Tony Evans shared the story of a Texan who had a lot of property.
He was proud of his holdings and looked for opportunities to let people know what he had.
He was visiting France and he asked a French farmer the question, “How big is your farm.”
The reason he asked was because he knew what the return question would be.
The farmer said, “I have twenty acres, how many do you have?”
The Texan said, “Let me put it to you this way.
Just before the sun comes up in the morning I get in my truck to drive across my land.
When the sun is going down in the evening, I still haven’t reached the end of my holdings.”
The farmer replied, “I had a truck like that once.”
We are honoring graduates this morning.
You are finishing something you have started.
You entered in Kindergarten or 1st grade and now you are leaving one school to go to another.
You entered High School and are preparing to go to college or out into the workforce.
This morning I want to ask you to think of some questions as you think about the future.
Who Will Be Your Friend?
First, as you meet new people, who be your friend?
When you go to this place, when you drive up to the building and enter the front door and may be even before you get to the front door, someone will be there to greet you.
This person may be an older person in their thirties or forties.
It might be a student from the school or a younger person at work.
You can expect that they will be dressed.
Their clothes will tell you something about them.
Clothes are symbolic of a person’s personality.
Adam and Eve were clothed with animal skins provided by God.
These clothes symbolized a hiding of nakedness.
They had sinned and whereas before sin, nakedness was no big deal, after they sinned and God met them, they felt exposed.
God covered them.
Or think of Joseph.
His coat of many colors was just one more indication that Jacob lived him more than the other brothers.
It was much more than a coat.
Clothes are symbolic of a person’s values and personality.
But we will never understand the actual symbolic meaning of a person’s clothing choice until we know the person.
It might be that their mother picked out their clothes that they detested.
First impressions can be wrong impressions.
This is true not only when you meet the person at the door, but with every person that you meet.
Some of look at first glance to be good people often are not.
Some who look like people to avoid may be the very people you want around.
You don’t know until you know.
How do you know who is good and who is not?
That answer is tied into who you are.
Who are you?
You might answer, “I don’t know…” That is a dangerous answer.
What that says is that you are nothing right now but could become anything in the future.
You could be a president or a serial killer.
You might answer, “I am an American, a student, and a member of my family.”
That’s better, but something is missing.
If someone asks us who we are, our answer should be, “I am a Christian, I am a committed follower of Jesus Christ.”
If that is you, and I want to speak to Christians who are committed followers of Jesus Christ, this helps us know who on the campus or at the work place is good and who is not.
Joshua is looking at Jericho.
This is the first battle Israel will fight under Joshua’s leadership.
He is new at this.
He is qualified.
He watched Moses for about forty years.
He was qualified but unproven.
Earlier he sent spies into the land to check out what they would face.
He especially asked them to check out Jericho.
With this as his first battle, with Jericho as a strong fighting force, we can understand the apprehension he might have faced as he looked to Jericho.
With God’s help Joshua led Israel across the Jordon river.
But he had never led them into battle.
He was the leader who is unproven and an unknown quantity.
He looks up and what does he see?
Joshua sees a man standing in his way.
Joshua has a question for this man, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”
Joshua didn’t know.
The man is standing with a drawn sword.
This stranger is ready for battle.
Joshua is confused.
Is this man there to fight with him or against him?
This is an important question to ask.
If you are a Christian and walking into a High School, college or workplace you need to know who is for you and who is against you.
Jesus tells us to love our enemies, so this is not a call to roll up into a ball and escape.
This is a call to recognize the influence people can have on your life.
Who your friends are, who you want to please, who you choose to love are all people who will shape who you are and what you do.
Check out the people who come across your path.
Will they help you or hinder your walk with God?
If you are a Christian, you will care deeply about this question.
And as a result, you will choose your friends wisely.
Who will help you?
Second, the question comes, “Who will help me?”
And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord.
Now I have come.”
What a relief!
This man with the drawn sword was there to help Joshua.
He was on Joshua’s side.
Not only was he on Joshua’s side, he was the commander of God’s army!
Who better to meet and have on your side before your first big battle than the commander of God’s army.
When God is on your side, you are unbeatable!
Being unbeatable does not mean that there won’t be a battle.
Joshua would face many battles.
Not every battle would go as smooth as this one did.
But Joshua could go with full assurance that he was in the center of God’s will and that whatever he faced, God would be there with him.
The answer to the question, “Who will help me?” is clear.
The Lord will help you.
The Lord will help you…if you let him.
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”
Joshua instantly falls to the earth and willingly submits to this new commander.
One gets the sense that Joshua was relieved that he did not have to be in control.
He was more than willing to do what the commander of the Lord’s army said.
He was willing to serve the Lord.
In order to serve the Lord, he needed to know what the Lord wanted him to do.