Bible Study

GOD’S PRESCRIPTION FOR AN ACHAN HEART Joshua 7:1-26

Israel has just been involved in the greatest military conquest in their history. They have just witnessed the tremendous defeat of the city of Jericho and they are still basking in the glow of that great event. But, verse 1 tells us that God was upset with the people. Israel thought that everything was all right. They thought that they were standing on the edge of a great string of victories that would see them conquering the entire land of promise. Yet, what they didn’t know was that there was a problem in the camp. There was one in their midst who was causing a problem for the entire family of God.

May I say that things are still the same today? Folk, we are all members of one body, 1 Cor. 12:27. According to the Bible, 1 Cor. 12:26, when one member of the body has problems, the entire body has problems. You see, your spiritual temperature has a deep effect on the entire body of Christ. You are not an island unto your self. What you do effects the entire church body. We will see this truth illustrated in this passage this morning.

Sin causes problems, it causes them for the sinner and for everyone else around them. The fact is, most of us are guilty of being like Achan from time to time. When we allow sin into our lives and when we try to hide our sins and try to cover it up, we bring pain and trouble into our lives. Yes, we are all Achans from time to time, and when we are, our sins causes aching in our lives. However, these verses tell us that God has a prescription for an Achan heart.

I. V. 2-5 A PAINFUL DEFEAT

A. V. 2-3 Israel Was A Confident People – Israel was still basking in the glow of their victory at Jericho and they looked at Ai and felt like that little town would be no problem for such a great army. Israel was a confident people, but a closer look reveals that their confidence was misplaced. In verse 3, they feel like that just a few of the soldiers are needed to secure a victory in little Ai. These people are guilty of resting on their laurels.

Israel did not realize it, but they were living through one of the most dangerous times of life. You see, the time just after a great spiritual victory is a dangerous time. Often, like Israel, we will be over confident and believe that we can handle any battle that comes our way, Pro. 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” When we believe like that, then is usually when we suffer our greatest defeats.

Now, don’t misunderstand, confidence is a good thing as long as one’s confidence is in the right place. When we are walking with our hope and our confidence in the Lord, we will win the victory, but when we are walking with our confidence in the power of our ability and in our flesh, then we are destined to fail!

Romans 8:5 “ For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

B. V. 4-5a Israel Was A Conquered People – When Israel went up to Ai in they suffered a terrible defeat and 36 of their number were killed. This must have been very devastating to the Israelites. However, when one takes the time to look more closely at their actions, it is easy to see that they made several mistakes. Mistakes that, many of us maybe guilty of making as well.

1. Nowhere in this passage does it even hint that Joshua and the people of Israel sought the will of God for dealing with Ai. They didn’t even pray about the matter. If they had, God would have revealed the problem before people died.

How many times are we guilty of jumping ahead of the Lord and His will? We will rush headlong into life and trust the Lord to bail us out of the messes in which we find ourselves. It is far better to consult God before we make the mistake than it is to expect Him to clean up our messes afterwards. James 4:2  ”….ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”

2. They didn’t take the Ark of the Covenant into the battle. The Ark symbolized the presence and power of God. They went into the battle in their own strength and they failed!

Again, here is an area where we could all use help. We try to live the Christian life, fight the flesh and the devil in our own power and we fail time after time. The reason? We do not take the time to strengthen our walk with God! When we are walking with the Lord and in His Word as we should be, He will go with us into the battle and face our enemies on our behalf. Who killed the giant, David or God? David himself holds the answer to that question:

1 Sam. 17:47 “And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.”  One person’s victory effects the whole church, just as one defeat.

3. Israel had their confidence in their own power and not in the Lord. They were not walking by faith, but they were guilty of trusting what they could do.

How many times have we suffered defeat at the hands of our enemy because we too believed we were able and that we could get the job done. Well, the bottom line is this: I can’t do the job and neither can you! We all need the Lord is we are to walk in spiritual victory in our lives, Phil. 4:13; 

John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

C. V. 5b Israel Was A Confounded People – After their terrible defeat at the hands of Ai, the people of Israel are feeling the same fear that their enemies experienced, Josh. 2:9; 5:1; 6:1. You see, this is one of the problems with sin. It defeats you and leaves you feeling just like a lost man. Nothing is right in the life of a believer while there is sin in his midst! Have you every had a time like this in your spiritual life? I have and most of the time, they result from those times when I have left God out of the picture in my life.

