Joshua-Wayne Barber/Part 4
By: Dr. Wayne Barber
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2004|
|The people are preparing to cross the Jordan River and possess the land that God has given to them. But the Jordan River that stood between them and the Promised Land was at flood stage. This is not the time to cross the Jordan, but God chose this time because now Joshua and the people would be desperate enough to have to depend on Him.|
Our God Who Goes Before Us (Joshua 2)
Turn with me to the book of Joshua, and we’re going to see a world record tonight. I’m going to cover a whole chapter in one message. You know that’s a miracle. We’re going to look at a whole chapter, and what we want to talk about is our God who goes before us. Wherever God guides, God provides. Have you ever heard that before? Wherever God guides, God provides. You’re going to see that beautifully in Scripture tonight.
The scene in Joshua is electrifying. The people are preparing to cross the Jordan River and possess the land that God has given to them. God had wonderfully created a crisis, in that the Jordan River that stood between them and the Promised Land was at flood stage. It was swollen. It was out of its banks. This is not the time to cross the Jordan, but God chose to do otherwise. It was perfectly set up. You see, now Joshua and the people would be desperate enough to have to depend on Him. There would be no Plan B. If they were to possess what God was going to give to them, they were going to have to walk by faith. Faith, and only faith, would give them the victory to have what God said was already theirs.
God told Joshua that to lead the people he had to stay in the Word. He must meditate in the Word day and night. You see, meditating in God’s Word was the only way that he would ever have any success. That word success means the only way he would ever understand how to respond to the given circumstances that were going to face him. God’s Word—what God said to Joshua—was never to leave his mouth. If it did, he would have no authority to lead the others. It had to be what God had said.
The people were not to be discouraged by those who chose to camp out on the wrong side of the Jordan. The tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, we saw the last time, had chosen not to take the land that God had given to them in Canaan. They thought basically that they had found something better. And oh, the sadness of it was, they were standing with grass everywhere in grazing land for their cattle, looking across the Jordan River at the barren Judean wilderness, not realizing that on the other side of those mountains was the Fertile Crescent that would put what they had chosen to shame when it came to grazing their cattle. In fact, those people’s choice not to take what God said was theirs, to camp out on the fringe on the other side of the Jordan, was the biggest hindrance to Israel in trying to possess the land that God had given to them.
You see, God has not given us a land, God has given us a life in Christ Jesus. He has designed it to be possessed and experienced only by faith. It will not be possessed or experienced other than faith. He creates calamity and trouble for us to drive us to His Word, and when we get to His Word, He speaks His Word to our heart, and then that’s where faith is quickened. And faith and faith alone allows us to continue to experience what God has given. He tells us to live by the Word and in the Word. He tells us to stand “on what I have promised.” And we’re not to be discouraged by those who won’t live by faith, to those who think that they’ve found something better, who want to camp out on the wrong side of the Jordan. We must learn to encourage one another. We must learn to walk arm in arm and go on together and possess what is ours in Christ, each of us watching the other’s back. There are always going to be those people who choose to live on the fringe and they’ll have a thousand reasons why, but you can’t let those people keep you or keep me or any of us from possessing and experiencing what is ours in Christ Jesus.
Well, today we’re going to look at the wonderful, wonderful truth about our wonderful God who always goes before us. While the people were preparing—they had three days to get ready to move to the Jordan River where they would then cross—as they were preparing to do that, something else was going on. God was busy preparing the way. Don’t ever forget that where God leads, He’s been there before. I think sometimes we don’t understand that. “God, are you listening to me? Do You know where I am? Are you taking a nap in a big rocking chair on the porch in heaven? Or do You really know where I am and do You know who I am?” Oh, He knows, folks, nothing gets to us that hasn’t had to pass by Him first.
You see, on the other side of the Jordan River, lying in the path that the Israelites would have to pass if they’re going to possess the land, was the great walled city of Jericho. It was located in such a strategic spot that it commanded the passes to the central highlands. And you could not get up and over unless you went through Jericho. Jericho had to be taken. There would be no possessing of the land if that were not so. This is the biggest battle, the biggest city they’re going to have to face.
