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It was president Donald Trump who popularized the phrase “Fake News” — He used the term to describe the reporting of main stream news media …during his campaign which caused wildfire of controversy…
Now, regardless of how you feel about “Fake News” it was around…way before Donald trump.. So.. What is Fake news?
Fake news or false news which is a deliberate disinformation and hoaxes that spread.. and there is a lot of it on the internet.
There is actually a website called Snopes.com where you can find out whether a story is true or not…When misinformation obscures the truth and readers don’t know what to trust, Snopes.com’s fact checking and try to find original sources so that the Reader then can then make up their mind.
The co-founder of Snoops.com David Mikkelson says it's hard to keep up with all the false stories on the Internet. In an interview with The Guardian "There are more and more people piling on to the internet and the number of entities pumping out material keeps growing.-
We are living in the information age where the problem is not finding information but filtering information.…
This desire for truth tells us something about our culture today — That we are tired of synthetics, plastic, additives and substitutes… We are desire something of substance… we want something real..
The Christian hip hop artist and songwriter.. Lecrae — Put it like this..
Fake is everywhere. Real is rare.
This morning we are going to be looking at Real Faith for the real world...
We are in a sermon series in the book of Joshua and we are exploring the battles that took place in the conquest of the promised Land.
The book of Joshua is about Israel entering into God's promises through the conquest of Canaan.
The book of Joshua is also instructive… The way it is written was to teach coming generations how to win spiritual battles…
Joshua teaches us how to live with real faith in a hostile environment..
This idea of the world being a hostile place is all over the Bible.. Genesis through Revelations.. Paul tells us Ephesians 6 that we are in engaged spiritual conflict… we might think that its all about the hear and now — but something much bigger than us is going on..
Ephesians 6:12 ESV
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
To wrestle against flesh and blood is to say I can handle this myself… I’ve got this… you take out the spiritual dimension… see everything from the natural realm.. Scripture is clear ... you cannot fight a spiritual battle in the flesh…you have to walk by faith..
Paul In 2 Corinthians tells us that we are to walk by faith and not by sight.,To walk by faith is to walk in a spirit of prayerful dependence on the Lord and His guidance. As Israel enters into the land they are learning that natural world is tied to the spiritual world.. that the only way to posses the land is by faith.
T/S How do we have real faith in the hostile world?