Israel didn’t know at this point what was wrong. All they knew was that they had just suffered their first defeat. Thankfully, God wants His people to have the victory, not the defeat. So, He takes the necessary steps to reveal to the nation of Israel just exactly where the problem lies.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

I. A Painful Defeat

II. V. 6-15 A PAINFUL DISCOVERY

A. V. 6-9 Joshua Reacts In Prayer – After the tragedy happens, Joshua finds himself before the Lord in prayer. His prayer is from a broken heart, v. 6. However, there is also a hint of anger and accusation against the Lord. Joshua is going to learn that prayer is the correct recourse in a time of trouble, but that prayer will avail nothing until sin has been dealt with, Ps. 66:18 “ If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:” 

Joshua wonders why Israel was powerless in the battle, the answer wasn’t to blame God, or to dispute His will. The answer was in their own camp!

After we have made decisions that brought with them terrible consequences, it’s too late to play the blame game. Also, it is never the right time to accuse God of anything. When there is a tragedy in our lives, we need to look within and see where the problem is. You see, when there is a lack of power in my life, the problem is not with God, nor is it with others, the problem is always with me! The same is true in the church. When there is defeat in the church and souls aren’t being saved and the services are dull and lifeless, we need not blame the Lord! He is doing His part. The problem is always a problem within! 

B. V. 10-15 God Rehearses The Problem – While Joshua and Israel try to figure out what is happening, God in Heaven already knows and tells Joshua all about it. He tells him that there is sin in the camp of Israel! He tells Joshua that it is this sin that is hindering His power and it is what is bringing about their defeat. He tells Joshua how to discover the guilty party. In these words to Joshua, God gives us some insights into sin, of which we need to take note. Allow me to share with you these seven observations concerning sin and its effects in our lives.

1. God knows about our sins – v. 11 

Pro. 15:3 “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”

2. God hates our sins – v. 11  Pro. 6:16 “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:”

3. God has a plan for our sins – v. 14-15 – (1 John 1:9) He wants us to acknowledge your sin is against Him.

4. God will punish our sins – v. 15 – Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.”

5. Sin affects those around us – v. 11-12 – We cannot sin in a vacuum, our sins have the ability to drastically lower the spiritual temperature of the church. We are all one body and what effects you effects me! 

Romans 5:12 “ Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

6. Sin hinders God’s work – v. 12 – Matt. 13:58 “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

7. Sin must be dealt with – v. 13 – Either you and I will deal with our sins, or God will deal with them. Either way, they will be handled! – 1 Cor. 11:31 “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”

Often, the greatest problems faced by the church come from within and not from without. You see, it’s not the water on the outside of the boat that causes the problem, it’s the water on the inside of the boat that causes trouble! The same is true for the church. The world and the devil really can’t do a lot of damage to the church, but you lat someone inside the church get out of line and there is a problem! More often than not, when there are defeats and trouble down at the house of God, you can bet that there is someone in the church who is out of God’s will!

Proverbs 28:13 “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

I. A Painful Defeat

II. A Painful Discovery

III. V. 16-26 A PAINFUL DEATH

In these verses, the wages of sin are put on clear display for all to see, Rom. 6:23.

A. V. 16-18 The Sinner Discovered – The process that God used to point out Achan. God knew who was guilty, why didn’t He just tell Joshua who they were looking for? In my opinion, He was giving Achan time to repent and to confess his sins. Be that as it may, the finger of God was getting closer and closer and finally landed on Achan.

The lesson for us needs to be learned well! God already knows your sins and His finger is getting closer and closer to your life. One day, He will point out those things in your life that need to be revealed! It is only a matter of time sir, Ma’am, young person until the finger of God lands on your life and you are exposed in your sins! It will not and cannot be hidden forever! One day, “your sin will find you out” –  Numbers 32:23

Luke 12:3 ”Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”  You may try, but you cannot hide your sin!

