Never Alone Summary: An encouraging sermon from Joshua 1 where God reassures Joshua that he is never alone in life. Introduction to the book of Joshua.
Introduction: In life many times we feel very lonely. Most people’s thoughts are confronted by fear with the challenges that lie ahead, or lost chances in life. The result of which is loneliness and loss of self-worth. Albert Einstein said, “It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.”
God has gone great lengths to tell the readers of the Bible, you are never alone. I want to take your attention to one such passage. Open your Bible to Joshua 1.
Well, I want to speak to you this morning a message entitled, Never Alone. You are never alone.
Joshua 1:1-6 1After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2“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. 3I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.5No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
We are starting a new series today on the Book of Joshua. The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Old Testament.
The first Book is Genesis. This is the Book that talks about the creation, the call and the promises of God to Abraham, and the birth of the nation Israel.
The second Book is Exodus. This is the Book that talks about how the nation of Israel was delivered out of bondage in Egypt, how they crossed the Red Sea and was given God’s Holy Law.
The third Book is Leviticus. In this book the Israelites was taught to worship in view of God’s holiness.
The fourth Book is Numbers. This speaks about how they were tested and numbered as a nation.
The fifth Book is Deuteronomy. Here he law was reviewed and reiterated and closed with the assurance that Israel would possess the land.
Joshua is the sixth book. This book is about how the nation crossed over Jordan and took possession of the land. In this book, they were able to secure the land through conquest and finally get settled in the land.
The first five books of the Old Testament were written by Moses, the symbol of deliverance from Egypt. The sixth book is written by Joshua, the symbol of victory in the Promised Land.
I. Message of Joshua.
1. We can overcome by faith.
Joshua teaches us that by faith we can overcome the world. 1 John 5:4 This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. When we have faith and we persevere in our trust with God, we have victory.
This is a book therefore of conquest and occupation. They conquered the enemy and they occupied the land. But it was not as simple as that, they went there, experienced discouragement and difficulties. Eventually they progressed until the enemy was subdued by God’s help.
2. God is faithful to fulfill his promises.
The primary purpose therefore of this Book is to show the faithfulness of God in fulfilling His promise. The promise to Abraham was fulfilled physically and spiritually. After many years, it became a reality in the life of Joshua.
Actually, the events of the book of Joshua span about twenty-five years. It started soon after the death of Moses around 1406 BC, before the conquest commenced. The conquest of Canaan took about seven years, and Joshua’s final address and subsequent death came almost twenty years later.
The book begins with the nation of Israel poised at the banks of the Jordan River. It records the details of numerous military campaigns that defeated the inhabitants of the land. The book ends with Joshua’s regathering of the nation for his final exhortation. God is faithful even to the very end.
II. Three aspects of the book of Joshua.
1. Canaan, the promised land.
There are three symbols for this place of Canaan in the Book of Joshua:
a. Canaan is a place of rest. After their hundreds of years of their toil in Egypt and their wandering in the wilderness, Israel was finally able to settle down and find a home in Canaan. The Israelites divided the land and settled in the Promised land. They have finally entered and received their inheritance. They have finally found their place of rest from all their struggles.
There in Canaan, they will function as the people of God. There, they will become a light to the nations. They will find rest after conquering their enemies. They will have fellowship with the Lord. In the same manner, God will bring us there in heaven where we will rest from our labors.
b. Canaan is a place of favour. More than 16 times in the Scriptures, Canaan was called the land “of milk and honey.” It is also called a “good and spacious land.” Exodus 3:8 So I have come down to rescue them from the land of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
It was a land of extraordinary fruit, a land of grain and wine, kissed with the dew of heaven. Deuteronomy 33:28 So Israel will live in safety; Jacob will dwell secure in a land of grain and new wine, where the heavens drop dew.
Canaan was a place of bountiful harvest and rich lands. In the same manner, heaven is our place of bounty. Revelation 21:18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.
c. Canaan is a place of triumph. In Canaan, Israel defeated enemies that were much mightier than them. They conquered people of much experience and skill than they were. Why? Because their victory comes from God. The battle is always the Lord’s. It was the Lord who led them every step of the way until they received their inheritance.
