Message from the Pastor

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Overcoming Your Obstacles
Joshua 5:13-15

Intro: This is part of a familiar story about Israel conquering Jericho; but the part in this text passage is not as familiar as the rest. However, what happened here is very important to the whole account. Let’s talk about Overcoming your Obstacles.

I. An Intimidating Crisis
It’s pretty easy to just read through the story and not realize what an intimidating crisis this was for the young nation of Israel. When they finally made it into Canaan- their Land of Promise- the first obstacle that met their eyes was the fortified city of Jericho.
Jericho was the largest and most important city of the entire region. Jericho was surrounded by a wall 6 ft. thick; then 12 feet further out there was another wall, 12 feet thick. Both of these walls were 30 feet high; houses were built all along the top of the walls and at the entrance to the city was a set of massive Gates. That is a Challenging Sight, wouldn’t you say? This city presented an intimidating crisis for Joshua and the people of Israel. This was an intimidating crisis, not only because the city was fortified and strong, but also because the people of Israel were so unprepared and unequipped. They had just come through 40 years of struggling through the wilderness while a whole generation of unbelieving adults died and were buried along the way. They had some battles but nothing to prepare them for an Obstacle like this. They did not have the experience nor the equipment to take on Jericho and there must have been a lot of Fear and Doubt in their minds and hearts when they considered the Obstacle in their Way.
Still, the verses I read to you bring us the needed transition from an intimidating crisis to:
II. An Inspiring Commander
Verse 13 states that Joshua was “by Jericho;” we are not told why he was there but I can guess. I think he was out there evaluating the situation again. He was looking again at that fortified city; at those huge walls; at that enormous obstacle in their way; and he no doubt was wondering HOW in the world they would ever conquer that city; (and if he was like us) he was wondering how they would ever inhabit the land of Canaan if they couldn’t overcome this first obstacle.
We so often doubt in stereo; we doubt in the situation we are in Right Now; and that causes us to doubt concerning situations that we aren’t even facing YET, but expect to.
Thank God, when Joshua was worrying and wondering; he had a Divine Visitation
There stood a man with his sword drawn in his hand.
Joshua stepped forward and asked him, are you for us or against us?
The man replied- I am here as the Captain of the Host of the Lord!
What a shock; what a relief. This was an ALLY not an Enemy; This was the Very Son of God appearing in the Old Testament to bring Confidence and Victory to his people.
Joshua fell down and began to worship the Lord; he was told to take his shoes off because the ground was now holy. It hadn’t been holy just a few minutes before; but NOW it was holy because the LORD was there. Oh, what a difference it makes in the time of Crisis when the Captain of the Host of the Lord shows up.
The Lord inspired New Confidence in the heart and mind of Joshua.
He KNEW That everything would be all right now. He hadn’t read it like we have but he knew that no one can really be against us when the Lord is for us.
What about you today? Are you facing an intimidating crisis?
Is your way in life blocked by an Obstacle?
Have you been thinking about it, trying to figure out how you are ever going to overcome it?
If you’ll meet the Lord here today, you can leave with New Confidence.
When you see your obstacle through the eyes of the Lord it won’t look so BIG; it won’t be so intimidating; You’ll feel New Confidence because you’ll realize that you don’t Have to Overcome it Alone!
Joshua not only received New Confidence, he was also given New Commands. He was told what Israel was to do in order to overcome Jericho. The commands were unusual, even ridiculous to the human mind, but when the Lord gives instructions you had better Obey them.
Joshua Submitted to the Lord’s Authority.
He fell down and worshiped Him as Lord; he quickly removed his shoes in humility and honor of the Lord. You are going to have to submit to the Lord’s authority if you are ever going to overcome your Obstacle; Selfishness and Self-will only bring disaster.
Joshua Surrendered to the Lord’s Purpose.
He worshiped the Lord at that moment, but when the time came to DO WHAT HE HAD BEEN TOLD; HE DID IT.
If you refuse to surrender to the LORD’S purpose you are doomed for failure.
Scripture states that ALL things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to HIS purpose.
Submit to the Lord’s authority; Surrender to His purpose and you will overcome your Obstacle. Joshua not only had a Divine Visitation, but he and Israel experienced Divine Victory! (You can also!)