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Watch 2022 online sermons » Jack Graham » Jack Graham - Shout to the Lord

Jack Graham - Shout to the Lord

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    Jack Graham - Shout to the Lord
TOPICS: Epic Adventures, Joshua

The story that we have before us is one of the well known, well worn stories of the Bible. And there's even a song about it: "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho and the walls come a tumbling down". And we're going to walk with Joshua and the children of Israel. And Joshua is one of the great personalities of the Bible. He's not as well known as his predecessor Moses, but it was Joshua who led the children of Israel into the Land of Promise. Now if you were going to enter into the promises of God, you need to be aware that you will face obstacles. There will be Jerichos in your own life! And a Jericho can be anything in your life that says, "Keep out from the blessings of God".

That massive wall that stands between you and what God has given you. For your Jericho could be an aging body. Your Jericho could be a cancer diagnosis. Your Jericho could be a broken relationship, a broken marriage. Your Jericho could be a fear or worry. Your Jericho could be some huge disappointment that is standing in the way and almost mocking you, saying, "I'm here and you're never coming into the blessing that God has for you"! The story of Joshua is filled with conquests. It is a bloody book; it is filled with battles. And God called Joshua to be the commander of the Lord's army, and through Joshua, He led the children of Israel to victory, but not without a fight, not without overcoming! I'm hoping to carry the message to Christians everywhere that we are in a spiritual battle.

Paul said in the book of Ephesians chapter 6, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and rulers of the dark places". This unseen battle, what's going on in the America in our culture today is ultimately spiritual warfare for the soul and the heart of this nation. And so God judges sin, and ultimately God would judge Jericho as God will judge America if we do not repent and return to God! Jericho was a very vile and wicked, depraved and debauched society. They practiced witchcraft and idolatry. They offered little babies to their pagan deities, sacrificed children and human beings. They were filled with homosexuality and all kinds of sin, and God said enough for Jericho! And God sent his people in to conquer Jericho and exterminate the sin and the sinful people. God said they were to be judged.

We're facing as a country either ruin or revival. And I pray that we like the children of Israel will move like a mighty army! God has not called us to be a mighty audience, but a mighty army winning victory after victory in Jesus' name! So how are we to win this victory? How are we to win personally in life? It is by faith! And that's what we're going to see in our lesson today. Chapter 6, verses 20 and 21. That's where we'll begin. We're going to begin with the end in mind. And here's the end of the story. "So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. And as soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword". And then verse 27 says: "So the Lord was with Joshua and his fame was in all the land".

What happened? How did it happen? How did these walls fall down? The New Testament commentary on this is in Hebrews 11 and verse 30, for it says: "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down". Faith is the victory because faith moves the muscles of omnipotence! Faith moves the omnipotence of God! But how does faith act? Well, first of all, I want you to look with me in this great story of the surrender of faith. If you want to be on the pathway to victory in your life, it begins with a surrender of faith. Let's back up just a little bit and catch up just a little bit in this story. Joshua knew that he needed God's counsel and God's guidance to lead His children to victory, the children of Israel to victory, and so as a good general would do, he's looking for a strategy. And he gets by himself late one evening, a kind of reconnaissance around the walls, surveillance around the walls of Jericho. And as he is there in the darkness, he suddenly senses another presence around him.

That ever happen to you? I mean you think you're alone and all the sudden you realize you're not alone; someone is there. And in this case, that someone was a very mysterious figure. Chapter 5 of Joshua, verses 13 and following: "When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, 'Are you for us, or for our adversaries?' And he said, 'No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.' And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshipped and said to him. 'What does my Lord say to his servant?' And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, 'Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.' And Joshua did so".

Now there is no doubt who this mysterious figure is. This is the same mighty presence that wrestled with Jacob. Do you remember that? When Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord? This means "Yes, I remember that", okay? Do you remember when this preincarnate Christ, the very presence of God, from time to time in the Old Testament God would show up in physical form. The big term for this among theologians is a theophany. So there, you know. I know that you know that I know theophany, right? It's a theophany which means an appearance of God. And this is a preincarnate appearance of God Himself. So this is the Commander of the Lord's Host. In other words, this is the God of angel armies. This is God Himself. And before the Commander could be the Commander, the Commander needed to be commanded by God Himself.

