We are in a battle, born on a battlefield. Our enemy, the devil, wants to deceive us into thinking that our battle is with one another, or with the opposing political party, or with your family members or your neighbors, but it’s actually a spiritual battle. And for us to defeat our adversary, we need power.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
Today we pick up from last week’s message from the book of Joshua as God’s people are about to cross the Jordan and take the city of Jericho as the Lord has instructed them. They have been wandering for forty years because of their disobedience and complaining, but now they are standing on the edge of God’s promised land, flowing with milk and honey.
In order to take hold of the blessing He has for us, we need faith, boldness, and supernatural power to fight the battles in our way.
God prepared this place in advance for His children because He wants them to experience His blessings, even more than we as fallible humans want good things for our children. He has wonderful blessings planned for us today, also, but sometimes we remain stuck in the desert and don’t take the step of faith required to cross over into the promise! In order to take hold of the blessing He has for us, we need faith, boldness, and supernatural power to fight the battles in our way.
The people crossed the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month. Then they camped at Gilgal, just east of Jericho. It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River.
Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:20-24
The twelve stones were a sign for the twelve tribes of Israel that when they needed a miracle, God provided for them. There will be tough times in your life when things look bleak, so you need to be able to look back and remember how God has been faithful to you: “God, I remember when you saved me from my sin, when you healed me from my sickness, when you did ______ miracle in my life.” Having these “stones” helps you to take courage, have faith, and move forward, trusting that God will provide again. What are the stones of remembrance in your life?
1. There is power in God’s presence.
When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?” “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the Lord’s army.” At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?” The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told. Joshua 5:13-15
Joshua experienced the power of God’s presence in that moment. Note that the Lord is the Lord - He is not on a side. Instead, we need to find out what God’s will is and choose to be on HIS side!
We all come to church with frustrations, burdens, doubts and fears, but when we walk through the doors and hear the worship, we can let our doubts and worries slip away just by feeling His presence. ,
Marcus shared a story from a few years ago when he had the opportunity to serve as chaplain for the visiting New England Patriots. Even though he was in the room with a hundred strong, confident athletes, when Tom Brady entered the room there was a palpable new presence, as if a king had entered the space. Tom Brady is only a man - so how much more powerful should the presence of God feel to us?
2. There is power in prayer.
Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Joshua 6:1-4
Joshua heard from God because he connected with God and had a conversation with him. We have access to God, too, wherever we are - through prayer!
This is not just a story that happened long ago. God is alive and real. He is still powerful and he still answers prayer. He wants to hear from you and be close to you, just as you want to be close to your children and have them come to you to share their hopes and fears.
Pastor Marcus shared how his 15-year-old son, Diego, had a knee injury (torn meniscus) before his first football game and was awaiting surgery. Family and friends prayed fervently for his healing. One day while they prayed for him in anticipation of the approaching surgery date, Diego’s knee started to convulse, shake, and burn. They continued to pray for another 30 minutes and afterward, Diego could walk pain-free. They visited the doctor, who saw that Diego was running, jumping, and restored to health and his surgery was cancelled. He played football and had a great season with his team finishing #1 their CIF division.
What miracles do you need today? Are you meeting with the Lord? Is your spiritual life powerful or limp? When you are with others, can they tell that you’ve been with Jesus?
3. There is power in praise.
God tells Joshua’s armies to march around the walls of Jericho for six days and on the seventh day, to blow their horns. What kind of military battle plan is this? Can you imagine how strange this sounded to the warriors? Yet they had faith and followed God’s command.
Remember sometimes God’s plans don’t look like your plans. God has supernatural power that is available to us when we listen and obey.
So the people called out and the religious leaders blew the horns. When the people heard the sound of the horns, they called out even louder. And the wall fell to the ground. All the people went straight in and took the city. They destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, cattle, sheep, and donkey, with the sword. Joshua 6:20-21
God chose to collapse the fortified walls of Jericho with sound. Sounds can be very powerful - God’s own voice spoke the world into existence! Our voices have power, too, as we lift them up in praise to the Lord.
So what are the walls that need to collapse in your life? What is the land of milk and honey that is waiting for you to cross out of the desert? It’s time to take a step of faith and walk in the power of God in your life!