Joshua-Wayne Barber/Part 15
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2004|
|The most wonderful truth about the grace of God is that failure does not disqualify us from ever being usable again. That’s the beauty of God’s grace.|
God’s Grace (Joshua 10)
You know, today is a very special day for our country. On June 6, 1944, was the invasion of Normandy. We call it D-Day. Quite an impact! And of course you know the history of that. Matter of fact, we’re going to look at D-Day of sorts. We are in Joshua and there’s a bunch of soldiers here and they’re going to be in battle. So if you’ll turn to Joshua 10. And I guarantee you, anybody who’s been in a war, knows the power of our Almighty God. Whether they be a believer or nonbelievers, they’re aware of that. And that’s what I want to talk to you about today, is our Almighty God. That’s what I want you to see in Joshua 10. And as we get into it, the most wonderful truth about the grace of God is that failure does not disqualify us from ever being usable again. That’s the beauty of God’s grace. As you know, grace has overwhelmed me. And that’s what comes out of me no matter what book I’m talking about; that God uses failures. Matter of fact, failure can be a tool if it’s properly addressed. We simply have to observe scripture to see this confirmed, and especially in our chapter 10 that we are going to look at today.
In Joshua 9 Israel and in particular, Joshua and the leaders, this is the leadership, this is God’s man and this is his elders that are around him—they made a horrible mistake. They failed in a horrible way. In chapter 9 the Gibeonites, now the Gibeonites were on the frontier of Canaan. They’d already been to Jericho, they’d been to Ai and the next area were the Gibeonites. They would have been the next battle, but they were no dummies. They’d already heard about the defeat at Ai. They’d heard about Jericho. And they didn’t want to die, so what they did, they sent an envoy, a group of people, over to Joshua where they were camped at Gilgal. They came and acted like they were foreigners. They didn’t tell them they only lived a little short ways away. They tried to make them think they came from another country. In order to deceive them, they had taken old bread, old wineskins, old clothes and garments, and they made it look like they’d been on such a long journey that these things were new when they started and had worn out by the time they finally got to where Joshua and his men were camped. They told Joshua and his men that they were servants. They wanted to serve Israel. And the whole thing was that they wanted a covenant of peace with Israel. They wanted to enter into that covenant.
Well, instead of seeking the Lord—and this is where failure begins—instead of consulting with the Lord, which is what we should always do, in prayer and in the word. Instead of doing that, Joshua and his leaders, it says in chapter 9, did not consult the Lord and judged these people based on appearance only. That was a horrible mistake. You would have thought that by now Joshua is getting the picture. I mean, this is not the first time when he’s failed.
Well, they made a horrible mistake. They entered into a sacred covenant with the people God had said don’t even associate with and also to destroy in the land. They made a covenant with them. I tell you what, this makes our failures pale in comparison. It affected two and a half million people by their insanity by doing this. Here’s the key. When you fail, now what? Is God going to kick you out? Is God going to quit? No!
They were willing to admit their failure. In fact, when they found out the Gibeonites were just over the hill, immediately all the men rushed over there as if to take them out. And Joshua said, “No sir, no sir, we have made a covenant. Yes, we’ve made a big mistake. We have failed. We have sinned. We didn’t consult the Lord, but now we’re in covenant and there’s integrity to covenant and we have to honor this covenant we have made with these people.”
And then they were willing, Joshua was willing, to assess the failure. He asked some very specific questions as we looked at it last time together. And he wanted to find how this happened. He’s interested so that he won’t let it happen again. And then he was willing to accept the consequences of their failure, which, by the way, would be with them forever. When you’re in covenant with somebody, it’s till death parts you. So as long as they would live, they would be in covenant with these Gibeonites.
But to me the most important thing in the lesson that God taught me as I studied this—and by the way, when I study, I’m not studying for you, I’m studying for me. I want God to speak to my heart. Then out of the overflow, I can preach to you. That’s the way it gets out. And what God said to my heart was, it’s not just that we failed and once we’re willing to accept and to assess and to admit it, but they got up and they moved on with their life.
So often failure paralyzes us, it cripples us, and we think we’ll never be usable again. And God says, “No! No! Repentance is simply turning back to Me, admitting what you’ve done, and choosing to trust Me now because you didn’t consult with Me before. That’s what caused your failure, now turn it around. Learn from it. Trust Me and walk with Me and I’ll use you.”