It was interesting to me as I was studying this: We all have, not a Jericho in front of us, but a besetting sin in each of our lives. That besetting sin is our Jericho, and if we want to possess what God says is ours in Christ, then we’re going to have to deal with the Jericho first, not last, but first. You see, Joshua has been there before as one of the spies, but that had been 40 years before. What he needed now was a fresh report about what was going on in Jericho. So he sent to spies who had to swim the swollen Jordan River and ease into the city, hopefully unnoticed. They didn’t know it, but God was way ahead of them and had already prepared the way when they got there. They had no clue, they’re just trusting God.
Now, let’s get into the story, but I want you to continue to remember that wherever God is leading us, He has already gone before us; and if we will just trust Him, He will provide for you and for me each step of the way. He’s always ahead of us, not just with us, but He’s ahead of us.
- God prepares a place for us to take refuge
Three things I want you to see in chapter 2 tonight, and I just hope that we can get through it and God will bless your heart with it. First of all, I want you to see how God prepares a place for us to take refuge. Now, I want to say it again, just as the Israelites entered the land they encountered the biggest city, the biggest battle that they would have, so it is with us as we have to encounter the besetting sin in our life. But God protected them like He’ll protect us. He protected them by giving them a place where they could find refuge from the enemy.
But with us, it’s a little different in the New Testament. He doesn’t give us a place, He IS the place that we find refuge. It’s in Him. Verse 1 of chapter 2 says, ‘“Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim saying, ‘Go view the land, especially Jericho.’” Now before, they viewed the whole land, but now they’re looking at Jericho. “So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab and they lodged there.”
Now verse 1 tells us that the spies were selected secretly. Little did they know that once they got over to the land, their presence was not going to be so secret. They didn’t know that but God did, and God had already taken care of that. God was far ahead of them. If you remember the first time that they sent 12 spies out 40 years before, the whole nation knew about it and when they came back, they reported to the nation. And ten of them had a negative report, except for Joshua and Caleb, and as a result the people failed to enter into what God said was theirs. They had to die in the wilderness; God would not allow them to go because they chose not to. Joshua now, left over from that, chooses not to make this a public announcement. He sends two spies secretly, without the people knowing that they were even there. While they were preparing, the spies were over in the land.
“Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two spies secretly from Shittim saying, ‘Go view the land, especially Jericho,’ so they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and they lodged there.” Now the reference to Rahab being a harlot has tried to be softened by many commentators, and what they have said is that it really means innkeeper. I guess a different kind of inn! That won’t hold up when you get to the New Testament, just won’t do it. Hebrews 11, which I call the Hall of Faith, brings Rahab into the picture. This is a beautiful picture of God’s grace, folks. And it says in Hebrews 11:31, “By faith, Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient after she had welcomed the spies in peace.”
Now that word there for “harlot” is the word porne. It’s the word which means a prostitute, not an innkeeper. It was a very immoral word, and it means exactly what it says. She’s also referred to in the same way in James 2:25, and later on we’ll bring that back into the message. Now God providentially led these two spies to her house. Once they were there He providentially protected them from the enemy in Jericho. He gave them a place of refuge. And this is what it was all about: God was so far ahead of them and they had no clue about it.
Verse 2 says, “It was told the King of Jericho saying, ‘Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.’” Now, somehow the King of Jericho found out that they were there and what they were doing. How did that happen? I don’t know. They had to have known that the Israelites were camped out on the other side of the Jordan River. I mean, there were over a million and a half of them! And they’re not that far away. You know good and well they knew that. I mean, the two and a half tribes had 136,000 men twenty years and older able to fight. Think of the wives and the children and the grandparents. I mean, this is a huge amount of people on the other side of the Jordan. So evidently the whole town was on alert.
Now, Joshua didn’t know that and the spies didn’t seem to think about that, but they were all alert and they saw these two strange men walking through the city and probably somebody followed them to the house of Rahab. However they knew—and that’s really conjecture, we don’t know—the King sent men to the house of Rahab to get the spies. Verse 3 says, “And the King of Jericho sent word to Rahab saying, ‘Bring out the men who have come to you who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.’”
