Lives of united servanthood honor Christ

I was reminded this week of how this book of the Bible and in fact every book of the Bible, is best understood when seen as part of one big story, from Genesis to Revelation. THIS Story, HIS Story is OUR Story… As we read Joshua let us keep in perspective the part it plays in God revealing to humanity: how we are to view Him, how we are to view ourselves and how we are to relate to HIM as The Lord.

As His people, God has expectations of how we are to relate to Him. Throughout Scripture and in today’s passage we find guidance in our relationship with our Creator, Savior & Lord. Reading the story at hand as a part of the bigger story gives us the proper context and meaning to drive our vision and practices.

This big overarching story is about how God chooses this nation, this people, to be the ‘Womb’ from which He will birth HIS SON! Israel was God’s Bride just as we are ‘The Bride of Christ’. It is through HIS people HE brings salvation to the world, by bringing us in to a relationship with HIM.

One key aspect of our relationship to God, as individuals and as a community, is the use of memorials to commemorate what God has done with, through, and for HIS people.Throughout the Scriptures, altars and monuments have been erected as memorials to God’s presence and actions. These structures are created as reminders, we have to look at and deal with

This chapter reads in a less than linear way, but it is not hard to see how the narrative fits together.

Joshua 4

1 When all the people had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Tell the chosen twelve men, one from each tribe, 3 ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan. Carry them out and pile them up at the place where you will camp tonight.’”

  • The Lord now tells Joshua what the job of the 12 guys is to be
  • They were probably picked based on physical ability
  • Joshua waited for the Lord to tell him what the 12 guys were for
  • Joshua (and the 12 guys) didn’t need all the details, they trusted God

4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. 5 He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.”

  • The guys had to get close to the Ark, right there next to it…
  • The stones were big enough that you would need to carry them on a shoulder
  • Unity of action / unity of obedience

6 “We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.”

  • They’re going to leave something to mark the occasion, so they can remember
  • Three times in Genesis Jacob / Israel set up stones to remember God’s work
  • The Ark (God’s presence) stopped a massive river

8 So the men did as Joshua had commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe, just as the Lord had told Joshua. They carried them to the place where they camped for the night and constructed the memorial there.

  • They did just as Joshua commanded, carried them to camp & stacked them up
  • How far did they have to carry them?

9 Joshua also set up another pile of twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, at the place where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were standing. And they are there to this day. 10 The priests who were carrying the Ark stood in the middle of the river until all of the Lord’s commands that Moses had given to Joshua were carried out.

  • Joshua make a personal pile, marking the full transformation of His leadership
  • ‘That day’… 45 yrs later when the book of Joshua was written
  • The time the priests stood in the river may have been 2 ½ days, shifts?
  • They toughed it out until the job was complete
  • And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men ~ Col 3:23

The entire nation had hurried across the riverbed. 11 And when everyone was safely on the other side, the priests crossed over with the Ark of the Lord as the people watched.

  • They had gotten everyone across and all huddled along the banks of the river
  • The whole nation watches as the Ark came up out of the dry riverbed

12 The armed warriors from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had led the Israelites across the Jordan, just as Moses had directed. 13 These armed men—about 40,000 strong—were ready for battle, and the Lord was with them as they crossed over to the plains of Jericho.

  • This is a bit of a flashback: describing what took place after it was finished
  • They had no families or livestock or stuff so they were the vanguard
  • They spread out into a defense perimeter to guard while everyone crossed
  • ‘The Lord was with them’… how did they know?

14 That day the Lord made Joshua a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites, and for the rest of his life they revered him as much as they had revered Moses. 15 The Lord had said to Joshua, 16 “Command the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant to come up out of the riverbed.” 17 So Joshua gave the command.

  • The Lord did it not Joshua
  • Joshua did his part: trained under Moses, hands on work, strict obedience
  • Leadership borne of excellent ‘Follow-Ship’

18 As soon as the priests carrying the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant came up out of the riverbed and their feet were on high ground, the water of the Jordan returned and overflowed its banks as before.