B. V. 19-21 The Sin Discussed – Now that the sin is out in the open it has to be dealt with. Notice the two aspects of this section.

1. V. 19 The Compassion – When Joshua speaks to Achan, he speaks with love in his heart. He knows that Achan is condemned, but Joshua still cares for this man who brought so much trouble to Israel.

In this, Joshua is a picture of God. While God hates sin with His entire being, He still loves the sinner, John 3:16. Even though man is the enemy of God, God still wants man to repent and to come to Him for salvation, 2 Pet. 3:9. 

2. V. 20-21 The Confession – In these two verses, Achan finally confesses his sin. However, don’t believe for a second that Achan repented! He, like some others in the Bible, only confessed his sins after he got caught in them. At this point, it would have been impossible to hide them any longer anyway. ( Achan is like other men in the Bible who confessed their sins, but not in real repentance – Pharaoh, Balaam, Judas.)

Note the progression in Achan’s sin, v. 21. “I saw…I coveted…I took.” This is the same pattern that sin always follows. It was this way in the Garden of Eden, Gen. 3:1-6. It was this way when David sinned with Bathsheba, 2 Sam. 11:1-4. It is and will be this way in nearly any instance of sin you can name. Notice the progression that the Bible speaks of in James – James 1:13-15. You see it and it appeals to your flesh, you want it and you take it. Sin is always the same! Ill. Our reaction to sin should be just like that of Joseph, Gen. 39:12. We are commanded to flee youthful lusts, 2 Tim. 2:22.

Another problem that Achan had is found in v. 21. Achan calls the things he took “spoils”. This word refers to the booty that a conquering army can claim after a victory. However, these things were no spoils. God said in 6:18-19 that these things were His. They were not to be gifts for Israel, they were to be placed in the treasury of the Lord’s house. In essence, Achan was guilty of stealing from the Lord.

Achan had things buried in his tent that he could not use! To use them would be to reveal his character to the entire nation of Israel. In other words, Achan sinned and died for nothing! The things he stole were no good to him at all!

C. V. 22-26 The Sinner Destroyed – These verses give us the sad conclusion to this tragic tale. Achan and all that he had were taken out and stones to death by the people of Israel. It didn’t have to end this way! However, these verses demonstrate the horrible end that all sinners who refuse to repent. The name of the valley is called “Achor”. This word means trouble. If you are going to sin, you need to know that you are headed for trouble, 

Pro. 13:15 “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.”

Years later, the prophet Hosea mentioned this same valley. He said, “And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Hosea 2:15 

The promise is that this place of trouble could become a door of hope. The same is true concerning our sins.

Wade’s Wednesday

The Far-Reaching Rivers of Life

By Oswald Chambers

He who believes in Me…out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.  John 7:38

A river reaches places which its source never knows. And Jesus said that, if we have received His fullness, “rivers of living water” will flow out of us, reaching in blessing even “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8) regardless of how small the visible effects of our lives may appear to be. We have nothing to do with the outflow— “This is the work of God, that you believe…” (John 6:29).

God rarely allows a person to see how great a blessing he is to others.

A river is victoriously persistent, overcoming all barriers. For a while it goes steadily on its course, but then comes to an obstacle. And for a while it is blocked, yet it soon makes a pathway around the obstacle.

Or a river will drop out of sight for miles, only later to emerge again even broader and greater than ever. Do you see God using the lives of others, but an obstacle has come into your life and you do not seem to be of any use to God? Then keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you around the obstacle or remove it.

The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never focus your eyes on the obstacle or the difficulty. The obstacle will be a matter of total indifference to the river that will flow steadily through you if you will simply remember to stay focused on the Source. Never allow anything to come between you and Jesus Christ— not emotion nor experience— nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source.

Think of the healing and far-reaching rivers developing and nourishing themselves in our souls! God has been opening up wonderful truths to our minds, and every point He has opened up is another indication of the wider power of the river that He will flow through us.

If you believe in Jesus, you will find that God has developed and nourished in you mighty, rushing rivers of blessing for others.

