The enemy likes to work depression, anxiety, worry, fretting, agitation, tension, irritability, and feeling out of control. We need a song in our heart for all the things God has done. The song Great Big Wonderful God says,
We’ve got a great, big, wonderful God, We’ve got a great, big, wonderful God, A God who’s always victorious, Always watching over us, A great, big, wonderful God
We’ve got a great, big, wonderful God, We’ve got a great, big, wonderful God, A God who loves every one of us, Done so much for all of us, A great, big, wonderful God
He’ll never, never, never leaves us, He’s always standing by, To pick us up if we stumble, We’re the apple of his eye
We’ve got a great, big, wonderful God, We’ve got a great, big, wonderful God, What a glory it is to sing, Praises to our coming King, A great, big, wonderful God
We have a great big, wonderful God who has control of everything going on. With our faith tested in these times, he wants us to sing praise. Only through God and our faith in him can we do it. The apostles said, “Lord, Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). Faith comes by hearing the word of God. It’s important to be in the services and watching when services are online. If we’re just there when it’s convenient, there’s a lack of faith in letting God have control. The key to patience is acceptance. None of us like accepting what we’re facing, but we have to accept what God gives us. When the Israelites came out of Egypt, God tested and tried them 40 years to see what was in their hearts. Everyone died in the wilderness that murmured and complained. God is testing us to see what’s in our heart – if we serve him with all our heart, or we murmur and complain.
Acts 1:7…It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
Jehoshaphat had 3 armies come against him. He feared but prayed and God told them what to do. We don’t need to fight each other in this battle, but fight the enemy. It’s still true today that God will be with us and fight the battle for us.
II Chronicles 20:17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you…fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.
It’s so important to believe God and his word. If we believe, our actions will do what God says. You don’t need to fight or worry. Stand still and see God work. God’s ways are not ours – nothing is impossible with God. A sign at the Youth Authority says, “Impossible is not a fact but an opinion.” The Israelites began to sing and the enemy destroyed each other. They could have said defeating them was impossible when they saw the multitude. Impossible isn’t from God. He can do anything!
II Chronicles 20:20-23 And they rose early in the morning…Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me…Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. And…he appointed singers…that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against…Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. For…Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end…of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.
God’s imagination is amazing! All the Israelites did was go before the army singing, and the enemy killed each other. God wants us to increase our faith, so we know the God of impossibilities. He wants us to have a happy spirit. The enemy wants us to be depressed, discouraged, and feeling sorry for ourselves because of the situation. We have an opportunity to shine for God and show what he wants us to be. Our faith is dead if we don’t have works of faith showing fruits of the Spirit. We need the fruits of the Spirit to increase: faith, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance.
James 2:17-18 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
Faith is not how we feel but confidence in what God says in his word. Feelings will be totally contrary to faith because the devil has access to our feelings. Ask God to increase our faith, not increase our feelings. God wants to see works in us that coincide with the works of God. When God told Abraham to offer his son Isaac, we see he acted in faith and willingly obeyed. He got up the next morning and went because he believed what God said. The works of faith must be working in us to convince the world that we have something different, more than belief. People say they believe but have no works to show it. We must have a personal encounter with God, believe what he says, fully repent and forsake sin, then go on to sanctification by giving ourselves completely to God. Abraham had to be totally committed to God to offer his son. We have to be totally committed to God to do what he asks so we show the right attitude and fruits of the Spirit.
James 2:21-26 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works…And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness…was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Joshua was wholly committed to Moses, who instructed him to lead the people. God encourage Joshua, in his 80’s now.
Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
The Israelites could look across the Jordan river and see Jericho. Joshua sent 2 spies to Jericho. It was a walled city on a sloping hill (a 35% incline) with a brick wall that was almost a mile around the city. A moat 28 feet wide and 10 feet deep was at the bottom of the hill. There was another wall of mud that was 6 feet wide behind the first wall. Rahab’s house was built on top of this wall. She was an innkeeper, not an harlot as we think of them (according to the historian Josephus). There was a third wall that was 40 feet from the second wall. When the Canaanites heard about the Israelites coming, they were afraid and 20,000 came to stay inside the walls of Jericho. It was harvest time so crops were brought in the city.
Joshua 2:1 And Joshua…sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.
Rahab hid the spies on her roof top with the stalks of flax. She told them how the people were afraid as they heard of the Israelite victories. Rahab believed their god was the God of heaven. She turned to God and believed him even though she was a heathen Gentile. She knew he had all power and nothing was impossible with God. She asked the spies to save her family. They promised to save all of her family that was inside her house. Anyone outside would be destroyed.
Joshua 2:8-11…she came up unto them upon the roof; And she said…I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us…all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites…whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard…our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
The spies reported the enemy was afraid of them and God put fear in their hearts. They were confident in Rahab’s word.
Joshua 2:24…Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the land…all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us.
The Israelites crossed Jordan at flood stage (200 feet wide, 10-15 feet deep). God parted the water so they walked over dry land. There were 40,000 men of war plus the rest of the people (total people over 601,000). We know the Lord is mighty. We’re serving a great big wonderful God – he can do anything! God wants us to put our complete confidence in him, regardless of what he asks us to do. God sometimes asked the people to do strange things to have victory over the enemy.
Joshua 4:13 And the children of Reuben…of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before…Israel, as Moses spake…About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the Lord unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.
Joshua 4:23-24…God dried up the waters of Jordan…until ye were passed over, as the Lord…did to the Red sea…That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.
When the people were over the Jordan, they celebrated the Passover that night and the manna stopped. God fed them manna when they left Egypt until then. He stopped the manna and they ate the fruit of the land. When we’re first saved, we’re like new born babes and can’t feed ourselves. God wants us to go into Canaan and start feeding ourselves. It’s vitally important to search the scriptures, to get the fruit of the land of God’s word we need every day. We need to love it.
Joshua 5:10-12 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover…at even in the plains of Jericho. And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the Passover…And the manna ceased…neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
The captain of the Lord’s host was there to encourage Joshua. Joshua was going to follow through because God was leading. God said to march around Jericho with the army of 40,000 in front. The 7 priests followed and blew the trumpets as they carried the ark of the covenant. They were followed by the rereward – the rest of the people. They walked around the city once each day for 6 days without saying anything. On the 7th day they went around the city 7 times, then Joshua shouted and all the people shouted on the seventh time. The walls fell down and they walked right into the city to conquer Jericho. There’s nothing that’s impossible with God – he can do anything!
Joshua 5:13-15 And…when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the Lord’s host said…Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)