  • All the servants working under the authority of the God established leadership
  • HIS way is to work through present, relational people HE raises to servanthood
  • When God’s people do things HIS way HIS presence is among them
  • “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” ~ matt 18:20
  • The presence of God is where the power is

19 The people had crossed the Jordan by the tenth day of the first month. Then they camped at Gilgal, just east of Jericho. 20 It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River.

  • Passover, 14h day of the 1st Month. They crossed Red Sea 7 days later.
  • The people of Jericho knew they were on the other side of the river
  • They knew all the details of the Jordan crossing & NOW they are right there!
  • Gilgal means: ‘circle of standing stones’

21 Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’”

  • Tangible connection to the history of what God did: REMBERANCE
  • Memorials, holidays, feasts, and rituals are key ways we connect to the past
  • God teaches HIS people the importance of knowing HIS Story
  • Each ‘Spirit Indwelt Believer in Christ’ is a living memorial to God’s work!

23 “For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when He dried it up until we had all crossed over.” 24 “He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.”

  • Joshua states it clearly, what God did and why He did it (Leadership Role)
  • God’s kind of leadership acknowledges the work of God ‘Macro’ & ‘Micro’
  • The world will have knowledge of God; but YOU will be transformed forever!
  • BIG difference between hearing about something & personally experiencing it


In HIS story God, the author of history, places great importance on HIS people entering ‘The Land’. It was just as important as the ‘Exodus’ from Egypt. The two events are joined by Joshua’s words. The entering into ‘The Land’ begins all of the cycles of Jubilee and Sabbatical years. This marks the beginning of Israel being truly a nation.

Joshua leads God’s people in complete ‘Follow-ship’ of Yahweh, doing no more or less than he is told and doing it when he is told. In this mode God exalts Joshua among the Israelites. Joshua is displaying a human type of the leader God will be when He is incarnated. Christ said: “I do nothing on my own but speak just as the Father has taught me…” ~ John 8:28b

The unified nation, equally represented by tribe, makes a memorial to enshrine in their physical reality, what their God has done, and they do it exactly HIS way. As Christ’s Body we are to be united in the same kind of memorializing.

God consistently works through HIS designated servants, partnering with them to display HIS Glory. Sacrificial service of God and His people, under the authority God has set up, is modeled by the Priests and the ‘Twelve Men, One from each Tribe’. These are given to us as examples.

Part of being God’s people is memorializing HIS STORY! We have the opportunity to connect with that story through the Scriptures. We are given this revelation so we can put the parts of the puzzle together and see the picture more clearly…

The story of God setting apart a people to redeem and to share redemption from is OUR story as Jesus Christ’s Body. We have been ushered into the promised land and we get to be part of sharing HIS salvation.


How well do you understand both Israel and The Church regarding how they are to be view in relationship to each other?

What might you personally memorialize God’s work in your life?

How do we practically honor God and memorialize what He has done as a church?


Clearly see yourself as part of the people God is setting apart for HIS glory.

Live for Christ, acknowledging the importance of the past, present and future!


Perhaps the most profound example of how God’s people ‘Practice’ the remembrance of God’s work, is the memorial we refer to as communion or The Lord’s Supper. What is great about communion is that it is a new memorial every time we partake of it.

It is a ‘Living Commemoration’ of the most important thing God has ever done!

When led by God we can be fearless!

What is the place in the cannon of Scripture for the Book of Joshua? What place do we give it in out lives? We read it as the story of God building a people to birth His Messiah out of. But also it can be guidance for how we are to live as His people, drawing on principals and ways we can relate to our Lord. Today’s passage shows us a a continuing pattern of God leading His people. He makes it clear what He is going to do and then He does it. As part of that He calls His people to purity and obedience as they follow where He leads.

Before when God took His people OUT of Egypt He took them through water. When He brings His people INTO The Promised Land, it is through water also. He does what we can’t… which is the basis for our relationship with Him.

We cannot remove the guilt of our rebellion against our creator, yet we all long for that barrier to be removed between us and God. Christ removed that barrier by doing what only God could do: paying the price for our sin and then rising to show HE is the master of life and death and so He can give us eternal life. So we follow by faith, in obedience and without fear: because we have given Jesus Christ our lives!