In the same manner, our destination is heaven. God will bring us to heave after we go through the many conflicts and difficulties on this life. If the Israelites were brought there by Joshua, even so, Christ will bring us to settle in the land.
May we always focus our thoughts on the place that God is preparing for us. But it was Joshua, a type of Christ who brought them there. What can we learn from the life of Joshua?
2. Lessons from Joshua’s life.
When we read the life of Joshua we find great qualities which enabled God to choose to him to possess the land God requires a certain lifestyle and quality in a child of God so that he can bestow his blessings and fulfill the promises upon them.
Trustworthy means – Worthy of confidence, reliable, trustable, dependable etc.
Joke: A boss during an interview said the applicant that there are two main rules for our company to select you. Applicant: What is it Sir? Boss: Our second rule is Cleanliness. Did you wipe your feet on the mat near the door before coming in? Applicant: “Yes Sir” Boss: Our first rule is trustworthiness and for your information there is no mat!!!
Are we trustworthy? Joshua was a dependable and a reliable person. You could trust him with any job and he would do it with all humility. Let’s read about Joshua’s trustworthiness:
Exodus 17:8-10 8The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” 10So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.
Exodus 17:13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
This was the beginning of their wilderness journey and here is the first ever mention of Joshua in the Bible. Until now Joshua was there but he worked in the background of Moses. When the Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites, Moses asked Joshua to lead the people to fight the enemy. So Joshua fought the enemy just as Moses had ordered until the very end.
What do we learn about Joshua here? Moses had no trouble in choosing Joshua to fight the Amalekites because he knew Joshua could be trusted or depended upon. God is looking for trustworthy people who can be depended upon. Are we trustworthy? Can God count your trustworthiness so that he can bless you?
b. Does not seek recognition.
I am sure Moses must have been observing Joshua as a young man. He must have watched his speech, behavior, availability etc. Joshua was willing to obey the orders of Moses. So, when the need arose, Moses straight away tells Joshua to take up the responsibility to fight the Amalekites. Listen; until the enemy was defeated Moses had no worry about Joshua because he knew that Joshua will not leave his job half done.
A godly person does not work to show men, they work to please God. There is no pride, no ego. He also is willing to put his hands in. Joshua was the leader of the tribe of Ephraim. He could have ordered his people and won the battle, no he was also willing to work with the team as unto the Lord.
God is looking for trustworthy people. Jesus Christ is the best example of a trustworthy person. God could trust Him with the task of salvation and Jesus did it with all humility and servant hood.
c. A lover of God’s presence.
Joshua loved to be in the presence of God.
Exodus 33:11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.
If it was Moses whom God spoke to face to face why did Joshua not leave the tent even after his leader left? I believe Joshua would have enjoyed lingering around where God’s presence had come down. He enjoyed the presence of God. He found peace and joy there. He longed for the time when he also would hear from the Lord.
As children of God, do we have the burning desire to be in the presence of God? When things are not going your way and even when we are not accepted or rewarded do you desire to spend time with God?
Illustration: Some people say pastor, “I am too busy to come for meetings. I have this work and that work.” But if there is an invitation for a party I have seen the same people go out of their way to be there, and they are there on time. People skip services and prayers, and evening they are there for parties. Parties are good, but when we compromise the time in the presence of God for parties God does not accept it.
Are you too busy to be in God’s presence? How is our approach to church? Do we earnestly try to be on time for a Sunday service? Are the blessings that God has bestowed upon us stealing our time from spending with God? If you want God to bless you, be eager to spend time with God.
See what the psalmist says about the presence of God:
Psalm 84:1-2 1How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! 2My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Psalm 84:4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
Psalm 84:10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
Psalm 16:11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
People who possess the promise of God, people who are used by God find pleasure spending time with God. Jesus spent time God’s presence. Joshua spent time in God’s presence.
d. Joshua was a man of Patience.