Tuesday With Karen

by Karen Icenhour

There is strength in trouble, no matter the degree,

Jesus knows our heartache, the depth of every need;

When we are walking in the lonely valley below,

The Lily of the Valley is so beautiful to know.

There is strength in trouble, whatever the time or place,

He is never selfish when He pours out mercy & grace;

When we’re feeling upset, distressed, or alone,

The Master of the Sea knows exactly what goes on.

There is strength in trouble, when darkness is all around,

When heavy burdens are weighing your heart down;

Focus on Him with your heart, soul, & mind,

The Light of the World still knows how to shine!

There is strength in trouble, in things that don’t go right,

We’ll become stronger as we feast on the Bread of Life;

He will oversee us with His strong, extended hand,

The Rock of Ages is a very safe place to stand!

Victor

Jesus Is Victor

Dr. David Jeremiah

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called
Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war
. —Revelation 19:11

Archaeologists in Montana have analyzed 5,000 artifacts of a battle that occurred in 1876. That’s when Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer led his army to disaster at the Little Bighorn. Custer’s troops were slaughtered to the last man; and even now whenever we hear the name Custer, we think of one of history’s worst defeats.

One day that’s how we’ll think of the Antichrist. Despite his threats, charisma, power, technology, militarism, wealth, and satanic energy, he and his army will be defeated suddenly and decisively at the moment Christ returns. In one swoop, Jesus will put down all rebellion against Him when He returns in victory at the end of history. The Bible says, “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8). The devil and all his forces are defeated. They were defeated at the Cross. They are defeated now in our lives. They will be defeated forever at Christ’s return.

There is only one Victor, and His name is Jesus.

Jesus is Victor—His work is complete, crushing all enemies under His feet! Jesus is Victor! He died not in vain, risen and glorified, Jesus doth reign!    —R. Kelso Carter, in his hymn “Jesus is Victor

www.davidjeremiah.org Copyright © 2015 All rights reserved.
Turning Point for God.
P. O. Box 3838, San Diego, CA 92163

Reason

Clear Direction from Overhead

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

Years ago I read about some soldiers at Fort Dix who were fighting a forest fire. Soon, they could see fire all around with no route of escape. Unexpectedly a plane flew overhead and dropped notes that said that they were surrounded by fire except for one narrow corridor. The note gave the instructions how to find it, which the firefighters did and they escaped.

They could not see the way out, but the pilots could. Thankfully, these soldiers did not question the authenticity or reliability of the note and were saved.

What a picture of our society today! We are in a firestorm of trouble and an inferno of problems. God has given us clear directions from above to help us escape with our lives. What will you do?

From the messages of Adrian Rogers.© 2015

Be Like Mike?

By Ricky Smith

1 Peter 1:13 “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

Who is your role model? We all have them. I remember in high school I tried to mimic the way Michael Jordan walked because I wanted “to be like Mike.” Clearly, God had plans for me other than basketball. While there was no harm in that childhood fantasy, there is significance in who we choose as role models in our life. Who we try to emulate matters.

Like Mike

I could tell stories of people like Dr. William E. Brown or Dr. Don Wilhite who have impacted my life. I could share examples of how my dad has been a role model for me. No matter those stories, they all fall short. Regardless of the person, a human will fail us. That being said, the idea of modeling our life after someone is natural and does point us in the right direction.

When we look at 1 Peter 1 we are encouraged to ultimately build our life around Jesus being the role model we emulate. His holiness. His love. His conduct provided a model life for us to follow. While we will never achieve, we have before us an example of how life should be lived. We are provided His written Word which describes Him in great detail so that we can better analyze and emulate the love of Jesus in our conduct.

Be encouraged this week to strive every day to model Christ in your character and show Christ in your conduct. In doing so, you can point others to Him as you follow His example. At the end of the day, isn’t that how Paul lived his life, as described in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

Friday Funnies

Battling Salons

A new hair salon opened up for business right across the street from the old established hair cutters’ place. They put up a big bold sign which read: We give seven dollar hair cuts.

Not to be outdone, the old Master Barber put up his own sign:  We fix seven dollar haircuts.