If you’re wondering why they didn’t just beat the door down, move in, search the place, and find the two spies, you might be interested to know that one of the Oriental customs of that day was that they respected a woman’s house. Would be nice if that happened in the 21st century, wouldn’t it? They respected her house and they would never barge in and do that, even to a woman that was called a harlot. They would not do that; they were very respectful. Rahab does a very interesting thing when they do come to the door. In verses 4-5, she lies to the king’s soldiers to protect the spies. This is interesting.
Verse 4: “But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, ‘Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark that the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them!’” But what she had done was take the men up on the roof and hidden them in a special place underneath the stalks of flax. It tells you about that in verse 6: “But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof.”
After the flax stalks were pulled up at harvest time they were soaked in water for three to four weeks to separate the fiber and then they were put up on the roof to dry. And when they dried they would make linen out of that flax. That’s why she had all those stalks of flax up on the top of her house, and she just hid these two men under those stalks. But she lied to the soldiers. She just outright lied. She said, “I didn’t know who they were, they went on their way, and I believe you can catch them if you hurry up.” Her story was, yes, they came here, but I didn’t know who they were. But they were upstairs underneath the stalks of flax where she had put them.
Now, we can learn much from this. Rahab, in her limited understanding—and a lot of people are this way when they have this much faith. Isn’t it awesome that in the Hall of Faith, in Hebrews 11, Abraham is mentioned and he had this much knowledge, and therefore had this much faith; and Rahab is mentioned and she had this much knowledge and this much faith based on what she knew. Based on what she knew, she felt like she had to help God out. You ever known anybody who hasn’t walked with God very long and had to just help Him out? “God just doesn’t understand what is going on, and if I don’t do something, I don’t know what You’re going to do.” And she lied to protect the spies. Could God have protected the spies without her having to lie? If you believe that He could—I’m going to raise my hand—does anyone else in here believe that He could without her having to lie? Thank you, thank you; if you hadn’t raised your hand we would need to go back and start at square one!
A lot of people weaken this by looking at it humanistically rather than looking at it divinely through His eyes. This raises the issue to many people. There is a man who wrote a book called Situational Ethics: It’s okay to lie in certain situations; it’s okay to sin in certain situations. Well, the answer is, no, it’s not. God is in control. But remember, you can’t determine another person’s level of faith. And you can’t help a person get beyond where they already are. Based on what she knew, with her little experience and exposure to God and her little faith in Him, we can understand why she did it. I mean, I can understand it. That doesn’t mean I condone it, but it means I can understand it. The point is this, though—let’s don’t argue about that—the point is she was willing to place her own life in jeopardy to protect the spies from harm. God had prepared a place for His people, His two spies, to where they would be protected from the enemy in the largest city they would have to face, which was Jericho.
Their enemy pursued them as they left her, but God protected them. It says in verse 7: “So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan, to the fords; and as soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate.” When we seek to possess the life that God has given to us in Christ, there will be many temptations. The enemy is everywhere, to get us out of that which He has given to us. They’ll seek to take it from us. The Jerichos in our life, the sin that we just are struggling to turn loose of, is the very thing hindering us from possessing what God says is ours. But if we just yield to Him, just cry out to Him. “Oh, God, I can’t!” You know what He’s going to say? “I never said you could, but I can and I always said I would. Come to me, come to me. I’m your refuge.”
You see, if you understand the book of Galatians that we’ve just come out of and you put these two things together and the principals that we’re learning, Jesus is our life, He is the Victor, He is the Victory. And when I say yes to Him, it’s no longer me, but it’s Him and I’m hidden in Christ who is in God. And my hiding place is in Him, yielded in His Presence. And there’s not a Jericho in the world that can defeat me. And not an enemy in the world that can take away from me what God says is mine. So God prepares a place for us to take refuge.
Let me ask you a question tonight. What is your Jericho tonight? What’s your Jericho? What is the sin that knocks you down quicker than any other sin? I know that some of you here say, “Sin? Do you mean me?” I know, I know, I understand. But I want you to think about it. What is the sin that so easily besets you? What is your Jericho that is robbing you of what God says is already yours in Christ Jesus? And if you’ll just bow before Him, you can try to overcome it until you fall over on the floor. But if you’ll just bow before Him and let Him be your victory, and then you’re going to understand what we’re talking about. Nobody can take it from you, folks; nobody can take it from you. But you can’t hold onto Jericho and God at the same time. You’re going to have to turn loose of one to hold on to the other.