In today’s message we’re going to be studying chapter 10 to see exactly how God chooses to use Israel again. They have messed up again, but they have made it right with Him and God’s going to empower them in a powerful way. It’s proof that failure does not in any way mean that God is finished with us. I’m so grateful for that.
You see, it’s the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. The only hope I have in this world and you have in this world is His absolute impeccable love for each of us. That’s what changes us. That’s the goodness of God. In chapter 10 it’s all about God. You say, no, it’s not, it’s about Joshua and the ingenuity of the military men. No! No! No! It’s all about God. It’s about His divine intervention in the lives of those people who are willing to say yes to Him, to be obedient to Him. When we’re willing to deal with our failures and repent and choose to obey God’s will, then God will cause us to have victory over the very thing that caused us the failures in the first place—which was our flesh. God replaces us. It’s no longer us, it’s Him in us.
In the life that we’re trying to possess—Israel’s possessing a land, we’re possessing a life—I want you to see the lessons that we can learn from Israel. In chapter 10 word has gotten out about Israel’s victory over Ai and certainly over Jericho. But also word has gotten out that the Gibeonites have entered into a covenant of peace with Israel. That was seen to the enemy as surrender. They’d given up. They didn’t even fight.
So in verse 1 of chapter 10 it says, “Now it came about when Adoni-zedek, King of Jerusalem, heard that Joshua had captured Ai and had utterly destroyed it, just as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king. And that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were within their land,” verse 2, “that he feared greatly,” this king Adoni-zedek. “He feared greatly because Gibeon was a great city. Like one of the royal cities and because it was greater than Ai and all its men were mighty.”
Now, the name of this king grabs your attention immediately. You see the name Adoni and you know that’s a good word. That’s a word for Lord. And Zedek, the word means king of the Lord of righteousness. He was the king of Jerusalem. You say, now wait a minute, Wayne, my minds a little foggy—here’s Canaan and they’re enemies and they are suppose to destroy them and here’s a guy by the name of Adoni-zedek, what’s the deal? Well, in this case, names don’t mean very much. He’s a bad king. Don’t get excited. Some people say he was kin to Melchizedek. We don’t know that. You can’t prove anything here. However, we know this—he was not a friend to the posterity of Abraham, to the children of Abraham. To the seed of Abraham he was not in any way a friend like Melchizedek was. Abraham even brought his tithes to Melchizedek. But this guy is different.
Fear gripped this king when he heard of Israel’s victory over Ai and Jericho and especially when he heard Gibeon had made peace with Israel. And by the way, this is the first time we find out that Gibeon was a great city. It was greater than Ai. It was in a royal class maybe because of, I don’t know, the prestige of it. But it was on that threshold on that frontier of Canaan. It was a strategic city for the Canaanites.
So this king, out of fear, calls four other kings to form a coalition against Gibeon. They are mentioned there in verse 3, and then in verse 4 he says, “Come up to me, and help me and let us attack Gibeon. For it has made peace with Joshua and with the sons of Israel.” Now his motive is not certain. It doesn’t tell us. It could be because they were such a strategic city they wanted to go and take it back because they needed that city to protect the threshold of Canaan. It could be that they were angry that the Gibeonites had made peace with Israel and they wanted to attack them to destroy them, to punish them. We don’t know.
But these five kings, interesting point here, were not good friends. But, you know, anytime you mention Israel, God’s people, and anybody that wants to side with them, isn’t it funny what that does to unite people that don’t even like each other. All of a sudden there’s a point of commonality and they were willing to form this coalition against Gibeon.
So in verse 5, “So the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up—they with all their armies and camped by Gibeon and fought against it.” Well you know what’s going to happen. Gibeon’s already figured some of these things out. Gibeon’s going to immediately run and ask Israel to come to their help. Why? That’s covenant language. When you entered into covenant, you exchanged robes; that was identity. You exchanged belts. You see that with David and Jonathan over in the book of Samuel. And when they did this, the belt is where weapons were. And what you were saying in covenant was, I’ll protect you and they would protect them. You know Jonathan protected David from his own father. This was covenant language. So if you’re in covenant with somebody, you are bound by an oath to protect the one whom you have covenanted with.
