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Living by Faith (Vol 56) - Joshua's Faith: By Faith walls of Jericho fell

Sunday English Service - 24 NOV 19

Transcript

I've been speaking from Hebrews chapter 11 on faith. We looked at verse 30 twice already and I want to deal with it one more time, this time. Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 30. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. This is interesting because this is a wonderful example. Hebrews chapter 11, in general is a wonderful example of how the New Testament authors and preachers and teachers of the New Testament times, in the early church, used the Old Testament events to teach the believers some truth. Now, this is important because there are those who think these days that there is no need for the Old Testament. That is a wrong approach. Old Testament is still valuable and there are many things to learn from it. Excellent, amazing, truths are available there. So, we follow the same method that the early teachers of the New Testament Church used, like the author of the book of Hebrews used. Take the Old Testament events and draw the truths from there that is applicable under the new covenant also.

And here, in the event that happened at Jericho, the falling down of the walls of Jericho, he quotes it here and says that by faith, the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. And then immediately the question arises in our mind, “Why does he bring it here? He's teaching about faith, but what does that have to do with faith?” Particularly, he says, “By faith it fell.” Didn’t fall by any other means, no weapon was used, no ammunition was used, nobody even had to use any kind of force whatsoever, no human force, power was used. It was all God's power. It is called the power of faith. The walls of Jericho fell down without the use of any power on this earth. It is God's power. It is faith power that was used to bring down the walls of Jericho. That makes it very interesting. How can faith, a spiritual power, bring down such a great wall? The wall of Jericho was a famous wall. They say that it's so high. The people went and saw it and came back reporting that it reaches to the sky. Such was the height. The breadth of the wall on top of it was so great that they used to run races of chariots on the walls.

So, this is no ordinary wall. It is not a pushover. It is not a wall that you can just push down and bring it down. Not an easy thing. It is a tremendous fortress surrounding the city. And the people of Israel already the first time they attempted to go and take it. They were greatly discouraged from doing it just by looking at it. And they came back and refused to go in because the wall was so great and the people were terrible people, evil, cruel people. There were giants in the land and so on. They reported back and they said, “his is impossible. It cannot be taken.” Such was the city, such was the wall, such was the people. It is not an ordinary thing to go and possess this land. But nevertheless, this is the entry point into the land of Canaan which God had prepared for the people of Israel.

Now, as such, it has some typology also built into it. See, the people of Israel are redeemed people, redeemed by the blood of the lamb. You remember the Passover lamb? That is the day they got delivered from Egypt by the blood of the Passover lamb. It speaks of salvation through Jesus Christ and His shed blood. They came and crossed the Red Sea. And Paul refers to that and says that's like baptism. And they were guided by pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. And all of this refers to the guidance and the leading of the Holy Spirit and so on. So, typically speaking, these are people redeemed people, redeemed by the blood. Having entered into a relationship with God, a covenant with God, led by the Holy Spirit, now they are asked to enter into the Promised Land and possess the land and they have come to the entry point. Now, they're going to enter in there.

And it's very interesting. It says, “By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down.” So, that makes us ask the question, what is faith all about? It says, “By faith, the wall fell down.” What is the essence of this faith? What does this faith consist of? How does this faith work? What kind of power is this faith? How does it work? That's the question that comes to all of our minds. So, I want you to go to Joshua chapter 6 because that's where the story of the walls of Jericho falling down is found. And let me read to you from verse 1 onwards. I want to read a rather long passage, because some of you may not be familiar with it. Some of you are maybe new to the Bible. Don't worry, you'll get used to it. It's good to read it. So, let me read several verses, maybe 16 verses, so that you will understand what happened and great details are given. And in the detail is embedded great lessons about faith. That is why I want to read it. And then I want to talk about it.

From verse 1. Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” And he said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord.” 

So, God instructs Joshua, Joshua now instructs his priests and his people. And just as Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the Lord following them. The armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually. But Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.” So he caused the ark of the Lord to circle the city, going about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp. Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets blew continually. And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned to the camp. So they did for six days. On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction.” Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent.”

