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HELPING YOUR HATERS

Fight: Occupying God's Promises for Your Life  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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INTRODUCTION

OPENING STORY: DON’T SAY IT’S FROM KIDNAP. BUT TELL THE STORY QUICKLY SHOWING HER UNFLINCHING LOVE FOR HER CHILD. THE POINT IS WHAT REVEALS AND AMAZES YOU ABOUT HER LOVE IS THE TRYING CIRCUMSTANCES SHE WENT THROUGH. SUFFERING, HARD TIMES IS AN MRI OF SORTS THAT GIVES US A PEAK INTO THE CONDITION OF OUR HEARTS. SUFFERING HAS NEVER WRECKED A PERSON’S FAITH, IT HAS ALWAYS REVEALED A PERSON’S FAITH.
POINT: ONE OF THE CLEAREST WAYS TO KNOW WHAT’S IN YOUR HEART IS HOW DO YOU HANDLE YOUR HATERS, THOSE WHO HAVE WRONED YOU.
CREATING THE NEED:
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT’S IN VIEW IN SIMON WIESENTHAL’S WORK, THE SUNFLOWER. TELL THE STORY BRIEFLY. HOW WAS HE SUPPOSED TO HANDLE THE PERSON WHO WRONGED HIM? GOES BACK AND FORTH IN THE FINAL 2/3 OF THE BOOK. “It always seemed to me inhuman and a travesty of justice if the executioner asked the victim to forgive. One cannot, and should not, go around happily killing and torturing and then, when the moment has come, simply ask, and receive, forgiveness. In my view, this perpetuates the crime”- Herbert Marcuse.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT: SUMMARIZE STORY. WE KNOW WHAT’S IN GOD’S HEART AND ISRAEL’S HEART PRIMARILY BECAUSE WE SEE THEM RUSHING TO THE AID OF THE VERY ONE’S WHO HAD WRONGED THEM SEVERELY- GIBEON, AND THEIR GREAT DECEPTION IN CHAPTER 9 (BRIEFLY DESCRIBE).
STRONG APPLICATIONS: THIS STORY IS WILDLY IMPORTANT FOR US. ONE OF THE CLEAREST WAYS WE SEE WHAT’S IN OUR HEARTS IS HOW DO WE RESPOND TO OUR HATERS, THOSE WHO HAVE ABANDONED AND BETRAYED US. DISCLAIMER, OF COURSE THIS ISN’T ABOUT RECONCILING WITH THE MAN WHO HAS PHYSICALLY ABUSED YOU…IF YOU WANT TO KNOW REALLY WHERE YOU ARE WITH GOD, HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THE ABSENT FATHER? THE EX WHO CHEATED ON YOU AND LEFT YOU BANKRUPT AND DESTITUTE, THE FORMER PASTOR WHO SPLIT THE CHURCH AND TOOK AWAY YOUR FRIENDS, THE FRIEND WHO BROKE THEIR PROMISE??? THE RACIAL INJUSTICE?
IN OTHER WORDS THIS SERMON IS ALL ABOUT GRACE...

