Sunday, January 09, 2005

Sermon Idea Number - 11 -

Suggested Titles:

New Day, Same God
Strength Conditioning Training

Passage:

Joshua 1

Passage Overview – some highlights:

This story has a verse in it that might be familiar to many in a congregation – it’s the word to Joshua that states he should “be strong and courageous.” But, the word to Joshua needs to be understood in its context. Joshua is instructed by God to “be strong” only in light of his commitment to “be careful to obey” the commands. There is a three fold repetition (not verbatim) of the idea of strength, but strength for Joshua is based upon, finds its foundation in his and the peoples’ willingness to obey God.

Note how in this passage, this “new day” in Israel’s life with this “new leader” the call and command of God doesn’t change. It’s not as if God is adding new precepts or expectations to what God expects. And notice, that within this passage itself, as we saw in the Shema (see sermon on Deuteronomy 6) that the “simple” way we keep faith with God is in daily practices.

Important Specific Concepts:

I think it’s important in this sermon to highlight the “dailyness” of being obedient. Many people in the Bible, and here Joshua, are not great people of faith because of some specific event, rather, they become recognized as great people of faith for their ability to simply be faithful, day-in-and-day-out. See especially verse 8 of this passage.

I also think it is important from this passage to communicate to our world that the promise of God for strength and courage is not a carte-blanche statement – it’s not a promise made to everyone at every moment. Rather, this promise made specific to Joshua reflects God’s larger promise made specific to God’s people and in that general sense, to us the promise is for strength and courage, IF we maintain the daily-devotion of keeping faith, meditating, remembering God and remembering who we are in the sight of God.

The passage ends with Joshua saying “Get your supplies ready.” Joshua trusts God will be true and if you look forward a few chapters into particularly chapter 3-4 and chapter 5, you’ll see that Joshua will further tell the people to “consecrate themselves” and he’ll remember holy days (Passover specifically) and call the people to the hard task(!) of circumcising themselves as God’s people.

Strength and Courage are promised, conditioned upon obedience.

Ideas for Illustrations:

An Olympic athlete becomes one after daily, daily, daily, for years training. That is how they receive their “strength and courage” and we must do the same with things of faith. Numerous athletes from history could be cited.

Ideas for Wrapping Up - Response - Call:

How can we move from this moment and “get our supplies” ready to daily serve God.

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