Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Joshua: What Is Remembered?
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Joshua: What Is Remembered?

Intro.: I want to share two events in the life of John Wesley.

  1. There was a point in John Wesley thought he wanted to be a mystic. He wanted to lead a secluded life in which he could enjoy real rest for his soul.He had not yet put his faith in Christ. And he thought that leading a solitary life give him the rest he finally needed. His wise mother interposed, saying that “God had better work for you to do.” Wesley traveled many miles to consult “a serious man.” “The Bible knows nothing of a solitary religion,” advised the good man. It would be a number of years before Wesley would find the rest that he was seeking. 1

  2. The second story comes later in Wesley's life. He had come to faith, he had gained the reputation as a preacher. A Lady once said to John Wesley, “Suppose you knew you were to die at twelve o’clock tomorrow night, how would you employ the intervening time?” “Why, just as I intend to spend it now. I would preach this evening at Gloucester, and again at five o’clock tomorrow morning. After that, I should ride to Tewksbury; preach in the afternoon; meet the societies in the evening; then repair to friend Martin’s who expects to entertain me; converse and pray with the family as usual; retire to my room at ten o’clock; commend myself to my heavenly Father; lie down to rest; wake up in glory!”2

  3. Wesley had changed. He had met his savior. And he had learned that he could trust him to give him time to do everything he needed to accomplish what God needed done.

  4. We, too, can find what God wants for us.

Read: Hebrews 4:1-11


Trans:Today we come to the end of our study of Joshua.

  1. Over the last two years, we have followed him as Moses chief assistant, Moses chosen replacement, and have watched him as he died.

  2. Today, I want to address one last question. What effect did Joshua have on history?

  3. And the results can be summed up in a single word – REST.

T.S. Rest is the theme that connects the book of Joshua to the NT and to us.

  1. Joshua gave his people rest

    1. It had been a long time since they had been home. They had spent almost 600 years in Egypt. Moses took them out of Egypt. Then they had to roam around the Middle East for forty years. Then, after Moses died, they crossed the Jordan and continued taking the land that God had given them. So what was the result?

    2. The book of Joshua sums it up this way, “After a long time had passed and the Lord had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, was old and well advanced in years,

    3. They were through with roaming, they could settle down and build homes, they could begin clearing the land to grow grapes and grain, they could begin building synagogues for worship.

    4. I bet to some of them it felt like heaven – a place they could call their own.

    5. But it wouldn't last for long. Joshua 2:7 tells us that “The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.

    6. And then things went haywire. I won't read the rest of chapter 2, but it become clear that had chosen to follow a path that would reduce God's place in their life. In fact, the remainder of Judges 2 describes a pattern that would define their lives as a nation for years to come. I might help to think of a ferris wheel – that never stops.

      1. After serving God for a time, they would begin living their lives as if God did not exist.

      2. They would find themselves in trouble – the very people they had fought would return as raiders, plundering their land, taking the very things they had fought so long to have.

      3. The people would then, in the midst of their troubles, remember to call on God.

      4. God would hear them, and provide the people, resources, and circumstances needed to move on. And they would serve God for a time.

    7. They had become what some have called “Foxhole” Christians – willing to call on God only when they are in trouble, rather than living for Him on a daily basis.

  2. Jesus gives His people rest

    1. Joshua offered rest – but the people could not handle it. The New Testament book of Hebrews reflects on those days by saying, “For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.

    2. But there is another Joshua in the Bible. This Joshua was born in a manger in a small town that was the ancestral home of his parents. This Joshua would grow up, after a brief trip to Egypt, in Nazareth watching his father the carpenter. And eventually, this Joshua would not die as a hero, but as a criminal on hill called Golgotha just outside of Jerusalem.

    3. By now you know that I am speaking about the person we know of as Jesus. But Jesus is a Greek name – the language of the NT. But Jesus' parents were Hebrew. Jesus' Hebrew name, the name used by his family and friends as they lived out their lives, was Joshua.

    4. And the writer of Hebrews had more to say. He argues that since God did not give a real rest through Joshua, there still remains a rest for the people of God.

(Ill.) Pythagoras was a famous Greek who lived about 500 years befor Christ. He tells a story of a friend of his – the man had asked the neighborhood cobbler to make a pair of shoes for him. He made arrangements to pay for the purchase over time, but when he went to make payment, the friend found the cobbler had died. His first reaction was joy – he could keep his money and keep the pair of shoes for nothing. But his conscience got to him and would not allow him to be at peace with himself. He went back to the cobbler's shop and left the money telling the new proprietor, “Go thy way, for, though he is dead to all the world, yet he is alive to me.” God is presented in a similar situation – he had promised rest to His people, but after Joshua, they had nor received it. If God was too keep all his promises, the rest was still to come. Just as Pythagoras' friend had to keep his promise, so will God.3

    1. Our world does not offer many opportunities for rest, rest that reinvigorates, rest that restores.

(Ill.) Have you seen all the advertisements for sleeping aids lately. There are both prescription and over the counter products out there. Now I recognize that there is a place for these medications, but I also understand it is indicative one of the problems faced in our society – the need for rest.

    1. Life keeps moving, life does not stop when we need it to stop.

    2. But we can turn to the one who still gives rest. Over the past few weeks we have found ourselves returning to Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Conclusion: Life is confusing. Life is difficult.

  1. It is time to find rest.

  2. It is time to put the very things that keep you awake into God's hands

  3. Are you ready to experience God's rest. To quote the writers of Hebrews one more time: Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following the Israelites example of disobedience.


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.

2AMG Bible Illustrations. 2000 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.

3Tan, 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.

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