Sunday, May 27, 2007

What Do You Need?
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What Do You Need?

Intro.: Today is the last time we will look at Joshua for a while.

  1. We started the journey a year ago – where we looked at Joshua taking the Israelites across the Jordan River. Last Fall we looked at Israelite conquest of Jericho and Ai and the deception of the Gibeonites. This Spring, we returned to Joshua to examine the lessons presented as the Israelites took the remainder of the Land that God promised to Abraham. And then we looked at the distribution of that land to the Israelite people.

  2. Today, I want to look at three verses that sum up all that we have look at over the last few weeks.

Read: Joshua 21:43-45


Trans: There is a natural three part sermon here -

  1. v. 43 – God gave all the land

    v. 44 – God gave rest on every side

    v. 45 – God kept all His promises

  2. But then that would be missing the big picture.

  3. Let me suggest that Joshua is really telling us something else. He is telling us that

T.S. God gives us everything we need

  1. God responds to our physical needs Joshua 21:43 So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there.

    1. The Jewish nation had been roaming for 40 years. The one thing they needed was a place to live, a place to call home.

(Ill.) In 1943, Abraham Maslow published a paper in which he proposed that there are five basic needs that every human being must find ways of meeting. At the very top of this list are the basic needs of our existance – food, water, air, etc. Just behind that is the need for safety – including a place to live, security for our families, our health.1

A poet put it this way:

A fugitive is one who is running from home,

A vagabond is one who has no home;

A stranger is one away from home,

And a PILGRIM is on his way home.2

    1. I think there are two things we need to remember about those needs:

      1. First – we need to remember that what we need must be defined by God's perspective. Whether it is the life of someone we know or our own lives, it is too easy to apply our standards rather than God's standards. Our faith should tell us that God gives, not what I want, but what He needs.

      2. Secondly – God's meets His needs in His way. I have to be careful not to impose my expectations on God. Rather, one of my tasks to understand and live within God's expectations

      3. Finally, God will use us to meet the needs of others. We live in a world that is full people that cannot meet their basic needs. Even as we celebrate the fact that God is meeting our physical needs, we must never forget that we can also be involved in meeting the needs of others.

  1. God responds to our emotional needs Joshua 21:44 The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them.

    1. Sometimes when I am reading a passage of scripture, something speaks to me on the inside. My stomach shakes, my heart does a little pitter-pat

    2. You know, sometimes life seems like it is always moving. People, things, institutions – all seem to be demanding my time. Life seems like demanding my attention on every side.

    3. And then I read this passage – the people had “rest on every side”.

    4. We all come with emotional burdens.

(Ill.) And when God meets those burdens, he is not talking a about laying around in cotton batting. He is not talking about being free of all labor – with no responsibilities. When He meets our emotional needs, he will not eliminate all of our responsibilities or burdens.

    1. Paul tells us what it means for us to experience God's presense in the middle of our difficult lives. Listen to his words from Galatians 5 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

(Ill.) Phil Simmons was a professor of English at Lake Forest College. In 1993 he was told that he was dying with ALS – which most of us know as Lou Gehrig's disease.3 But in the middle of dealing with his disease, he learned what it meant to find rest. Listen to what he wrote before his death in 2002:

Rest is the promise our Lord made to all, Who faithfully trust Him, refusing to fall.

There remains a sweet rest for people of grace; Who enter that rest while in ‘seeking His face.’

This life, so uncertain, can never destroy, The rest that is found when His will we enjoy.

Rest is secured, the hour of believing. Today you may enter, His will now receiving.

His yoke now is easy, the burden is light. He draws near to comfort and steady your plight.

Rest comes the moment you answer His call. Depend on Him fully, no worry at all.

Rest settles the mind, anxiety none; With love now abiding, the victory’s won. 4

    1. I don't know how many sides you have in your life. Spouses, children, friends, houses, money, work, or even your health. There are probably more – and I suspect that, like me, your need to hear God say – have rest on every side.

  1. God responds to our spiritual needs Joshua 21:45 Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

    1. God met the physical needs of the Jewish people. He met the emotional needs of the Jewish people.

    2. He also met their spiritual needs.

    3. We mentioned last week that “REST” was a key concept in Old Testament theology. “The Promise”

    4. Books have been written on this theme. One of my seminary courses, Old Testament Theology, centered on the Promise.

    5. It is found throughout the OT

      1. Adam and Eve received the promise

      2. Noah was a recipient of the promise

      3. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob – all had received the promise

      4. And, now, we are told, Joshua has seen the promises fullfilled. All the promises.

    6. I remember another lesson from that class – the fulfillment may come in pieces. God did fulfill all his promises through Joshua – but he did it again through David, and then again at the birth of Jesus. And He is not finished – because as he plans for the end of time, we will again see the fulfillment of His promises.

    7. And when God is fulfilling His promises, he is meeting the spiritual needs of His people.

    8. But it was not just an Old Testament truth. Jesus said it best, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” John understood that God meets our spritual needs, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

    9. I am convinced that when we recognize that we and those around us have spiritual needs that only God can meet.

(Ill.) In 1898 two men were forced to share a motel room when. It ended up that both men were believers – they stayed up much of the night discussing the spiritual needs of men who had to travel as part of their job. The two men decided to call together a group of men to who traveled. The date was July 1, 1899. But only three men showed up – but what happened at the meeting has effected every one of us. For that night was begun the organization known as the Gideons. Today, the Gideons place 7 million copies of the scriptures every week in Hotel and Motel rooms, to hospitals, nursing homes, domestic violence shelters, schools, colleges, and universities, the military, law enforecement, firefighters, emts, and in prisons and jails. Because three men knew that God met the spirtual needs of others.5

Conclusion: God does meet all our needs -

  1. Our physical needs

  2. Our emotinal needs

  3. Our spiritual needs



2Tan, 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.


4AMG Bible Illustrations. 2000 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.

5Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed.) (705). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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