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Conquest & Commitment

Joshua 1-24

The land has now been conquered, for the most part, and tho’ we’re not quite done gleaning some great things from the last few chapters of Joshua, it’s a good time to stop and review what we’ve studied, and see the big picture.


A quiz:  Who are the following people?

Shammau, Shaphat, Igal, Palti, Gaddiel, Galdi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi and Geul

        No one remembers these ten spies who said the land couldn’t be taken.  But I don’t even have to list multiple choices for you to recall the 2 who were committed to conquest.  [Joshua and Caleb]


Did you ever notice how most of the people who have really affected this world for the good have been people who had a great drive for accomplishment? Not necessarily a desire to make themselves great, but an unfailing desire to do great things. They had a spirit that would not give up, even in the most discouraging of times. Abraham Lincoln faced many losses in congress before he finally was elected as President. Thomas Edison went through hundreds of filaments before he found the right one that would bring about the light bulb. Many of the great discoveries of our world today came about because of an undying determination.

Why is it that while some are content to sit in their couch each night and watch TV, others are driven to do bigger and better things that make a difference with their lives? There are factors of personality, giftedness, and vision, but one of the biggest differences is a conviction and calling. The individuals who do great things feel a calling to spend their lives influencing others lives.

Joshua had a conviction and calling from God. Moses has died on the mountain, buried by the hand of God. Joshua has assumed the leadership of the people. Joshua knows that God is calling the people of Israel to go forward into the promised land that he has led them to. We see Joshua approaching this calling with two attitudes that go hand in hand. These are two attitudes that need to be in each of our lives as believers: Conquest and Commitment.

I. Conquest - Whenever God calls someone, he calls them to do a great task. It may seem trivial to others, but just the faithful tasks we do everyday are great in the eyes of God. As believers, do we really have an attitude of CONQUEST - seeking to do great things for God?

A. It starts with a view of what can be –

1:1-5 – “every place - all the country - no one stand against - not forsake you”
*Joshua had a great vision from God of what could happen to the nation of Israel
Do you have a vision of what God can do through you?
“Seek to accomplish something so great for God that it is doomed for failure unless God is in it.”
--Do we believe God for things that are humanly impossible?

B. Conquest takes courage - 1:6-9 - Three times in four verses God tells him to be strong and courageous. Conquest takes courage. God tells him not to be discouraged. In our society we talk about discouragement a lot - but it is normally really dis-illusionment, a loss of our vision. Most times it isn’t a question of courage.
As the Christians were facing gladiators and wild beasts, they needed to be courageous. As the Israelites were facing giants in the land they needed courage. As David faced Goliath, he needed courage. As you face your unsaved boss to share the gospel it takes courage. But so often when we consider whether to read our Bible or watch TV, there is no question of courage involved. Courage is necessary as we are actively engaged in conquest. Those who are content to sit never accomplish great conquests.

C. Conquest means trusting in God’s power, not your own.
How many of us are content to trust God to do things that we can’t do ourselves? If it is difficult or uncomfortable, most of us don’t want to consider it. As Joshua enters the land, he trusted in the power of God, not the power of the Jewish army.
3:9-17 - As they cross the Jordan, it is God who parts the waters.
6:20-21 - As they come to Jericho, it is God who knocks down the walls

D. When we seek conquest, but ignore God’s direction, we get in trouble
7:10-12 - Achan took of forbidden items - several Israelites lost their lives for his sin.
9:14 - When the Gibeonites come to seek peace, the Israelites don’t ask God about it.

If we endeavor to do God’s work in our own way or on our own strength, we will fail.

E. When you follow God’s plans, miraculous things happen.
10:11-14 - God fights the battle for them.

If we seek God’s power and blessing, things we never thought possible can happen.

F. In conquest, you don’t always accomplish all that you want
Most of the greatest men of history died wanting to still accomplish more. Many of Leonardo DaVinci’s greatest inventions were half-drawn and never finished.
13:1, 6-7 - As Joshua nears death, there is still much conquest to take place.
We need to think of serving God as a team effort. There is not one of us who can evangelize all of Decatur, but if all the Christians in our area would work together and do their part, think what God could do!