GRACE IS HARD- VERSE 5

SUMMARY: LAST DETAILED BATTLE IN JOSHUA. A LARGE COALITION COMES UP AGAINST GIBEON…AND GIBEON FINDS OUT ABOUT IT AND HOLLERS, “HELP”! IF YOU STUDY VERSE 6 IN THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE OF HEBREW YOU WOULD SEE THAT ALL OF THESE WORDS ARE IN THE IMPERATIVE WHICH IS A COMMAND, BUT EMOTIVELY EXPRESSES DESPERATION. THEY HOLLER HELP!
FUNNY APPLICATION: NOW I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT IF I’M JOSHUA AND ISRAEL, HAVING JUST BEEN DECEIVED BY GIBEON IN CHAPTER 9 I’M GOING TO BE LIKE, “LOOK AT GOD! AIN’T GOD GOOD. WON’T HE DO IT? WON’T HE WILL?” LOOK AT HOW HE’S HANDLING MY ENEMIES. THIS IS LIKE THAT EX WHOSE NOT MAKING CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS ASKING YOU FOR A LOAN!
POINT: YOU KNOW WHAT GOD IN ESSENCE SAYS TO JOSHUA? I NEED YOU TO GO AND FIGHT FOR THE VERY ONE’S WHO HAVE WRONGED YOU. GRACE IS NOT SIMPLY THE REFUSAL TO EXACT VENGEANCE. GRACE IS NOT PASSIVE, IT’S PROACTIVE. IT’S RUSHING TO THE BATTLEFIELD TO HELP THE ONE’S WHO HURT YOU.
RAVI ZACHARIAS STORY OF THE COUPLE WHO GOT INTO AN ARGUMENT, THE HUSBAND THREW ACID ON HER FACE SEVERELY DEFORMING HER, RUNS OFF WITH ANOTHER WOMAN, AND THEN YEARS LATER IN A TURN OF EVENTS THAT HAVE LEFT HIM DESTITUTE HE NOW ASKS HER TO COME AND CARE FOR HIM IN THE WINTER YEARS OF HIS LIFE. AND SHE DOES MUCH TO THE SHOCK OF HER CHILDREN. WHEN ASKED BY THE CHILDREN WHY, SHE RESPONDS BY SAYING BECAUSE SHE’S A CHRISTIAN! DISCLAIMER ABOUT ABUSE...
SHOWING GRACE IS HARD. GOD CALLS ISRAEL TO TAKE ON A COALITION THAT IS LARGER THAN THEM, THAT THEY DON’T HAVE THE RESOURCES OR MANPOWER TO OVERCOME ON THEIR OWN. GOD SENSES FEAR IN JOSHUA AND HE SAYS DON’T BE AFRAID.
QUICK APPLICATION: I WANT YOU TO THINK ABOUT THAT PERSON WHO HAS WRONGED YOU THE MOST. GOT IT? YOU MAY BE LIKE THAT’S TOO MUCH TO ASK. THAT’S TOO LARGE OF A HILL TO CLIMB. MAYBE EVEN SOME FEAR. FEAR OVER IF THEY’LL ACCEPT YOU. FEAR OVER YOUR SENSE OF PRIDE AND IF YOU’LL BE REJECTED. GOD SAYS DON’T BE AFRAID.
DO NOT BE AFRAID:
-Moses tells Israel
- God tells Joshua, do not be afraid
- God tells Moses
- God tells Gideon, do not be afraid
- God tells Isaiah, do not be afraid
- God tells the forces of Judah, do not be afraid
- God tells Joseph, do not be afraid
- Jesus tells his disciples (over and over) in , do not be afraid
- Peter tells wives, do not be afraid
- Jesus tells his church in , do not be afraid
- God tells Elijah, do not be afraid
- God says to Hezekiah, do not be afraid
- God says to Jehoshaphat, do not be afraid
- God says to Mary, do not be afraid
- God says to Paul, do not be afraid
ARE YOU STARTING TO GET IT- DO NOT BE AFRAID. GOD IS WITH YOU. SHOW GRACE!

GRACE IS HEREDITARY- VERSES 8-9

POINT: GOD SAYS GO ON OUT THERE AND SHOW GRACE, AND YOU CAN SHOW GRACE BECAUSE I’M WITH YOU. NOW THIS IS REMARKABLE BECAUSE THE FACT THAT GOD SAYS I AM WITH YOU IS A SIGN OF HIS GRACE TO ISRAEL. JUST IN CHAPTER 9 THEY HAD IGNORED GOD, AND IN SIN ENTERED INTO AN UNHOLY UNION WITH GIBEON. BUT GOD SHOWS GRACE. A GRACIOUS GOD IN JOSHUA. ISRAEL SINS IN CHAPTER 7 BY NOT CONSULTING GOD AND TAKING DEVOTED THINGS, BUT GOD SHOWS UP IN GRACE AND GIVES THEM A REDO IN CHAPTER 8 AGAINST AI. ANYONE GRATEFUL FOR THE DO-OVERS OF GOD? IN OTHER WORDS, GOD SAYING I AM WITH YOU IS HIM SAYING, YOU CAN GIVE GRACE TO GIBEON YOUR HATERS, BECAUSE YOU HAVE RECEIVED GRACE FROM ME. GRACE IS HEREDITARY.
APPLICATION: TO BE A CHRISTIAN MEANS YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN GRACE. . . HAVING RECEIVED GRACE WE ARE TO GIVE GRACE. AN UNGRACIOUS CHRISTIAN IS AN OXYMORON. GRACE IS HEREDITARY. TO BE IN THE FAMILY OF GOD MEANS THE VERY FABRIC OF OUR SPIRITUAL DNA IS GRACE.
ILLUSTRATION: IN THE 1954 COTTON BOWL THE GAME WAS TIGHT- 7-6, WHEN DICKY MAEGLE FOR RICE UNIVERSITY TOOK THE BALL AND STORMED UP THE SIDELINE. JUST WHEN IT LOOKED LIKE HE WAS GOING TO SCORE THE TOUCHDOWN, TOMMY LEWIS CAME OFF OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA’S BENCH (HE WASN’T ON THE FIELD) AND ONTO THE FIELD TO TACKLE MAEGLE, ILLEGALLY PREVENTING HIM FROM SCORING A TD. WHEN ASKED WHY HE DID IT, TOMMY LEWIS SIMPLY SAID, ‘I DON’T KNOW. I GUESS I HAD TOO MUCH BAMA IN ME’. THIS IS TO BE THE RESPONSE OF THE BELIEVER WHEN ASKED HOW CAN WE HELP OUR HATERS…WE SHRUG OUR SHOULDERS AND SAY I DON’T KNOW, I GUESS I GOT TOO MUCH JESUS IN ME!