1. Allow Space for Spiritual Renewal and Formation.

As we move into Chapter 8 of Joshua we find that Israel has already won two major battles in the Conquest of Canaan…Two cities Jericho and then city of AI have fallen and been captured. You might imagine that Israel would immediately head for the next battle field… But instead of battlefield we are transported nearly twenty miles to the north to a worship service at Mount Ebal, near Shechem…
Mt Ebal is the highest mountain in northern Israel, Mount Ebal — From this vista almost the whole land could be seen. It was thus a strategic and symbolic site.... major trade route… But what is important is that Israel took time to worship God.
It is here that Joshua and Israel build an altar to the Lord..
Joshua 8:30 ESV
At that time Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal,
The Authorized Version translates this as: Then Joshua built an altar’; In other words after all the two massive battles, the people of Israel turn to worship. It seems that Joshua is learning the lesson of Consecration
On the other side of the Jordan they took 3 days to be refreshed and prepare emotionally and spiritually… this was before the miracle of Israel crossing the Jordan…(timing was important)
At Gigal Joshua consecrated the young men and made covenant with God…Before the miracle of the battle of Jericho… The walls fell down..
At the battle of AI they failed at first because they neglected to seek God… but after they sort God — They saw the miracle of the defeat of AI.
Notice a pattern emerging…
“Spiritual preparation Precedes Spiritual battles”
Timing is important with Spiritual warfare…
R.A. Torrey said
“The reason why many fail in the battle is because they wait until the hour of battle. The reason why others succeed is because they have gained their victory on their knees long before the battle came.”
What a great lesson — Don’t wait for the trial — Don’t wait for the difficulty — Don’t wait for the set back… We already know that we are engaged in warfare… Like Joshua we can prepare for battles by building Spiritual Altars.
Altars were designed for offerings… and in the sacrificial system.. burnt offerings were intended to atone for sin, whereas the fellowship offerings were to reaffirm the relationship with both God and the community.
We don’t have physical Altars --- but we able to build personal altars of worship… Devotional times when we open our heart and mind for God --- Two things should happen when we worship… Confession — Reaffirm our relationship with God
To confess our sins means to agree with God that an act or thought was wrong, to acknowledge this to God, to seek forgiveness, and to turn and walk obedience.
Confession of sins is necessary for maintaining continual fellowship with God… When you prepare your heart — able to receive what God is saying…
Joshua 8:34–35 ESV
34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them.
The first thing Joshua does is the bless the people and then he begins to read the whole of the book of the law… Worship was interactive activity.. Where the whole nation got involved… We are told that everyone was present… the men, the woman, and the children… and also the sojourners… Everyone heard every word of the law… Worship was interactive…
In Deuteronomy 27–28 we see the instructions as to how this part of the ceremony was to be conducted. Six tribes were to stand on Mount Ebal and six tribes on Mount Gerizim.
Joshua was to call out all the curses and the people would say ‘Amen’ to each one. He would then call out all the blessings and all the people would say ‘Amen’ to each one. Joshua’s voice rang loud and clear and the ‘Amen’s thundered forth from thousands of voices as the people affirmed the righteous laws of God to whom they were now committing themselves...
There is something about Hearing the Word — that builds faith… listening to scripture… One of the ways we can have real faith in real life --- is simply practice reading scripture out loud… Tim Keller qouted this article in the New York Times entitled.
"Turn the Page, Spur the Brain" that presented empirical findings showing that reading to children, even infants, was crucial for brain development.
They found that exposing children to a video or a picture short-circuited the child's imagination. One expert said: "They're not having to imagine the story [for themselves]; it's just being fed to them."
Another pointed out that children who were exposed to reading "showed significantly more activity in the areas of the brain that process visual association, even though the child was listening to a story and could not see any pictures."
In short, verbal communication makes your mind and heart do the work of grasping and imagining the story for yourself. Images tend to feed you what some other person's imagination has created.
Our experience with the word of God should be exciting and interactive..
George Whitfield.. who evangelist during the “Great Awakening Revivals’ in the 18 century.— worked closely with John Charles Wesley… preached over 18,000 times to perhaps 10 million listeners… He tells us how reading the scriptures changed his life… when he was a student at Oxford .
“I began to read the Holy Scriptures on my knees, laying aside all other books, and praying over, if possible, every line and word. This proved meat indeed and drink indeed to my soul. I daily received fresh life, light, and power from above.”
The word of God shapes us into people of God. God’s people, and worship was the appropriate way to respond to it. .
..T/S How do we have real faith in hostile world?
1. Allow Space for Spiritual Renewal and Formation.

