Monday, March 18, 2019

Heroes of Heaven #1: Joshua Submitted Hero

Heaven's Heroes #1: Joshua Submitted Hero

Text: Joshua 5:13-6:15


Starting a new series today on the Heroes of Heaven. We will be taking passages from Joshua and Judges that will correspond to your daily Bible readings. So let me introduce the idea of this series by establishing a working definition for a hero and in particular for a Hero of Heaven.

American Heritage:  A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life:  
Merriam – Webster : an illustrious warrior or  a person admired for achievements and noble qualities, one who shows great courage
Dictionary. Com a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character:
Hero of Heaven: is obedient to God’s command, has faith in God’s Word, submits to God’s Authority and risks all for God’s glory.

Joke: On some air bases the Air Force is on one side of the field and civilian aircraft use the other side of the field, with the control tower in the middle.  One day on just such a field the tower received a call from an aircraft asking, "What time is it?"
The tower responded, "Who is calling?"

The aircraft replied, "What difference does it make?"

The tower replied "It makes a lot of difference.  If it is an American Airlines Flight, it is 3 o'clock.  If it is an Air Force, it is 1500 hours.  If it is a Navy aircraft, it is 6 bells.  If it is an Army aircraft, the big hand is on the 12 and the little hand is on the 3. If it is a Marine Corps aircraft, it's Thursday afternoon.  If it's the National Guard, then it's still a couple of hours until quitting time."

Knowing who you are talking to makes all the difference. Today Joshua is going to learn who he is talking to when he goes out to survey the upcoming battle of Jericho. Instead of finding his plan though he finds His Captain.

Walking With God Joshua 5:13-6:5

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?  And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?  And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
6:1-5 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.  And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.  And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.  And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.  And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

Submitting to The Captain

Comprehension of who was the Captain. Joshua and the children of Israel have finally after 40 years crossed the Jordan and now stand ready to conquer the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The land of God’s people given to them by an unbreakable covenant with the Almighty. I can imagine that even to Joshua, who had been Moses war leader, the task before him seemed overwhelming and that task was epitomized by the city of Jericho standing before them.

Probably, Joshua has come out of the camp to look over the city and try and devise a plan to overcome its defenses, when suddenly a man appears with a sword drawn in his hand. This was no vision, nor a dream the one before Joshua stands in the full form and substance before Joshua.
Joshua’s reaction show this for he challenges the man, “Are you for us or for our adversaries? Are you an ally or an enemy? The response from the warrior is not the answer Joshua was looking for. 

“Nay, but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come.”  No Joshua, its not a question of whose side I am on, but of who I am. I stand as the captain of the LORD’s host, the army of heaven.

Proper reverence and worship. Then Joshua understood exactly who this was for the Bible says, he “fell on his face to the earth and did worship” This was no mere man, this was no angel, the only one being in all the universe worthy of worship by the people of God is God. The man who appeared to Joshua as a warrior ready for battle that day was God the son, whose name in the New Testament would be the same as the one who bowed before him now, Jesus, Joshua, Yeshua, God is Salvation. And Joshua the son of Nun worships at the feet of Jesus, the Son of God.

Listening to the Lord’s instruction. The first thing The Captain of the LORD’s host told Joshua was to “take off your shoes for the place where you stand is holy.” The same thing that was told to Moses at the burning bush when he stood in the presence of God the Son.

The second thing Christ told Joshua was how to defeat the mighty city of Jericho.

Submitting To Our Captain

In our battles of life, as we face our own unconquerable Cities of Jericho, the things we see in Joshua’s meeting Jesus can give us important steps to our own victories.
So let me give you The 3 R's of Battle Preparation (Sub Sermon)

Relationship - Do we really know the one who has the power, the wisdom and the plan to give you victory? You must understand that sooner or later you must face Jesus, with a sword drawn in his hand and either be on the Lord’s side behind that sword or stand as his enemy in front of the sword. You better know where you stand with the Son of God.

