t see as a big deal sometimes, but could potentially have major repercussions?
God will call you out. You think “it seems like a little thing but I’m going to go after it”, and to get your attention, you’re not going to be able to stand before an insignificant enemy or just a little bit of bitterness (somebodies “little thing”.) But God says when I go after you don’t be deceived, don’t be destroyed. I’m doing it because I love you. I’m doing it because you said you wanted what the prophet Amos said, “can two walk together except they be in agreement”, and God says you will never get me to agree with you, never get me to walk in line with your little compromises, and I will never call them acceptable or weakness or necessity. I will never agree with you and if you want to walk together with me if you want to know the fullness of what I have for you… you’ve got to call sin, sin. What I call it you’ve got to call it.