- Sermon Notes
One Day at a Time
This morning we are going to open up to Joshua chapter 5. Here we see Joshua, who had taken over for Moses and was given great promises that the Lord would be with him. The Lord made a way for Joshua to lead the Israelites out of the wilderness and into the promised land. They crossed the Jordan river by standing in it as they saw the Lord stop it up and they all crossed over.
While they had already seen the Lord make a way, now they faced a new challenge on a new day. Ahead of them was a city that was seemingly impossible to get through. It was surrounded by walls that were too tall, to deep, and too steep for them to get through. The name of the place they faced was Jericho, which was a fortified city, with not one, but two walls protecting the city. There was a retaining wall that was 12-15 feet high, with a wall on top of that which was 20-26 feet high. From below the city walls looking up, it would be 35 to 40 feet high.
Here the Israelites are facing Jericho, a city famous for its impenetrable walls, 40 years earlier their impossible walls had a different name, the walls then were called Egypt and leaving Egypt, a difficulty called the Red Sea, then a difficult wilderness, then the Jordan river at flood state, but what they had seen through and through is that God would make a way and this is important for me and for you. Because though we take it one day at a time, we must continually look to the Lord and when we do, we will find that Jesus, our God, is the same yesterday, today and will remain the same forever (Heb. 13:8).
Like the Israelites, our obstacles have a name as well, perhaps one month ago is had a different name than the one we all face today, but what we know from Philippians 2:9 is that no matter it’s current name, Jesus has the “name that is above every other name,” that is the name you can claim when the battle is too big, and the walls too tall.
I. Remember Who Goes Before You
- With Jericho not far off, Joshua looks in that direction. And with the city surrounded by its walls, no doubt he was looking toward his greatest challenge yet, the walls of Jericho.
- The walls were just a short distance away and easy to see. The city was an obstacle that had been coming closer by the day. Joshua was well aware of Jericho and had been for many days. In fact, prior to their crossing the Jordan river, Joshua sent out two spies to check out the land they were headed to, and he specifically asked for them to check out Jericho (Joshua 2:1).
- Jericho was an obvious obstacle, a front of mind foe. It was necessary they conquered this city, in order to enter into the land God had promised and called them them to go.
- As Joshua lifts his eyes toward the impossible walls, He sees a man of war standing in front of him.
- The One standing before him has his sword drawn. Surely, sword drawn meant that the man who stood before him was ready for battle. Yet, his response to Joshua is interesting, “no (NASB), nay (KJV), neither (NIV), rather I indeed come as captain of the host of the Lord.”
- Realizing who was in front of him, Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my Lord to say to his servant?”
- It was right then that Joshua realized who this man was, it was the Lord. In the Old Testament, this would be a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, called a Christophany or Theophany, which was an appearance of the Lord. It was Jesus!
- While answering “no” doesn’t seem a proper answer to Joshua’s question, it highlights the fact that Joshua was not asking the proper question.
- The proper question wasn’t if the Lord was on Joshua’s side, rather, the proper question was if Joshua was on the Lord’s side.
- For Joshua, it was the wrong question because he had already been given God’s promise. God had told him He would go before him, and here, with sword drawn, He was true to His word.
Deuteronomy 31:8, The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Joshua 1:3, 5-6, I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses…No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
- While Joshua had been given God’s promises, the walls he was facing and knew he would be headed into were higher than he had ever come up against.
- In light of the fight ahead, Joshua finds himself uncertain of just who is in front of him, just who is standing before him with sword drawn.
- Joshua was told that it was the Lord Himself who would go before Him, but his eyes were fixed on what He thought was his battle to fight.
- The fact that the walls were higher did not invalidate anything the Lord said prior, quite the contrary, when our walls are higher, it is an opportunity for God’s promises to be validated, not voided. But we have to put and keep, and keep on keeping our faith and trust in Him.
2 Chronicles 20:5, Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.
- When we are facing trials, the question is not whether God is for us or against us; the question is whether we are for and with Him.
- Are we going to trust Him to be true to His word and when we see Him with sword drawn, know that He will do the fighting, He is the One who goes before us, always, today and each day, leading the way, one day at a time.
Hebrews 10:23-24, Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
2 Corinthians 1:20-22, For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
- His promises are yes, meaning “yes.” And amen which means “truly,” or “let it be.”
- Since He who promises is faithful, and His promises are yes and amen, it is imperative that we don’t put circumstantial conditions and limitations on them in light of the latest challenge ahead.