- God produces people to stand with us
The second thing that I want you to see in this power-packed chapter is that God produced people to stand with us. When we’re in the battle and the Jerichos are rising up on us and we’re seeking to possess what God has given to us, God has already produced people who will stand around us. Here’s that encouragement thing again; we saw a little bit of it last time. Verse 8: “Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men, ‘I know that the Lord has given you the land.’” Now that’s an interesting statement: I know! “And that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.”
Now, contrary to public opinion, Rahab, and I’ll show you in Scripture in a moment, was no longer a harlot. Rahab had been brought to God. God had brought her to himself and changed her life. The reason she’s referred to as Rahab the harlot was, in all the history things I read, that once you had that label it would stick with you. And so to reference somebody, if that’s what she had been, then that’s usually what they would label her with whether she still was or not, and that’s where that comes from. God had revealed Himself to her and had changed her life. Now, she knew that the land in which she lived was not her land. She knew that. God had revealed that. God had given this land to Israel.
Verse 9 again: “I know that the Lord has given you this land [and look at this], and that the terror of you has fallen on us and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.” Now, one of the things that a spy would want to know is the morale of the enemy. Just how confident are they? Just how victorious do they feel? Just how strong do they think that they are? Well, what Rahab does here is disarm any fears. She said the people have already been melted in their heart. They already understand about your God. To me this is so profound and I hope it is to you, but it is to me. God had shown Himself so strong to Israel that it had melted the hearts of the pagans that inhabited the land that God said was the people’s.
I just want to throw this in: My prayer is that God will show Himself so strong in us that it will melt the hearts of people and they’ll understand the God that we serve and will bow before Him just like Rahab did and come to know Him.
She tells them what it was that had brought such fear. Verse 10: “For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea.” Isn’t it amazing? You would think that nobody would know about that! Oh, they had heard! She said, “Before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.” It says in verse 11: “When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you.” And then she says, “For the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”
I want to share with you, and I contend, and I’ll contend in Scripture, that Rahab had already become a believer of God in Israel. That God had gone before the people, prepared a place, and had prepared a person that was going to stand right beside them. They had no idea that they would run into this over in Jericho. She had been prepared by God.
Now, look at the book of James for a minute. I want to show you that James uses the same words to describe Rahab that he uses to describe Abraham. Look in James 2. She comes up again, and I want you to see why I said what I said. “Wayne, why do you believe she’s been changed, why do you believe she’s no longer a prostitute?” Well, I’ll show you. James 2:24. Many people struggle with this verse, by the way. It was also said about Abraham. It says in verse 24: “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” “Well, Wayne, you just need to resign the ministry because that’s not what you believe, that’s not what you preach.” He just conflicted with the apostle Paul, didn’t he? The word justified. Folks, we’ve got to understand this. I don’t know what to do to get it across to people. The Greek is so important to unlock these things! The word “justified” is the word dikaioo. When you see those two little o’s at the end of a verb, it is always significant. It means this: No, they were not justified. See those two little o’s at the end of that Greek word? That’s very, very significant. Most of them don’t have that. When that is there, it doesn’t mean that works justified them; it means that they were put on display by their works, that they have already been justified. Do you see the difference? It’s not that works justified them before God, but it did justify them before men, because it proved the fact that something happened in their life. And it’s the same exact thing it says about Abraham. And we know that verse: That Abraham believed and it was accounted unto him as righteousness. So you cannot mix the two. You have to understand the difference in the two.
Now, look what it says in verse 25, now that you have that understanding, we’re proven to be justified back here with the works, we’re proven before men by the works. It says in verse 25: “In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot [listen now, watch carefully] also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?” Rahab’s protection of the spies; Rahab’s willingness to put her own life on the line; Rahab’s choice to do what she did, proved that something had happened in her life. In her protecting the spies, it put her on display as somebody who has already been justified.
The beautiful message of God’s grace that extends to the lowest of sinners is beautifully pictured right here. The most beautiful picture of salvation; it’s so beautiful that she is placed into the genealogy of our Lord Jesus Christ! Does that grab you? I tell you what, if you’re here tonight and you don’t know Jesus Christ, I want to tell you something. Understand from Scripture that He loves every man, every woman that’s on this earth. There’s nothing a person can do that would make God not love them and have a purpose for their life. Matthew 1:5 it says in the genealogy of Jesus: “Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth; and Obed the father of Jesse.” And then you follow it right on down to the line of David and right on down to Christ.