I think I'll stop right there. It gives us a good sense of what was happening there. Great details are given there. Now, the details, if you look at it, are very clear. There is this big wall. People behind it, very cruel people, very hard people to tackle. And they have an army, they have a king. They have a very organized setup. These were just a group of people that had just come out of Egypt, have been slaves and have no military, have no king, just out there trying to enter into this promised land. But God was their helper. And in front of them was this big wall, formidable. Just everybody would say, “This is impossible, it cannot be overcome. You cannot cross this wall and get in there. This wall cannot come down. This cannot happen.” That is the situation. And God gives some strange instructions. He says, “Six days, you go around the city one time each day. On the seventh day, you go around it seven times.” So, that's 13 times already.

Now, people always ask the question, “Why seven days? Why 13 times? Why seven times the seventh day?” And all that. Well, God knew that we will ask such questions. I'm sure the people of Israel asked questions back then also. God wanted them to do simply what He said. He wanted them to realize, it is nothing that they did that brought the wall down. It is the faith that brought the wall down. He wanted them to realize that. No force was used, no power was used otherwise. Only by faith it was brought down. Therefore, God made them do all of these things. Now, a key principle of faith must be noted here because the question is by faith, it says, the wall fell down. By faith means, what is that faith? What kind of faith is this? How is this faith’s power exercised? How does it work? What kind of power it is? What is the essence of this faith? And the answer is found in verse 2. The word, ‘see.’ I referred to it last time when I preached about it, but I did not go very much into it. Today, we're going to go fully into it and explain what the ‘see’ means.

He says to Joshua, “See, I have given you Jericho. Its king and its mighty men of valor into your hand.” “See,” He says. He's not talking about seeing with these eyes. Because if you see with these eyes, you will see that the city has not been given to Joshua’s hands. Joshua is still outside the city. He has not even made an entry; the wall hasn't come down. The king is not in custody. The military has not come under Israeli custody. Nothing has happened. But yet God says, “See.” See what? See that I have given into your hands, the king, the city, and its mighty men of valor into your hands.” So, it's not talking about this kind of seeing, natural seeing, seeing with your eyes. It is talking about a faith seeing.

I want to explain to you what this faith seeing is all about. What is faith seeing? Faith seeing is seeing based on what you believe. It is a seeing where you're believing serves like an eye, you see certain things. By faith, you see. It is not by these eyes, but by faith, you see. Now, the way it works is this, this is so important in faith, the ability to see by faith is so important that if you cannot see it, you cannot have it. That is a proven principle of God's word everywhere. From Genesis to Revelation, we can see that, that if you cannot see it, you cannot have it. This faith works like this, that whenever this faith is put in operation powerfully, a person begins to believe something. And that believing causes him to see in a certain way a situation. He sees his victory. He sees his healing. He sees his deliverance. Before these things happen, the person sees. That's the thing. He sees not with these eyes, but by faith by believing he sees. Now, this is so important because without seeing, you cannot have it. Whatever you see only you can have it. Seeing makes the difference.

Now, I read a story in one of those books, something like Seven Habits of Successful Person or something like that, one of those books. There is a story that goes like this. There was a father with three children sitting in a restaurant. And the three children were running around everywhere causing big disturbance to all others that were there playing, shouting, screaming and so on. There was a man sitting nearby, he was so irritated by it. So, he looked at the father at one point and said, “Hey, look here. Are you not going to say anything to your children about this? They're making such a noise, disturbing everybody. Why are you just sitting there?” That man was sitting there thinking about something else, not even caring about the children. So, he said, “Are you not going to say something?” So, immediately the man responded, apologizing, saying, “Sorry, sorry, sorry, I should have done it. I will attend to it.” Then he told that man, “You see the three children's mother, my wife, just passed away and we just got the news. And I was kind of relieved that the children are not grieving, don't have enough knowledge of these things to grieve and they're at least playing so I just let them play. And now that I know that they disturb you, I will stop them.” And immediately that irritated guy, he answered back and said, “No, no, no. Don't disturb them. They're fine. They're not disturbing me at all. I'm sorry. They are not a problem at all. Let them play. Let them have fun.”

What happened here is, the perception of the man changed. The first time he looked he saw only children playing around, making noise, disturbing, being a nuisance. He didn't understand the things that are happening inside that family. He just saw it plainly, did not understand what was going on so he was upset. Now, that he sees it in the light of the fact that the mother has passed away, and these children don't even have the knowledge of it, cannot even get a sense of it and they're playing, he just wants to leave them alone. His perspective has changed therefore, his attitude has changed. He completely reversed his opinion. He says, “No, don't disturb them. I'm fine. I'm not disturbed.”