Psalm 119:105, Your word is lamp unto my feed and a light unto my path.
Illus. Tell me again!
- Rather than respond to Joshua’s desire for the Lord to pick a side, He simply reminds Him who He is. “I am the Lord.”
- Once Joshua realizes that he is before the Lord and falls to his face, he asks the question: “What has my Lord to say to his servant?”
- Joshua transitions from trying to find a way to overcome the impossible alone, to remembering and then reporting to, the one who goes before him.
- There was land to be conquered, but Joshua could not conquer it in his own strength, with his own plan; he needed the Lord’s strategy.
A. Let Jesus plot out your plan
- In bowing down before the Lord, Joshua shows a submission to the plan the Lord would lay out next.
- The plan being given, would not have made sense from a military intelligence standpoint. The city of Jericho was walled up. This was used in battle by the army of Jericho.
- The Lord doesn’t tell the people to charge at them, He does detail out their perfect position, He doesn’t detail out how to climb the walls or overcome them personally or encourage them to act now with great urgency.
- No, He actually puts them in a position where it would seem they could be taken out, walking around the walls of Jericho. The men of Jericho could stand on the walls and use what they had to take out those below. It didn’t make sense form a military perspective.
- Joshua was willing to do whatever the Lord told him to do. But it was the Lord who had made a way for them before, and it was only the Lord who was going to get them through to the promised land and place He had in store.
- Let Jesus plot your your plan, entrust your next step into His hands, one day at a time, and you will surely find that He will get you to the place He alone has in store.
2 Timothy 1:12, I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
- These walls were impossible to bring down by anything that Joshua could come up with. But the Lord was going to make a way, He had a plan and it was upon Him Joshua needed to stand.
- God was asking Joshua to place his faith in Him. And at this time and in this season, I believe the Lord is asking us the same, to put our faith and trust in Him, not in what we see, but in the One who sees.
Psalm 146:3-5, Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.
- Joshua is told to follow the plan of the Lord. Perhaps it didn’t make military sense, but they had already operated in fear and what their own military might could manufacture. They ended up wandering 40 years.
- Here Joshua hears the plan the Lord put forth. Follow these instructions and wall will fall flat, and every man will walk straight in.
Deuteronomy 31:8, The Lord is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.
Matthew 28:20, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Psalm 46:1, God is our refuge and strength, very present help in trouble.
B. Know there is no wall that is too tall
- In verses 2 to 5, Joshua is given the instructions, and then in verses 6 to 10, Joshua gives the instructions to the people.
- He gave them many of the details that he was directed in: They would walk around the city once per day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day. He instructed them to neither shout, nor let a word proceed from their mouths until he tells them to shout, then they were to shout.
- He gave them many details, but there was one detail it seems he left out. Joshua did not tell them that the walls would fall down flat after the seventh time around on the seventh day.
- They walked around the city 13 times patiently waiting for what God was going to do. They had to walk and wait, walk and wait, while keeping silent.
- Notice that he asked them to remain silent. Commit your way to the Lord, don’t give voice to any other, there is no commentary needed, just walk and wait.
- They took it one day at a time. In time, they would see His plan, victory they would find. But they just had to keep walking and waiting.
- The walls they were walking around would no doubt seem bigger with each passing lap. More improbable, the plan more illogical, victory truly impossible.
Illus. Any progress?
Ephesians 4:29, Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
- With each passing day, it seems the wall we face gets more formidable. And it seems each day a new timeline or restriction is being given out. But with whatever is sent, I have the opportunity to walk by faith, or in doubt. No unwholesome word, walk and wait, trust is a must.
Psalm 46:10, Be still and know I am God.
2 Corinthians 5:7, For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Illus. For ages.
Habakkuk 1:5, “Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.
Isaiah 41:13, For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’
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?” 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?” 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. Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in. The Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors. You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days. Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead.” So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” Then he said to the people, “Go forward, and march around the city, and let the armed men go on before the ark of the Lord.” And it was so, that when Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord went forward and blew the trumpets; and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them. The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while they continued to blow the trumpets. But Joshua commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout nor let your voice be heard nor let a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I tell you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout!” So he had the ark of the Lord taken around the city, circling it once; then they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp. Now Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually, and blew the trumpets; and the armed men went before them and the rear guard came after the ark of the Lord, while they continued to blow the trumpets. Thus the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp; they did so for six days. Then on the seventh day they rose early at the dawning of the day and marched around the city in the same manner seven times; only on that day they marched around the city seven times. At the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city.