‘Well, verse 6, “Then the men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal saying, ‘Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us and help us for all the kings of the Amorites that live in the hill country [this was the region they came from] have assembled against us.” And Joshua, being a man of his word—he said what he meant and he meant what he said—he followed through. He had no recourse. I mean, he understands covenant. He understands he is bound even by a failure, he’s still bound and he’s willing to be a man about it and follow through.’
But the story teaches us so much about the almighty power of God in our lives when we choose to obey Him. He knew God would hold him to that obedience, and he didn’t even flinch. Didn’t blink an eye. This is what we want to see today: How God steps in, yes, He’s always there, but in the sense of manifesting Himself. When Wayne or you or anybody chooses to say yes to him, they’re not alone. God manifests His power in an awesome way. He’s an awesome God! A mighty God. We’re never going to tap into that power until we come to the place of admitting our failures, but also accepting their consequences and saying yes to God and moving on in our life. God immediately manifests His power within us. It’s magnificently manifested in those who obey Him.
As we walk through this, remember we don’t fight flesh and blood, we’re in a new covenant. This is way back in history. What we fight is the world, the flesh and the devil. Mainly the flesh; that’s the culprit; that’s our enemy. What I want you to see today is we’re going to look at three different things, but they happen almost simultaneously when you say yes to God. This is the only difficulty in preaching. Sometimes it makes it look like that’s step 1, that’s step 2, and that’s step 3. But I want you to see that in the Christian walk all of these things are happening at the same time. To the enemy that caused us to fail, God’s going to conquer the flesh and therefore, release us to be vessels that He can use once again. The key is saying yes to Him. The key is saying, “God whatever You will in my life. I’m willing.”
God’s power confuses the enemy
Three things: first of all, His power confuses the enemy. Remember now, they had an enemy, five kings. We have enemies but it’s all spiritual enemies; the world, the flesh and the devil. Okay, now hang onto that, because we’re possessing the life, they’re possessing the land. When God intervenes, no one can miss it. And in the case of chapter 10 of Joshua, it’s going to be supernaturally obvious. God immediately assures Joshua with His promise and with His presence. I love this. Every time you say yes, immediately you sense the presence of God and His promise.
It says in verse 7, “Joshua went up from Gilgal [that’s where they were camped], he and all the people of war with him and all the valiant warriors. The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them.” Don’t you love that! “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not one of them shall stand before you.”
Now, he’s not giving Joshua a new promise at all. He’s assuring him of a promise He’s given him before. In Joshua 1:5 if you’ve been with us and studied Joshua with us, you already know this. In Joshua 1:5 it says, “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you. I will not forsake you. I will not fail you or forsake you.” He’s already told him that. And when Joshua finally gets up off of the floor when he’s failed and he admits and he assesses and he accepts and he moves on with his life, God comes back and reaffirms what was there all along. “I am going to be with you. Don’t fear them!”
There’s absolutely no fear whatsoever when we’re completely yielded to God and to His will. First John says, “Perfect love casts out fear.” Fear can’t get in. There is no fear when we are saying yes to God.
But I want you to notice something: Joshua had already broken camp and headed toward Gibeon before God gave him this promise. That’s just something I think we need to understand. It is only as we obey that the fear is dismissed. We can sit around and talk about whether or not we are going to do something that God’s told us to do, and we’ll still be full of fear. But not until we act upon it is the fear dismissed. We don’t get the luxury of peace in our hearts until we obey. It comes in the act of obedience. It’s not something that makes you ready. You move, you step on what God says, then the fear is dismissed and the assurance of His presence overwhelms us.
I don’t believe it’d be wrong to use this illustration. I have become good friends with Richie McKay who’s the coach of University of New Mexico Lobo basketball team. I love basketball. I think basketball is going to be the game of the millennium. I want to dunk the ball one time with a glorified body. “Michael Jordan sit down, watch this”—just one time.
Richie loves the Lord. He’s a very dear man. And he was asked to go to the National Collegiate Association of coaches meeting and he was asked to be one of the speakers. And they were addressing a problem. And the problem was some of the things going on with coaches in big time programs, and some of it being immorality and other things. And they were to address what’s going on and how can we solve this. Richie did not know that he’d be the first one to speak. Richie had already had God put on his heart that he wanted to give his testimony and share about purpose and only Christ can give us that purpose in our life. And he shared with me of how nervous he was to get up. He didn’t know when he would speak. He was number 1. They called him. Can you imagine sitting there? You’ve got all the great coaches sitting there, and here you are and they call on you first. He had about 10 minutes.