I told the story just to show you how much difference the way you see makes. It makes great difference. The way you see is so important. The way you see can lead you to failure or it can lead you to triumph. Remember, the first time the people of Israel went to spy the land? That was 40 years ago. The first generation of Israelis went to spy the land. 12 of them went. They went and saw and surveyed the land for 40 days, the Bible says. They were supposed to go and look to see if the land was the land flowing with milk and honey. Now, remember those were days before Google. Now, these young guys you need to explain these things because they'll say, “Why can’t they check Google?” No Google. So, they got to go see and it took 40 days, not just 1 or 2 days. You can do it in few minutes now. So, they had to go look.

After 40 days, 12 of them came back. Now, the 12 of them came back and 10 of them formed a group and they said, “Yeah, it's a land flowing with milk and honey. Here are the grapes we have brought. Amazing fruit and so on. But the problem is, the people are very cruel people, they’ll eat us up alive. They’re very cruel people. There are giants in the land. We cannot take that land. The wall reaches all the way to the sky. It is impossible for us to go and possess the land.” Even there, the first time when they went in to spy, God told them, “I have given you this land.” He said it again in the past tense, just like here to Joshua. He says, “See, I've given you, the king and the city and its mighty men of valor into your hands.” In past tense He says. “I've given it to you,” He says. That means Joshua is required to see it by faith, see it as done, see it as finished. There also under Moses, God said, “I've given it to you.” And then only they went and checked. But when they went and checked, they saw not that God has given it to them, they saw that there were giants, there was problem, the wall was too big and they cannot possess the land. So, they came back and reported that.

But two others went with them. Those two people had a totally different picture. Amazing. The 10 people as well as the 2 people, all of them looked at exactly the same thing. They didn't look at different things. They looked at the same people, same city, same wall, same giants, same everything, but came back with two different opinions totally contrary to one another. One was seeing with these eyes; the two others were seeing with the kind of eyes that God wanted them to see with. Their eyes that sees through what they believe. The eyes that sees by faith. So, they saw that. So, Caleb says, “We will go at once and possess the land. It’s easy. We can easily possess the land. God has given it to us,” he says. But this guy is saying, “It’s impossible. Not at all possible,” and so on.

Two different groups, seeing the same place, seeing everything at the same time, and coming back with totally opposing views. This is a wonderful picture of what the Bible says, when it talks about walking by faith and walking by sight. Please turn with me to 2 Corinthians. I don't know if you've looked at that little verse, and I want to explain that little verse. It's a two-line verse but often not understood at all. Chapter 5 Verse 7. For we walk by faith, and not by sight. “We walk by faith and not by sight,” Paul says. What does walking by sight mean? Walking by sight means looking at what is going on around us, what the situation is like, what the problems are; looking at the physical realities that are surrounding us. That is walking by sight. That is how people live in this world.

He says, “But we don't walk by sight. We walk by faith.” What is walking by faith? Walking by faith is living, operating and functioning by a belief system, by what we believe. That is walking by faith. You can look and see and walk by it or you can believe and walk by it. That's the difference. Walking by sight means just seeing the present reality, seeing the problem, seeing the difficulty, seeing the challenges, seeing all the troubles that surround you, and walk in that way. Walking by faith is believing, believing in God's word, believing in God's promises, believing in God's ability, believing that God is good, believing that God has a purpose, that you are in God's hand, believing that what God has said not one word will fall to the ground, it'll all come to pass. You can walk like that.

Are we walking by faith or are we walking by sight? It’s a very powerful verse. “We don't walk by sight; we walk by faith,” he says. God has given us sight. Please understand me. I'm not putting down these eyes. Thank God for these eyes. God has given it to us. Now, you got to keep it wide open as you go out into the street. If we had eyes all around, I think it'd be a big help in our city because they come from everywhere. Nothing wrong with these eyes. These eyes are given for a limited purpose. The limited purpose is to know only the things that are happening around us. That is all. These eyes were not given to understand spiritual things. These eyes don't have a spiritual capacity. Not given for that purpose. They are given for a limited purpose of just seeing what is happening around us in this physical world.

But walking by faith is a totally different thing. That takes us to another level. That also is the kind of seeing. You see mentally, you see spiritually, you perceive something. But you perceive something not based on what you see with these eyes. Sometimes you see one thing, but what you perceive is totally opposite of what you see. If you just look at the walls of Jericho, you'll see a very big wall. Everybody will say, it's not possible. But you can look at the same wall, and by faith you can look at it, believing that God says God has given it into your hands, and you will say, “Oh, this will easily come down.” Because now you're seeing it by faith. Now, this is something that can be practiced at home on day to day basis. This is not some sermon that is on that level, sermon level. This is something that can be practiced day to day.