Joshua recognized who this is and so he bowed down and worshipped Him. He realized he was on holy ground and as God directed him, he took off his shoes. Just like Moses did when the Great I Am appeared in the burning bush. So God takes command of the Commander. How so? Joshua says when he sees this Person with drawn sword, "Are you for us or against us"? That's a good question. "Are you friend or foe"? "Are you ally or adversary"? And the Commander said, "No, neither! Because I haven't come here to take sides; I've come here to take over"! A lot of times we want God to be on our side. But the question is not: Is God on my side? The question is: Am I on the Lord's side? And God is bringing every one of us to a place of surrender because this is how we win. Before we can defeat our Jericho we must give ourselves unconditionally to Him, unreservedly to Him. To allow Him to take over, to allow Him to undertake in our lives, to surrender all to the Lord.

The battle is the Lord's. Our allegiance is to Him. Our God will lead us to victory if we follow Him because even angel armies are at His disposal. Jesus said in Matthew 26, verse 53, "Do you know think that I can appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels"? God is in command! God is in control! This is the unseen and powerful presence of God in our lives. Now look, there can be no neutrality in spiritual warfare, no neutrality. Jesus said in Matthew 12:30: "Whoever is not with Me is against Me". But listen, Romans 8:31, "If God be for us, who can be against us"? And God then gave Joshua a promise. It's seen in verse 2 of chapter 6: "And the Lord said to Joshua, 'See, look, I have given Jericho'".

Notice the tense here. It's very important, the tense of the verb. "'I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. Joshua, I have given you this city. Joshua, the victory is already yours! And all you need to do is act on what I tell you to do"! This same promise is clear to the believer. You have already been given victory in Jesus Christ! What we need to do is to claim our victory! To possess our possessions and do what God has told us to do! Winning in the Christian life is simply obeying God and trusting Him for what He has said. Faith is believing God will do what He says He will do!

Now in the earlier chapters of Joshua, chapter 1, when God was first commissioning Joshua to be the commander of Israel's army, He said in chapter 1, verses 7 and following: "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. The Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth". That's the Word of God; that's the Bible. What my friend O.S. Hawkins calls the Joshua code. Many of our men have been studying this very code. It's the Word of God, meditating on it, marking it, memorizing it. "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. 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".

So when we talk about a promise from God and God gives us a word, we're not talking about, you know, some feeling we get, which could be from eating too many nachos at the ballgame! But we're talking about the clear Word of God, the promises of God! God's promises are true! But we must possess His promises! We must claim our Canaan! We must receive what God desires to give. The Bible says, for example, Romans 10:13, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord will be saved". Now God is willing that anyone and everyone would be saved. God is willing that not any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But you must call upon the Lord to be saved. You must claim your salvation and receive what God desires to give! Jesus said in John 16:33, "I've said these things to you that in Me you have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world".

In Jesus we are overcomers! We have victory over the world, the flesh and the devil! Hallelujah! There is victory in the Lord Jesus Christ! And He has given us in Christ "all things richly to enjoy"! Psalm 84:11 "The Lord our God is a sun and a shield; He gives grace and He gives glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them who walk uprightly"! This is your right in your relationship with Christ, that you live in victory. Not defeated, not a desert dweller, dying in unbelief. Being an unbelieving believer. You see what I'm getting at, at this message is, is this entire message of faith. Many Christians don't believe anything! I mean, you believe God's in your salvation, that you're going to heaven, but you don't believe God's going to do anything in your life right now today! You didn't come expectant, asking God to break through in your life today!

One of these days somebody's going to pick up this book, believe it, and the rest of us are going to be ashamed of ourselves! I'm asking you to start believing God and trusting Him for what He desires to do in you! That's the surrender of faith. And so God tells Joshua exactly what he wants him to do, and it's a strange plan. Look at Joshua 6, verses 2 to 5: "And the Lord said to Joshua, 'See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. This you shall do for six days'". Alright? Got it, Lord! We're going the march around the city once a day for six days. "Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of ram's horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him".

