Each of us has an assignment—something God has for us to do in our life. Using Joshua as a pattern, Derek shows how to apply the principles the Lord laid down for him. With these principles under our belt, we may be confident He is with us to accomplish His plan. God’s basic requirement is: THINK the Word of God, SPEAK the Word of God, ACT the Word of God.
It’s good to be with you again, as we continue with our theme for this week: Where to Find Security.
In my talk yesterday I spoke about a kind of security that covers every area of our lives, the security that comes from doing God’s will. I quoted 1 John 2:17:
“And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” (NASB)
I pointed out there the contrast between the temporary and the permanent. The world with all its ambitions and its objectives and its institutions, all temporary, it’s all passing away. But the will of God is eternal. And the one who does the will of God becomes as eternal and as indestructible as God’s own will. Because God’s own will is going to prevail in this world. The one who is united with the will of God by faith and commitment is just like the will of God, he’s going to prevail.
And then I showed you how this principle worked out in the life of Jesus. How His total motivation was not to do His own will, but the will of the Father that sent Him. And how as long as He walked in the will of God, no one could touch Him, no one could arrest Him, no one could harm Him. Not that he had material protection, He didn’t have an armed guard, but He was simply walking in the perfect will of God and He was irresistible.
Today I want to illustrate the same principle in the life of one of God’s servants in the Old Testament, Joshua. The title for my talk today is “How to Be Irresistible.” As you listen to this talk I want you to be absorbing the fact that you can be irresistible too. You and I can be irresistible if we’ll apply the principles contained in my talk today.
Joshua had spent forty years in the wilderness serving Moses. But in that position of serving, he was being prepared to become a leader. And when Moses died, Joshua as God’s appointed successor, took over the leadership of Israel. And these are the words with which God commissioned Joshua. They’re found in Joshua chapter 1, verses 1-9. Listen carefully as I read these nine verses from the first chapter of Joshua.
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them, to the Israelites. I will give you every place you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert and from Lebanon to the great river, the Euphrates, all the Hittite country, and to the Great Sea [that’s the Mediterranean Sea] on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. [Note those words.] No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give to them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’” (NIV)
That was Joshua’s commission, given him personally by the Lord. Now I want to point out certain important features of that commission which are relevant to our lives. First of all in verse 6, Joshua had a God-given assignment. God said to him, “You will lead these people to inherit the land.” That was his assignment. You remember yesterday I said there’s a scroll in God’s book somewhere and in that scroll somewhere God has an assignment for each one of us, a role, a part to play. That’s how it was with Joshua, his role, his assignment was to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. We must begin with this fact that we have an assignment. That’s the basis for our security.
And then he had a special source of strength. His strength depended on God’s law, God’s word. Verse 8:
“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it...” (NIV)
I’ve often interpreted that this way: Think the law, speak the law, act the law. The same principles apply exactly to us. God’s word is available to us. We have to do the same. We have to think it, to meditate on it. We have to speak it, it has to be in our mouth. We have to act it, we have to do according to it. Those are the basic requirements.
And then on that basis, Joshua was told to be strong and courageous. I don’t know whether you noticed how many times the Lord told him to be strong and courageous. Verse 6 the Lord said, “Be strong and courageous.” Verse 7 He said, “Be strong and very courageous.” And then in verse 9 at the end, “Be strong and courageous.” Now when God tells us to be strong and courageous it’s very encouraging, it’s wonderful. “God’s told me to be strong and courageous!” But let me tell you that God always tells us that for a good reason. It means that we are going to be in a situation where we are going to need strength and courage. So while it’s encouraging, it’s also a kind of warning. And just as much as Joshua needed to be strong and courageous in fulfilling his God-given assignment, if we’re to fulfill our God-given assignment, we are going to have to be strong and courageous too.
And then we note that God promised to him on this basis that He (God) would be with Joshua everywhere. He guaranteed him His personal presence all the way through. In verse 5 He says, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you.” And again in verse 9, “The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” That’s also for us. If we meet the conditions, God says, “I’ll be with you all the way. I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.” And when all that has been established in our lives, we become irresistible. That’s how Joshua was. Verse 5, “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life.” Now that’s only true if you’re walking in the will of God. Because if you’re walking in the will of God, then anyone or anything that opposes you is opposing God. If you step out of the will of God you lose that irresistibility. But while you’re in the will of God fulfilling those conditions, walking out your God-given assignment, thinking, speaking and acting the word of God, walking in obedience in total commitment, then it’s just as true for you and for me as it was for Joshua. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life.
Now I want to take Joshua as a pattern for you and me and I want to just show you how you and I have to apply the principles that the Lord laid down for Joshua. I want to suggest there are three things that we need to bear in mind. First, we must base our lives on God’s Word. That was God’s instruction to Joshua. “This Book of the Law must not depart from your mouth. You must meditate on it, you must be careful to do all that’s written in it.” I’ve summed it up already but it doesn’t do any harm to repeat it. It’s so important. THINK the Word of God, SPEAK the Word of God, ACT the Word of God. That’s the basic requirement.
Secondly, we have to be strong and courageous. That’s just as true for you and me as it was for Joshua. God has made provision for us to be strong and courageous. It’s the provision of the Holy Spirit. This is what Paul says to his disciple Timothy, 2 Timothy 1:7:
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (NIV)
So if we walk in the Holy Spirit, if we are filled with the Holy Spirit, then that takes care of timidity. There’s no room for timidity. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of power, of love, of self-discipline. He excludes the spirit of timidity.
Then the third principle is also very important. We see it very clearly illustrated in Joshua. We must advance and not retreat, we cannot go back, we must go forward. We can’t focus on self-protection and self-preservation. We have to focus on advancing in the will of God. I want to read to you the words of Jesus at the end of Matthew’s gospel, Matthew 28, with which He commissioned His disciples, Matthew 28:18--0:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. [That’s the basis for the rest of what He says. We have to understand clearly that Jesus is now King of Kings, Lord of Lords. He’s at God’s right hand. All authority is given to Him. Then He says:] Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (NIV)
Notice it’s exactly the same promise given to you and me; if we go in obedience to Jesus’ commission, if we make up our minds and set our faces, we’re going to do the will of God. We’re not going to be afraid, we’re not going to retreat, we’re not going to focus on self-protection and self-preservation. We have an assignment. The assignment is to take this gospel of the kingdom to all nations of the world and make disciples out of all nations. And we have behind us the authority of Jesus Himself. Jesus on the throne overshadows us, protects us, provides for us and sees us through but only if we go in obedience to His commission.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this same time. Tomorrow I’ll continue with this theme of security. My topic will be “Security in Adversity.”