Two friends recently posted on social media the significance of the number seventeen. Both stated that in the Bible the number symbolizes “overcoming the enemy” and “complete victory.” This immediately brought to mind the great Old Testament book of Joshua, which tells us the history of Joshua and the children of Israel attaining victory after victory while conquering the land the Lord had promised to Abraham 600 years earlier.
Scripture is clear, Israel knew the Lord was the one who would bring victory. We read this in Joshua 2:14, “So the men said to her, ‘Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the Lord gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.’” Did you notice they said, “When the Lord gives us the land?”
The word victory is described as, “an act of defeating an enemy or opponent in a battle.” To have a victory, we must engage in a battle. But the battle always precedes the victory. We want to live in victory but very few of us want to fight the battle.
What can we learn from Joshua and the book that was named for him that will equip us for victory in 2017?
1. Listen for the Lord to speak.
Joshua 1:1 tells us the Lord spoke to Joshua. Since the Lord spoke to Joshua, we can be assured He speaks to us. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. When we don’t hear the Lord it is because we are not actively listening for Him.
We can know what He is telling/teaching us from His Word, the Bible. We are privileged to have the Bible written in a language we can read and understand. Most take this privilege for granted and never read or study what God has given us. We want a God who listens to us instead of a God we listen too. Revelation 22:18 teaches God has given us His Word, the Bible, and we are not to alter or add to what has already been written.
2. Be prepared.
At the time of Moses’ death, Joshua had been his servant forty years. Joshua could have easily fallen into the trap of thinking he would never be exalted into leadership. He could have not prepared for the role the Lord had planned for his future, yet he didn’t. He watched, he learned and was equipped when his time arrived. Joshua 3:7 says, “Now the Lord said to Joshua, ‘This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you.’” We too must continue to grow in our relationship with the Lord and in the gifts and talents He has given us.
3. Believe the Lord.
The Lord promised, Joshua 1:3, 5:
* “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you.”
* “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life.”
* “Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you.”
* “I will not fail you or forsake you.”
Joshua was leading his people into a land to be conquered. Before he began, the Lord graciously told Joshua he would be victorious, yet Joshua had to believe the Lord would do what He had promised. As Joshua did, we too must believe the promises of the Lord.
4. Be obedient to the Lord.
Joshua’s victory was conditional.
Joshua 1:7-8 gives the Lord’s commands:
* “Be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you.”
* “Do not turn from it (law) to the right or to the left.”
* “The Book of the law shall not depart from your mouth.”
* “You shall meditate on it (the book of the Law) day and night.”
* “Be careful to do according to all that is written in it (the book of the Law).”
What was Joshua told would happen when he is obedient? “Then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Joshua 1:8).
5. Do not fear.
We are often immobilized by fear. This is not an individual problem, it is a humanity problem. Three times in Joshua 1:1-9, the Lord tells Joshua to “Be strong and courageous” and finishes with, “Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Everyone struggles with fear, but the Lord’s servant continues to walk forward in spite of the fear.
6. Expect the Lord to empower you to achievements beyond your capabilities.
A servant for forty years, God used humble Joshua to lead a nation to victory. The Lord told him, “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you.” Joshua’s power came from the Lord. Great men and women of God know they are not capable—but He is. God uses ordinary people for His extraordinary work.
7. Follow the Lord’s plan, not yours.
Joshua knew occupying the land of Canaan was the Lord’s plan, not his. Several times in Joshua 1:1-9, are we find these phrases:
* “The land which I am giving them.”
* “From the wilderness and this Lebanon…as far as the Great Sea…will be your territory.”
* “The land which I swore to your fathers.”
Yes, I agree 2017 is a victorious year, but to have a victory there must be a battle, an opponent we must fight. Often our own flesh is our opponent. As Joshua, we must know who the enemy is and fight that challenger using the same principles he used.
I don’t know if you are in the midst of your battle or have yet to begin the battle, but we know there will be no victory without the Lord. Are you prepared to believe the Lord? Will you be obedient to do all He will ask? Will you walk forward in faith, not fear, expecting the Lord to do greater things than you could ever do on your own? Will you lay your plans at the feet of Jesus and resolved to walk His road not your own? Yes my friend there is victory, but not before the battle. Are you prepared?
Marta’s love for the Bible began at her salvation in 1993. The depth truths of God’s Word began to penetrate her heart and transform her life. Her journey as a disciple of Jesus has lead her on many great adventures. She has spoke about God’s amazing grace and power of forgiveness everywhere from the prisons in America to over fifteen nations. In1997 she began teaching Bible studies and began writing them in 2009. She has three published studies through the ministry she founded, Words of Grace & Truth. The passion of this ministry is teaching God’s Word and equipping others to teach regardless of which nation she may find herself. She is a gifted teacher, speaker, and expositor of God’s Word.
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