Faithlife Sermons

04(Num 13-14) Seizing Moments to be Faithful

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His lifelong desire was to be a soldier, but his career was full of failures and disappointments. On his first assignment he ambushed the wrong group of foreign soldiers and set off a war that lasted seven years. During that war he was ordered to set up an advanced post in enemy territory – he chose such a poor position that he had to immediately surrender along with a regiment of his men.

He later served as a general’s aid, but when the general followed his advice his army suffered one the most humiliating defeats in its history. When commissioned to take reinforcements to a fellow officer he was mistaken for the enemy and the friendly fire killed forty of his own troops.

So unsuccessful was his early military career he declared, “I have been upon the losing order ever since I entered the service.” It is thus understandable why, in light of such failures, George Washington was reluctant to take command of all the American forces during the American Revolution.

In his acceptance speech he declared, “I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with”

The founding fathers recognized that although Washington felt inadequate and had not yet established himself as a successful general, he had faithfully, diligently undertaken all of his assignments.

Anyone who met Washington was impressed with his demeanor. He conducted himself as a veteran who always had performed his duty. It seemed prudent to choose him.

Some aspire to leadership seeking the big break. They send resumes, form alliances, seek to impress the influential. Sadly some in God’s service do the same thing. But God gives us profiles of true leaders. And one constant quality of each leader in God’s army is that: they are faithful.

I.       Be Faithful in Small Things (Matthew 25:21; Luke 16:10).

Mat 25:21 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'

Luk 16:10 "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.

A.     Faithfulness was fundamental to Joshua’s success.

§  God relates to people on the basis of a covenant or promise.

§  When people trust in Him, He rewards their faithfulness. When people refuse to believe Him, they forfeit what God would have done and face His discipline instead.

B.     Joshua was different. He was faithful.

§  Joshua never left the tabernacle (Exodus 33:11) yet he was not a priest, so he was a lay volunteer.

§  Joshua did not apply to be Moses’ assistant. God chose him. (Numbers 27:15-21).

C.     Joshua never set out to climb the ladder of success.

§  He served Moses because that was God’s assignment for him.

§  This job came from God and that truth would sustain him during the dark days of leadership.

§  His success was not “hard won”. It was God given.

D.     Joshua was faithful to his name.

§  His name was Hoshea, “He has saved”. Changed (Numbers 13:16) to Joshua, “Yahweh saves.”

§  This was highly meaningful: it goes from generalities to specifics. Hoshea did not refer to a particular God; could have meant any God.

§  Hoshea had a religion. Joshua had a relationship.

E.      God gives assignments to those who have the character to handle them.

§  His name change did not mean his character changed. Character change comes from obedience.

§  Being called a Christian does not change our character; obedience to his word does.

II.    Be Faithful in Short numbers (Numbers 13-14).

This does not mean you always go against the grain. You are to seek wise counsel, especially when you are in the minority. You never assume that if you are the only one who wants a certain outcome, it is right. However, when it comes to God’s will and God’s Word for your life, you must stand by that no matter if anyone else sees it or not. Our allegiance to model Christ in every circumstance is paramount: nothing less will do.

During WWII, General George Patton said: “Cowardice is a disease and must be checked immediately, before it becomes epidemic.” And so it was. Ten influential leaders expressed their fears and the result was pandemic. The people trembled in fear. (Num. 13:32-33)

Joshua and Caleb were outnumbered. But they refused to back down (Numbers 13:30, 14:7-9).

They risked death (v. 14:10). But they knew God would deliver them if they would put their faith in Him to do so and trust Him.

Such a resolve offers insight into Joshua’s character. He held fast to God’s word, regardless of the cost.

III. Be Faithful in Setbacks

Lost Efforts. It is not lost causes that we are to defend, but God’s Word and His Will. Faith means we will defend His will His way even in certain defeat.

Partial obedience is no obedience at all.

Delayed obedience is a contradiction in terms.

Proverbs 16:2 “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits.”

To put off doing what God commands is an affront to His sovereignty.

A faithful life is not built upon good intentions or New Year’s resolutions. It is established on a daily determination to do whatever God says to do.

There are no shortcuts to faithfulness – it requires a lifetime of small, daily obedience. The accumulation of such obedience defines a mighty servant of God.

Joshua became such a person.


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