When I first started to learn these truths, I really tried to understand what this is all about, walking by faith and walking by sight. And I began to understand it in very simple ways and I'll share with you. We can really walk by faith instead of by sight and we need to walk by faith and not by sight every day. Day to day basis in our home, in our lives, we need to exercise faith and walk by faith and not by sight. How? Now, I made a decision many years ago, that I will never open my mouth and say, “I am afraid, I cannot do this. It's not possible for me. I don't have enough money. I cannot afford it. I cannot do this,” such words. If I didn't have it, nobody knew it. I made sure even my own family didn't know it. I made a determination not to speak my problems, not to speak what I felt like, what I saw as physical realities, as realities in this world, the problems that are surrounding. I made it a point to do that so that you don't talk about lack and you don't talk about want and you don't talk about weakness. You don't talk about these things. Because you don't want to walk by sight, but you want to walk by faith.

Walking by sight is, you’re speaking what you see. You’re weak, so you speak weakness. You're afraid, therefore you speak those things. You don't have any money therefore you say, “Well, I don't know. I cannot afford. It's very impossible for me. I can't do it. I'll never be able to do it. I'm sinking,” and all of that. Because we're so used to it, we do it normally. But if you're walking by faith, how would you do it? Suppose you didn't have money; two options are available. One is, you can say, “I don't have any money, I can't afford it. It's not possible. I'm poor, I have nothing.” You can say that or you can walk by faith by saying, “My God supplies all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. My God’s name is El Shaddai, He’s Jehovah Jireh. He’s much more than enough. He will see do it. He will meet my every need. So, there is no lack. He is my shepherd; I shall not want.” This is walking by faith. The other is walking by sight.

Walking by faith and walking by sight are two different things. You can practice it every day. Sometimes when our children are disobedient, and don't study well and don't do well and so on, have you seen parents talk about them and say, “I don't know how he's going to make it. I'm worried about him. I don't know what he's going to do. He's not listening. He's going from bad to worse and I don't know what to do with him. I don't know what he's going to do”? Like that. Hopelessness just comes out because they're worried, concerned about the child. That is walking by sight. You're simply speaking the seeing realities. What you see you're speaking.

Walking by faith is, you'll be talking about the child this way, you’ll say, “Well, my child doesn't know how much God loves him. If he knows it, he will never be the same. My child doesn't know what kind of potential he has. What a blessed child he is, that he's under God's care and God's protection and I am under God and my family is blessed by God. That God's will will be done. The devil has no place in my family. The devil cannot claim any of my children. In Jesus’ name, he will be well, he will study well, he will come up well, his future will be great, he will be wonderful.” Read the Bible. It talks about how your children will be in your house. They'll be like olive trees around you, it seems. Speak that. That is living by faith or that is walking by faith.

A lot of people don't see it that way. Walking by sight is talking our problems, talking our inability, talking our weakness, talking our sickness, talking all that we're going through and lamenting over it. That is walking by sight. Walking by faith is talking about what God says, how good God is, how great God is, how not even one word falls to the ground, how God is faithful, how God is powerful, how God never fails. Talk about God's love, God's compassion, God's goodness, God's faithfulness, that is walking by faith. Hello? Are you there? Are you walking by faith or walking by sight? You can right away change things. Today, this afternoon, when we go out of this place, one o'clock, you can change. You can make a decision, saying, “I will not walk by sight, I will walk by faith. I will not be saying things that I see; I will speak things that God promises. I will speak things that I believe. What do I really believe? That I will speak. What does the Bible teach? That I will speak. I walk by what I believe. See, that is what walking by faith is all about.