Today we see an example of God doing what only He can do and He people doing what they have been called to do

Joshua Chapter 3

1 Early the next morning Joshua and all the Israelites left Acacia Grove and arrived at the banks of the Jordan River, where they camped before crossing.

  • God placed the people so that everyone could see the obstacle
  • What did they know of water? Could any of them swim?

2 Three days later the Israelite officers went through the camp, 3 giving these instructions to the people: “When you see the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, move out from your positions and follow them.

  • They do another three days (time of preparation)
  • For the last 40 years they have moved when the Ark moved

4 Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you. Stay about half a mile behind them, keeping a clear distance between you and the Ark. Make sure you don’t come any closer.”

  • Only Joshua & Caleb had been this way… walking thru bodies of water
  • Why were they told to keep such a distance?

5 Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you.”

  • ‘Consecrate’ or ‘Set Apart’ (obedience to what God has made very clear: Law)
  • Purify yourselves had some very specific practices involved for them
  • We don’t do it by prescription of ‘The Law’ (Ritual that played a role)
  • We ‘set ourselves apart’ by being obedient to Christ, empowered by HIS Spirit

6 In the morning Joshua said to the priests, “Lift up the Ark of the Covenant and lead the people across the river.” And so they started out and went ahead of the people.

  • The Ark was going to take them through the water…sound familiar?
  • Ark means ‘vessel of safe keeping’
  • Noah’s Ark kept people and creatures safe, now it is God’s written Words
  • The Ark of The Covenant was the carrier of the manifestation of God on earth
  • Mercy Seat / Mana / Bidding Staff / The Five Books of Moses: Pentateuch

7 The Lord told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses. 8 Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’”

  • God uses leaders; geographically local and relationally available leaders
  • Joshua is a unique leader, but he represents a pattern of how God works
  • God is just beginning to make Joshua a great leader (in the eyes of people)
  • God’s leadership training program is ‘Learn to Lead by Following HIM’
  • God is recreating a miracle HE 1st did through Moses (repetition of HIS ways)

9 So Joshua told the Israelites, “Come and listen to what the Lord your God says. 10 Today you will know that the living God is among you. He will surely drive out the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites ahead of you.11 Look, the Ark of the Covenant, which belongs to the Lord of the whole earth, will lead you across the Jordan River!”

  • Joshua takes the focus off of himself, God’s Word is what we listen to
  • On this day, more so than yesterday, you will experience God personally
  • That experience is going to make you confident about where you are headed
  • The opposition will be dealt with by The Living God Himself!
  • His personal presence embodied in HIS Written Word is going to take you thru
  • We can apply these principals to our lives (it begins and ends with God’s Word)

12 “Now choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe.”

  • Choose for what? Each tribe is going to volunteer a guy but the job is unknown
  • Are you willing to volunteer without knowing the assignment or being credited?

13 “The priests will carry the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall.” 14 So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them.

  • The Lord of all the earth…
  • HIS power will flow through their feet, instead of making the Ark touch the water
  • God has always wanted to involve people in the display of HIS Glory
  • They are told to do it and they just do it

15 It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, 16 the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry.

  • They had been looking at the swollen river for three days, but God said…
  • It happens: God gave the vision, the people did what God told them to do: BAM
  • The supernatural aspect of this must have been overwhelming

Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho.

  • It was in sight of people on the walls of the city
  • Close to two million people, plus animals…how long would that take?

17 Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by. They waited there until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground.

  • All the while the priest stand there with the Ark
  • What were their names? Did they have any idea what they had signed up for?

Title: When Led By God…We have nothing to fear


God’s uses HIS servants to lead HIS people by HIS Presence & HIS Word to places they have not been, in ways they have not traveled. This is part of what makes us HIS Community.

As HIS people, our obedience is crucial, how we set ourselves apart to God as we follow HIM has always mattered. If we want to see HIS wonders, we have to do things HIS way!

