Read Joshua 2
Joshua 2 where Joshua sends the 2 spies into Jericho.. we'll concentrate on this story and try to relate this story to our Christian lives..
1. The spies were sent.. this is a Biblical principle - if you're off to do something, get people to pray for you, support you - this is called being 'sent'. When we look at Paul & Barnabas they were ‘sent’ and set aside.
Acts 13.2-3: While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
When I joined the leadership team at my church, the church were asked if it was a good idea and for some reason they thought it was! Then I was prayed for and people spoke propehcies over me (very accurately!) in my 'calling' to be on that team. At other times, when people go on mission or leave to move to a new place, we also pray for them and 'send them'.
While we may get sent (or called) by the church, obviously it’s the Holy Spirit who initially ‘calls’ us so we need to know how God is leading us. How? By spending time with God. If it takes getting away and sitting on your own all day, do it!!
Crossing the river
Bear Grylls, the ex special forces guy who now does survival programmes often has to cross rivers. He's done it by swimming, by climbing over rocks, by climbing across a fallen tree, by swinging across vines in the jungle like Tarzan and by building rafts. Each river is unique and is crossed in a different way. But each time the river is crossed so he can move forward in his journey.
The spies had to 'cross the river' - what about us? Are there times when we need to cross the river - make a big decision - to change our lifestyle, the music we listen to? Let’s think about rivers – they’re different sizes, the flow is different, some have rocks underneath, some are deep. We have to cross lots of these rivers in life and do it in different ways. They can be friendship issues, stress at school or home, relationship problems and spiritual attack. Are there any rivers you need to cross - like getting wrong stuff out of your life?
They were given clear instructions - question, what's our mission? Matthew 28.19. This is a line we all get quoted in church life. We often miss the part about the power of the Holy Spirit and the fact that Jesus has given us ‘all authority’. Ephesians 1.19-20 says we’ve got the same kind of power in us that God used to raise Jesus from the dead.
Matthew 28.18-20: Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
If we have this authority, then we need to believe it and to use it. We can start small, but if God says something then it's true and we need to believe it!
They were sent to look at the land and Jericho, the powerful city. Take out the leader to take out a power base. Prayer is our weapon, so is the Word. See Galatians 6 and talk about spiritual weapons. (Bridge of ‘Our God’ by Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin and Jesse Reeves:
And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against
Let's read Isaiah 54.17 and then personalise it out loud:
Isaiah 54.17 (NKJV) says: No weapon formed against you shall prosper. And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD. And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD.
Remember the Word of God and prayer are offensive weapons. In a battle, there is a firefight and to win the battle, you need to win this firefight by overcoming the enemy firepower with a greater firepower. If you read some SAS books, you'll find they often advance on the enemy when under fire, lay down heavy fire and taking the battle to the enemy who run.
Jeremiah 23.29 - "Is not my word like fire," declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
James 5.16 (AMP): The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].
They were found out in verse 2. People may find out you are a Christian if you haven't told them. Imagine if you're a Christian but haven't been living the life, then someone finds out you're a Christian - what kind of example for God is that gonna be?! (Story of work and telling people I’m a Christian straight away). You know what else, when we do things in secret that are wrong, eventually it will be found out. I knew of a situation in a church where someone had been doing something wrong, but one day it got found out and they had to be removed from what they were doing. Lesson is deal with the sin in your life. You’ll get found out or your sin will find you out!
God can even use people like you and I
Rahab, a prostitute helped them (God does what he likes and uses all kinds of people). Rahab is also in the line of David. She is also mentioned in Hebrews 11 - the chapter of Hebrews dedicated to people of great faith. I love this. People think they can’t be used by God cos they’re too young etc. We’ve all got our excuses.
Check out Exodus 3 and 4 and listen to the list of excuses Moses had: Who am I; who shall I say is sending me; what if they don’t believe me; I’m not very good at speaking; O Lord please send someone else!! It's quite incredible that Moses was like this - but aren't we all? Thing is when God calls you, he'll bring down every argument that you or anyone else uses to not do it. We can overcome because we have God inside us and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4.13).
What about young people? Jeremiah in chapter 1.6 told God he was only a child but God called him anyway. Joash became King of Judah when he was just seven - see 2 Kings 11.21 and 2 Kings 12.
1 Timothy 4.12 says, Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
This means that as a young person, you should model faith, love and purity. One time a young person said to me, 'We're going to go to the front of the church to really worship to be an example to the rest of the church.' I hadn't said anything, God had led them and they were being an example!
Lying - is it ever OK?
Rahab lied to the King of Jericho to protect the spies. Is it ever OK to lie? When? Really interesting.
Derek Prince tells this story of a Scottish girl going to a Bible study at a time where the English were anti-God and stopping people from worshipping him. She was stopped by an English soldier who asked where she was going. She didn’t want to lie or betray her fellow believers. She prayed and asked God for help, then she spoke and said, “My elder brother died, and I am on my way to my Father’s house to hear the will read.” Brilliant!
Being faithful as a witness
The spies made a promise to Rahab to keep her and her family safe - and they did, see Joshua 6.22-25. We, like God, need to be faithful.
The Bible teacher called Joyce Meyer said that when they book conferences in America, some venues don’t want them as they’ve had bad experiences with other Christians being full of themselves or not paying. Joyce Meyer gets really good comments as they go out of their way to act right.
Many people in the world think Christians are hypocrites but we need to set a good example and not be like that.
One Christian friend I know who's a self-employed electrician had been filling in his tax return and was chatting about it to a colleague on a building site. He mentioned he didn't cheat on his tax return. The other person immediately said, 'Are you a Christian?' This is the kind of witness we need!
Into the hills
i. The spies went into the hills to avoid capture - this reminds us of the treatment prophets got and get today (remember Elijah after he'd defeated the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 19). Also see Hebrews 11.32-40.
Sometimes you’ve got to run. Joseph was hit on by his boss’s wife. Now she may have been really attractive, but he ran away. Why? Because of his relationship with God. Let’s read what he said in Genesis 39.9:
Genesis 39.9: “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?"
This guy had such as close relationship with God that he didn’t sin because he loved God so much he didn’t want to sin and let God down. Sometimes we’ve got to run. Other times we’ve got to be wise in how we share our faith. (Stories of Christians shouting hell at people or opposing other Christians or going over the top). Let's listen to the words of Jesus and be innocent but very wise:
Matt 10.16 - I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
So what’s the challenge from this message:
- We are secret agents sent by God into this world, except God hasn’t called us to be secretive!
- Ask God for what he wants to do with your life. If you don’t know, just do the things that you enjoy doing and do them well.
- Are there things that you need to get out of your life to be right with God?
- Remember you have God’s power and his Holy Spirit in you
- God’s Word and prayer are your firepower.
- Keep your promises and be faithful, have integrity at all times. Be who you say!
- Run from sin and be wise as serpents. Matt 10.16
Talk on Joshua 2 and spies added 3/9/10