THE ROBBERY

When John returned to the house one evening, his wife announced that the new cleaning woman they had hired had stolen two towels.

“Yeah,” said Dewey very disinterested, and reclining on the sofa, “that wasn’t very nice of her to do.”

“You’re absolutely right it wasn’t,” she said. “And they were the two best towels we had—you know the ones we got from the Hilton Hotel?!”

RENEW VOWS

John and Nancy, married for 40 years, planned a second wedding to renew their vows. Nancy described to her friend the dress she would wear. Her friend asked, “What color shoes?”

Nancy replied, “Silver.” John chimed in: “Yep, silver … to match her hair.”

With a pointed look at John’s bald spot, Nancy’s friend said: “So, John, I guess you’ll go barefoot.”

Bible Study

HOW TO MAKE YOUR WALLS FALL Josh. 6:1-21

Israel has finally crossed the Jordan. They have prepared themselves spiritually and they have, thus far, followed God’s orders to the letter. Now, they are ready to begin the conquest of the Promised Land. They are ready to claim for themselves the land that flowed with milk and honey. However, like most things in life that are worth having, it wouldn’t come cheap!

For Israel, Jericho would be a benchmark. It was at Jericho that they would flex their muscles and experience military victory and conquest. Now, just for a moment, try to put yourself into the shoes of the average Israelite soldier. For most of these men, Jericho was the first city they had ever seen that was surrounded by huge walls. It must have looked like and absolute impossibility. However, they listened to the instructions they were given by the Lord and they saw those massive walls fall down flat.

It is my opinion that the book of Joshua is very relevant to today’s Christians. Folk, we are living in days of battle and spiritual struggle. We need to know how to fight. We need to know that our God is able to give the victory. We need to know how to follow Him to that victory. Joshua teaches us those valuable lessons!

Just as Israel faced the formidable walls of Jericho, you and I face walls and obstacles in our lives as well. We need to know how to over come them as we march towards the victory. This passage holds that answer for us today.

I. v.1 ISRAEL HAD A PROBLEM

A. Jericho is known as the oldest city in the world, in Joshua’s day, it was surrounded by a system of two massive stone walls. The outer wall was 6 ft. thick and about 20 ft. high. The inner wall was about 12 ft. thick and was 30 ft. high. Between the walls was a guarded walkway about 15 ft. wide. Israel’s problem was that they had a city to conquer, but there were some extremely huge walls in the way.

B. As we go through life, we have obstacles that we face as well. Perhaps it is a lost loved one we would like to see the Lord touch and save, a lost community over which we are burdened, a ministry from the Lord that we feel inadequate about, family trouble that tears at our hearts and leaves us wondering what to do, financial trouble that stresses us to the limits of our patience and faith, a besetting sin that constantly crops us in our life, or any of other a million things!

C. We must learn not to look upon our obstacles as dead-ends, but as opportunities for the Lord to work in our lives!

The Apostle Paul had such an obstacle – 2 Cor. 12:7-10 – This attitude is foreign to us today. Yet, we must come to realize that the power of God is best revealed in and through us when we are unable to handle life. God is more clearly visible when we are totally out of the picture! In a sense, that is what He did with Israel here. As we will see, He completely removed them from the equation! The victory at Jericho was all God!

I. Israel Had A Problem

II. v.2 ISRAEL HAD A PROMISE

A. As Joshua and all the men of war stood looking at those walls around that great city, God had a word of comfort for their hearts! Here, God promises Israel the victory before they ever attack Jericho! He lets them know about the conclusion before they ever enter into their battle!

B. As we face our obstacles, whatever they may be we can do so with confidence, because we have the Lord’s promises as banners to march under:

1. We Have His Promise That Our Weapons Are Powerful Through God – 2 Cor. 10:4-5.

2. We Have His Promise That Our Battles Have All Been Arranged By The Lord – Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17.