2. Be Aware of areas of Deception and Compromise.

In Chapter 9 we see that Isreal presence in the land causes the Kings in the hills and lowlands of Canaan to panic… We are told that Alliances begin to form as these Kings join forces to fight against Israel… While all this is happening there is One city that has a different approach.. Gibeon is much closer to Israel--- and probably the next on Israels list.. They plan is to save themselves..
Gibeon was one of the larger cities, it was a Royal city meaning that it had its own king..… they had reputation for their brave fighting men...
But when Gibeonites hear what Israel had done Jericho and AI — they came up with a plan to save themselves.. All the other Kings are planning for a conflict… But Gibeon chose a different approach..
Joshua 9:3–11 ESV
3 But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, 4 they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, 5 with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. 6 And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.” 7 But the men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live among us; then how can we make a covenant with you?” 8 They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” And Joshua said to them, “Who are you? And where do you come from?” 9 They said to him, “From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the Lord your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth. 11 So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country said to us, ‘Take provisions in your hand for the journey and go to meet them and say to them, “We are your servants. Come now, make a covenant with us.” ’
Gibeonites are wanting to Save themselves..
So their plan is to trick Israel into making a peace treaty with them.. make covenant with them..
So they disguise themselves as travelers who have come from a distant country… Everyone in Gideon goes to the Good will and finds the oldest possible clothes… worn out shoes… saddles and water-bottles… They have all the props and they look convincing..and they present themselves to Joshua and the leaders of Israel at Gilgal.
What is fascinating about these verses is that the Leaders of Israel have a sense that something is off.. the men of Israel even question there story-
Perhaps you live among us?
They are asking the right questions… but still lacking discernment..
.The Gibeonites go onto say that their elders had sent them and they had bread that was freshly baked when they started and was now stale.. there wine skins were new but they had fermented and burst… There story is convincing…
Joshua 9:14 ESV
14 So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord.
There is a lesson in leadership here...
Even when the facts seem apparent and the path before us seems clear to discern, we must always seek the Lord. .
This is a great example of how the people of God should not make decisions —
Our world is a world of sense impressions. We have to decide on the basis of what we see and hear and touch, and if in operating that way we make mistakes, we can hardly be blamed for them. There is nothing else to be done.”
The great error here——is assuming that reality is nothing more than the material.
It is true that much of reality is material. That is why judgments based on sense impressions are proper and reliable under many circumstances.
When you pull a piece of meat out of the refrigerator and find that it is discolored and has a bad smell, it is wrong to eat it. Your senses are given to you by God to tell you that the meat is bad and that you will probably get sick if you eat it. That way of making a decision works for us every day in scores of situations.
But the difficulty with operating that way all the time is that reality does not consist only of the material.
There is a spiritual world too, and in that spiritual world there is a powerful, crafty, and malicious being who is bent on our destruction. We cannot see the devil.
We cannot handle, taste, or smell his stratagems. Therefore, in all spiritual (and all moral) areas, we need wisdom that goes beyond any we can derive from sense impressions.
Proverbs tells us...
Proverbs 3:5–6 ESV
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
The key words are lean not on your own understanding… The problem here is that Joshua and the leaders of Israel depended on their senses or gut feeling.
Joshua 9:15 ESV
And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.
Without looking to God for guidance, Joshua and the rulers of Israel made a covenant with them, allowing them to live.. Now this was a huge deception… Gibeonites were more than a small group of isolationists. They control a whole group of cities. Three are at least three satellites of Gibeon…
Because they were Deceived the Gibeonites, a community that God had placed "under the ban" for total destruction. Had to be saved.
.T/S How do we have real faith in hostile world?
1. Allow Space for Spiritual Renewal and Formation.
2. Be Aware of areas of Deception and Compromise.