Rahab wants her family to be spared, obviously, so she makes a plea to these men, these Israelite spies. She makes a plea to them that when they come across Jordan to take the land that they would spare her family. It says in Joshua 2:12, “Now therefore, please swear to me by the Lord, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you will also deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” So the men agreed, but they give a stipulation, verse 14: “So the men said to her, ‘Our life is yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the Lord gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.’” God was working in so many people’s lives. The spies didn’t know that they were being followed, but God was already taking care of them. He saved a former prostitute to be the person to take her stand beside them. He provided them a place of refuge.
I just want you to know that when we possess the life that we have in Christ, we must realize that as we choose to die to self, Christ is way ahead of us. The temptations and battles begin at that moment. He will always be our refuge. I just love that. I can run to Him and say, “Oh, God! I can’t. I can’t handle this particular sin in my life and it’s eating my lunch!” And every time I confess it I get up and it eats my mind up all day long: “Oh, God! What can I do?” And God says, “You come to Me and you yield to Me and you watch what I want to do in you.” And when those temptations come, and they will, and the attacks come on our life that we have in Christ, He always puts the right people in the right place to stand beside us and to encourage us. Isn’t it incredible? It’s incredible!
In Pennsylvania years ago we went out to a park. I thought I was really brave in the ministry and we were sharing the gospel in a park that was known to be a drug park. And we fanned out, you know, we trained our kids for six months, and that did a whole lot of good. We sent them out by two’s and I was the odd man left out. I had to go by myself. When I walked out into the middle of that park and I saw some of the drug heads and things that were going on in that park, I thought, “Oh, my goodness.” I looked around for the strength from my people. And they were gone! Those kids ran! They got out of there like a covey of quail! And here I am by myself, and I was trying talk to this one guy who was so far out on drugs that he couldn’t understand what world he was in much less what I was saying. So I retreated. And I went back to the MacDonald’s that was over there. MacDonald’s seemed to be a safe place and I went in there. I went over to the booth and sat down. All of our kids had come in and gathered around different places and I’m sitting there thinking, “Man, this was a defeat and a half! God, where are the people who are supposed to stand with us?”
As I was sitting there, I heard a guy praying behind me. I didn’t know who he was but it caught my attention. I eased around and he had a guy’s hand in his hand and he was praying. The guy was praying to receive Christ. In the booth behind me! I looked over at the other booth and there was a person who had an open Bible sharing Christ with somebody. This was not our group. I looked over here and there was another one! That place was full of Christians! And here we were, scared to death, and just by the fact that those people were there, and the strength that they display, it became encouragement to our group and buddy, they regrouped and went right back out into the park! We’re not by ourselves! God is always ahead of us! He’s always got the right people to put in your life at the right time to help you to go on and claim the victory over the Jericho that’s in your life.
The apostle Paul found that out. When the church of Corinth was born, it says in Acts 18:9, “And the Lord said to Paul in a night vision, ‘Do not be afraid any longer.’” Can you imagine the apostle Paul being afraid of anything? He says, “Don’t be afraid any longer but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you and no man will attack you in order to hard you, for I have many people in this city.” I love that! What he says is, “Son, you go on and do what I tell you to do. I’ve got enough people to stand beside you and help you walk in the victory I want you to have.”
It blesses me to know that God is way ahead of us. Doesn’t it bless you? He’s way ahead of us! He goes in front of us as we seek to possess whatever it is that God wants for us. I want to promise you that He’s got a place of refuge as we continue to run to Him, and there are plenty of people in this place that will stand beside us, lock arms, and we’ll walk into victory together.
- He provides a pathway for us to escape
He prepares a place of refuge, He produces a people to stand with us, and the final thing is this: He provides a pathway for us to escape. A pathway. He gives us a way of escape. When we’re facing the Jerichos of our life, there is a way of escape. It’s so marvelous to me that God led them to a house of a recently saved woman that—listen to this—that was on the wall of the city. How neat is that! Awesome. Verse 15, “Then she let them down by a rope through a window, for her house was on the city wall.”