Now would you have liked to be a fly on the wall when Joshua goes back and tries to explain this to his generals and leaders? "You're saying, God told you to tell us to circle the city one time a day, seven times on the seventh day, blow trumpets, shout a great shout, the walls are coming down? Right"? That's exactly what God said. It seems so foolish. But did you know the preaching of God, the preaching of the Gospel is foolishness to those who don't believe? Our weapons are not physical weapons. The weapons of our warfare, 2 Corinthians 10:4, "not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds". How will we win the day? With spiritual weapons, the Gospel, the cross, prayer, witness, love, mercy - what God has told us to do?

God was about to perform a miracle but first His people must trust Him and obey His plan. God wants to do something great in your life, that you must surrender to Him and trust Him. Sometimes you don't understand, but it's not yours to understand; it's yours to undertake what God tells you to do. Sometimes it doesn't make sense but just because it doesn't make sense to me, doesn't mean it doesn't make sense to God. So what we need to do is get God's Word, believe it and act on it! Even though the world doesn't get it, even though some of your friends may not get it, you trust God and watch God work! But that brings me to what I'm calling the silence of faith. Verse 10 says: "Joshua commanded the people, 'You shall not shout or make your voice heard; neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you will shout.'"

God said get everybody together, and there was upwards of a million, million and a half people at this point, walk around these walls and don't say a word till I tell you to shout. Now can you imagine getting a million, two million Jews to walk around the wall and say nothing? You know, they had a history of mumbling and grumbling and complaining in the desert; got them in a lot of trouble. It's the same thing that gets us into a lot of trouble. Why did God tell them to walk around the walls in silence? Don't say a thing? Well, for several reasons. For one reason it shut down the negativity because as they're walking around, if they were speak, sure enough somebody's gonna say, "This is never gonna work! Nothing's happening".

Oh, when you read this entire account, never one time did Joshua tell the children of Israel the battle plan, how many times they were going to go around. We're not told that he told them how many days they were going to walk. Just everyday get up, circle; next day get your orders, circle and so on. So there's no talking back. There was trash-talking, no doubt, coming from the walls of Jericho. "Look at these crazy desert-dwellers! Walking around"! Now it must have been eerie for the people in Jericho to see so many people just walking around, walking around; never saying a word. Can't get a rise out of them. But here's why I really believe God told them to walk and to be quiet. Because by the time they walked around that a few times and thought about it, they realized if God didn't knock those walls down, it was never going to happen. They realized how small they were, how inadequate they were, how they could not, but they began to believe that God could.

You know, people say, concerning your Jericho, "Your marriage is never going to work". "Your circumstances are never going to change". "Your problems are too big for you". "That wayward child's never going to come back home". "You're never going to get well". And so on, blah, blah, blah. What you need to do is not listen to the world but to listen to the Word. You need to be still and know that God is God. And that no matter how big your Jericho may seem, that if you will just stay in faith and believe God, still your heart and calm your nerves by trusting in God, then in His own time and in His own way, God will come through. God puts a premium on patience.

Isaiah 40:31, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings of eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint". Isaiah 30, verse 18 says, "Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore exalts himself to show mercy to you: for the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are those who wait for Him". Hebrews 10:36, "For you have need of endurance so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised".

If you will wait on God, if you will trust in Him and look to Him and listen to Him, in His own time, in His own way God will give you the victory that He's already promised and given to you. He will secure the victory. So that brings me to the steadfastness of faith. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down. Why does God honor faith? Because faith honors God! This is the victory that over comes the world, even our faith. And the people of God, they walked, they worshiped, they persevered, they continued to pray because they knew somehow God was operating in the unseen world; God was operating in the invisible just as He is today! That God would do something great if they would only wait on Him.

And I'm here to tell you today that God has given you a promise; believe it; receive it! If God has promised you a marriage and a family in God's time, in God's way He will give you. If God has promised you a career that will bless your life, God will bless your life. Stay steadfast in faith! Persevere! Confession equals possession. Romans 10:9 and 10: "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raise Him from the dead you will be saved". Revelation 12:11: "They overcame Him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death". When you say it because you believe it, God acts. And at the right time at the right place they shouted their faith and God gave them great success. This victory is your victory. As you face your Jericho today.
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