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Faith Is The Victory (Joshua 13-17)

Joshua 13 opens by telling us that the conquest has taken many years and now Joshua is old. The Lord comes to Joshua and notes Joshua’s age and then notes a problem. The problem is that while the land of Canaan has been conquered and the wars are over, the land has not be settled or possessed. Those areas of land are described in verses 2-6. Now you may wonder what the problem is if the land has been conquered. Think about the situation like this: the leaders have been killed, the armies have been defeated, the fortified cities have fallen, but the citizens have not been driven out of the land. It would be like if our major cities fell, our political leaders were killed, and our armies were captured and killed. We would all still live here just waiting for what is going to happen next. There are going to be some flare ups of resistance but it will not be the complete warfare required up to this point. So that is where we are in the book of Joshua…

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Disciplined Faith (Hebrews 12:4-14)

Our spiritual journey with Jesus requires endurance. The writer of Hebrews has written this sermon so that these Christians would not give up or grow weary. In Hebrews 12 he has told them that they are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses which should compel us to lay aside the weights we are carrying in this life and the sin that clings so closely to us. Our focus is to be placed on Jesus who suffered as he did so that we would not give up. Now the writer is going to speak to us about how to look at our difficulties and suffering. The author is helping us look at our trials, hardships, and suffering in a different way so that we will have the endurance needed to run this spiritual race. Let us read Hebrews 12:3-13.

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Faith To Stop The Sun (Joshua 10-12)

The fear of Joshua and the people of Israel is growing in the land of Canaan. Israel has conquered Jericho, conquered Ai, and made a peace treaty with the people of Gibeon. This is causing fear in the land of Canaan, not only because of the victories, but also because the Gibeonites are a mighty army with fortified cities. Further, the people of Israel have come in through the middle of the land and are about to separate the land in two for conquest. In Joshua 9 we read that the kings of Canaan were beginning to assemble to battle against Israel. Now with Gibeon on Israel’s side, the king of Jerusalem calls for the other kings in the area to go and fight. In particular, these kings gather their armies and make war against Gibeon (10:3-5).

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Burden Free Faith (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1–2 NRSV)

The writer of Hebrews declares that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Who are the witnesses that the author is speaking about? Chapter 11 has been about all the people who had the faith to not look for the reward in this life but had the faith that looked upward. The testimony of these witnesses of faith is that any amount of rejection or suffering from the world is worth it because of the reward and approval that lies ahead. All of them died in faith without receiving what was promised (11:13), but lived for the approval of God. Now these people of faith are pictured as spectators watching our walk with God. It is interesting that the author does not merely tell us follow the example of these witnesses. Rather, he tells us that we are surrounded by them. They are pictured as an encouragement to our faith. Now the author is going to tell us what we must do because we see what these witnesses of faith have done.

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