Bible Study

ARE YOU READY TO CONQUER YOUR FEARS/CANAAN? Joshua 5:1-13    

Verse 1 tells us that the heathen nations in Canaan saw the powerful manner in which the Lord brought His children through the Jordan and that they were totally demoralized by these events. It would seem that they were absolutely resigned to their fate. It would appear that this would be the perfect time for Joshua to lead the people forward into the attack. However, instead of commanding His people to go forward into the battle, God commands them to remain at Gilgal and to do several things that, on the surface, appear very strange. It even appears that the things they are required to do puts them at risk before their enemies.

While the ways of the Lord may appear strange to you and me, we must remember that the ways of the Lord are not our ways, Isa. 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

You see, God never gets in a hurry! He has the liberty to take His time and do things on His schedule. While the things that happen in this chapter appear strange against the backdrop of impending battle, the truth of the matter is God is simply preparing His army to fight. He has them do some things that may appear odd when preparing for the battle, but may I remind you that God’s people are engaged in battles that go far deeper than the physical realm? In fact, before the battle ever begins in the physical realm, it had already begun in the spiritual realm. God’s battle are spiritual battles. If we expect to fight in these battles and do well, then we must make the right kind of spiritual preparations, 2 Cor. 10:3-5. That is what the Lord is doing right here in the life of His people Israel. It is also what He wants to do in your life and mine today.

You see, we all have battle to fight, and if we expect to overcome and achieve the victory, then we must learn to make the right kind of spiritual preparations.

Israel appeared ready for the battle. They possessed a large army and they faced an enemy that was terrified at their presence. However, God knew that they would never be ready to fight and win the battle until the proper spiritual preparations had been made. That is what this passage is all about. The lessons taught here can help us today.

Let me ask you a question. Are you ready to conquer your Canaan? The answer? Only if you are willing to make the right spiritual preparations. Let’s consider the steps that Israel was commanded to take before they could conquer their Canaan. As we do, ask yourself whether or not these things have been taken care of in your life. Because, until they are, you will never be able to conquer your Canaan. Are you ready to conquer your Canaan?

I. V. 2-7 RENEWING THEIR COVENANT WITH THE LORD

A. The first command the Lord gives to Israel is that all the man are to be circumcised. It would seems that all the  men who came out of Egypt were circumcised according to the demands of the Abrahamic covenant. However, those men who were born during the 40 years of wilderness wandering had not been circumcised. The fact of the matter is this, during the 40 years of their wilderness wandering, the rebellious generation that was dying off were no longer a covenant people. Now, before these men can claim their Canaan, they must be circumcised. This was symbolic they must renew the covenant with the Lord if they wanted His blessings on them and if they wanted to be guaranteed the victory and sign of ethnic belonging and biological lineage.

B. The lesson for us is simply this, just as Israel was required to remove from their bodies a piece of flesh as a sign that they were a part of the covenant, so too, we must remove from our lives anything that stands between us and total surrender to the Lord. The Bible is clear that there are times when you and I must engage in spiritual surgery in our lives. 

2 Cor. 6:17”Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

C. To the Jew, circumcision was a reminder that they were a “marked people.” They were to never forget that they were the servants of the living God and that they were under obligation to obey Him in all things. 

Circumcision was to be the outward reminder of an inward work of faith, Deut. 10:10 “what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes”. 16 “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.”

I. Renewing Their Covenant With The Lord

II. V. 8 REAFFIRMING THEIR CONFIDENCE IN THE LORD A.   At this point, Israel is camped in the heart of enemy territory. After they have been circumcised, every male in the nation of Israel is temporarily disabled and is rendered unable to fight. It took great faith for them to submit to the rite of circumcision! They had to be willing to trust the Lord to protect them until they healed. They were literally sitting ducks for the enemy. However, their faith was the secret to their success. These men had learned the valuable lesson that their battles would not be won by military might and by superior battlefield tactics. They knew that if they ever saw victory, it would be because God gave it to them. Their’s would be a victory based wholly in faith. 1 John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

B.   As we move through this life, we face times of testing just like these men in Israel did. They had just come from a great victory and often, that is the time when pride will rise up in us and we will think that we are unstoppable. When those times come in your life and mine, you can be sure that the Lord will allow us to go through a time of testing. When we do, we must have faith in the Lord! It isn’t enough to be clean spiritually, we must also be walking in faith before the Lord. We need to remember that our God can and will take care of His children.