The Jordan river is symbolic of frightening challenges we must trust God to lead us through as we follow HIM. The same God who made a way then can make a way now!

Those who serve God’s Word & God’s Community must be willing to do whatever, whenever and not get much attention.


What are some specific things you could change that would help to purify yourself / set yourself apart to God?

What is an example of something you have not tried to do because you don’t think you can do it?

What is an example of something you have done that you didn’t think you could do until you trusted God for it?

What is your contribution to the Midtown culture of humble, faithful service?

How might you better prepare for your role as a member of God’s people based on Scripture and Church History?


Vision: Our world is not a ‘brave new world’… it is a world dominated by fear!

As God’s people / Jesus’ Body we can live without fear when we let God lead us!

Practice: Our lives can be set apart to God, not taken up with self fulfillment and consumerism. Our day to day can be full of God’s presence by obeying scripture.

HEALTHY FEAR = ACTIVE FAITH Our faith in who The Lord is moves us to action

How do we read Scripture for the sake of congregational preaching? This Book? This book is for the people of The Lord who would come after these people. I believe we should read it corporately as Christ’s church / Yahweh’s people. Holding ourselves to the same standards Yahweh was teaching to HIS people then, the Israelites. Also looking for personal application as to how we relate to God.

The lives of the characters we see are perfectly orchestrated and recorded declarations of WHO the God of Scripture is, who we are, and what we can be in communion with that same Triune God!

Who is Rahab? Who and what does she become? She is the owner / operator of an Inn / Brothel (which was and is still common) She has some familiarity with the King and the King with her… She has a family she cares about, parents, siblings and their children She is an all in believer of The Lord / Yahweh / The God of Israel. She is one who by faith becomes part of God’s plan to capture the city of Jericho, but also part of His plan to birth a Messiah from a people she would be grafted into! Eventually she marries Salmon of the tribe of Judah and is the mother of Boaz from the book of Ruth. She is listed in the genealogy of Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph. (Matt. 1:5)

BIG Themes of the Book of Joshua:

  • Our obedience can fuel the miraculous / Active faith gets us in on the action
  • We are to take possession of what God promises us / Believing HE can do it
  • Trusting God’s sovereignty enables us to be strong & courageous / Risking all
  • The exercise of true faith requires us to act / Obedience is doing not thinking
  • Disobedience leads to disaster / Delayed or partial obedience is disobedience
  • Leadership matters to all of us / Leading when called to, following otherwise
  • God always fulfills His Promises / HE is who HE is, not what we experience

Joshua 2

1 Then Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia Grove. He instructed them, “Scout out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho.” So the two men set out and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there that night.

  • Jericho was the focus of the surveillance, basically the only thing there…
  • They got to the city, went directly to the brothel (a good place to hear things)
  • The spies trust in Yahweh to protect them, they use zero stealth…
  • She is the owner / operator of a ‘house of prostitution’
  • It was also a place to lodge (menu of services: beds, food, drink & such)

2 But someone told the king of Jericho, “Some Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab: “Bring out the men who have come into your house, for they have come here to spy out the whole land.”

  • The King has heard about the Israelites so security is heightened
  • Who else would be around, everyone was laying low because of Joshua’s army
  • The King is very sure that spies have been sent, how could that be?
  • They must not have been very stealthy spies, they believed God would protect

4 Rahab had hidden the two men, but she replied, “Yes, the men were here earlier, but I didn’t know where they were from. 5 They left the town at dusk, as the gates were about to close. I don’t know where they went. If you hurry, you can probably catch up with them.”

  • She has a complete plan and puts it into motion before the King’s guys come
  • How does she know what to do? How does it go down? “Quick, come hide!”
  • Is there a connection / attraction between Rahab and one of the spies?
  • Was one of the spies Salmon who she would later marry?
  • Her story confirms the King’s info & makes it look like they got spooked & split
  • Why do the Kings men believe her without hesitation?

6 (Actually, she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them beneath bundles of flax she had laid out.) 7 So the king’s men went looking for the spies along the road leading to the shallow crossings of the Jordan River. And as soon as the king’s men had left, the gate of Jericho was shut.