Now, turn with me to James chapter 1 please. Let's go a little further here. James chapter 1 and verse 2. A very strange verse to a lot of people because it says, Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds. It used to disturb me in the early days when I was studying in Bible College. It says, “Count it all joy,” immediately, I go to the next chapter, “when you meet various trials.” I said, “What is this? Doesn't make any sense. How can you be going through problems and count it all joy while you're going through problems? How can you be facing various trials and problems in your life and count it all joy?” How is it possible? I'll tell you; it is impossible to count it all joy when you're going through various trials and problems if you're looking at the problems and trials. It is possible to count it all joy if you look at how big a God you have. In the midst of your problems, it is possible to count it all joy. In the midst of your difficulties, it is possible to count it all joy. It is possible, think about it. While you're going through problem, it is possible to rejoice. It is possible to count it all joy, possible to sing, possible to praise God, possible to thank God. Only one way it's possible. It is not possible if you're looking at the problem. It is possible if you're looking at God, God's promises, realize His goodness and faithfulness, His power, His ability, His truthfulness, then you can count it all for joy. So, it is possible to count it all for joy.

Now, in that long passage I read in Joshua chapter 6, I've often wondered why all these details? God could have just from heaven reached out and push those walls down. Why six days go one round each day and seventh day go seven times and blow the trumpet and make a shout and all of those things? Why? God was teaching faith. God was teaching faith to these fellows. I'm sure they were filled with fear, worried about what's going to happen. They're looking at the wall, looking at the army on the other side, looking at how they're going to be whipped and so on. They couldn't believe that they're going to cross over and possess the land. They seemed very strange to say that you go around and the wall will fall down. I'm sure their mind was totally in confusion and fear and worry and so on. And God tells them, “Six days you go around, and while you're going around six days,” Remember what He says in 10th verse, in Joshua 6? He says, “Don't anybody utter even one word.” That's a very important instruction. Why? If they were allowed to talk, the whole plan would have been aborted. And the second time they would have failed to enter the promised land. They'd have gone back to the wilderness, maybe back to Egypt itself.

Such power in their mouth. So, God instructs them not to open their mouth and talk. “Not one word must be uttered,” He said. Until they reach the seventh day and the seventh day when Joshua commands them to open their mouth and shout, they should not utter even one word. What an exercise of faith. God is teaching them how to exercise faith. How not to speak your problems, not to speak your fears, not to speak your anxieties, not to speak your worry, not to walk by sight, but walk by faith. Hello? He’s teaching them, “Yeah, the wall is there. Go around it. But yet, while you're going around it, let My promise that I have given the king and the city and the mighty men of valor of this city into your hands, seem bigger to you than the wall. Let My words seem big to you. See it, believe it and by believing see that the city is in your hand, the king is under your custody and you have captured the land. See it. Go around it. Don't walk by sight. Don't be looking at the wall. Keep looking at what I've said. Keep your eyes on My promise.”

Just imagine what a wonderful faith training. Lot of us need that. Go around the wall every day. Big round the whole city. The wall is standing. They feel like talking doubts, talking failure, talking fears, but they can't talk, not authorized to talk, can’t open your mouth. Quietly they have to go. If they were allowed to talk, surely, they would have said, “Well, we need to change this pastor. He's no good. How can a wall of this size fall down just by going wound? It’s nonsense. We don't have any weapon. No, we don't have any ammunition. We don't have anything in our hands to bring this wall down. This man says, ‘You go around six days and seventh day you go seven times, and it'll fall down when you shout and blow the trumpet. Nonsense. How can it happen? It cannot.” God particularly and specifically makes the requirements like this.

It seems nonsensical to them. It seems unreasonable to them. But yet they had to do it. They're under training. And it was not just for themselves, it is for us also. Why all these things are recorded? So that we may learn faith through that. So, they had to go 13 times around the wall and not look at the wall, the reality of that wall standing there, big over their heads, but look at God who has said, “See, I have given this king, this city and the mighty men of valor in your hands. Not even utter one word.” Just begin to focus on what God has said.

Now, turn with me to Nehemiah chapter 8. There is another little verse. I don't know if you have come across that verse. I'm sure you have heard it, but I don't know if you have thought about it much. Nehemiah 8:10. The last line of that 10th verse, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Everybody say, the joy of the Lord is your strength. You need to understand where strength for our battles come from, where strength to face our problems and difficulties come from. You need to understand how faith works. Where does strength come from? Where does the spiritual energy strength comes to overcome these obstacles? How do you win? The joy of the Lord is our strength. When did he say it? See, the people of Israel were in bondage in Babylon. And now under another king, they are sent back to their native land Jerusalem to build back the city that has been demolished. The walls have been demolished. The houses have been burnt and damaged and the temple has been damaged. When the people come back, they literally cry seeing their native place, in sorrow for their native place.

