Ian led our Father’s day worship today assisted by Amanda and Tim brought us the word.
Tim continued with his excursion through the Old Testament highlights He shared that is not actually something you get to preach on very often. Tim was very enthusiastic about the way that Veggie Tales tell todays reading very well. Those involved in children’s work knew what he was on about but there were puzzled looks from some in the congregation. I’ve included a link at the end so you can experience the Veggie Tales story.
Tim read from Joshua Chapter 5:13 onwards about the fall of Jericho. He shared his own feelings on this and similar passages from the Old Testamement. He asked us if we saw the difficulty and the problems. If it was easy as the children’s tales make out. He sort of regrets doing this highlights tour. Killing everyone is a subject that causes real problems. Richard Dawkins uses this story as evidence God doesn’t exist.
Tim stressed the importance of being careful what we read into this and how we deal with this. He had read some commentaries on this. Need to recognise this comes from an ancient world where war and destruction was an everyday occurrence.
God’s people are different and are separated. This is part of a much longer story of God providing a promised land. Jericho was a fortress standing in the way of that Promised Land and that needed to be dealt with.
Deuteronomy Chapter 20 v16 to 18 sets out the fact that things need to be destroyed. A necessary step in building purity. Tim says it is not necessarily how it happened, and if you read further on not everyone was destroyed. God’s bigger plan is to establish His people . Despite uncomfortable things in the passage there are things that will help us. Recommitting themselves to God was a start. But this was going to be hard work and Joshua needs to look to the heaven. First thing we notice is the appearance of a helper. God asserts that the battle is his and the commander of the Lord’s army appears. It’s like forming a football team and you’re struggling for players and Renaldo or whoever you like turns up. Ultimate the responsibility does not lie with Joshua. The God of the bible has a knack of tailoring his appearance to suit the needs of his people . No more evident than with Jesus.
As Joshua begins to realise who the commander is, Joshua understands God isn’t on anyone’s side. Sometimes it is more important to know who God is rather than what his plans are. Into desperate, hopeless, circumstances comes the appearance of help. God shows up on a way we often don’t expect.
The methods of God’s battle plan are a little strange, armed men , the sevens, the horns, the Ark! The Ark of the Covenant is referenced ten times and holds centre stage, it is the Ark that shows God’s presence with his people, this is what will make the difference!
You can imagine doing all the things asked, looking very silly, imagine the tensions waiting for the signal to break the silence. The emphasis here is on just how passive God’s people are and how important God’s presence is here. Leaves no doubt, God wins this battle not Joshua. God’’s tactics win out. God invites us to be involved in building God’s Kingdom. We do have a tendency to obscure his glory. Paul writes that the overwhelming power comes from God not us. Think about what we’ve seen in the Trump meeting with North Korea this week . It is incredible. Some of these things he does are ridiculous but what if they are foolish things acting in God’s power ? Will this lead to world peace?
Last thing is the demands placed on God’s people in verses 10 and 16. The writer shared some instructions first with the people. The writer emphasised the importance of the rules that need to, and must be followed. Obedience to God’s word is more important than the victory. It’s not what you do that matters, it’s how you do it! The temptation here was to grab loot, but God says no.
No doubt modern film makers would focus on the battle. But that’s not the focus here, In half a verse (20) the writes sums up what happens. Our response needs to be that of humble obedient servants through whom God can work, 1 Peter chapter 1 v16 “Be holy because I am holy”. Our battles shouldn’t be about winning minor victories but about winning for God.
There’s a story of salvation here for Rahab. She was not just someone saving spies. He is God in heaven above recognising she was a women of faith who believed in God. Rahab is found in Christ’s line according to Matthew 1:5. God chose a pagan prostitute to save. Let us have the simple faith that Rahab found and may our pursuit of God’s goals be as humble. Come have your way amongst us today.