Reverence – Just as Joshua when we realize that it is God we are dealing with, then we better submit ourselves to Him. We need to surrender, right there and then, we should cry out, “Lord what would your servant do?”

We see God standing before us, in the Bible or in a crisis in our life.  We hear God challenging us to submit ourselves and surrender our will. And if we are wise then just as we seen in the narrative we will bow before God. And then and I believe only after we have fully submitting and surrendered will we experience the holiness of God. In some way special to us as his children we will hear “Loose thy shoe. “Remove the barriers and experience the holiness of God for now this place where we have met is holy.”

Response - Now we can listen as Jesus gives us His plan victory in our battle of life.

Psalms 46:10-11 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Illustration: Don’t be like the Hebrews at Mt. Sinai but be like Moses

Don’t be like the Hebrews at the foot of Mt. Sinai who only want to be close enough to the mountain to hear the power and see the effects of God but be like Moses who ascended the heights, heard the very voice of God and then asked to see glory of God. He wanted to experience that holiness that can only come when we come into the presence of God and submit ourselves to Him.

Waiting For God Joshua 6:10-14

 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.  So the ark of the LORD compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.  And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.  And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of the LORD, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.  And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.

Joshua and Israel had to Wait

They had to march six days exactly of marching around the city one time and the priests blowing the trumpets but the people were to remain completely silent, even while the enemy upon the wall ridiculed and hurled insult at the foolishness of the Hebrew army.
Only on the seventh day could they shout, and Joshua tells them, “Then you shall shout!” they would shout like they had never shouted before because on the seventh day, those unbreakable walls of Jericho would collapse at their feet. But they had to wait on God’s plan, follow His instruction because to change the time frame and disobey God would mean failure.

We Must Learning To Wait

There are some things to keep in mind while we are waiting for God to bring victory. First waiting on God never means inactivity. Waiting for God means that we are actively involved in serving our Lord and Savior. The wait is for the promised victory but it never means doing nothing. We need to understand that we are already fighting, if we are serving Christ our Captain. Our fight today may just mean being faithful to his word, his plan or his name but it is still part of the fight. It may make no sense to march in silence around a city filled with jeering antagonists but we wait until it is God’s time. Until then we submit to His will and march until the signal is given for the shout and then we will see the victory.

Isn’t his what one of our most quoted OT scriptures tells us in  Isaiah 40:31? They that wait upon the lord will renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not grow weary they shall walk and not faint.

So we wait, sometime we wait in sickness, sometimes we wait in emptiness, sometimes we wait wondering how long until we will see victory but if we faithfully wait, we will see the walls come tumbling down.

Illustration: Knowing the Victory is Ours

There is a story of a University of Glasgow professor named MacDonald who, along with a Scottish chaplain, had to bail out of an airplane behind German lines. They were caught and put in a prison camp. MacDonald was put in the American barracks and the chaplain was housed with the British.
Every day the two men would meet at the fence for just a moment and exchange a greeting in Gaelic a language the Germans could not understand. Nor did the guards know that the Americans had put together a little homemade radio and were able to get news from the outside. Every day, MacDonald would take a headline or two to the fence and share it with the chaplain in the ancient Gaelic tongue.
One day, news came over the little radio that Germany had surrendered. The War was over, the Allies had won the victory. MacDonald took the news to his friend, then stood and watched him disappear into the British barracks. A moment later, a roar of celebration came from the barracks.

Suddenly, life in that camp was transformed. Men were walking around singing and shouting, waving at the guards, laughing at the dogs. Finally, the German guards heard the news three nights later, and they fled into the dark, leaving the gates unlocked. The next morning, Brits and Americans walked out as free men. But they had already been free men, three day early for they knew victory was theirs, the enemy was defeated. They only had to wait to see it happen in their lives.

If Christ is our Captain, if we have submitted and surrendered to His will, then we have only to wait until we see the victory in our own battles of our life.  The battles with money, won, the battle with sin, won, the battle protecting our family, won!   We need to act like these POWs, we may be in the enemy’s camp but we know, victory is coming.

