Sunday, November 6, 2016

Fight the Good Fight of the Faith: Folly and Faithfulness

In the previous post, we talked about some highlights from ch. 8, which finishes off the episode that began with Achan's sin and Israel's defeat as a result. With the sermon in today's post, we continue forward through the book of Joshua with Jos. 9, and we are going to look at the effects of human folly on the battles of the Christian life, and yet, in the wake of that foolishness, we also see God’s glory and redemptive nature in how He handles our folly.

In the last sermon, the Israelites were taught a hard lesson: They had already grown spiritually lazy—the great victory over Jericho had left them thinking that they had God in their proverbial “back pocket”—and within that context, one man thought his sin would not make a difference, so he stole from God. Yet, his sin had implications that affected the whole nation and nearly derailed, at least from a human perspective, the fulfillment of God’s promises in the land of Canaan. The failure of the whole people had found its focus in the sin one individual, and it nearly cost that generation the Promised Land. So, after they finally defeated Ai in ch. 8, they renewed the covenant—they had become spiritually lazy and so they needed to wake themselves up by renewing their minds in the covenant God made with them. And, after that, if we were reading this book for the first time, we would probably think they had learned their lesson, but then we get to ch. 9.

When we read ch. 9, we might be tempted to scoff at them and think, “Seriously? You just renewed the covenant and didn’t learn your lesson?” Yet, if we slow down and take a look at our own hearts, we will not judge the Israelites too quickly. How often do we say to ourselves after repeating an old sinful pattern, “When am I going to learn! What’s wrong with me? Why do I keep doing this?” In fact, this episode might be a tragic comedy, if it didn’t hit so close to home—if we weren’t able to read and say, “I do the same thing.” But, this episode also shows us the faithfulness of God and the power of His sovereignty in an amazing way, which will point our eyes back to Christ to say, “I’m such a great and foolish sinner, but I have a gracious, wise, and powerful Savior!”

Unfortunately, a technical issue kept this sermon from being recorded when I preached it back in the summer, but you can still read the transcript here, if you like.

I pray that God will use it to magnify His glory in your heart and fortify you for the battles of this Christian life.

By His Grace,

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