Richie said when he walked up, his stomach, you know the nervousness, the sweat in your hands, but he said when he walked up and began to speak and do what God had told Him to do, the fear left him. And he said it was incredible what he experienced as he shared, which was, by the way, unprecedented, because they don’t do that at national coach’s conferences. But it was interesting.
You see, this is what happens in our life. Every time I’ve ever gotten up to preach my stomach get nauseous; I have sweat in my hands; because I’m going to stand before God one day for what I say. I don’t get the luxury of thinking this and thinking that and speaking whatever I’m thinking about. You better check it out. Those who teach the word of God are going to stand before Him. Those of you that are teachers understand that. We’re all going to stand, teachers of the Word of God are going to stand in a greater judgment one day. And it puts a fear in your heart until you stand up and you do what God tells you to do, and the fear is dismissed.
He was already on his way to Gibeon and then God said, “Don’t fear.” That’s when the fear’s dismissed. He didn’t flinch. He knew exactly what God wanted him to do—honor that covenant. Yes, you’re a failure, but get us off the floor and say yes to Me and don’t worry about it, I’m with you. I am with you.
God proceeds to confuse the enemy when Joshua acted upon His will. God’s already working on the enemy. God’s way ahead of us. Joshua’s obviously acting on God’s command and caught them completely off guard. Verse 9 says, “So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal.” Now God had led Joshua to march all night long to catch them off guard. Now some people will say, “Oh no! No! No! Joshua was ingenious, and God respected his ingenuity and He just involved Himself with it.” Then you’re studying a different guy than I’m studying. This is a guy that doesn’t know how to get in from the rain. He lets an envoy from the Gibeonites deceive him just that quickly. When they’re over at Ai, he gets arrogant and he goes up against the city and doesn’t even ask the Lord about it, trusting the advice of his men. Listen, and God so overwhelmed him in every situation. No sir, it was God who gave him the ingenuity. God gave him the understanding—march all night. Catch them off guard.
Verse 10, “And the Lord confounded them before Israel and He slew them [He slew them] with a great slaughter at Gibeon and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.” The word confounded is the word meaning to confuse. The nations weren’t ready. They didn’t know what to do. You know, when you confuse the enemy, it has no plan at that point. There’s nothing it can do to defeat you. You think about it in our spiritual battles: the world, the flesh, and the devil; they have a lot of plans up their sleeves. You start saying yes to God, they have no clue. It’s totally confused. It confuses that which we deal with.
The enemy was so terrified that they took off running and Israel took off after them with the presence of God assured to be with them. I love it when the enemy comes against us and instead of us fighting in our own power, we cry out to God and immediately the fear that they want us to have of them is suddenly transferred and now they are afraid of us and running from us. Colossians 2:6 says, “As we have received Christ Jesus, so walk you in Him.” As we yield to Him and to His power which brought salvation the moment we bowed before Him, also continues that salvation in a different way. He’s delivering us from the evil that’s around us when we say yes to Him. He confused the enemy and puts fear in their hearts so the enemy will flee. The enemy will flee.
‘Verse 10 says, “He [speaking of God] slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon.” This is all about God. All we want to do today is just talk about Him. It’s all about God. When we say yes to Him, the manifested power of God that we experience in our life and how that we walk in the victory He’s given to us. Victory’s not something we go and get. Victory’s something we already have in Jesus Christ. And when we say yes to Him, it’s no longer us, it’s Him. He’s defeated the power of the flesh. He’s defeated the trappings of the world. He’s defeated the devil and all of his schemes and therefore, now we can walk in the victory He says is ours.
You see failures—by the way, I’m one, are you one?—failures who are willing to understand what they are not and they are willing to admit and to assess and to accept their failures and get up and trust God in a repentant heart and say, “Oh God, I can’t, You never said I could; You can, You always said You would,” they walk in the victory and nobody can explain it. They look at us and they say, “There’s got to be a God around here somewhere cuz’ I know that person, but that person’s walking in a victory I’ve never seen before.”
Our almighty God! His power confuses the enemy. Sin has no power, none whatsoever, none, when we are walking in obedience to Him. All these things are taking place at the same time, remember. I’m making it look like three different things, but it all happened so quickly I don’t know how to preach it any other way.