3. We Have His Promise That Our Ability Is Limited Only By Our Faith – Phil. 4:13; Eph. 3:20.

4. We Have His Promise Of Power In The Day Of Battle – Eph. 6:10.

5. We Have His Promise Of Ongoing Victory – 1 Cor. 15:57.

6. We Have His Promise That We Will Never Fight Alone – Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20.

7. We Have His Promise That When The Battles Are Ended, We will Celebrate The Victory In His Presence – John 14:1-3.

C. As we face the walled cities in our lives, we need to learn to believe the Lord, to take Him at His Word and trust Him for our victories! (Rom. 4:21; 2 Cor. 1:20)

Jesus did not save you for you to be defeated! He saved you for the victory and He will be there all the way to help you secure it for His glory! Will there be trials? But, there will also be victory – Luke 22:31-32.

I. Israel Had A Problem

II. Israel Had A Promise

III. v.3-5 ISRAEL HAD A PARTNER

A. Israel’s partner was none other than God Himself! He was in absolute control of the battle, He was leading them, and He was the guarantee of their victory!

The visit of the Captain of the Lord’s Host – Josh. 5:13-15. Remember that He came to tell Joshua that He did not come to take sides, He came to take over!

B. As we face our walled cities and the obstacles of our lives, it is a blessing to know that we do not have to face them alone, Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5, or in our own strength, John 16:13; Phil. 4:13!

C. No obstacle is insurmountable as long as we face it in the Lord!

Look at the weapons we have been given to fight the battles.

1. The Word of God – You and I have been blessed by the Lord in that He has given us a perfect, inspired, infallible, inerrant record of His Word. The Word of God is called the “logos”. This word speaks of the entirety of the revealed word of God. It speaks of your Bible. When Paul was listing the armor that is to be worn by the saints as they battle the enemy, he mentions the one offensive weapon we have and that is the Word of God, Eph. 6:17. You see, the Bible is like a vast armory. In this armory there are weapons of every description. They have been specifically designed to fight particular battles. It is interesting to note that when Paul mentions the Word fo God as a weapon of spiritual warfare, He does not use the word “logos”. He, instead, uses the word “rhema”. This word means a particular Word of God. If we continue to think of the Bible as an armory filled with swords of all descriptions, then the “rhema” would be a particular sword for a particular battle. This truth is illustrated by the Lord Jesus Christ on the Mount of Temptation. When the devil tempted Jesus to turn the stones into bread, Jesus responded by saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Here, Jesus also used the word “rhema”. Each time the devil attacked our Lord, Jesus walked into the armory of the Word of God and chose just the right sword for each attack. Each time, Jesus went into the Deuteronomy section of the armory and carefully selected just the right sword He need to stick the devil.

The same principle will work for you and me! God has a word for what you are facing. However, if you don’t know your way around the armory, then you will not be able to select the right sword. It is imperative that we learn this Book so that when the day of battle arises, we will be able to grab the right sword and vanquish our enemies!

2. Prayer – Far too often we ignore the great power that has been given to us in prayer! Prayer is far more than me just taking my grocery list to the Lord and reading it off. Prayer is my entering into a conversation with the God of the universe. I speak to Him and He speaks to me. I am able to tell Him about what is on my heart and He is able to tell me what is on His heart. Prayer has the ability to get things done! You see, we have been given some pretty awesome promises in the arena of prayer.

A. God has promised that He will hear our prayers – Jer. 33:3; Isa. 65:24.

B. God has promised that He will answer our prayers – John 14:13-14; 1 John 5:14-15.

C. God has promised that He will help us pray – Rom. 8:26-27.  Essentially all true prayer begins with God. He speaks to our hearts and we offer the prayer He lead us to pray back up unto Him. This is the way to pray in the will of the Father!

The power of our prayers – J. Sidlow Baxter – “Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our argument, but they are helpless against our prayers!” (Hannah, Samson, Elijah, Elisha, Abraham, etc. Thank God, prayer has the potential to change any situation! It is sad, however, that prayer is given such a minor role in the modern church. The old fashioned prayer meeting has gone the way of the horse and buggy. But, those churches and individuals who have held onto the promises, power and the practice of prayer are seeing their walled cities conquered!

