13th March 2023
Read - Joshua 6 & Hebrews 11:30
Message Alan Burke
From a human perspective, rational, scientific whatever we want to call it what happens in Joshua 6 is ridiculous. I don’t know any General’s although I know a few fellas in the army and if they were ordered to take look to the people of God in Joshua 6 of how to capture a city they’d want their commanding officer sectioned. Think about it, march round the city, blow a trumpet, give a shout and you’ll have the victory they’d have laughed you out the room. Yet this is what the Lord God told his people to do and we are confronted once more with the omnipotent God. What we often do is reduce God to a pocket sized deity who has been shaped by our own limitations and experiences, we are made in the image of God so God must be like us.
May the Lord forgive us for how we have reduced him to the God’s of wood and stone, those are but the imaginations of men like the gods of the nations. Instead as the Westminster Larger Catechism reminds us when it asks “What is God?” (Q7), "God is a Spirit, (John 4:24) in and of himself infinite in being, (Exod. 3:14, Job 11:7–9) glory, (Acts 7:2) blessedness, (1 Tim. 6:15) and perfection; (Matt. 5:48) all-sufficient, (Gen. 17:1) eternal, (Ps. 90:2) unchangeable, (Mal. 3:6, James 1:17) incomprehensible, (1 Kings 8:27) every where present, (Ps. 139:1–13) almighty, (Rev. 4:8) knowing all things, (Heb. 4:13, Ps. 147:5) most wise, (Rom. 16:27) most holy, (Isa. 6:3, Rev. 15:4) most just, (Deut. 32:4) most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. (Exod. 34:6)
While from a human perspective the fall of Jericho was impossible but we come before the infinite God, the one who had redeemed His people from Egypt, the mighty acts and the wonders of God were clear for that people to see, God brought them through the Red Sea and wiped out pharaoh’s army, that’s where we were last week but as is made obvious as we let scripture internet scripture. Yet the people passed through the Red Sea (11:29) but it wasn’t the faith of all the people it was rather the faith of some. For we know that that generation were known as a faithless generation, a rebellious one. Now we pick up forty years later, God through Moses had given the people His law, they had been wondering in the wilderness for all that time. It is there in the wilderness that the Lord had taught them to rely on Him and now we have a new generation who were called to follow the Lord and do what He called them to do as they enter the promised land. The question is as they enter the promised land, one flowing with milk and honey, would they be like the unbelieving generation that came before them?
No they wouldn’t, this generation has learnt, this generation are not like the previous one, there is no gurning or moaning, the people act in faith, such was the difference ether the Lord’s chastisement of his people had made. The Lord had disciplined his people. It isn’t something that we like to think about, we often have a desire for some cosmic therapist who just affirms us, who will help his people to just sail through life like a breeze on a summers day, but that is not the Lord our God, it’s not the God of the bible. If that is what God was like then we would never lear nor be conformed more and more into his likeness. God can use what we face in many situations to discipline us, the hardships we face at home, the troubles at work, while of course many of these things are the result of living in a fallen sinful world as fallen sinful people others are sent by God to discipline us. At other times God disciplines us by simply allowing the consequences of our sin to run their course. While we are forgiven in Christ Jesus, while we will not be condemned with the world (1 Cor 11:32), we are corrected by God, that is what he did to his people of old and that is what he does with his people today.
Q99 What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?
The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; (1 John 5:14) but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called The Lord’ s prayer. (Matt. 6:9–13, Luke 11:2–4)