Coming Out of the Wilderness

Scripture Reading:  Joshua 6:1-20

1 Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none
came in. 2 And the LORD said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king,
and the mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go
all around the city once. This you shall do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear seven
trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city
seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 It shall come to pass, when they make
a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the
people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people
shall go up every man straight before him.”
6 Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the
covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the
LORD.” 7 And he said to the people, “Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is
armed advance before the ark of the LORD.”
8 So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven
trumpets of rams’ horns before the LORD advanced and blew the trumpets, and the ark of the
covenant of the LORD followed them. 9 The armed men went before the priests who blew the
trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while the priests continued blowing the
trumpets. 10 Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout or make
any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to
you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout.” 11 So he had the ark of the LORD circle the city, going
around it once. Then they came into the camp and lodged in the camp.
12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. 13 Then
seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD went on
continually and blew with the trumpets. And the armed men went before them. But the rear
guard came after the ark of the LORD, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets. 14
And the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. So they did
six days.
15 But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day,
and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched
around the city seven times. 16 And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the
trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the LORD has given you the city! 17 Now
the city shall be doomed by the LORD to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the
harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers
that we sent. 18 And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become
accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and
trouble it. 19 But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the
LORD; they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.”
20 So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the
people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall
fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they
took the city.

Before we get started today, let me just say that this scripture is not what I thought I
would be preaching on today.   The LORD has truly been leading me on this one,
taking me where I didn’t expect to go.  So, this passage begins with the children of
Israel about to be led into the Promised Land.  They had come out of Egypt, but
because of their unbelief, it had taken 40 years of wandering in the desert.  But why
did they have to spend 40 years wandering in the wilderness?  Also, of all those over
20 years old that had come out of Egypt, only two, Joshua and Caleb, actually made
it in.  Why?  Why did all but two die in the wilderness?  Not even Moses made it in.  
Why?

Ephesians 4:17-24
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the
Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being
alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the
blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness,
to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught
by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old
man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of
your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true
righteousness and holiness.

It was necessary for the Israelites to renew their minds.    Let’s analyze what they end
up doing here in Joshua 6.  They had to look at Jericho, this immensely fortified city
with its king and mighty men of valor, and not even flinch.  They had to completely
trust God and His instruction.  Look at what He asks them to do.  Get seven priests
with seven horns (shofars) to go before the ark, as you walk around the city once for
six straight days.  Then on the seventh day they have to do it seven times then blow
the horns and shout.  What?  Are you kidding?  Do you remember what the people
had done 40 years earlier when Moses spent a long time on the mountain?  Or when
Korah and his buddies rebelled?  Can you imagine what they may have said if asked
to do these things?  “This is silly!”  “What’s this supposed to do?”  “Are you sure God
said to do this?”  “Who put you in charge over us?”  or maybe Moses would be
impatient and walk around the city twice in one day just to be sure.  

Do you see what I’m getting at?  These Israelites that went into Jericho (accept for
Joshua and Caleb), were all under twenty years old or not even born yet when they
left Egypt.  They had grown up following God in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of
fire by night.  They had come to completely rely on the Father sending them their
daily bread every day except for the day before the Sabbath when they’d get a
double helping of what they would need for two days.  They had learned to deny
themselves and be content with the manna God provided.  They had seen that
whining and complaining didn’t get you anything but trusting God gets you
everything.  Their minds had been completely renewed!  They were ready and willing.

We’ve been talking about spiritual warfare and use being warriors for the kingdom for
a few weeks now.  Well, renewing our minds is like basic training.  I remember when
my brother was in basic training for the Marines.  He had decided to leave because it
was so difficult.  Not the physical part, but the mental part.  From what I understand,
to make a good soldier you have to tear them down so you can build them back up
the way you need them to be.  They have to get to the point where a superior officer
will give them an order and they will just do it.  There’s no time to ask why in warfare.  
Now, does it make sense why their minds had to be renewed before they got to
Jericho?  This thing God wanted them to do made no sense; it wasn’t rational.  But it
wasn’t about being rational; it was about being obedient to follow as He leads.

Romans 12:1-2
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a
living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be
conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove
what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

John 12:24-25
24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it
remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he
who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

We have got to be willing to relinquish ourselves to His will, so that He can mold us
and make us into what He needs us to be.  The Israelites that came out of Egypt were
still conformed to Egypt.  

Numbers 11:4-6
4 Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of
Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? 5 We remember the fish which
we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6 but
now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”

These people were still looking back to Egypt.  They had left Egypt but Egypt hadn’t
left them.  Egypt is a representation of sin in our lives.  You will hear those who are
saved but to listen to them, you’d never be able to tell.  They still enjoy the world.  
They still crave the things of the world more than the things of the kingdom of
heaven.  So, how does this apply to us in our walk with Messiah?  Well, unfortunately,
there are many who have been saved from Egypt but will waste away in the
wilderness; never to lay eyes on the Promised Land.  That is sad, but it doesn’t have
to be that way.  I know that my children are like those under twentys in the
wilderness.  They are being raised with a different mindset than I was.  My nine-year
old son Cameron heard his grandfather saying something negative, I don’t remember
what it was but he said something like, “Don’t speak that negative, grandpa.  Words
are important!”  I just looked at Jeff like, well alright.  They are growing up seeing God
power at work.  My seventeen-year old daughter Kristen, will believe for things and
get them.  It’s truly uncanny!  She said to me, I want an iPod and I was like, yeah
whatever.  You see, I was thinking about the price but that never even entered her
mind.  She didn’t covet the thing but I’m telling you, she spoke it and then left the
details to God.  I didn’t hear another word about it for like a month.  Then she came
home one day from school and said, “Mom, guess what?  One of my friends gave me
her old video iPod.”  She’s had like two different cell phones, nice ones, just given to
her by friends.

So, if this is the case, what about us over twentys who were over twenty when we
came out of Egypt, so to speak?  Are we destined to waste away in the wilderness?  
Absolutely not!  Not if we learn to trust God the way Joshua and Caleb did.  Joshua
and Caleb renewed their thinking and came into the Promised Land and were given
their share in the inheritance.  They did not die in the wilderness with those of their
generation.  We must renew our minds if we have any intention of making it into the
Promised Land.  Unfortunately, many believers today will come out of Egypt but are
never able to get Egypt out of them, and though I’m sorry to say it, they will die in the
wilderness.  Many will come out of sin, get born again, and stay stuck in that place;
never moving forward.  They get justified but never get sanctified.  Now, don’t get me
wrong, the moment we accepted Yeshua’s sacrifice as atonement for our sin and Him
as Lord and Savior, we are able to put on His righteousness, but being sanctified or
set apart for His service is a part of renewing our minds.

This week we will be celebrating the Feast of Dedication.  During the time of the
Maccabees, the temple in Jerusalem was defiled by Antiochus Epiphanes.  This
defilement is like the defilement our temples went through when we were in sin.  The
Maccabees took over the temple and through out those who had defiled it, which is
like us realizing we were sinners in need of salvation accepting Christ’s sacrifice to
cleanse us of all sin.  But then, once the temple had been cleansed, there was a
period when the temple needed to be purified, set apart, sanctified, rededicated for
service to the Lord of the Universe.  Although this feast is celebrate to remember this
of faith and the miracle from God that allowed not enough oil to be enough to get
them through this period, I believe it is also a foreshadow of this process for each and
every believer.  Once the battle for our soul has been won and the stains for our sin
has been removed, we also need to go through this time where we can be purified,
set apart, sanctified, and rededicated for the service of our Lord and Savior.


Sermon by: Denise Baxley
Date: December 10, 2006
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