And so, they gather the people and read the word of God. If you read a few verses before that, they read the word of God, they read the commandments of God and so on. Not only read it, but they gave a sense of it, it says. They read from the book of the law of God, verse 8 says, clearly, and they gave the sense so that the people understood the reading. So, what was happening is like a preaching. They read it, and they talked about what it meant. Real preaching went on there. And as a result of that, things were beginning to change. I can imagine what they have preached. You can very well imagine what they should have preached. The city is in a state of destruction. Very sad to look at, people are crying. What would they have preached? Not about how there are seven heavens and who lives in seventh heaven, sixth heaven, fifth heaven and so on. They would have preached about how God is going to make it possible for them to rebuild the city, rebuild the walls, rebuild temple and redo everything and restore everything back in shape. That God is going to meet every need, God is going to make everything possible, God is going to remove every opposition, every challenge they face. God is going to make it possible, there is hope. “We can be what we used to be.”

Again, the whole thing can be restored. They were preaching hope through the word of God. They were preaching the promises of God. That God loves them. God is with them. That they’re covenant people. That God has not forsaken them. Even though the Babylonian bondage was a kind of punishment for their disobedience, and for their waywardness, God has not rejected them. That God loves them, wants to bring them back, bless them, prosper them, and so on. That's the kind of preaching that must have gone on. And at the end of that preaching, they are told in verse 9 for example, “This is that holy day to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” Now, they're told, “Don't go mourn or weep.” For all the people wept, as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 

People felt hopeless, week. They've been slaves in another place, they’ve just been sent back, felt devastated, felt small, felt inferior. But now they've read the word of God and preached from that. And they're saying, “Don't be grieved. For the joy of the Lord is your strength.” In other words, he's saying, “I’ve preached to you the promises of God, the word of God. Told you what God can do, how good God is, how our God is a faithful God. If you will do what He says, He is going to fulfill His promises to you. Believe that, walk in that.” He says that and then he says, “Don't grieve. The joy of the Lord is your strength.” In other words, he says, “Begin to rejoice in the Lord, begin to believe in the word of God, begin to look at God and His promises and how good He is. Then when you believe that, then rejoicing will come. When rejoicing comes, when joy comes, victory will come because strength will come.”

So, the word must come, and through the word, rejoicing must come, joy must come and through joy strength must come. The joy of the Lord is your strength, and through strength victory must come. This is the way it works. So, I'm sure the people of Israel felt pretty much like that as they stood before the walls of Jericho. They felt weak in the face of that big enemy, in the face of that big wall. They felt as nothing in front of that power and force. But Joshua says to them, “No. Think about God and what He has promised. That He has given this land to us, and that He is with us.” He’s helping them to focus and see. That is why God told Joshua in chapter 1 itself and verse 8, “This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but meditate on it day and night, so that you may observe to do according to all that is in it. Then you will have good success and then you will make your way prosperous.” He’s preparing them by meditating upon God's word so that when you look at the wall, you're not afraid. When you look at the enemy, you're not afraid. When you look at the weapons there, you're not afraid. When you look at all their power and force, you are not afraid. Develop your faith in God, in the goodness of God and the power of God. In God's mighty power, develop your faith. That's what was going on.

I heard about a man who’s never seen an ocean. He’s lived somewhere inside in the inner areas and never seen an ocean and he was getting old. And somebody thought it would be a good thing to show him the ocean. So, they brought him and showed him the ocean. And the man just was awestruck looking at the ocean. He's never seen anything like that, never imagined. And here, this old man is sitting down, taking in the sight and just awestruck over the thing. The people that brought him asked him, it seems, “What do you see?” He said, it seems, “I see God. I see amazing creation of God. See what God has made. I see God.” When you go to the word of God, when you read the word of God, meditate on the word of God, what do you see? I'll tell you, you need to see God, His power, His truthfulness, His faithfulness, His goodness, His unfailing nature. That He’s a promise-keeping God. You should see that. That is what is happening here.

Turn with me to 1 Peter. Trying to show you how the New Testament teaches this whole thing about faith. And that is exactly what was happening there at the entrance to Jericho. Chapter 1 verse 6. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials. Now, here are people, New Testament people who are facing some trials, some problems in their lives. In the New Testament church there was Christians going through all kinds of difficulties and problems and so on. So, he says, “Right now you’re grieved by various trials, but you are rejoicing over what God has done for you.” That's what he's saying. But there are various trials. So that the tested genuineness of your faith— more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire— may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. What he's saying is, “Even gold, something that is there today and loses all its value tomorrow, even that is tested by fire to prove its purity.” “Your faith is more precious than gold,” he says. “And your faith is tested by fire also through these situations, through the circumstances, through the difficulties. Your faith is tested by fire.”

