“STRENGTH & COURAGE FOR TODAY”
CWBC – 5/13/18
INTRO – Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad that we can be together today to worship our Lord Jesus Christ!
Continuing sermon series for the women of our church FAMILY today. I still want to remind you that I am certainly not claiming to be an expert in this area. Women are unique, complicated beings w/ their own set of issues & struggles. Heard about one woman who was struggling with the reality of her age, asked a friend, “I don’t think I look 40-years-old, do you?” Her friend answered, “No, but you used to!”
I am truly astounded at the strength & determination & influence of women in our world. Of course, today is the day set aside to celebrate the influence of mothers in our lives. Forbes article: “Think you can put a price on motherhood?” A yearly survey by Salary.com called the annual Mom Salary Survey attempts to put a salary on the work of American mothers. First, they broke down motherly duties into the following 10 categories: Day Care Center Teacher, CEO, Psychologist, Cook, Housekeeper, Laundry Machine Operator, Computer Operator, Facilities Manager, Janitor, & Van Driver. Then they studied how many hours moms work in those categories & what the family would have to pay for outsourcing that duty. According to the 2012 survey, they determined the following:
- The average stay-at-home mom should make an annual salary of $112,962 (based on a 40-hour per week base pay plus 54.7 hours a week of overtime);
- The average working mom should make an annual salary (just for her “mom” role) of $66,969 (based on 40-hours of mothering duties & 17.9 overtime hours per week).
But it’s not just mothers. It’s women. You are amazing. The Church would be so weak & so ineffective without your commitment & your participation. We are so thankful for you today. And today, I want to help you find more of the strength & courage you need (& that men need, too) to face the challenges of our day.
Open your Bibles or open your Bible app & turn to Joshua 1:1-9 (p. 178).
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
EXPLANATION – The Book of Joshua continues the story of the Israelites after they came out of bondage in Egypt. The book chronicles the approximately 20 years of Joshua’s leadership of the people after Moses anointed him at the end of Deuteronomy. So let’s talk about this man, Joshua, for a moment. He’s one of the most significant people in the OT, & there are several things that he is noted for:
Second in command to Moses – He is best known as Moses’ second in command who takes over and leads the Israelites into the Promised Land after Moses’ death. Moses had been the powerful prophet & leader of the children of Israel. The book of Deuteronomy ends w/ these words in 34:10-12 – “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel” (Deut 34:10–12).
Many times, there is a downturn when a great leader passes from the scene. But, in God’s sovereign plan, He had Joshua waiting, ready to move into his place of leadership. And he stepped up to the plate to carry out what God had for him to do. Deut. 34:9 – “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.”
Strong leader – Joshua had already proven himself as a strong leader while Moses was still alive. Numbers 13-14, God commanded Moses to send 12 spies into the land of Canaan & bring back a report. 10 spies said the land was beautiful & bountiful, but that there were giants in the land & that the children of Israel should not move forward. Only Joshua & Caleb said that the people should go in & possess the land. Only these 2 men believed that God was truly able to protect His people & deliver the land into their hands.
Strategic military commander – The first few chapters of Joshua tell of his preparation for the battle of Jericho in Joshua 6. He worked hard as the military commander of the armies of Israel, building them up, inspiring them, & preparing them to do battle against their enemies.
Solid faith – But the only reason that Joshua was such an effective leader of the people & such a effective commander of the armies is b/c of his deep belief that God was on their side. He listened to God. He obeyed God. He followed God. He led as God told him to lead. It was his solid faith that set him apart as the strong leader & man of God that he was. He wasn’t perfect. But his faith shows us that, when we trust the Lord & follow His leadership, He will take us into the Promised Land of His salvation, blessing, & rest.
Joshua 1:1-9 sets the stage for Joshua’s leadership among the people.
The Lord Himself is on your side no matter what you are facing.
The Problem – v. 1-2a – Moses is dead. That’s a problem. He’s been the powerful & effective leader of the people for a long time & led them out of Egypt. He brought the 10 Commandments down from Mt. Sinai. He faced down Pharaoh on behalf of the people of God. He parted the Red Sea. He heard from God & told the people what He had said. And now he’s gone. It’s time for Joshua to step up.
Death brings its own unique set of problems into our lives. Some of you are having a problem today b/c death has taken your mama away from you, & Mother’s Day is an annual reminder of that fact in your life. Your mother’s death has left a big void in your life that no one else can fill. The problem of grief is weighing heavy on your heart today.
Or maybe Mother’s Day is a reminder to you the difficult relationship that you had or maybe still have w/ your earthly mother. We are all sinners & are all imperfect in many ways. But maybe your mama made your life hard in some ways that were truly unfair & hurtful. Maybe there were unrealistic expectations or comparisons. Or maybe she was involved in some outright immoral behavior. Or maybe she abandoned you, or left your father for another man, putting a scar on your heart that is still there.
Based on the text messages that I received from you as I prepared to preach this series, many of you women have faced & are facing a myriad of problems in your lives. These problems come in all sorts of shapes & forms, & affect many different people in your lives.