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

1 Timothy 3:6 … “lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”

C.  This spiritual truth is taught over and over again in the Word of God. When God’s people aren’t able to take care of themselves, their God is more than able. Note just a few instances where faith in a great God paid amazing dividends.

1. Noah was protected in the Ark while the rest of humanity perished – Gen. 6-9

2. The firstborn of Israel were spared while the Egyptian children died – Ex. 12.

3. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were spared from the fire – Dan. 3.

4. Daniel was spared from the hungry lion – Dan. 6.

5. Elijah was fed by the ravens and the by a poor widow – 1 Kings 17.

6. Paul was given grace for his race – 2 Cor. 12.

The Lord will take care of you during the difficult times of life. He is still God and He is still able to all that you need. His one requirement is that you trust Him. 

I. Renewing Their Covenant With The Lord

II. Reaffirming Their Confidence In The Lord

III. V. 9 REMOVING THEIR CONDEMNATION BY THE LORD

A.  The term “reproach of Egypt” has reference to 2 events during Israel’s wilderness wanderings. The first is found in Ex. 32:1-12 when the Children of Israel made a golden calf and worshiped it as God. The other happened at Kadesh-Barnea when the children of Israel displayed unbelief and refused to enter into the promised land, Num 14:11-14. On both occasions, the Lord threatened to destroy the nation of Israel and start fresh with Moses. And, both times Moses interceded with the Lord and reminded Him that He would give the Egyptians a reason to mock God. They would say that He brought them out of Egypt, but could not bring them to Canaan. However, now they are in the land and God has proven that He is well able to bring His people into their possession. Therefore, He tells them that He had rolled that reproach away! In other words, their past was no longer an issue. It was a new day!

B.   In a sense, many of God’s children are still living under the “reproach of Egypt“. You may be living with the shame of things you did before you came to faith in Christ. You may be ashamed of times when you have failed the Lord since you were saved. Either way, you live under the constant stab of self-condemnation.

C.   Let me remind you that if you have place your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, you past is not an issue any longer, Psa. 103:12 ”As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” 

Isa. 38:17 “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” 

Isa. 43:25 “ I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” 

Jer. 50:20 “ In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.”   

Micah 7:19 “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” 

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 

The reproach of the old life has been removed forever! You must get past the guilt of those days before you can walk in victory in your Canaan! By the same token, many Christians have failed the Lord in a big manner. As a result, they are defeated and fell like they are second class citizens in the kingdom of God. My friend, if you have confessed your sin and repented of it, then it has been taken care of as far as God is concerned, 1 John 1:9.

God is telling Israel that yesterday is forever gone and they are to walk looking to the victory of today rather than to the defeat of yesterday. If you have made your sin right with God, you might as well put it behind you, because the Lord has certainly put it behind Him! You will never be able to walk in victory until you come to realize that the Lord has forgiven your past.

I. Renewing Their Covenant With The Lord

II. Reaffirming Their Confidence In The Lord

III. Removing Their Condemnation By The Lord

IV. V. 10-12 REMEMBERING THE COMMITMENT OF THE LORD

A.   In these verses, we find Israel once again keeping the feast of the Passover. They first observed it when they were still in Egypt, Ex. 9-14. They also celebrated it at Mount Sinai before they left for Kadesh-Barnea, Num. 9:1-14. However, there is no evidence that they had celebrated the Passover in 40 years. The fact is they couldn’t! The new generation had not been circumcised and this was a requirement for participating in the Passover.

Now, it might help us to remember what the Passover is all about. When the Lord sent the 10th plague, the death of the firstborn, upon Egypt, He told His people to select a lamb, kill it, put its blood on the door posts and lintels of their houses and then cook and eat the lamb. When the Lord passed through Egypt that night, He would see the blood on their doors and would “pass over” those protected homes and the firstborn would live. Israel was commanded at that time, to make this a yearly feast. They were to remember that night when they were passed over by the Lord and spared from the plague of death. They were to remember that it was that night in which the Lord had delivered them from their bondage in Egypt. The Passover was a time for the Jews to remember the deliverance of the Lord!