G. God’s faithfulness is always true and consistent.
14:6-15 - As Caleb, one of the two spies comes to claim his land, he gives testimony to the faithfulness of God.

***Do you have a desire for conquest? Not to be on TV, or make a hit record, but to do great things for God! God desires to use each one of us in GREAT ways for his kingdom!

But, hand in hand with conquest comes COMMITMENT.


II. Commitment - Greater than the driving force of conquest is the rudder of commitment. If you put a car in gear and step on the gas, you are in danger unless there is someone behind the wheel to steer the car.
We need to have commitment to the Lord in our efforts to serve him.


After 9/11 President Bush used a phrase that is commonly used by politicians, “stay the course.” He said we would “stay the course” in our fight against terror. To stay the course is “to stand firm in pursuing a goal or course of action, to persevere in the face of whatever challenges or obstacles one may encounter.” I was curious as to the origin of this term so I looked it up on the internet. The first use of the phrase in print, in 1885, comes from another sort of “course,” the racetrack. “To stay the course” in this sense referred to the ability of a horse to endure the race and reach the finish line, preferably in a winning position.


Ill- One day a kindergarten teacher was helping one of her students put on his cowboy boots? He asked for help and she could see why. Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn’t want to go on. They got one boot on. Finally, when the second boot was on, she had worked up a sweat. She almost cried when the little boy said, "Teacher, they’re on the wrong feet." She looked down and sure enough, they were.


It wasn’t any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. But she managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on - this time on the right feet. And it was only then that he announced, "These aren’t my boots."


She bit her tongue rather than scream, "Why didn’t you say so?" like she wanted to. And, once again she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet. No sooner had they got the boots off than he said, "They’re my brother’s boots. My Mom made me wear ’em today."


Stifling a scream, she mustered up the grace and courage she had left to wrestle the ill-fitting boots on his feet again. Helping him into his coat, she asked, "Now, where are your mittens?"


To which he replied, "I stuffed ’em in the toes of my boots."(Contributed to Sermon Central by: Ken Kersten)


That teacher had a challenging day! She needed to stay the course.


There are some things in life you can always depend on to be constant:

-The sun will rise in the morning.

-The sun will set in the afternoon.

-Gravity will continue its pull.

-The republicans and democrats will continue

to argue.

-Water will continue to be wet.

-Wives will tell their husbands how to drive.

-Husbands will not listen to their wives


“Be so dependable that if you say you will be somewhere and don’t show up, they will send flowers.”


Joshua was dependable in at least two ways:

·       He continued to serve faithfully even in old age.

Ill- The apostle Paul said "I have kept the faith." He served and was dependable until the very end.


·       He was a prayer warrior for Moses.

A. Commitment means being willing to change our lifestyle to obey God.
1:10-17 - Here 2 and 1/2 tribes leave their families and for over 5 years cross the Jordan to fight with their brothers. Sometimes God calls us to do things that aren’t easy.

All of Israel had to learn over the years to leave the world behind or suffer for it.

Commitment is a willingness to step out of our comfort zone!

B. Commitment is built by using reminders in our lives -
4:1-7 - As they cross the Jordan, they set up stones as a reminder of God’s power
22:26-27 - the 2 1/2 tribes set up an altar as a reminder to worship God

If we are going to be committed to conquest, it helps us to have reminders in our lives.  That’s why I’m here!  That’s why we have a Bible, and history to learn from, our elders, our parents, etc.

C. Commitment needs to be periodically renewed
*In Deuteronomy at the end we see Moses calling the people to recommitment to God
8:28-35 - Joshua reminds the people of their commitment
24:14-27 - Once again the people make a commitment to follow God

D. When we recommit to God, often we need to reexamine our lives for sinful influences that need to be eliminated. 24:23
**What is there in your life that should not be a part? Eliminate it!

We need to be a people who dream great dreams for God. We need a spirit of conquest. We need to dream great dreams of what God can do. We need to be courageous enough to let God make them a reality. We need to be pure enough for God to bless our lives.


[based on material from Dean Rhines & Leland Patrick]



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