And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. II Corinthians 3:4-6 (KJV)
Joshua – The Fearful Warrior
Joshua was a man of natural strength.
1. Truth #1: We must look past our physical situation to see the spiritual realities.
“See! I have delivered Jericho into your hand, its king and the mighty men of valor…” (Joshua 6:2)
What are some spiritual realities as shown in scripture?
a.Before Joshua and the Israelites ever set foot in Jericho, the city was delivered.
b. As Christians, though we do not yet see what we shall be, our new body is a reality.
c. Satan is defeated.
d. We are one in Christ.
e. We have overcome temptation.
f. Ours sins are forgiven, past, present, and future: the price has been paid.
g. Our salvation is delivered.
(These are only a very few. Try to come up with your own list of spiritual realities not yet present reality.)
We must walk in spiritual truth, not in what our physical eyes can see. We “walk in the Spirit” when we walk in a truth God has revealed to us even though our physical eyes do not see.
2. Truth # 2: We must rely on God’s strength and sufficiency, instead of trusting in our own ability.
“…you shall march around the city seven times, and priests shall blow the trumpet…all the people will shout…” (Joshua 6:4-5)
God gives strengths and talents, but under His direction. God is going to be our strength. Numbers 10:9. When we live the life of faith, we have to give God room to work.
3. Truth # 3: We must demonstrate our trust in God through active obedience, choosing to live by faith and not fear.
“And Joshua rose early in the morning...” (Joshua 6:12-16)
v. 16 Joshua rallied the people by the assurance that God had given. When God calls you to obey, do it without taking short cuts, actively choosing faith-filled obedience over fear.
Gideon – the Courageous Coward
Gideon was a man of natural weakness.
(A self-confirmed wimp.)
1. Truth # 1: God wanted Gideon to look past his present situation to see the spiritual reality of who he truly was.
“And the Angel of the Lord…said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor.´(Judges 6:11.
Gideon had low self-esteem, he was confused, frustrated, angry. God saw him differently. In what areas of your life does God see you differently than you see yourself? As long as Gideon had God, he was a mighty man.
God sees me as a conqueror. I see myself as weak and needy.
2. Truth # 2: God wanted Gideon to focus on God’s strength and sufficiency, instead of focusing on man’s inability and weakness.
“Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man...” (Judges 6:16)
3. Truth # 3: Gideon actively obeyed God, choosing to respond in faith, despite his fear.
“And Gideon said to them, ‘Look at me and do likewise; watch, and when I come to the edge of the camp you shall do as I do.”
Are there areas in your life where you need to obey God, despite your fears?
Joshua did not trust in his strength as he followed God.
Gideon set aside his weakness to follow God.
Sometimes we have to set aside a strength to follow God. (Joshua)
Sometimes we have to set aside a weakness to serve God. (Gideon)
Excerpted from Belinda Dunn "Confident Weakness" Bible Study. Outline and questions by Belinda Dunn. Comments by Janice Cartwright.