Now that they are in the promised land, they are to celebrate the feast of the Passover. They are to remember the things God did for them in bringing them out of Egypt and in providing for them along the way.

B.   What a lesson the for redeemed people of the Lord! When we face the battles of life, we must remember some of the great things the Lord has done for us in our pasts. We need to remember when:

1. He called us in love. 2 or.5:14 “For the love of Christ constraineth us;”

2. He saved us by grace. Rm. 3:24 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”

3. He forgave our trespasses. Colossias 2:13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;”

If we take time to remember the way God has proven that He was strong in your life all along the way. It will give you courage to face the next battle. If He was God then, He is still God now!

C.  V. 11-12 Just as Israel needed to remember the Lord’s commitment to them, they also needed to remember their commitment to Him! You see, for 40 years they had eaten manna every day. However, when they ate the fruit of the land of Canaan, the manna ceased. Surely, Israel was glad that the manna was no more. Now, the Passover reminded Israel that God had brought them out of Egypt, but the manna was constant reminded of what they had left behind in Egypt, Ex. 16:3. You see, it was easy for God to bring His people out of Egypt, but it was hard for God to get Egypt out of His people.

Far too many Christians are just like the Israelites. That is, they have an appetite for the things of the world just like Israel did for the things of Egypt. God help us to develop a hunger for the harvest of our inheritance. God didn’t save us to satisfy our hunger with the things of the world. He saved us so that we might learn to enjoy Him and feed off the things He would give us. Let us not look back to the world or to the wilderness to try and find something to satisfy our hungers. Rather, let us learn to feed on the things of the Lord. He will feed us in the place of victory if we will look to His had. We do not need to scrounge around for scraps! We are children of the King! We can feed on the best if we are willing to allow the Lord to lead us and feed us.

I.   Renewing Their Covenant With The Lord

II.  Reaffirming Their Confidence In The Lord

III. Removing Their Condemnation By The Lord

IV. Remembering the Commitment of the Lord

V. 13-15 RECOGNIZING THE CONTROL OF THE LORD

A. The final step in getting ready to conquer your Canaan in learning Who is in control. One day, as Joshua was looking over the city of Jericho, he saw a man standing with a drawn sword. Joshua boldly asked the man to identify himself and to state which side he was on! When the man responded, He said that He was the Captain of the Lord’s Host. He told Joshua that He did not come to take sides, but to take over! That is, He was in control of the Lord’s armies in Heaven and in the earth. He told Joshua that He was in charge. General Joshua had just met the Commander in Chief! Joshua’s response is to fall down before Him and to worship Him. This is an indication that Joshua is submitting to the will of the Lord and that he knows Who is in control. You see, before you can have the victory, you must be vanquished. Before you can conquer, you must first be conquered! We must do what Joshua did right here. That is, we must lay down our swords at the feet of the Captain of the Lord’s host.

B.  This is a lesson that many of the Lord’s children have yet to learn. May I remind you that a crucial step on the road to victory is learning to relinquish leadership to the will of the Lord! He is Lord and we are His servants. Therefore, what He says must be followed to the letter.

C. That having been said, let us not miss the great blessing that in contained here. Joshua is under a great deal of pressure. He is trying to lead an army in the successful conquest of a powerful enemy. More than anything, he needs to know that the promises God gave him when He called him are real, Josh. 1:5. Here, Joshua is experiencing the reality of those promises. God is telling Joshua that he does not have to fight the battles alone. He is even telling Joshua that the battles are not his responsibility. The Lord is the Captain of the Army of God and He is present to direct the battle and to give the victory!

We must remember that the same is still true as you and I are called upon to face the battles of life? Just as David told Goliath, “the battle is the Lord’s”, 1 Sam. 17:47, so it still is! Child of God, He has promised to be with you, to support you and to lead you to victory. The key to seeing these promises fulfilled in your life is to do what Joshua did. Get on your face before the Lord, seek the Lord’s will for the battle and let Him lead you to victory.