Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Joshua: God Keeps His Promises
Watch the Video

Joshua: God Keeps His Promises

Intro.: Think back 40 years ago. Where were you? What were you doing?

  1. I was in High School – not an athlete, but a leader of the campus service club.

  2. I served as secretary of the Key Club – we built floats, we sold programs at the High School football games. At the time I was a member, it was still appropriate to have an all male club – so we competed with the girls service clug, the Tri-S.

  3. I had the same girl friend since Junior High – but because we both had moved, we lost track of each other. They she moved back to my home town and though we went to different High Schools, we reconnected. I dated her through the middle of my second year of college.

  4. During that forty years, I graduated from Sacramento High School, Sacramento City College, California State University Sacramento, and I earned three master degrees. I married the most wonderful women in the world. I have raised three very different kids. I have had two very different careers.

  5. When I stop to think about it, you know 40 years is a long time!

Read: Numbers 14:1-9


Trans: Joshua was responsible for distributing the land.

  1. He began to distribute it to the Israelites.

  2. He then passed out the land to the Levites – the priests.

  3. But then he also had the responsibility of fulfilling the promise that God had made so long ago – parceling out the land to Joshua and Caleb.

T.S. I want to look at three lessons that we can learn from the story of Caleb and Joshua.

  1. Lesson #1: Living Faithfully has consequences

    1. I doubt that anyone does not believe that those who ignore God will have consequences to face.

(Ill.) Little kids don's always understand what we mean by consequences. Dory Smith is a nationwide talk radio host. She tells a story about when Leigh, her five-year-old brother, was listening as her mother argue with her. When Mom told Dory that she was just going to have to live with the consequences, Leigh piped up, “If Dory is going to live with consequences, can I have her room?”1 Little kids don't always understand the meaning of consequences – but we are not surprised that they come.

    1. But as we think about consequences, we sometimes forget that there are also consequences for living a life that is faithful to God and his demands.

(Ill.) It was in October 2000 the week of Spring Break at Roberts Wesleyan College. I took an afternoon to go to Tinseltown – where the first showing of a movie each day is at a substantial discount. I went to see a movie that I knew little about, yet had caught my interest. I came home that night and told my wife that she had to see it. I told my kids they had to see it. The movie was Pay It Forward. It is the story of the consequences that showing a little kindness by one 12 year old boy can have on the world around him. It really is a wonderful illustration of a practice that was started by Anne Herbert – a practice called Random Acts of Kindness.2 Maybe, for some of you, being obedient to God means doing Random Acts of Kindness in your world.

    1. But for Caleb and Joshua it was not a Random Acts of Kindness – but it was being faithful to their understanding of God. They had gone out with the twelve spies – but only Joshua and Caleb had the faith to recognize that God could do what the Israelites could not do.

    2. Joshua and Caleb would suffer the consequences of faith -

    3. To quote Numbers 14 - “...none of you will enter the land I promised to settle you in except for Caleb and Joshua.

  1. Lesson #2: God does keep his promises

    1. It would be 40 years before God would keep his promise to Caleb and Joshua.

(Ill.) A few weeks ago, I quoted a number of statistics. Statistics can be fun. Did you know that the Bible spans over 2000 years. The Bible has been translated into 1200 languages. Everyday, there are 170,000 Bibles distributed in the US every day. Someone has counted 3294 questions in the Bible. There are 6468 commands in the Bible. But today we are talking about promises – there are 1260 promises in the Bible.3

    1. I don't know, but I expect that Caleb and Joshua wondered if God would ever keep his promise. I mean they had been there when God had mad that commitment to allow them to enter into the promised land to have some land. But they had been wandering for years. They had followed Moses – but all they could do was wait.

(Appl.) Having to wait is hard – but did you know that one of the fruit of the Spirit is “waiting”. We don't call it that – we call it “patience”. You know, too often we want everything NOW – but Caleb and Joshua had to wait 40+ years for God to answer. Someone has said that Asking God to define patience has much to do with attitude, motivation, and finding peace while you wait. It isn't easy, but God's grace gives us the strength to keep on trying while we go through this phase of personal growth.”4

    1. I expect that after 40 years, Caleb and Joshua had learned patience – but after 40 years God did fulfill the promise he had made so many years ago. But they learned something else as well. J. I. Packer noted that “Patience does not just grin and bear things, stoic-like, but accepts them cheerfully as therapeutic workouts planned by a heavenly trainer who is resolved to get you up to full fitness.5 As spies, they were ready to stand up for their faith; now they even more prepared to live out their faith.

  1. Lesson #3: God gives us each what we need

    1. Joshua and Caleb did get their land – but they got it in very different ways.

    2. Caleb got his land shortly after the Israelites began to divide up the land; on the other hand, Joshua was the very last person to get land.

    3. The point is this, God works with each of us in different ways.

    4. He give us what we need to serve Him – but since we each are called to serve Him in very different ways, He gives us different gifts, He gives us different talents, He gives us different resources.

(Ill.) A concert violinist had a brother who was a bricklayer. One day a woman gushed to the bricklayer, “It must be wonderful to be in a family with such a famous violinist.” Then, not wanting to insult the bricklayer, she said, “Of course we don’t all have the same talents, and even in a family, some just seem to have more talent than others.” The bricklayer said, “You’re telling me! That violinist brother of mine doesn’t know a thing about laying bricks. And if he couldn’t make some money playing that fiddle of his, he couldn’t hire a guy with know-how like mine to build a house. If he had to build a house himself he’d be ruined.” If you want to build a house, you don’t want a violinist. And if you’re going to lead an orchestra, you don’t want a bricklayer. No two of us are exactly alike. None of us has every gift and ability. Our responsibility is to exercise the gifts we have, not the ones we wish we had. And when it comes to making decisions about your own life and the direction it should take, focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Know yourself. Know what you do well, and then go with your strengths and shore up your weaknesses.6

    1. God gave Caleb and Joshua land – in different ways and in different places. But he gave them what they needed when they needed it.

Conclusion: God will also give us what we need when we need it. Now we need the patience to wait.


1Streiker, L. D. (2000). Nelson's big book of laughter : Thousands of smiles from A to Z (electronic ed.) (152). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

2Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed.) (509). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.



5Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed.) (599). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

6AMG Bible Illustrations. 2000 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.

No comments: