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Mountain Shopping

Joshua 14

 

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Ironic it is to talk on this subject from central Illinois.  I was raised where you could spot a mountain in nothing flat.  Here, ‘flat’ is the key word.  But God made the mountains, God moves mountains, and so does faith.  One day the mountains will flee away from the Judge of the earth.  Life is all about climbing mountains.  And why do you climb a mountain?  [Because it’s there!]  Our text points out that God wants to give us mountains...of our choosing!

 

A study of Joshua the man is not complete without looking at his friend Caleb.  40 years earlier they were young men, and 2 of the 12 spies sent to check out the land of Canaan by Moses.  They were the minority report who believed they could conquer and claim their Canaan. 

 

They had been on a desert diet of manna, and now they are looking at things like figs and pomegranates, corn, milk, and honey.  The grapes were the size of softballs.  They took a cluster of grapes from Eschol and it took 2 men to carry it.  The other spies saw only the giants of the land, very mean and wicked.

 

This map [slide] gives us an overview of the different people groups who were in possession of the land.  They were formidable foes, seasoned warriors, pagans, idol worshipers, and they didn’t believe in the one and only true and living God, Jehovah.  They were called Anakim.  What’s an ‘Anakim?’ [Not ‘Skywalker’ / Not for a headache {That’s Anacin} ] They were like an entire race of ‘Andre the Giant’s.

Numbers 13:33
And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

But Joshua and Caleb didn’t see giants or grasshoppers, they saw God!  But the congregation of Israel didn’t listen to them, they followed the naysayers who said to go into the land would be suicide.  Because of their sin, rebellion, and lack of faith, God gave them a 40 year sentence to wander in the wilderness.  A whole generation of adults died off, and only their children would enter the land, led by Joshua and Caleb. 

 

Caleb was 40 years old when he spied the land.  Now it’s 45 years later, and they are in the Promised Land, having already experienced many great victories.  Notice what happens...

v. 6-12a   Caleb had done his mountain shopping long before this day, and now he’s about to take possession of it.

 

Ill.—how many of you do your Christmas shopping early?  My mom is one who is already getting things for next year.  We’re having Christmas with my folks over Thanksgiving and it’s a good thing, because whatever clothes she has got for me are just about out of style already!  And she has found ‘great deals’ on some kids clothes that we have put aside for them, and some day they’ll actually be big enough to wear them.  I know my daughter will have a nice jumper to wear someday in college!

 

Caleb had picked out this mountain 45 years ago, and he hasn’t forgotten about it.  He claimed it by faith even tho’ he wouldn’t take possession of it for some time.

 

Canaan=the victorious Christian life.

Joshua=Jesus, our leader.

Caleb=you and me!

 

1.     Caleb’s Surrender.

v. 8b        Caleb said this about himself.

v. 9b        Moses said this about him.

v. 14b      God said this about him.

 

Caleb held back nothing.  He gave all that he was to all that God is.

“I Surrender Some?”  Is that how the song goes?  “Some to Jesus, I surrender?”

 

Some think that complete surrender is just for preachers and missionaries.  That is 100% wrong.  Surrender is the calling for all Christians, and by the way, God deserves it!  Jesus was a dying sacrifice and He calls us to be a living sacrifice!

 

Ill.—D. L. Moody started out as a shoe salesman.  He was saved and became a Sunday School teacher, preacher, and evangelist.  Did you know that he preached for years with very little power on his life?  What was the turning point?  One day he heard an evangelist named Henry Barley preach.  “The world has yet to see what God can do in and thru and with a man wholly and completely committed to him.”  Moody heard those words and said, “By the grace of God I’ll be that man.”  And that unlearned shoe salesman became one of the greatest evangelists of all time, winning hundreds of thousands to Christ.  He held back nothing, giving everything to Christ.  And at his core he was just a businessman.

 

Not everyone can be a Joshua, but we can all be Calebs.  Faithful supporters...right hand men and women. 

 

2.     Caleb’s Strength.

v. 11        But where did Caleb get his strength?

v. 6b        ‘the Lord said’

v. 10        ‘as he said’

v. 12        ‘the Lord spake’

v. 12b      ‘as the Lord said’

 

Caleb’s strength was in the Word of God.  Caleb’s battle axe was the Word of God!  Caleb had a mountain to conquer, and his strength and confidence came from the fact that God had given him His word and promised it to him!  “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

 

I don’t know what kind of mountain you have to claim, but I know this:  You need to saturate yourself in the Word of God and strengthen yourself with the promises of God.  Don’t put all of your energy into trying to conquer and claim it immediately.  Take time to sit and soak, and be still.  Meditate in a marinade of your marvelous Messiah!

 

Caleb’s surrender, strength...

 

3.     Caleb’s Struggle.

v. 7-8a     Mark it down—nothing great happens absent of struggle.  There can be no victory without a battle.  The door of opportunity swings on the hinges of opposition.  You’ll have to go against the crowd.  You’ll have to swim upstream, not go with the flow.

 

Caleb had to overcome short sighted, negative people.  They were supposed to be on his side, but the devil used them and a whole generation missed the Promised Land.

 

I’m thankful that the Wright brothers overcame the many who said, “If God wanted us to fly He would’ve given us wings.”

Thomas Edison overcame the many who were fine with candles and kerosene, and we have light bulbs.

Alexander Graham Bell was called a fool for his efforts to try to talk to someone in a remote location, and now we all have a phone in our pocket, and Mrs. Kay’s is due to go off at any time!

Henry Ford had a dream of mass producing cars so anyone could afford one.  He overcame the many who said, “We have horses and buggies, who would want one of those mechanical contraptions?”  By the way, he succeeded thru sweat and struggle, and with no grant money from Congress!

 

The naysayers will always be there...ignore them!  There will be opposition both from without and within, but plow forward and struggle and strive and run for the prize!

 

Not only did Caleb have to overcome the negative people around him on this side, but also the giants waiting on the other side.

v. 12        the Anakim.

Numbers 14:9
Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us:

Caleb said, these giants won’t be the means of our defeat but of our growth.  We’re gonna eat their lunch!  He bellied up to the table and said, please pass the Anakim, Breakfast of Champions!

 

Why did your momma make you eat your spinach?  Because it was good for you.  “But I don’t want to!”  But you should, for it will make you strong.  God says, eat your Anakim!

 

Ill.—ever seen a baby chick hatch from the egg?  As you watch it struggle to get out, what is your natural impulse?  To free it!  But that will kill it.  It will be too weak to survive and won’t try and fight if you do it all for him.

        And God knows that the struggle you are in for the present will make you stronger for the future!  Allow Him to stretch you and exercise your faith.

 

If I as a parent am always a safety net for my children, always there to bail them out and save them from consequences, I may say it’s because I love them, but really it’s because I love myself.

        Our God loves us just as we are, but He loves us so much He doesn’t want us to stay the way we are.  He wants us to grow and He knows that with no pain there is no gain.

 

You can view your difficulties as obstacles or opportunities.  Are you an optimist or a pessimist?  Or a realist?  Faith is optimistic, I believe, and God is real, and so it’s realistic for a Christian to place optimistic faith in Him!

 

Ill.—I heard about a shoe company that sent a salesman to a remote part of Africa.  Upon landing he immediately sent a telegraph home saying, “Get me out of here, these people don’t even wear shoes!”  What should he have said?  “Send me all the shoes you can, I’ve never seen so many prospects!”

 

Thru surrender we can have strength thru struggle, and we can claim mountains.  Jesus said,

Matthew 17:20
And Jesus said unto them...verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Let’s go mountain shopping!

 

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