  • She was able to get them hidden without anyone else seeing her do it
  • The timing was perfect: the king’s men would not come back that night
  • The Spies would have to cross the Jordan where it was shallow…

8 Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them. 9 “I know the Lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror.

  • She pours out her heart, telling them of how convinced their Lord is THE LORD
  • How could she understand the land was going to be given to them by God?
  • She fears God’s power as it is being displayed by the Nation of Israel

10 For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed.

  • They heard about the Red Sea…
  • They knew the strength of the two Kings who had been completely destroyed
  • Translated: ‘completely destroy’ is literally: ‘Fully Consecrated to The Lord’

11 No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.

  • She’s convinced of who God is & what He is doing, she figures everyone is
  • She doesn’t realize that she belongs to God, she says: ‘The Lord YOUR God’
  • She fully understands Yahweh’s absolute sovereignty & proves it by her actions

12 “Now swear to me by the Lord that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give me some guarantee that 13 when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families.”

  • She is the one who wants to swear an oath to The Lord (what a surprise!)
  • Her faith in The Lord spurs her to ask for a lot, but she believes God can do it
  • She wants them to swear by The Lord! She believes HE will make it happen
  • She displays God’s influence by getting help for her family, not just herself
  • The only thing she asks for is that they all will be allowed to live

14 “We offer our own lives as a guarantee for your safety,” the men agreed. “If you don’t betray us, we will keep our promise and be kind to you when the Lord gives us the land.”

  • OK, if your plan gets us home safe we will take care of you & your family
  • The giving of the land is taken as a given

15 Then, since Rahab’s house was built into the town wall, she let them down by a rope through the window. 16 “Escape to the hill country,” she told them. “Hide there for three days from the men searching for you. Then, when they have returned, you can go on your way.”

  • It was no accident her house was part of the city wall
  • The hill country was the opposite direction of their camp
  • She know that the Kings men’s will not search for more than three days

17 Before they left, the men told her, “We will be bound by the oath we have taken only if you follow these instructions. 18 When we come into the land, you must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window through which you let us down. And all your family members—your father, mother, brothers, and all your relatives—must be here inside the house.

  • As much as God is directing Rahab, HE is directing the spies
  • They provide a way for her family to all be saved, a way to identify the house
  • Scarlet cord is reminiscent of the “passover’ blood on the door frame
  • The blood saved everyone in the house, the cord will do the same

19 If they go out into the street and are killed, it will not be our fault. But if anyone lays a hand on people inside this house, we will accept the responsibility for their death. 20 If you betray us, however, we are not bound by this oath in any way.”

  • The protection has boundaries, like God’s protection in our lives works
  • They are responsible for making sure their side of the bargain is kept
  • The responsibility for their deaths means the spies would be put to death

21 “I accept your terms,” she replied. And she sent them on their way, leaving the scarlet rope hanging from the window. 22 The spies went up into the hill country and stayed there three days. The men who were chasing them searched everywhere along the road, but they finally returned without success.

  • The ‘covenant’ is completed and agreed to and the spies did as they were told
  • The kings men did exactly what Rahab thought they would and come up empty

23 Then the two spies came down from the hill country, crossed the Jordan River, and reported to Joshua all that had happened to them. 24 “The Lord has given us the whole land,” they said, “for all the people in the land are terrified of us.”

  • Safely returned they told Joshua everything (the exact terms of the deal)
  • And they were definitive: it is going down, in fact it has already happened
  • They are convinced God is keeping HIS promise to give them the land


The spies and Rahab consistently act as though Yahweh is all powerful and makes everything happen. Rahab is directly prompted by God to recognize and help the spies, demonstrating Yahweh’s active and absolute sovereignty

Rahab believes in Yahweh’s power and will risk her life to do HIS will because she believes God is who He says He is. She is more afraid of God than of the authorities. This healthy awe and reverence of The Lord is a great example to God’s people.

Rahab invokes The Lord’s name over their deal. By faith, she is literally putting herself in Yahweh’s hands. She and the spies agree to put their lives on the line for each other living out their active faith in Yahweh.

