Thursday, December 18, 2008



As we make our way through this Hall of Faith I want to offer to you a faith-lift by illustrating how several ordinary people were able to live extraordinary lives. We saw the "work of faith" was in Abel-work that emerged from the heart! Next we saw the walk of faith illustrated by the only two men who were ever said to "walk with God"-Enoch and Noah! With Abraham we have the illustration of the "way of faith", because when God called him out of his comfort zone, he obeyed. Then in the life of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob we discovered the "wealth of faith" through being blessed and blessing others.

We examined the incredible life of Joseph who had all kinds of things go against him. Joseph illustrates the "won't of faith", because he refused to compromise his walk with God no matter the circumstances. Yesterday we dealt with the life of Moses. Moses illustrates the "will of faith". Moses discovered that the will of faith in the midst of frustration is the way to maturity.

Today we come to the life of Joshua. Although the writer of the book of Hebrews doesn't mention Joshua's name here, he does identify one of the great events in the life of Joshua-the conquest of the city of Jericho. It says: By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. (Hebrews 11:30)

Joshua took over the leadership of the Jewish people after Moses and found himself against all odds. He was to lead God's people into the land of the Canaanites. The Canaanites were deeply into prostitution (both male and female) and child sacrifice. They were into all sorts of corruption. They were known as a brutal people. Battle after battle Joshua continually was against all odds. "And Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel" (10:42).

As the children of Israel came to the land of Canaan, twelve spies were sent on a mission into the land of Canaan. Upon their return only two of the spies had the faith to believe that the children of Israel could take the land, empowered by God. The other ten came back with a very negative report, not believing God had given the land into their hands. Because of their unbelief, the children of Israel had to wander in the wilderness until that generation of unbelief had died out.

When it came time to finally enter the land of Canaan, Joshua was the man placed to lead his people to first conquer the city of Jericho. Joshua was an experienced military leader, but nothing in all his military training could have prepared him for God's plan to take Jericho. It would require a lot of faith to complete his mission.

Jericho is considered the oldest known inhabited city in the world. Around 1400 B.C. Joshua laid siege to the fortress city. The armies of Israel surrounded it so that no one could enter or leave it. This was the plan: For six days the army was to march around the city once each day while the priests blew their ram's horns. The priests with trumpets went first, then the priests that carried the Ark of the Covenant, then the army. The only sound would be the sound of the horns; no one could speak a word. Then on the seventh day, they would encircle the city seven times in the same manner, and then when Joshua gave the signal, they would shout with a great shout. It was at that moment the walls would fall flat, so they could capture the city.

What a battle plan! I keep thinking how tough it must have been to pass along to his highly trained generals and officers just what the plan was to be. "Are you kidding me? What kind of plan is that?" Talk about a battle that was against all odds! Well the truth is that it is a battle plan that could only be accomplished by trusting in the power of their God. Joshua was successful because he followed God's battle plan to the very last detail. By building a wall of faith with his people, he was able to bring down the walls of Jericho.

To sum up Joshua's life listen to one of his most memorable challenges to the people: "Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:14-15)

Frequently, you may find yourself against all odds. So what must you do? #1-RESPOND TO THE LORD. Fear (reverence, respect, bow in awe, etc.) the Lord. JUST DO IT!

#2-RISK SERVING HIM. Joshua was there at the Red Sea crossing. He saw that the waters didn't part until someone stepped into the water. God isn't going to do a thing until you put your foot in it. You have a mini Red Sea crossing of your own.

#3-REPENT. Clean up your act. God will not work as well without a clean heart-a heart that is bent toward Him. So change your mind about where you are and turn toward God.

#4-REMOVE THE GODS OF YOUR FATHERS. Put away all other gods-your personal, relational, material and religious gods.


When Joshua was against all odds at Jericho, he only had to do a few simple little things. They walked around the city a prescribed number of times, blew their horns, and shouted. His part was simple and God's part was the most complex. You do the little things and God will do the large things-you, the possible and God, the impossible. You do your part by faith that God will do His part.

When you are up against a wall of frustration or fear, turn it into a wall of faith! When you do, God will shatter the walls of frustration and fear and strengthen your walls of faith! Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods of your society, the gods of your religiosity or the gods of your making; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. How about you?