God’s power crushes the enemy
Secondly, God’s power not only confuses the enemy, God’s power crushes the enemy. I mean, in a crushing blow. What you are going to see now it just exciting. In our possessing what God has given to us, the world, the flesh, and the devil just wilt in His presence. All are crushed by His power. Victory is not us overcoming sin.
Roy Hession was like a mentor to me. He wrote The Calvary Road and eight other Christian classics. Roy had been in my home many times and I remember one time sitting there with him. And I said, “Brother Roy, I’ve confessed this particular sin so many times, I’m sick of confessing it.” I said, “The moment I think I’ve confessed it and admitted it, I get up off my knees and it just drives me crazy all day long.” I said, “Roy, what’s wrong with me? Would you help me? What’s wrong with me?” He was so sweet. He patted my hand and he said, “Oh son, son. You just don’t understand do you?” Obviously, I didn’t have a clue. He said, “Victory,” listen to this, if you’ll hear it, it will release you this morning, “Victory is never you overcoming sin. Victory is Jesus overcoming you.”
And it dawned on me what my problem was. Well, I’ll be! I’ve been looking at the enemy, I hadn’t been looking at the Savior. If you spend your life looking at the sin, it’s going to wear you out. Spend your life looking at the Savior. Say yes to Him and He confuses the power of the world, the flesh, and the devil. He crushes it in your midst. It wilts in His presence. When it’s no longer me, but Him, that’s living grace. Then I can walk in that victory. Victory is what He has already given to you and me.
What we see now is so obvious nobody can miss it. There are times when the enemy comes against us and God just simply chooses to let the victory come and be seen in such a way that nobody misses it. There are times when He doesn’t do it this way, but in this one He certainly does. I love this. Look at verse 11, look at what He does as Joshua and his men honor covenant. Verse 11, “As they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-horon, the Lord [now look at this] threw huge stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones then those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword.” Is that awesome or what! God throwing hailstones at them.
I just love the Hebrew. I love the picturesque way in which it is written. By the way, He throws a strike every time. I just wanted you to know that. He doesn’t miss. Can’t you just see them running around and shfeew throwing those hailstones from heaven. There were more who died from the hailstones than Israel killed with the sword. Is there any question who’s winning this battle. Anybody got any question about that? Imagine the fear in the enemy when they realized they were not just fighting against Israel? Uh oh! You know that’s a perfect time to say that, “Uh oh! We just messed up. We’re fighting with the God of Israel.” Most importantly, God was fighting them from heaven. I tell you something, that sends a signal to people that are enemies of the cross. That sends a signal in a hurry.
Paul on the Damascus road learned you don’t mess with God’s people, and you don’t mess with the God of the people. See, a lot of people don’t understand that. They don’t realize that God fights for us. He is the warrior. He is in us. He is the victor. And you don’t mess with God’s people, and you don’t mess with the God of those people. And whether or not He chooses to let everybody see the victory He’s going to bring now, I don’t know, but there’ll come a day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. They’ll understand some day. They’ll understand it.
Acts 9:1 when Saul was on his way to persecute Christians. Here’s a religious bigot, and here he was going down the road to persecute more Christians. Stood there and watched Stephen stoned to death; who becomes the apostle Paul, by the way, in the New Testament if you don’t know who I’m talking about. It says, verse 1, “Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priests and asked for letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus so that if there be found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” And verse 3 says, “As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul why are you persecuting [who?] Me.’” Do you think Paul ever had a clue that he was persecuting Him? Not on your life. He thought these believers, the Way, the disciples were a threat. Well, yeah they were in a different way. Saul didn’t realize he was up against, not just the people, he was up against the God of the people. Why? Because they’re in covenant.
The same covenant of the Old Testament, that same language, is brought into Hebrews 8:6, “We are of a better covenant. We entered in to the way of death when we came to salvation.” We exchanged robes with Him. He wore my robe of humanity to the cross so that I might wear His robe of righteousness. He exchanged belts with me and said, “Wayne, I’m going to be your strength.” He even exchanged names, and I get to be called Christian. I am in covenant with God. And He says, “I will fight for you. I will deal with your spiritual enemies of the world, the flesh and the devil. If you’ll say yes to me, I’ll let you walk in victory that the world cannot miss. I’ll crush the enemy in front of you.”