The oath or covenant is dependent on each party ‘keeping faith’ / being trustworthy. Both Rahab and the Spies are pledging to The Lord as much as they are pledging to each other.

The spies completely depended on God, they saw first hand how their faith was rewarded, and they glorified Yahweh in declaring the surety of His promises! When we join God in active faith HE will grow that faith and HE will be glorified!

How will Rahab’s faith be rewarded and glorify Yahweh?


On a one to five, five being best, how dependent are you on God in: Your career? Your schedule? Your Family? Your Ministry? Your Entertainment / Recreation?

Is your goal that they all be fives?

Do you have a healthy ‘Fear’ of The Lord / Yahweh / Jesus Christ? What in your life would be an example of your health?

When you make commitments, do you keep them because of your faith in Christ or faith in the things or people you are committing to?

What are some tangible and accountable ways you have been wanting to act on your faith? What is keeping you from acting?

God’s People Show Up In Person

How we are going to be reading the book of Joshua: They were God’s people then… WE are God’s people now. The principles God is wanting us to live by are the same now as they were then

Today’s passage is about God’s people preparing to take the land they have been promised. It is also about committing to do it together (physical presence) Is there spiritual ground that you know is yours and yet you have not taken possession of it? Have you fallen short of your growth expectations and have not matured in your disciple walk like you thought you were going to? Have you considered that you have not grown as much as you can because you have not not been consistently, physically present with your fellow Spirit indwelt Christ followers? Perhaps what is holding you back is that you have not been present with your brothers & sisters as they face challenges.

I learned early on in my walk the value of ‘Showing Up’. Prior to coming to christ I was fine not going to church or small group… I could always find reasons to miss. Once Christ made me His I was drawn to gatherings of God’s people.

God’s word teaches that as Christ’s Body our lives must be connected, physically. Can you be part of a body and not ever be physically in the same place as all the other members of that body?

Your possessing of the Spiritual ground God is giving you is tied to the community He has placed you into. That ground has to be covered together with the rest of the body, physically together! Being there ‘In Spirit’ won’t cut it! 90% of discipleship is SHOWING UP! The devil’s favorite trick on you is to get you to not show up.

The people of Israel are now being commanded to take the rest of the land God has promised them. Three tribes have already been given their land. The leader God has appointed tells the people what they are to do. For some of them it means leaving the land they have been given to help their brothers & sisters possess THEIR promised land.

Today’s text has a clear lesson about following God’s appointed leaders. A lesson about being physically with your ‘tribe’ / church family / Body of Christ, and a lesson about how our eternities are connected thru Christ.


BIG Themes of the Book of Joshua:

  • Our obedience can fuel the miraculous
  • We are to take possession of what God promises us
  • Trusting God’s sovereignty enables us to be strong and courageous
  • The exercise of true faith requires us to act
  • Our disobedience can lead to disaster
  • Leadership matters to all of us
  • God always fulfills His Promises

How did last week end? “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~ God @ Joshua 1:9

Pt. 2: Unity of Physical Presence 1:10-18

10 Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

  • Torch passed, marching orders given, time to get ready…3 days until GO TIME!
  • They are not going to ‘take’ the land, they are going to possess what God gives
  • There’s no spiritual ground you can ‘take’ on your own, God has to give it to you

12 Then Joshua called together the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He told them, 13 “Remember what Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you: The Lord your God is giving you a place of rest. He has given you this land.’”

  • Joshua reminds them of what has been agreed to back in Deuteronomy 3
  • These three tribes already received their land, they are on it as they speak

14 “Your wives, children, and livestock may remain here in the land Moses assigned to you on the east side of the Jordan River. But your strong warriors, fully armed, must lead the other tribes across the Jordan to help them conquer their territory.”

  • Your families and herds can stay here but you need to physically go with us
  • They will actually be the ‘Vanguard’, the guys in front
  • They helped you possess your land, you are going to help them possess theirs
  • We are to play a role in the spiritual growth of others, to show up for them

15 “Stay with them until the Lord gives them rest, as he has given you rest, and until they, too, possess the land the Lord your God is giving them. Only then may you return and settle here on the east side of the Jordan River in the land that Moses, the servant of the Lord, assigned to you.”

