Shortly after Israel's great victory at Jericho, they turn their attention to conquering Ai. And things take a drastic turn. Israel is soundly defeated. God graciously reveals that Israel has been defeated because of their sin and He prescribes a way for them to be restored and for God's favor to rest on them again.
After entering the Promise Land, Israel prepares to begin taking possession of the land starting in Jericho. Before the battle, Joshua encounters the Commander of the army of the LORD. He has come to give this land as God promised, to Israel. If Israel will obey the LORD, the LORD will fight for them and victory is assured.
Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and all the wonderful implications of his resurrection. Everyone who repents and trusts in Jesus shall dwell with the Lord God Most High and experience the fullness of His presence and celebrate in exquisite joy forever. Hope comes to us through the resurrection.
After prophesying to his disciples about what lies ahead, Jesus intentionally heads to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. But Jesus has come to do more than celebrate the Passover. He has come to offer himself as the final sacrifice for sin. And as He comes over the top of Mount Olivet and sees the city, Jerusalem, He chooses to enter the city as a humble Savior according to the words of Zechariah. His heart is open, ready to receive all who will come to him.
As Israel crosses over the Jordan River and enters the promise land, God demonstrates his mighty and unparalleled power. He parts the Jordan River as He previously parted the Red Sea and brings his people safely into the land. In so doing, Israel's exodus is complete. God has redeemed them and delivered them into the promise land.
Joshua chapter 2 is an incredible story in which we see God's mercy extending beyond Israel to people of the surrounding nations. God desires that all nations be saved. And here we see his salvation come to a Canaanite woman.
This morning we begin a new sermon series in the book of Joshua. Joshua begins where Deuteronomy ends, with the death of Moses. And although Moses has died, God's promises live on. God chooses Joshua to lead Israel into the promise land and take possession of it. And in giving them this land, God fulfills his covenant promise to Abraham and blesses Israel with rest on all sides. Even though this rest will eventually be spoiled by their sin, the book of Joshua points us to another 'Yeshua' who leads his people into eternal rest.
The church has a magnificent design to it. And one of the wonderful aspects of the church is that it is built for burden bearing. In the church, we are called and equipped to bear each others burdens. And at the conclusion of Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians, he offers words of encouragement to those who are weary from doing good and rebukes those who would take advantage of the generosity and sacrificial kindness of others.
Paul has repeatedly prayed for the Thessalonians. Here, Paul asks for reciprocity. He asks them to pray for him and for the spread of the gospel. One of the primary ways God intends the church to participate in his mission is through prayer. Prayer advances the Kingdom.