In the end what is going to happen is, it is going to be praise, glory and honor when Jesus comes. And then he says, listen to this, very interesting, “Though you have not seen him.” Now, Peter has seen Jesus but these people have not seen Jesus. He says, Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him. So, these people have never seen Him but they love Him. How many of you love Jesus? You've never seen Jesus but you love God. I've never seen Jesus. I've been preaching for 45 years. I’ve preached all kinds of sermons about Him. I’ve preached so much about Him, but I've never seen Him physically. With these eyes I've never seen Him. But without seeing Him, I love Him. Why? Because though we do not see Him, we believe in Him.

I've seen Him in another way. Through another channel I've seen Him. I've not seen Him with this eye but I've seen Him through the word of God. I've seen Him through what I read about Him here. I've seen how good He is, how faithful He is and how powerful He is and so on. So, I've seen Him. I've seen Him in another way. I have seen Him by believing Him. And then it says, and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory. So, look at the progression. They have not seen Him but love Him. They have not seen Him but believe in Him. And what does that do? Without seeing Him, loving Him, without seeing Him, believing in Him, results in inexpressible joy, joy filled with glory. It causes such joy. If you really believe in Jesus, if you really love Jesus, if you really understand who Jesus is and love Jesus and believe in Jesus, even though you've never seen Him physically, by faith’s eye, we've all seen Him only through faith’s eye.

When you really see Him, you begin to rejoice with inexpressible joy and full of glory, you rejoice. So, it leads to joy. And joy leads to strength. The joy of the Lord is your strength, remember? And strength leads to power and victory. This is the way of faith. This is the way faith is lived out. Remember, Hebrews is written to people that were greatly discouraged. They were about to give up their faith because of the problems that they were facing. And they are being encouraged by these words. He’s telling them to go back and check their love of God, their faith in Christ and so on so that joy can be restored and strength can come, power can come, victory can come in their lives.

Now, go to Hebrews chapter 11 please. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Look at statement, “the conviction of things not seen.” What is faith? What is the essence of faith? The man who lives by faith has a conviction about things that he has never seen but he believes. Therefore, he's convinced about certain things. That is what faith is. And then verse 3 says, By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. So, the whole world that you see today was not made by things that are visible. So, which is greater? The visible or the invisible? The invisible is greater because the invisible thing created the visible world. So, don't think about what you cannot see with these eyes as nonexistent, as unimportant. Even though you cannot see with these eyes, remember those invisible things are the things by which the seeing world was made. So, the invisible is greater.

And now go straight to chapter 11 verse 24 please. Talking about Moses, and I’m going to read just a couple of verses here because it talks about how Moses behaved so differently from others. He made the right choices, left certain things, embraced certain things, and all because his eyes, we’re talking about eyes, we're talking about seeing, he was seeing something by faith. Now listen to this, By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. Who would ever refuse to be called son of Pharaoh's daughter? You can be a billionaire being a son of Pharaoh's daughter, but Moses refuses. How can a man refuse that? Choosing rather to be mistreated, or suffer, with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. So, he chooses suffering in the place of pleasures of sin. As Pharaoh’s grandson, he could have all kinds of pleasures with no restrictions, but he chooses to suffer instead of that. Then listen to this, He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking at the reward. So, he considers the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt.

What a perspective! Totally different way of seeing things. Pharaoh's daughter’s son? He says, “That's nothing. I give it up.” You want to have a jolly good life, enjoy pleasures of sin? He says, “No. Even if it means to suffer because of my faith, I'm ready to suffer, but not sin.” He chooses not to sin. What about the treasures of Egypt? He says, “The reproach of Christ is greater wealth than treasures of Egypt.” What a choice? How can he do that? The answer is found in one little short statement, “For he was looking to the reward.” In other words, he was looking at what he was going to get in the end as a reward. Because of the reward he was looking at, now, he did not mind all the trouble. He didn't mind leaving Pharaoh's daughter’s son status. Did not mind leaving the sin and the pleasures of sin. Did not mind leaving the treasures of Egypt because the reward in the end is going to be far greater. In the face of that reward, all these things are nothing. This is nothing compared to the reward. Reward is going to be glorious.