For almost 40 years Joshua kept serving Moses in the background. Right through the journey we find Joshua doing only what Moses, his leader commanded him to do. He was obedient to his leader. He did not take any position. All the applause went to Moses. Joshua did not do any canvassing and pull people to his side. He knew he had an appointed time and was willing to wait for that time. Joshua knew God had a future for him and also knew how to wait for God’s time to possess it. Joshua was a patient man.
Illustration: Once there was a couple who had only one child. The child grew and went out of town to study medicine. When the first vacation came, the father and mother were ready and waiting for the time for the bus to come. Suddenly the son called and said that the traffic had stopped on the highway and that he would be arriving very late. The mother started worrying and said, “I hope he’ll be okay.” The father turned to her and said, “There’s nothing to worry about. Wait patiently, it is just a delay.”
Many of you have faced injustice in life. Maybe your juniors were promoted; you did not get your increments, you have been unjustly victimized. Maybe you were praying for a breakthrough but it did not materialize. Listen, you have an appointed time of deliverance, wait for it. No one can touch your blessings.
Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
e. Joshua was a man of faith.
Joshua believed on the Lord for the impossible. He always had faith when faced with great challenges. There was a time when God asked Moses to send the leaders from each tribe to explore the Promised Land. Out of the 12 who went to spy the land; 10 came with a bad report but Joshua and Caleb had a good report.
See the report of the 10 people:
Numbers 13:31-33 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33We saw the Nephilim there. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
Listen, these 10 people gave the exact right report, there was nothing wrong with the report. They felt it was an impossible task to possess the land. They were right; in human capacity they could never take possession of the promise.
But now look at Joshua’s and Caleb’s report: Numbers 13:30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
By Numbers 14 people decided to choose a different leader and go back to Egypt. Joshua and Caleb had a positive report and believed in the impossible. Numbers 14:6-9 6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
When then entire Israelite camp were negative and said it is an impossible task, Joshua and Caleb said we will swallow them up in the Lord. Joshua did not look at the circumstances; his eyes were upon the Lord. Joshua believed in the Lord for the impossible. When we read this passage I don’t even find Moses or Aaron supporting Joshua and Caleb. Joshua’s faith was even greater than Moses. When God saw such a faith in Joshua, God decided Joshua is going to be the person who is going to possess my promise.
When God gives you a promise, when God has a blessing in store for you Satan will come in every possible way to steal and destroy it. He will attack your mind, he will attack your circumstances, he will turn people against you. But a man of faith will look beyond these circumstances and believe the impossible. The good news is God will do the impossible for the people who believe.
Joshua 1:3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
Notice the words: “I will give every place where you set your foot.” That means Joshua had to put his foot into tough territories. God’s promise is always dependent upon the exercise of our faith.
f. Joshua was man of perseverance.
Joshua was faithful to the end. Joshua carried this rock solid faith up to the end of the chapter when he gathers the people together one last time. There, he urges the people to forsake their idols and remain faithful to the Lord.
Joshua 24:15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
Joshua was faithful even to the very end. He did not waver even after much accomplishments. I hope and pray that we will be faithful even to the end as well.
III. Lessons from the book of Joshua.
There are several lessons we can learn as we Journey through our Promised Land.
1. We are blessed in Christ.
It was actually under the leadership of Joshua that the long anticipated promise became a reality. Go gave Joshua every place that he set his foot. Joshua 1:3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
Let me tell you, in Christ, we are blessed with every spiritual blessings. This is our spiritual bounty.
God has given us in Christ every spiritual blessings in the heavenly places. Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
Under Joshua’s leadership, Israel took possession of the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey. Under the leadership of Jesus, if we follow in his footsteps as disciples, we will take possession of all that belongs to us. As Christians, our spiritual blessings in Christ are many.
Here is a list from Ephesians chapter one.
We are made holy and blameless. Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
We are adopted as God’s children. Ephesians 1:5 In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will
Our sins are forgiven. Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.
Understanding of the mystery of God’s will. Ephesians 1:9 He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ.
Marked with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.
Knowledge of the hope of God’s call. Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you.
We have the riches of God’s glory. Ephesians 1:18 …the riches of his glorious inheritance..