God is the one who conquers sin in our lives, not us. If you’ve ever tried, anybody can stop doing anything. But what did Jesus say to the Pharisees? Oh yeah! You don’t commit adultery, but if you have lust in your heart, you’ve already committed adultery. What He’s telling them is, “You can’t conquer sin, but I can conquer you. And I’ll let you walk in victory that you’ve never known before.”
God consumes the enemy
God confused the enemy; God crushed the enemy; used a bunch of failures. Isn’t that awesome! God uses the foolish always to confound the wise. He loves the weak to confound the strong. But there’s a third thing that God did very supernaturally, you can’t miss it. Thirdly, God consumes the enemy. There’s nothing left of the enemy to even fight. I mean, hopefully you’re seeing this as one thing: confuse, crush and consume as one thing. We are just taking it apart so that we can better get a look at it. Like a magnifying glass, we’re spreading it out. We’re looking at it in a clearer picture.
Sin has no chance when we are possessing the life we have in Christ, none whatsoever. This is why I preach the Christ life. This is why I preach living grace. It’s the message everybody’s desperate for, but how many people even know they need it. To totally defeat the enemy, they needed the light of day. Darkness was a nemesis to them. They had to defeat them in the daylight or they could hide and get away from them in the dark. So Joshua was moved by God to ask Him to prolong the day.
In verse 12, “Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel. And he said in the sight of Israel.” Now you have to understand, God’s initiating all of this. “O sun, stand still at Gibeon.” Joshua is saying this. “And O moon in the valley of Aijalon.” And verse 13 says, “So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation avenged itself of their enemies.”
And then its given an historical proof, they had some books evidently that they would record heroes of the faith and how God intervened and worked in their lives, and it was called the book of Jashar. “And is it not written in the book of Jashar,” see this was written after the fact. And he looks back and he says, hey “is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.” The hail had come from the clouds, you know that. That’s where the moisture is. Hail came out of the clouds. But to show that Israel’s help came from God who controls the sun and the moon and the stars, God caused the sun and the moon to stand still until the enemy could be totally defeated. God called a halt to the work of nature in order for the enemy to be consumed.
It is obvious that Joshua was quickened in his spirit. I want to keep saying that. God puts the desire in our heart, we just simply voice it back to Him and He gives us the desires of your heart. But you have to understand the first part of that. He was quickened to believe that God could do this and that God would do this. And so he spoke and it happened.
The same God who backed the River Jordan up 17 miles when they stepped their foot into the river and the water of God’s will moved. The same God who calls the elements of the wall of Jericho to fall apart and the whole wall to come down. The same God causes the sun and moon to stand still. The skeptics say that God can’t do that; that cannot happen. It takes 15 days for the world to stop spinning and all this kind of stuff. But I want to ask you a question, who are you going to listen to? Are you going to listen to the skeptics or are you going to listen to the scriptures? You see, if you don’t believe this, then you’ve got serious questions about who God is and how creation came about to begin with.
God created the sun and the moon. Genesis 1:6 says, “God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He made the stars also.” And one day He, in His sovereign power, will darken that sun and make the moon turn to blood. In Revelations 6:12, “I looked when he broke the sixth seal and there was a great earthquake and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair and the whole moon became like blood.”
If you want to know what God is like and how God made this world, Psalms 19:1 says, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech and night to night reveals knowledge.” In other words, a message is being preached with no sound to it. It says in verse 3,”There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard.” Just watching the sun come up in the morning, just watching the moon at night—it’s telling you something. It’s a sermon being preached. Verse 4, “Their line has gone out throughout all of the earth and their utterance to the end of the world. In them, He has placed a tent for the sun which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber.” And that means the day after the wedding night. And he walks out of that chamber with a smile on his face. I’m sorry, but that’s what it means. It rejoices. “It rejoices as a strong man has run its course.” And then he says in verse 6, “Its rising from one end of the heavens and its circuit to the other end of them and there is nothing hidden from its heat.”
God. The heavens are declaring the glory of God. He made them all. Same God who stepped out on nothing for there was nothing to step out on—and the same God who spoke and created everything—and nobody said anything for there was not anybody to say anything—caused the sun to stop still and the moon to stand still and it was daylight until the enemy was consumed.