Then it says, By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. Most important thing, he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. How did he endure such a life? How did he leave Pharaoh's house and come out and become a leader of these people that were slaves, these rejected people, these people that were treated so lowly, and managed to be their leader? How did he take on that? How did he survive? How did he endure? How did he go through that and come out of it? In the end, everything was glorious. But how did he endure that? He endured that very interestingly, because he was all the time having his eyes on the One who was invisible.

Seeing. He was seeing Him who is invisible. Let's see Him, Jesus Himself. Chapter 12. And we'll finish with this. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely. They talked about Moses and others, and now he says, “Let's also do the same thing. Lay aside every weight, everything that stands in the way of accomplishing God's purposes. Lay aside every weight, every sin, which clings so closely,” and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Living the Christian life, walking by faith and not by sight. And that's what he's going to say now. Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. That's walking by faith, not by sight. Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross. 

Now, he goes on to talk about how Christ endured the cross, how He put up with all that suffering and all that He went through, how He faced all those things. He says, “For the joy that was set before Him.” How did he endure? How did he endure the cross and the suffering there? For the joy that was set before Him. See, His eye was an eye of faith, not by this eye. He was not looking with natural eyes and seeing all the trouble and all the things that were happening. He was looking with the eyes of faith for the joy that was set before Him. He was looking at how in every continent, in every country, in every nation, tongue, tribe and people, there will be people one day, those who believe in Him, those who love Him, those who rejoice over Him, those who celebrate Him, those who have faith in Him, those who will be saved through Him, for the joy that was set before Him. He was looking at the great and grand plan and purpose of God, what God was going to accomplish through that.

We're talking about see. What are you seeing? What are we seeing? Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at right hand of the throne of God. The suffering was unbearable suffering in spirit, soul and body. He was beaten, scourged. He was dishonored, disrespected. There was whipping, slapping, spitting, all kinds of things happening. He was insulted, mentally tortured, physically tortured. And the greatest suffering was in His spirit where the sin of the whole world was laid upon Him and the judgment of that sin and the punishment for the sin also came upon Him and He had to bear all that. And He did not look at those things.

All that was happening in the natural, He was not looking at it. He was looking at the joy that was set before Him. He looked at all of us sitting in Chennai one day celebrating Him. People all over the world rejoicing over Him, believing in Him, putting their faith in Him. For the joy that was set before Him. See, when you understand what God has for you, it is so wonderful, so big and so fantastic that all the obstacles that you have to cross, all the mountains that you have to get over, and all the hindrances that you have to tackle and handle before you get there, are nothing. He’s teaching the people of Israel by bringing them to the walls of Jericho, He’s saying, “This is nothing. You know what is beyond there? After you cross over, you know what is there? The slaves are going to become landowners, every family will own land. They'll be living in a land flowing with milk and honey. They will have honor, dignity, respect.” God has brought them to a good place.

The thing is, the first time they didn't make it because they had no vision for what God has for them. Therefore, they did not persist in faith. They did not keep looking at those things and the wonderful things that God has prepared. That's why they went back. They thought wilderness was okay and they even considered going back to Egypt. What a terrible thing going back to Egypt. They said the food was good there. The garlic and the onion they remembered. They remembered the onion chutney; I think. They said, “We go back. Nice food, nice masala there. In the wilderness, there's nothing available. We go back.” But God had something wonderful, greater before them. They have to cross these things, they have to deal with these enemies, they have to deal with these obstacles, they have to overcome these things, win against all odds and go there. And God is going to be with them, give them victory, take them into the promised land so that they possess everything.

I want to tell you today; our promised land is all that is in Christ Jesus through redemption. That's our promised land. And I tell you, you can have so many walls in the way, you have to cross the sea, you can get over the walls and get over all kinds of enemies and face all kinds of difficulties and challenges and problems. They are nothing considering the wonderful things that God has prepared for us. You must go on, you must possess, you must inherit all that God has for you. You must walk by faith, not by sight. You must not be constantly looking at the problems, but constantly be looking at Him the winner. If you keep looking at Him the winner, because He went through the same world, the same troubles, same problems, achieved God's purposes, glorified, sits at the right hand of God, it says. Where is He right now? At the right hand of God. If you keep looking at Him, you’ll become just like Him. If you keep your eyes on Him, you and I will become just like Him. We will become winners also. And nothing in this world can stop us from achieving what God has purposed for us. Amen?

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