Incomparable great power of God. Ephesians 1:19 His incomparably great power for us who believe.
This is just one of the list. There are many more lists of blessings in other pages of the Bible.
The simple truth is we are blessed in Christ. We might not be walking in the benefit of these blessings, but they are ours to take possession of in the same way that Israel took their promised territory by faith.
Illustration: Imagine, you are a parent and you made a promise to your son: “Son, on your 20th birthday, I will buy you a brand new car.” But in order for that promise to be fulfilled, I have one condition. You will have to get 90% and above in all your report cards.”
It is still a worthy promise of a parent to the son. The car is not yet there. The promise will only be fulfilled if the condition is met.
However, in the Book of Joshua, the promise of the Lord is different. “Son, I’ve already bought you a new car for your 20th birthday. It is there, sitting in our driveway. You have some work to do. You must learn to drive and get a license, then, you can have it.”
That is why Joshua 1:3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. The Promised Land is there in existence, they only have to learn how to conquer and settle in it. You are blessed in Christ. You must always be grateful for such blessings.
2. We face struggles and enemies in this world.
Joshua 1:4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates, all the Hittite country, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.
Here in this verse, God told Joshua that his territory will be extended far and wide. But the verse also said that these are the Hittite country. There are present occupants of this land that had to be driven out. They will not just let go of their land without a struggle.
They were much superior in armor and more experienced in battle. These are the enemies that they face before entering the Land. It was no simple task. But God is on their side.
In the same manner, the second thing we can learn from this Book is that we have to go through life with many difficulties. We have spiritual enemies to fight with: “The world, the flesh and the devil.” We have to realize that the devil is real.
1 Peter 5:8-9 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
That means, we will be attacked. And when you are being attacked, welcome to the club. It is just a proof that you are a genuine believer in Christ.
That means you are making an impact in your Christian witness. The more you are making an impact for God, the more the devil is going to fight you. The more you face the enemy, the more you struggle. It will just grow more intense over the years.
Ephesians 6:16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Look at the words: “flaming arrows.” Other translations calls these as: “fiery darts.” That means Satan had some fiery darts to aim at us particularly if we are involved in the ministry. What are some of the fiery darts that Satan throws up against Christians?
Discouragement. Failure. Opposition. All kinds of resistance. Rumors. Rejection. Misunderstandings. Distractions. Temptation. Low self-esteem, attacking your self-worth. Compromise. Deceptions. Sin. Fatigue. Illness. Fear. Doubt. Division. Ridicule. Materialism.
These are the fiery darts of the enemy. He’s going to throw these things at you. These were the kinds of oppositions that the Jews experienced before they reached the Promised land.
If you’re going to be an effective Christians, you’ve got to learn how to fight back with faith. We must acknowledge the presence of the adversary in our conquest for the Promised land.
c. You are never alone, you can be victorious.
Joshua 1:5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Even if the Hittites are in the land, yet they cannot be able to stand against the Israelites. God will never leave them nor forsake them. In the same manner, we might have strong enemies, but the Bible says that God sent Jesus to defeat the works of Satan.
1 John 3:8 The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. Christ will bring us victory. Jesus, at the cross, destroyed the devil’s works. So Satan is now living on borrowed time. He’s a lion, he’s roaring, but if you are living and walking with Christ, he can’t harm you if you’re walking in the spirit, walking in the Spirit of Christ.
He’s a lion without teeth, a bee without a stinger. He’s a snake without fangs. God has given us the power and authority in this spiritual warfare. Our faith in Christ will see us through. We must put on the armor of God that symbolize the four weapons of warfare such as truth, humility, faith and praise.
Reason you are not alone.
a. Companionship. Joshua 1:5 As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
b. Comfort. Joshua 1:2 Moses my servant is dead.
c. Courage. Joshua 1:6 Be strong and courageous.
Whatever you are going through right now, don’t give up, you are never alone. The Holy Spirit in you will not make you timid. God has given you the power, the love and the self-discipline. You can conquer every trials, every difficulties and every battle you are in.