- Worry is a problem for many of you
- Feeling overwhelmed w/ life
- Trying to have a perfect life for your family
- Feeling like a failure at times
- Heartbreak of a struggling child
- Dealing w/ drama in our lives & in our kids’ lives
- Struggling w/ all the changes that go on in your life & your family’s life
- Brokenness due to sin & betrayal in your family
- Rejection & insecurity are both issues
- How to realize that you can’t be SuperWoman
Some of these problems have been coming for a long time; some have come upon you suddenly. Some of these problems are caused by other people or by some of the societal issues we are dealing w/ in our day & age; some of these problems are your own doing.
The simple, sobering reality of life is that problems come to all of our lives. Some of these problems are unique to women, some unique to men. But all of us will face problems in our lives.
But b/c He loves you SO much, God has given you EVERYTHING you need to face those problems. Here are 3 specifics to face your problems that God gives you right here in these verses:
The Promises of God – What did God promise to Joshua after the death of Moses?
- He would give them the land – v. 2-4
- He would be w/ them always – v. 5a, 9b
- He would never leave them nor forsake them – v. 5b
Aren’t those same promises true for us today as God’s people? He may not give us land or territory like He gave Joshua & the children of Israel, but hasn’t He promised us that He will give us whatever we need & meet whatever need we have (Phil. 4:13)? Hasn’t He promised us that He will be w/ us always (Matt. 28:20)? Hasn’t He promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5)?
His promises are one of our most formidable weapons to use against the problems & fears that we face in our lives. Bianca Olthoff, creative director for women’s Propel Conferences, wrote this in a devotional: “What are God’s promises to you? God isn’t speaking in Morse code, communicating in confusing ways you have to work hard to discern. His Word is right there before you. It is ‘alive and powerful’ (Hebrews 4:12) and God will speak through the pages of Scripture. You can fully embrace and rely on the truth you find there.” (https://www.christianitytoday.com/women/devotions/2016/refining-fire/trust-gods-promises.html)
Get into God’s Word. Find His promises. Write them down. Memorize them. Meditate on them. Believe them!
Here are 5 to get you started. Jot these down & begin memorizing & meditating on 1 of these this week:
- Joshua 1:9
- Isaiah 40:31
- Galatians 6:9
- Proverbs 31:30
- Isaiah 66:13
Bianca Olthoff concluded her devotional w/ these thoughts: “On your desert journey, you will be tempted to forget or question God’s promises. In those moments, trust this reality: The Lord may delay fulfilling his promises, but he will never deny them.”
The Precepts of God – If the promises of God are what give us our inspiration, the precepts of God are what give us our instruction. Look at v. 7-8. The Lord makes it abundantly clear to Joshua that the ONLY way that he would be able to lead the people rightly & honor the Lord consistently was to live a life of obedience to the Word of God. Look at the intensity of God’s instructions to Joshua. He is SERIOUS about Joshua’s obedience. And He is serious about OUR obedience, too! Beth Moore: “We must remember that bending the knee is ultimately a matter of pure obedience,” stresses Moore. “You may never feel like giving your circumstance, hurt, or loss to Him; but you can choose to submit to His authority out of belief and obedience rather than emotion. Obedience is always the mark of authentic surrender to God’s authority.” (https://www.christiantoday.com/article/evangelist-beth-moore-says-true-peace-comes-in-situations-that-are-completely-surrendered-to-christ/87492.htm)
Priscilla Shirer shared her story of the balance beam in her gymnastic class. Before her coach would give her any further instructions, such as twists, turns, leaps, he made sure her alignment was correct on the balance beam. She waited for his okay to continue. He would stand at the end of the beam and check her posture, making sure her whole body was aligned correctly so no injuries would occur. When it was correctly aligned, he would then give her further instructions, the next move.
Think about this imagery: Listening, obeying, waiting for the next bit of instructions. Obedience is where it starts, Priscilla said. Aligning ourselves to the voice of God and then moving on His instructions, His commands. The question is this, “do we really want to hear from God? Have we postured our heart in a state to say yes Lord?”
Priscilla asks these questions:
- Are we off balance in any way in our life?
- Do we need to be realigned?
- Is there an area of fear, pride, ego, intimidation in our life?
- Is there an area we need to loosen our grip on?
- What keeps us from being fully engaged in obedience?
The Presence of God – Joshua 1:9 concludes w/ a wonderful statement that will go w/ us all the way through our lives – “the Lord your God is w/ you wherever you go.” Joshua needed to know this b/c he had many battles & many difficulties ahead of him. He may not have known all that he would face, but the Lord did.
And the same is true for you today.
- For those of you who are moms, God knows what is ahead of you & He says to you today, “I will be w/ you wherever you go.”
- For those of you who are not moms but will be one day, He says to you, “I will be w/ you wherever you go.”
- For those of you women who are facing some difficult situations in your life right now, He says to you, “I will be w/ you wherever you go.”
- For ALL of us, as we walk through life, He says to us, “I will be w/ you wherever you do.”
The Lord Himself is on your side no matter what you are facing.