I. Israel Had A Problem

II. Israel Had A Promise

III. Israel Had A Partner

IV. v.6-21 ISRAEL PREVAILED

A. The context. Israel marched around the city in obedience to the Lord and they prevailed! 

The absurdity of the command! Can you imagine how the people in Jericho must have reacted? They saw the armies of Israel approaching their city and they probably thought that they were about to be invaded by the enemy. Then, just as Israel came near the city, they turned and began to march around the walls. I can see those inside Jericho as they ran to see where the Israelites would mount their attack. However, instead of attacking, the soldiers, and the priests merely marched around the city one time. All that was heard was the sound of the ram’s horn trumpets and the pounding of the soldier’s feet upon the ground. This was repeated for 6 days. By this time, the people in Jericho were no doubt mocking and jeering the Israelites. Then on the seventh day, they compassed the city seven times. When they had finished that seventh lap, the priests gave a long blast on the trumpets and the people of Israel shouted with a great shout! It wasn’t the shout of an attacking army, it wasn’t a shout of fear, but it was a shout raised in praise to their God Who had promised them the victory. When the people shouted, the walls fell down flat and Israel ran into the city and utterly destroyed it. It was a great victory!

B. There are some reasons why Israel experienced victory at Jericho:

1. They had a Word from God – (v.2-6) 2 Tim. 2:15; John 16:13

2. They believed God – (v.8-20) God said it, that settled it! Do we really believe God? Mark 11:22; Matt. 21:21-22!

3. They acted in faith – ( Heb. 11:1; 11:6) (I John 5:14-15, James 1:8)

4. They did it God’s way – (This is the secret to success!) His way may seem too hard, too slow, or as in this case too foolish, but His way is always the best way! (Isa. 55:8-9)

5. God gave them the victory – (v.20-21)

C. God’s church will prevail, Matt. 16:18; God’s people will prevail! You can prevail in whatever situation you are facing right now! Take a lesson from Israel, God has promised us the victory – 1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 4:17; 1 John 5:4

What kind of walled city are you facing right now? Does it appear to be unconquerable? Do the walls look too high and do they appear too thick? Does it seem that victory is absolutely impossible in your case? Let me remind you that if your walls haven’t already fallen down flat, they can! They can fall right now! You need to take a lesson from Israel and start handling your Jericho’s God’s way. 

Victory Baptist Church 14 October 2020 victorypalmetto.com

Wade’s Wednesday

From Mourning to Dancing

By Amy Boucher Pye

God can bring times of growth out of our times of heartache.

“We’re cutting your job.”

A decade ago those words sent me reeling when the company I worked for eliminated my position. At the time, I felt shattered, partly because my identity was so intertwined with my role as editor. Recently I felt a similar sadness when I heard that my freelance job was ending. But this time I didn’t feel rocked at my foundation, because over the years I have seen God’s faithfulness and how He can turn my mourning to joy.

Though we live in a fallen world where we experience pain and disappointment, the Lord can move us from despair to rejoicing, as we see in Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming of Jesus—He has sent me . . . to bestow on [those who grieve] a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning. Isaiah 61:1, 3.

The Lord gives us hope when we feel hopeless; He helps us to forgive when we think we can’t; He teaches us that our identity is in Him and not in what we do. He gives us courage to face an unknown future. When we wear the rags of “ashes,” He gently gives us a coat of praise.

When we face loss, we shouldn’t run from the sadness, but neither do we want to become bitter or hardened. When we think about God’s faithfulness over the years, we know that He’s willing and able to turn our grief to dancing once again—to give us sufficient grace in this life and full joy in heaven.

Tuesday With Karen

by Karen Icenhour

It’s Amazing To See
It’s amazing to see how God works in our lives,
How man’s plan, He can openly defy;
It doesn’t matter how things are planned out,
The way God does it will make you sing & shout!
It’s amazing to see, the riches God bestows,
The actions of the day, from God, we truly know;
If we seek Him from the heart as Lord & Master,
We’ll see victory & peace instead of disaster!
It’s amazing to see, God’s grace at its best,
His love, on our heart, He freely manifests;
He watches over us when we worry & fret,
Seeing God at work is what you never forget!
It’s amazing to see, God’s great, wonderful grace,
Many blessings are ours, if He comes on the place;
There are so many sweet gifts our heart will see,
When God’s people pray together from bended knee!