Winning Through God Joshua 6:15-16

 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.  And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.
Only The Captain Could Claim the Victory

It was God that had prepared the enemies hearts. It was God who had protected the spies. It was God planned the attack. It was God who paved the way into Jericho with a fallen wall. He turned the walls into avenues and the people walked into Jericho and claimed God’s victory.

Who Claims Victories In Our Lives?

Will Satan Take Your Victory?
We march around our Jerichos but quit before the 7th day, or shout when we are to be silent or forget to blow the trumpets, and way to many times we just refuse to march at all.

The victory that is promised to us by God is claimed by Satan and this wicked world because we don't wait, we don’t act, we don’t live and we don’t fight as God has commanded.

Will You Claim Victory in Our Own Strength and Wisdom?

Will you be someone who only wants God to open the Gates of Jericho so you can finish the battle. Only want God to give you a hand over the wall but not fight the battle through your submission to Him?

Let me be brutally honest. Jesus Christ will not be a member of your supporting staff. He is the Captain who leads the charge and plants the flag. We follow him to victory or we lose the battle.
Will Jesus Be Victorious In Our Lives?

There are many “Jerichos” with high and impenetrable walls that need to fall in our lives. There is old sinful habits and new sins that tempted each day. There are broken relationship and bitter spirits that need to be healed. Our negative, complaining attitudes towards others and sometimes toward everything around us needs to be changed? Your hope for tomorrow and for eternity needs to be strengthened.

If we are not able to count victories in the battles of our life, we need to ask why? Has God been defeated, is Jesus still in the grave, is this world never to see Him returning as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. No the Lord is not weak that he cannot save. We need to take stock of our relationship and especially of our submission to Hm. Quit trying to fight without fully knowing and surrendering to the Captain of the Lord’s Host. It time to trust Him, trust His power, trust his plan and then see His victory in you.

Psalms 20:7-8 Some trust in horses and some in chariots but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.

Illustration:  The bishop and the prisoners

February 10 began as a sad day for us in Kabale. People were commanded to come to the stadium and witness the execution. Death permeated the atmosphere. A silent crowd of about three thousand was there to watch. I had permission from the authorities to speak to the men before they died, and two of my fellow ministers were with me.

They brought the men in a truck and unloaded them. They were handcuffed and their feet were chained. The firing squad stood at attention. As we walked into the center of the stadium, I was wondering what to say. How do you give the gospel to doomed men who are probably seething with rage?

We approached them from behind, and as they turned to look at us, what a sight! Their faces were all alight with an unmistakable glow and radiance.

Before we could say anything, one of them burst out: "Bishop, thank you for coming! I wanted to tell you. The day I was arrested, in my prison cell, I asked the Lord Jesus to come into my heart. He came in and forgave me all my sins! Heaven is now open, and there is nothing between me and my God! Please tell my wife and children that I am going to be with Jesus. Ask them to accept him into their lives as I did." The other two men told similar stories, excitedly raising their hands which rattled their handcuffs.

I felt that what I needed to do was to talk to the soldiers, not to the condemned. So I translated what the men had said into a language the soldiers understood. The military men were standing there with guns cocked and bewilderment on their faces. They were so dumbfounded that they forgot to put the hoods over the men's faces! The three faced the firing squad standing close together. They looked toward the people and began to wave, handcuffs and all. The people waved back. Then shots were fired, and the three were with Jesus.

We stood in front of them, our own hearts throbbing with joy, mingled with tears. It was a day never to be forgotten. Though dead, the men spoke loudly to all of (in the) district and beyond. …life in Christ, …challenges death and then defeats it.


Who is your Captain today?   Have you stood like Joshua facing the challenges of life and heard the voice of Jesus?  Have you spoken to Him?  Have you bowed before Him?

It could begin right here with your response to His challenge. Will you stand behind the sword of your Savior following Him to victory or will you draw your own sword in defiance? Will you stand in judgment or will you surrender at His feet and experience the holiness of God today and one great day the victory of heaven for eternity?

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