GRACE IS HISTORICAL- VERSES 12-14

EXPLANATION: SO THEY FIGHT, BUT ISRAEL DOESN’T FIGHT ALONE, GOD GOES WITH THEM AND IN A BIG WAY THROWING THEIR ENEMIES IN A PANIC, AND THE TEXT ALSO SAYS THAT GOD HURLED LARGE HAILSTONES AT THEIR ENEMIES KILLING MORE WITH THE STONES THAN ISRAEL COULD.
QUICK APPLICATION: LET ME COME BY YOUR HOUSE REAL QUICK AND SAY, WHEN GOD PROMPTS YOU TO HELP YOUR HATERS KNOW YOU DON’T GO TO THAT HARD THING BY YOURSELF. GOD IS AT WORK IN WAYS YOU HAVE NO IDEA, SOFTENING HEARTS ON THE OTHER SIDE. SO TRUST GOD.
JOSHUA THEN MAKES A CRAZY REQUEST IN VERSES 12-14. THIS REMINDS ME OF WHAT JESUS SAID IN . IN CONTEXT, JOSHUA’S PRAYER FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE HAS TO DO WITH GOD LENGTHENING THE DAY SO HE CAN HELP HIS HATERS. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU PRAYED THE IMPOSSIBLE. PRAYERS LIKE, “GOD CAN YOU GIVE ME THE COURAGE TO REACH OUT TO MY ESTRANGED FATHER? GOD CAN YOU GIVE ME THE BOLDNESS TO BLESS MY MOTHER-IN-LAW? GOD CAN YOU STRENGTHEN ME TO TELL THAT OLD FRIEND WHO WRONGED ME I FORGIVE YOU, BECAUSE I’VE BEEN CARRYING AROUND THAT HURT TOO LONG”. HAVE YOU EVEN PRAYED THE IMPOSSIBLE?
AN HISTORICAL DAY: SCHOLARS ARE ALL OVER THE MAP ON THIS. INTERPRETATIONS ARE FUNNY. SOME SAY A SOLAR ECLIPSE, OTHERS GOD LESSENED THE HEAT. WHAT WE DO KNOW IS WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS, THERE WAS NOT ANOTHER DAY LIKE IT. IT WAS A HISTORICAL DAY.
POINT: WHEN WE EXTEND GRACE, TRUSTING GOD TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE, IT BECOMES AN HISTORICAL MILE MARKER IN OUR JOURNEY WITH JESUS.
ILLUSTRATION OF ARCHELLE WHOSE FATHER NEVER WANTED HIM AND HE FELT THAT WHEN HE WAS A LITTLE BOY. THEN A GETS SAVED AND YEARS LATER GOD BEGINS TO SPEAK TO HIM. HE GETS ON A PLANE AND GOES BACK AND DOES THE GRACIOUS THING AND FORGIVES HIM! NOT LONG AFTER THAT HIS DAD GETS TERMINALLY ILL AND HE TAKES CARE OF HIM. HELPING HIS GIBEONITE. WHAT GIBEONITES IN YOUR LIFE HAVE YOU HELPED?
(WHY SHOULD I DO THAT?)
GOSPEL CONCLUSION:
WE WERE ALL GIBEON
IN A HELPLESS OVERWHELMING SITUATION
GOD IN AN ACT OF GRACE, CAME TO OUR RESCUE
GREATEST MIRACLE EVER- GREATER THAN THE DAY STANDING STILL- IS WHEN CHRIST DIED ON THE CROSS FOR OUR SINS AND ROSE THE THIRD DAY. GOD FOUGHT FOR US!
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