God's Heart

Joshua  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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This passage shows God's heart for people to know and put their faith in him.

Notes
Transcript
Background to passage: The people of Israel have been wandering around the desert for 40 years, Moses has died, Joshua has been commissioned and encouraged. The people have been given a charge and accepted. Rahab hid and made a deal with the spies. The people have come to the encampment on the east side of the Jordan at Shittim. Last week, Joshua told the people to consecrate themselves because they would see the wonders of God.
Joshua 3:7-4:24
Opening illustration: Tell of meeting Erika at Camp Jubilee in June of 1998 and how she BECAME the closest thing to my heart. I desired a relationship with her.
Main thought: Today we will see the first major miracle of Joshua and God’s purposes and desires behind this miracle — relationships with people.

1) God Desires His People’s Faith and Fear (v. 3:10, 4:24)

Joshua 3:10 ESV
And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites.
Joshua 4:24 ESV
so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”

1) God Desires His People’s Faith and Fear (v. 3:10, 4:24)

Explanation: Miracles in scripture, all share a purpose—to demonstrate that Yahweh is the one true and living God, to attest to himself, to put on display his power in order to point people to himself. Speaking about the crossing of the Jordan on dry ground Joshua tells the people that by this miracle they will know two things—that the Lord is among them, and that he will not fail to drive out the peoples of the land for them.
Hebrews 11:33–34 ESV
who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
2 Corinthians 12:8–10 ESV
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Illustration: the church planter’s wife, the Success Syndrome.
Application: God wants our faith not to fail. He wants us to know that is always among us. We all face crisis of faith in our lives, where we are tempted to doubt, where we are forced to choose between anxious fear or determined faith. We walk by sight, normally don’t see rivers or seas part, but we trust in the goodness, faithfulness, and power of our unseen God. What is it that you are facing now that requires you to choose to believe? To step out in faith and do something that you know God is leading you to do is what your family needs, is what your church needs.

2) God Desires Generations of Faith and Fear (v. 4:6-7)

Joshua 4:6–7 ESV
that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

2) God Desires Generations of Faith and Fear (v. 4:6-7)

Explanation: These stones had a similar purpose: they pointed back to a God who did the supernatural on the behalf. What we see here is God desire for multi-generational faithfulness. He wanted the children of those who crossed, those not yet born, their children and children’s children to believe in the Lord. God had a plan for Israel, for the world, but Jesus would not come for over 1400 years, about 70 generations. All the feasts, sacrifices, scripture, and traditions are given to practice to pass on the faith for generations.
Psalm 78:2–7 ESV
I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;
Illustration: Barna reported in 2022 that over 70% of college students who are self-professed Christians leave school having left the faith. Pharoah, “one weak link can break the chain of a mighty dynasty. Next Thing You Know
Application: So, as parents, as grandparents, as aunts and uncles, as a church, we must be intentional about passing the faith on to those that come after us. Parents, what do you do to pass on the faith. I meet with a couple of men during the week to grow in Christ, and we talked this week about some things that we could do (and have done) to ensure the passing of the faith—family devotions, scripture text messages, some obvious things like faithfulness in church. As a father now, I am facing the reality that I have daughters that might get married some day, might eventually have children, then these children will eventually have children. So, in my stage of life, what’s my role? Run off boys that are not genuine followers of Christ. I want to give my blessing to a young man with a desire to lead his children (my grandchildren) to Jesus. I want my grandchildren’s children to believe. I want to see a kingdom impact from my descendants.
Grandparents you have a unique role to play. Aunts, uncles. Church members, those who do not work with our children and youth.

3) God Desires the Nations to Have Faith and Fear (v. 4:24)

Joshua 4:24 ESV
so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”

3) God Desires the Nations to Have Faith and Fear (v. 4:24)

Explanation: As we saw in chapter two Rahab helped the spies because she had heard of what God did at the Red Sea and to the kings that Israel defeated in the wilderness. She said it made their hearts melt because they knew that the God of heaven and earth, the God of Israel had given them the land. God’s heart is for the nations. God chose the nation of Israel to bring about his Messiah, but God wants all men to hear and know Him.
Psalm 67:4 ESV
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
2 Peter 3:9 ESV
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Revelation 5:9–10 ESV
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
Illustration: There are over 7200 unreached people groups, define “reached/unreached”, many are unengaged, 3.40 billion people are unreached, 42% of the world. Many don’t have access to the gospel, a missionary, a bible in their language, and they die daily. God desires a relationship with them.
Application: God loves those people. He made so many colors and cultures, languages and traditions, and they all need Jesus. We are the ones who can take it to them. God desires the worship of nations, the joy of the nations, in fact he has declared that someone from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation will be around the throne worshipping for eternity. But you are God’s means for getting them the gospel. He does decree the ends, but also the means.
Romans 10:14–15 ESV
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
This church has a past of going unto the nations, I want to see it again. I want to make a difference among the nations. I want to be obedient to the Lord. Someone crossed the ocean once to eventually get the gospel to me, we are privileged to be the vessel of gospel distribution, let’s be obedient. Jesus said go, therefore we go.
Closing illustration: I told you about Erika and how she BECAME my heart over two years, then still is after 23 and a half more. But my children are different. From the moment they arrived they WERE might heart. Awaiting their arrival for years, then months, then days.
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