Oh, thank God there is no darkness with Him. Thank God when I walk in the light, the enemy is confused. The enemy is crushed and the enemy is consumed. To me that’s the greatest message of grace I have ever heard. You don’t know who you have as your pastor. You don’t know the failure I’ve been in my life. But, listen, on that day when God overwhelmed me, God said, “Wayne, I love you in spite of you. You haven’t done a single thing that I didn’t know about before the foundations of this earth. Oh, Wayne, Wayne, trust Me, trust Me, and I’ll defeat the very thing that’s crushed you all of these years. Just say yes to Me.”
That’s what Christianity is, folks. You know, I can preach it until I fall on the floor. Can we ever grasp it? It will be by the revelation of the Holy Spirit of God. God’s power in the life of those who obey Him is unmistakable. Verse 14 says, “There was no daylight like it before or after it.” I’ll tell you one thing, when you deal with the enemies of your life and God gives you the victory, He promises you, actually, He’s given it, but when you experience it, there will be no day like it. It’s incredible! When the Lord listened to the voice of a man and the Lord fought for Israel.
Verse 15 says that “Joshua and all Israel returned with him to the camp of Gilgal.” The rest of chapter 10 I’m not even going to preach, because it’s a blow by blow account of how the enemy was completely destroyed. We don’t need to go through that. It’s just one victory after the other. In verse 41, “Joshua stuck them from Kadesh-barnea even as far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen even as far as Gibeon. Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. Joshua and all Israel with him, returned to the camp of Gilgal.”
When we say yes to God, instantly, instantly sin is confused. The world, the flesh and the devil have no plan. They can’t touch us. But immediately the enemy is crushed. It wilts in His presence. And immediately it consumes the enemy. And that old lustful bent some people might have suddenly has no power. And that old power covetousness in some people’s lives suddenly has no power. And that old bitterness that people have been harboring in their life, suddenly has no power. And we begin to experience Him and what He can do in our life.
Now, let’s bring it down to where we live. Let me ask you a question this morning. Have you been a failure in your life? If you haven’t, would you talk to me after the service? I’d like to meet somebody that hasn’t been. Here’s the question: Have you admitted or are you too proud to admit it? Have you been blaming everybody else for your own personal choices for all these years? Do you think that somehow closure is going to a person without going to Jesus and having is resolved under the blood of Jesus? Have you missed the point? Have you assessed as to why it happened in your life? Have you learned from it? Have you accepted the results? By the way, have you assessed that you know why you failed—because you didn’t consult the Lord? That’s always the reason for failure. And have you accepted the consequences? In the mercy of God are you willing to get up off the floor and move on? If you are, strap your seatbelt on, my friend, because the very thing that defeated you before is the very thing He has power over now in your life.
That’s grace, folks. That’s who Jesus is in our life. Say this: Confused, crushed, and consumed in the instant when we say yes to Him and to His will and to His word. Sin has no more power.
You know in the South, the state bird in most states is the mosquito. You know we had those little things, those little mosquito traps. You know what I’m talking about. You hang it up and it has a little light on it and mosquitoes are attracted to light. Now, you don’t get out on the porch with it, you get behind a screen so that you don’t have to be adversely affected. And you hang that little thing up there, and that little mosquito trap has that little light on it. And it’s just glowing, glowing, glowing and those mosquitoes EEEE. Don’t you hate the sound of them? And I’ve been deer hunting in the swamps of North Carolina sitting up in a tree stand and EEEEEE. And the deer are down there, watch that, swatting those mosquitoes. And you watch those mosquitoes coming for the light EEEEE. And all of the sudden they’ll run in to the light and what happens? ZIP! Do you love that or what? I could sit for hours and do that. This is good stuff. Mosquitoes being slain by the thousands. EEEEE and in an instant. Zip! That sound becomes melodious in my mind. Zip! Zip! Zip! I want you to think of that, because it took a long time to say what happens the moment you say yes to Christ. The moment you say yes to Christ.
You know what our problem is, folks? Look in the mirror tomorrow morning and you’ll find out what you’re problem is. We live in a world that seems like there’s no answers. Are you kidding me? We have the answer, and it’s Jesus Christ. And He conquered sin the flesh and the devil and the grave. Now He lives in you. Possess what you have. He is your victory. You don’t get it. You have it. But the way you received Him is the way you walk in Him. As you therefore received Christ Jesus, so walk you in Him. And the moment you do, Zip! Zip!