Sunday, May 13, 2007

God Did It His Way
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God Did It His Way

Intro.: I recently found a recipe for a cake that mom would like:

1 can of “obedience”

Several pounds of “affection”

1 pint of “neatness”

Some holiday, birthday, and every-day surprises

1 can of running errands (the willing brand)

1 box of powdered “Get up when I should”

1 bottle of “Keep sunny all day long”

1 can of pure “Thanksgiving”

Mix well, bake in a hearty, warm oven and serve to mother everyday. She ought to have it in BIG SLICES.1

  1. Though we will be continuing our study of Joshua in a few minutes, I want remind us all that mothers gave us what they could. Perfect? No. But they gave us what they could.

  2. Let me do two things:

  3. First, if you are a mother, thank you for all you have done.

  4. Second, if there is a mother sitting near you, tell her thank you for being there.

  5. Now, turn to Joshua 14:6-15

Read: Joshua 14:6-15


Trans: I want to look three simple ways in which God keeps His promises.

  1. God's promises in God's Time

    1. I am not much different than most people – there is a part of me that wants what I have coming NOW!

    2. Yet, as we all know, there are times that God says, “Be patient.”

    3. I expect that is how Caleb felt. It had been Moses who had promised him land in the promised land. Now, it has been over 40 years since the promise was given. He knew he had not received any land during first distribution after the Israelites conquered the inhabitants on the East bank of the Jordan.

    4. And then he watched while Joshua and the Israelites took Jericho – still no promised land. And then there was Ai, and the victory over the Kings who stormed the Gibeonites territory. No land. There would be more victories, more cities – and still no land.

    5. It was only when Joshua had finished taking the land that God had given them that Caleb finally felt free to ask Joshua to remember the promises made by Moses.

(Ill.) Someone once said that patience is letting your motor idle when you feel like stripping your gears.2

(Ill) In His time, in His time, He makes all thing beautiful in His time. Lord, my life to You I bring, May each song I have to sing, Be to You a lovely thing, in Your time.

In Your time, in Your time, You make all thing beautiful in Your time. Lord, my life to You I bring, May each song I have to sing, Be to You a lovely thing, in Your time.3

    1. One of the lessons we as a church have learned over the past year is that God does things in his own time. Sometimes we have to wait for God to accomplish his goals.

  1. God's promises at God places

    1. Not only does God do things at his own time, he also does things at places we might least expect.

    2. Eight years ago, I had no idea I was coming to Rochester, NY. I had no idea where I was going. But Rochester, NY, would not have been at the top of my list. Most of you know that 5 years ago, I had no plans to serve the Garland United Methodist Church.

    3. I had no idea, but God did.

    4. As I read scripture, I am amazed at the number of people who seem to having to move because of where God sends them. Starting with Adam moving out of Eden we could list name after name: Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, among others. And moving into the NT we would find Jesus, Peter, and Paul.

    5. Though we tend to think of home as a place to stay. I wonder if God would prefer that we feel at home in our world – and we be willing to do what it takes to win that world to Christ.

    6. God is not as concerned about place as we are. There are three characteristics of God that everyone seems to learn first – that he is all-knowing, all-powerful, and always present. Wherever I may go, God is there.

    7. It did not matter what parcel of land the various Israelite families received – God would be there. They did not need to worry about being too far away from God.

(Appl.) There are times in all of our lives when God seems a long way off. When it feels like He has left us in some strange land and we are by stranded here by ourselves. But God is there. God has not deserted us. God will use us where we are – because he is there with us.

  1. God's promises in God's way

    1. God will accomplish his will in his time, God will accomplish his will in the places he chooses. And, finally, God will accomplish his purpose in his way.

    2. Joshua began by distributing the land to Caleb. He then distributed the land to the other Israelite families.

    3. But there is still one more person who would be rewarded a parcel of land. You see, there were two spies who returned 40 some years ago with a conviction that the Israelites could move into the land that God would give them. Caleb was one. Joshua was the other.

    4. Joshua would have been perfectly within his rights to claim land at the same time that he provided a parcel to Caleb. Rut instead he took the last parcel of land.

    5. You see, Joshua had chosen to do what was right, not what was easy. In order to avoid the appearance of unfairness – Joshua stepped back took the last piece of land.

(Appl.) Living the Christian life means living a life that conforms to the standard set in Scripture. It means living consistently – and sometimes, like Joshua, it means making hard choices when it is the right choice.

(Ill.) Oswald Chambers once suggested that we must ask ourselves if we are falling more and more in love with God as a holy God, or are we finding it easier and easier to say, “Oh, well, sin doesn't matter much”?4

    1. Our theology tells us that Joshua was a sinner – but when it came time to make a hard decision, he chose to live a life above approach.

    2. We all have choices to make during the week. What kind of choices will you be making this week. Whether it is on the road, on the job, or in the neighborhood – when presented with a hard choice, my prayer is that the choices we make are consistent with God's desire for our lives.


1Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

2Green, M. P. (1989). Illustrations for Bilical Preaching : Over 1500 sermon illustrations arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively (Revised edition of: The expositor's illustration file.). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.


4Oswald Chambers quoted in Rowell, Edward K. (2005). 1001 Quotes Illustrations, and Humorous Stories for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers. Grand Rapids: Baker Books.

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