  • You can’t leave until the job is done! You got your land (rest), they get theirs
  • Once your brothers have possessed their land you can go back home
  • Physical presence is required…

16 They answered Joshua, “We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. 17 We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses.”

  • Absolute submission to Joshua; because of God
  • God appointed Moses, we obey! God appointed Joshua, we obey!
  • They are praying that God is with Joshua as He leads (The Lord YOUR God)

18 “Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!”

  • Not only will they obey Joshua’s authority but they will kill anyone who doesn’t
  • Because we are behind you: be strong & courageous
  • Leaders need people to follow them well for them to lead well
  • When people respect the authority God has placed them under, leaders do well


You (Christian) may need to prepare in order to possess new spiritual ground by following the leaders God has placed you under. All spiritual growth is God Given, your job is to make the most of what HE gives you!

Life as a part of God’s people involves sacrifice and a large part of that is showing up for others and being with people. You are not a functioning part of the body of Christ if you are not physically present when they gather.

Our spiritual destinies are tied together by the Spirit Christ puts in His followers, that means we stay together in hard times and we receive what God has for us together, in person.

God places each of us under spiritual leadership and He expects us to honor that leadership. We are to unite behind and be protective of the leadership God puts us under, this glorifies God.


Are you ready to cover some new spiritual ground? How would you determine that?

As a member of this church body, what can you give to others with your physical presence and care? Is this a priority in your life?

Are you convinced that God desires each of us to be in regular physical contact with the rest of the church body He has placed us in? If not, why? If so, how consistent are you about showing up?

How well do you support the leadership of the body God has placed you in? How might you do a better job of that? (be specific)


The Book of Joshua

Here at Midtown Church we are committed to being a Biblical Community. It is the source of truth, standards, and values we live our lives based on. So we are committed to the lifelong study and application of the Bible, all of it!

This Bible, what protestant Christianity considers ‘The Scriptures’ / Holy Writings, is God’s autobiographical story of His dealings with our world through people, culminating in Him condescending to be a human in the process of redeeming the pinnacle of His creation: people!

The beginning of this story, The Pentateuch, sets the stage for the remaining Scriptures. Through stories and commands God reveals the big picture of who He is and what He cares about by the time Deuteronomy ends. Last week we heard an excellent overview of God setting apart an ethnicity that He will use to birth the savior of all ethnicities.

We need to be grounded in the O.T. equally with the N.T. Too much focus on the N.T. leads to a lack of accountability to a Holy God. Just as we need to balance Grace and Truth we need to balance int influence of both testaments so we get a well rounded, ultimately ‘Biblical’ view of God.

So we are going to Journey thru the book of Joshua! Possessing Spiritual Ground is the series title.

BIG Themes of the Book of Joshua:

  • Our obedience can fuel the miraculous
  • We are to take possession of what God promises us
  • Trusting God’s sovereignty enables us to be strong and courageous
  • The exercise of true faith requires us to act
  • Our disobedience can lead to disaster
  • Leadership matters to all of us
  • God always fulfills His Promises


  • His name was Hoshea, but Moses changed it to Joshua (Num. 13)
  • Joshua was a soldier under Moses’ command (Ex. 17)
  • He was an assistant to Moses (Ex. 24 & 33, num. 11)
  • He was one of the spies sent by Moses into the Promised Land (Num. 13 & 14)
  • He was authorized to apportion the Promised Land to the tribes (Num. 34)
  • He was fully equipped by the Holy Spirit to lead (Deut. 34)
  • He was commissioned by God to posses The Promised Land (Deut. 31)
  • He was known as the “servant of the LORD” (Josh 24 & Judges 2)

We will be on the lookout for foreshadowing of Christ as well as for when Joshua is acting as a ‘type’ of Christ. Today we start with Joshua being ‘on-boarded’ by God into His new position!