3. Accept Failures and keep your Commitments

One of the things you have to appreciate about the Bible is that the Characters are real… The Bible doesn’t try to defend anyones actions but tells the story of what happened.. We get to see the failures of a great leader… and this is not his first Mistake..
Joshua making mistakes… it is the same mistake he made after the victory of Jericho and in the matter of Ai, when he didn’t take time to seek God.
One of Joshua’s best moment is preceded BY the failure with the Gibeonites. Again we see that Satan attacks straight after blessing. What is interesting is the fact that the enemy deceived them only comes to light three days later...
Joshua 9:16–19 ESV
16 At the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors and that they lived among them. 17 And the people of Israel set out and reached their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. 18 But the people of Israel did not attack them, because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel. Then all the congregation murmured against the leaders. 19 But all the leaders said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, and now we may not touch them.
This is one of those occasion’s where Joshua and leaders blow it big… The people of Israel are not happy with their leaders… Just moments before they were leading them in worship… go through curses and blessings… Now they are not practicing what they preached…
Now we are all going to blow it at some point… And there is a huge leadership lesson Here… and That is how do you handle failure? If people are looking for Real Faith for the Real life… The worst thing Joshua could have done is avoided it… they could have ignored the problem and attacked the Gibeonites…
Rather than doing that Joshua and leaders Own up to Failures… they acknowledge what they had done..
One of the most difficult thing to do is to own up to failure.. There is something authentic about owning up to mistakes.
In 20116 ago CNBC.com published and article entitled "This Princeton Professor Posted His CV Of Failures For The World To See," Johannes Haushofer published a CV OF FAILURES where he includes sections:
"Degree programs I did not get into,"
"Research funding I did not get" and
"Paper rejections from academic journals."
Why did he do it? His reason was that.. "Most of what he try’s fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible. I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me," There is something Real and authentic and saying I messed up…
Joshua and they leaders say we can't to that... the reason is that by attacking the Gibeonites they would be compounding their previous mistake of by breaking an oath…
When we approach our failures with Humility we often see God’s Grace at work..
The Israelites had clear orders to destroy them. Yet the people of Gibeon demonstrated that they did have a measure of faith in Yahweh, the God of the Israelites.
Joshua 9:9–10 ESV
9 They said to him, “From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the Lord your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth.
They certainly, at the very least, recognized that Yahweh was greater than any of the idols they worshiped. There is no indication that God would have said no if the Israelites had indeed consulted him. He may very well have said yes to the treaty, simply because he wanted to show mercy to these people.
Mercy always trumps judgment. In the end, the Gibeonites did receive that mercy and became a part of the Israelite community by performing all the menial tasks of providing wood, carrying water and other such tasks that surrounded the worship of Yahweh. In a way they were slaves, as Joshua stated later, but truly it was a privilege to serve God in that way.
Joshua and the Israelites kept their word. They would not dishonour God by breaking their agreement with the Gibeonites. The honour of God was at stake
This covenant was honored all the way into Davids day.....The grace of God turned even this drastic error around and those who had been enemies of God had now become his servants. How great is the grace of our wonderful God!
.T/S How do we have real faith in hostile world?
1. Allow Space for Spiritual Renewal and Formation.
2. Be Aware of areas of Deception and Compromise.
3. Accept Failures and keep your Commitments

4. Trust that God is going Redeem your mistakes.

In Joshua Chapter 10 we have record of the big battle...The news of the peace treaty between Israel and Gibeon… goes Viral… Everyone knows about it… The five Kings from the Hill country have formed their alliance and gather as one outside Gibeon and get ready for battle.. This is a surprise attack.. As soon as Gibeon see that they are in trouble they send word to Joshua.
Joshua 10:6–10 ESV
6 And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, saying, “Do not relax your hand from your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the hill country are gathered against us.” 7 So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. 8 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.” 9 So Joshua came upon them suddenly, having marched up all night from Gilgal. 10 And the Lord threw them into a panic before Israel, who struck them with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.
The Gibeonites did not rely on the strength of their city walls or on the prowess, skill and valour of their mighty men
Instead, they sent immediately to Joshua for help. Their strength lay outside of themselves in the one to whom they had committed their lives and who had sworn with an oath to save them from death.
The response is immediate... Joshua immediately takes his entire army -- the best of his Army... set out towards Gibeon..
. --- Joshua...and his men broke all speed limits... they did a three day Journey over night... They took the people by surprise (vrs 9). There speediness caused confusion... They go right from marching into fighting mode... Shock and Awe!!
As Joshua and Leaders honor their Commitments and covenant. God does the miraculous
.. God hurled large hailstones... the message -- the Lord Pitched hailstones… this particular area is known for large hailstones the size of baseballs… God pitches with accuracy such accuracy that
Even though the Israelites were in close contact with the Canaanites, were not impacted by the missiles fell on them, but for the Canaanites there was no escaping God’s wrath.
We are told that..
More died from that than from the hailstones that from the swords of Israel... God won the day... God gave the Amorites to Israelites.. 5 Cities in one battle.. biggest battle... In the middle of the battle Joshua Prayed....Joshua spoke to the Lord.” Then Joshua spoke to the Sun and moon…
... There has never been a day before or since when God listened to a human being....
This was in fact the decisive battle in the conquest of Canaan—and God stepped in!
Conclusion
God used the mistake made with the Gibeonites to accelerate the conquest of the land.
God can turn our blunders to good effect to accomplish his purposes. The Scripture says that God routed the enemy.
Real Faith in a Real world… communicates.. when.
We are what we are because we have received it all from him, and any victories we might gain are his victories. We cannot take the credit; he must get all the glory
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