“Surely, Wayne, that’s a coincidence.” No. You know what a coincidence is, don’t you? That’s when God is acting anonymously. Her house was on a city wall so that she was living on the wall. What a better place to be! I mean, if you had to get out of town, you don’t want to go four blocks and be covered up by a blanket and somehow try to get over the wall. She’s on the wall! Verse 16: “She said to them, ‘Go to the hill country so that the pursuers will not happen upon you and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterwards you may go on your way.’” You see, there was a range of white limestone hills that extended to the north and rose to a height of 1500 feet and it was filled with caves: a perfect place for them to hide while the enemy was looking for them.
The men recited to her again the conditions that, if her family was to be spared, had to be met. Verse 17: “The men said to her, ‘We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, unless when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down and gather to yourself into the house your father, and your mother, and your brothers, and all of your father’s household.’” Most people refer to that scarlet thread, that scarlet rope that goes all the way from Genesis to Revelation, as the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. It covers us and protects us. It’s pictured when they came out of Egypt and they put the blood of the lamb on both sides of the door post, and the death angel came on the eerie night and they had eaten of the lamb and put its blood upon the door. And as it went down the street, they were protected by the scarlet thread that runs all the way through, of redemption. It protected them.
They said, “You put that cord down that window, you let it hang from that window so we’ll know which room is yours.” It was a way of escape. Not only was there a way of escape for the spies, but also for the whole family of Rahab, and that would be through the scarlet thread that she would hang out of her window. The men continue to say, “It shall come about that if anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his head.” Don’t go outside! “And we shall be free. But if anyone is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him.” In other words, stay in the house and hang that scarlet thread in the window. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear.
She said in verse 21: “‘According to your words, so be it.’ So she sent them away and they departed and they tied the scarlet cord in the window.” Verse 22: “They departed and came to the hill country and remained there for three days until the pursuers returned. Now the pursuers had sought them all along the road but had not found them.” And verse 23: “Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun and they related to him all that had happened to them.”
What a story they had to tell to Joshua! “Joshua, man, those people over there, their hearts have completely melted! They’ve already heard about what God’s done for us! That land is ours! Joshua, do you know what we’re telling you, son?” Can’t you just see him getting excited? Just excited? And they said to Joshua, “Surely the Lord has given all the land into our hands. Moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away.”
The strength and the testimony of those who have been where others are seeking to go. I want you to know, folks, it’s not bad to get old, because there’s a lot of older folks who have walked down that road and they have been where many of us are wanting to go. I want to tell you something: Always listen to somebody who has been where you want to go. Always listen to the strength of a testimony of somebody who has been over and claimed the life that God has given to them, because they’re the ones who encourage us. That’s what’s happening right here. They’ve been there.
When we posses what is ours, He will prepare a place of refuge. Now He will become our place of refuge, to protect us and hide us in Himself as we say yes to Him. He’ll raise up people that will come at the right time and the right place and say exactly the right things to help us stay on the track. We don’t even know them sometimes. They’ll just be the voice of encouragement right when we need it. But not only that, but He’ll provide a path and a way for us to escape.
First Corinthians 10:13 says, “There is no temptation that takes you but such as is common to man.” And every one of them, in my own words here, He gives us a way of escape. Not to get out from under it, but to be able to endure it! That’s the bottom line: Not from it, but as we walk through it. We’ll come back to what I said earlier: If you’re walking in that life right now, we need you desperately, because we need others to hear from you what it’s like over there. When you possess what is yours, that’s the strength of the testimony of people that have claimed what is rightfully theirs. We need that. What’s your Jericho tonight? What is standing in your way right now? It’s just standing there discouraging you.
Roy Hession was in my house years ago. He said something to me that turned the key for me and helps me understand Joshua as well as I understand my own life. He said, “Brother Wayne, victory is never you overcoming sin. Victory is Jesus overcoming you. He’s your refuge.” He’s already produced the people around you. Look at them; they’ve been there.
But not only that, but He’s given you a way of escape. Just say yes to Him and you can walk right through it. We learn a lot from Israel. What’s your Jericho tonight? That’s the only thing keeping you from possessing what God says is yours. What is the sin that does so easily beset your life?