Joshua 1:1-9: Passing The Torch

1 After the death of Moses theLord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them.”

  • God had hand picked Joshua
  • One of only two people who got to enter the promised land who left Egypt
  • This was the 1st time God spoke directly to Joshua.
  • God officially passes the torch
  • Moses’ death was between God & Moses
  • Joshua will lead God’s people to where He establishes them as a nation
  • HE gives the place

3 “I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you…”

  • As God’s leader of the Israelites Joshua has the same ‘deal’ Moses did
  • Key principal: Joshua can lead with absolute confidence that God has his back
  • God knew everywhere Joshua would go, literally, every place he would set foot
  • God’s promises are consistent with all of us

4 “from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’”

  • This is the entirety of the ‘Promised Land’ initially promised
  • Modern day boarders: Turkey north, Egypt south, Mediterranean west, Iraq, Syria & Saudi Arabia to the east
  • Some dispute of exactly what is the total promised land…
  • Bottom line the Nation of Israel never occupied all the promised land…

5 “No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.”

  • What an incredible promise!
  • As long as he lives…He has established his obedience
  • No matter what I can count on God…

6 “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.”

  • This command to be strong & courageous is tried to his role as military leader
  • Application for us can be as an organizational leader of various kinds
  • God has promised those who believe in Him spiritual possessions
  • The ‘land’ is the ultimate metaphor for ‘Spiritual Ground’ God covers with us

7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.”

  • This command to be strong & courageous is tried to his role as spiritual leader
  • The instructions Moses gave him is The Pentateuch!
  • The 1st 5 books contain a mountain of specific things God is very clear about
  • Obeying Gen. – Duet. without deviation takes God given strength & courage !!
  • Success is the result of obedience…success by God’s standards, not our world

8 “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”

  • This guy was right there for everything that happened, at Moses’ side
  • He was involved in the recording of the Torah as Moses’ right hand man…
  • ‘Study Continually’ is the command… Didn’t Joshua know it well enough?
  • Meditate on it ALL THE TIME… That is the only way you have a SHOT!
  • Only through focused study & 24/7 consideration / meditation, would he be sure

9 “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

  • 3 times, seriously? What does this remind you of?
  • This one is tied to Joshua being a relational / emotional leader.
  • God gives His people leaders who do not lead from fear or discouragement
  • Are we to fear death as follower’s of Christ?
  • The Bible teaches: God determines exactly how long EVERYONE live (Job 14) Luke 12:25 / Matthew 6:27 Jesus says no one can add a minute to their life


Summary of Joshua The Book:

Obedience fuels the miraculous / Possess what God promises / Trusting God grows strength & courage / Faith is action / Disobedience is disaster / Leadership matters /

God keeps His Promises

The central themes of the book of Joshua contain essential beliefs of a life surrendered to God. These are part of how God enables us to enter His eternal ‘Promised Land’, how He gives the ultimate ‘Rest’ to His children; the experience of the complete Shalom of God!

The book of Joshua is a record of God’s faithfulness to His covenant people. It underscores the need of the believer to be obedient if he would appropriate all that God has designed for him. It is throughout, a testimony to the might and grace of a sovereign and holy God. ~ Thomas Nelson Publishing

Summary of Chap. 1:1-9

God continues to lead the people of Israel through a man He speaks directly to. This is the next stage in the ongoing processing of setting apart HIS people; taking possession of the land of Canaan.

Joshua is commissioned and empowered by God to be a military (operational), spiritual and relational leader of GOD’S people.

Joshua is given the written word of God to direct his every action, and he is told exactly how to use it.

God makes promises to Joshua regarding the possession of the promised land that demonstrate God’s unchanging character.


Challenge: Read the book of Joshua as if it was the owner’s manual for how to take possession of the spiritual life God has promised you as a Biblical follower of Jesus.
How is God equipping and empowering you to lead his people? Operationally? Relationally? Spiritually?
Why should the first five books of the Scriptures be as important to you as it was to Joshua?
How are the promises God has made to you as a follower of Jesus Christ similar to the promises He made to Joshua?