Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: You are being watched. Nancy Leigh DeMoss explains.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: After your death will your children inquire of the Lord? Will those who’ve been influenced by your life, will they be influenced to seek the Lord because they’ve seen you do it?

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, November 12, 2014.

If there’s one biblical message we need to hear in our day, it’s “Do not be afraid.” It’s a message that comes through clearly in our study of Joshua, and one we need to continue reviewing. We’re all tempted to fear and to be discouraged. We’re about to hear Nancy’s own struggles in this area as she wraps up this series "Lessons from the Life of Joshua (Part 12): Leaving a Godly Legacy."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, as you know, if you’ve been listening to Revive Our Hearts for the last several months, we have been walking with Joshua. And I feel today as we come to the conclusion of that long series, I feel like I’m saying goodbye to someone who has become a very dear friend and mentor.

I shared early in this series and maybe a couple of times as we went through this series, but I’ll share it again. The reason I started into this study was a year-and-a-half ago, I was at a very low and discouraged point in ministry. We were going through some major changes in the ministry.

They weren’t bad changes, but I was terrified of what the implications would be for my schedule. They were ones we agreed God had led us to, but I was just wallowing in a pool of unbelief and fear and discouragement.

That's not the type of thing you tell everybody, but I did tell the Lord. I went to the life of Joshua and just started studying for my own life, my own edification. I said, "Lord, I want to learn from this man."

That was a year-and-a-half ago. And we started recording this series several months ago. Today we come to the end of it. That study has been transformational for me as I've spent this last year-and-a half mostly in the life of Joshua—beginning in Exodus and Numbers. As you remember, it was a few months before we got into the book of Joshua.

I found myself just meditating on these passages and just mulling them over and over and living with them. I've been going back to them again and again—even more so when I started teaching it for Revive Our Hearts. God has used the meditation on His Word and the example of this man's life to deal with my fears, to give me a whole new perspective on God, a whole new perspective on the giants in my life and in our ministry.

It hasn't been overnight, this transformation. But I am not the same person today that I was when I started that study. Now, that's what the Word of God is supposed to be doing in all of our lives—not just mine, but yours. It's not just for people who are in the ministry or people who are speaking on national radio or teaching Bible studies and writing books.

You're supposed to be being transformed day in and day out by the Word being grafted into your mind and heart. It doesn't come by just this quick, surface, grabbing of a few verses before you run out to hit your day. It comes through the persistent, steady, plodding.

Most days that I was studying Joshua, I didn’t have any great bolt of revelation or any lights that went off or any major transformation. Now, there were a few of those moments along the way.

When I got to Kadesh-barnea and saw the rebellion and unbelief of God's people and how God viewed it and what it cost the people, that was a point of very deep brokenness and repentance in my own heart as I realized, "That is where I have been living—in that place of unbelief and rebellion against God." There were some tears shed and some just saying, “Yes, Lord.”

But more often than that kind of experience, it was just the line upon line, precept upon precept building my faith, encouraging my heart and strengthening me in the battle. That’s often how God transforms us by His Word.

Now we have walked with Joshua through many different seasons and chapters in his life. Again, in this overview summary, final session, I want us to just take a look at the big picture of his life. We met Joshua when he was a young man in his early years. We saw that those were learning years as he was mentored by Moses.

Then we saw him as a mature man as he was leading the Children of Israel into the Promised Land. More recently, we’ve seen him as an old man who was leaving a legacy—learning, leading, and leaving a legacy. You see the progression of his life.

  • The years when he was a young man were years of worship and waiting.
  • The years when he was a mature man were years of warfare, the conquest of God’s enemies and the giants in the land.
  • Then by the time Joshua was an old man, he had accumulated wisdom to pass on to the next generation.

That accumulated wisdom was the result of a lifetime spent meditating on the Word of God. And not just meditating on it but living it out. He now could say, “I have a life message. I know that God can be trusted. I know that God is bigger than the giants. I was at Jericho! I saw those Anakim go down. I saw God cause the sun to stand still.” We didn’t spend a whole lot of time on that passage.

But Joshua could go back and review all these things, and he was able to pass on wisdom born out of his own life experience with God now that he was an old man.

When he was a young man, he was a faithful follower. He was Moses’ assistant. During those years he was loyal. He never resisted Moses’ leadership, although there were others who were close to Moses who did resist his leadership who caused uprisings.

But as a young man, Joshua was a faithful follower, a loyal follower. That’s what made him a good leader, by the way, when it came his turn to be a leader.

Then in his mature years, he was a man of faith. We’ve seen his faith throughout these lessons. In the latter years of his life, he was able to reap the fruit of his labors.

So you don’t reap all the fruit in the early years. You pay the price. You go through the course. You walk through the process of maturing and becoming the man or woman God wants you to be, that God made you to be.

None of us is there yet. Now there are some in this room who are closer. Miss Dorothy has been walking with the Lord probably longer than anyone in this room, but she’s still in process. We’re all still in process, growing from spiritual youth to spiritual maturity to old age.

Joshua’s early years were his preparation, preparation for his life work.

  • Those are the years when his roots were established in the Word of God.
  • Those are the years when he developed his private life.
  • Those are the years when he developed a servant’s heart.
  • Those are the years when he was tested and proved to be a faithful man.

I would just say to those of you who are younger women, teenagers, young women in your twenties who listen to Revive Our Hearts, these years are so important. They are foundational. As my dad always used to say, “You are what you have been becoming.” And you will be what you are now becoming.

Don’t minimize the importance of the choices that you’re making in your early years. Serve the Lord in your youth. Give Him your youth, and you will reap blessings in your latter years as Joshua did.

So his early years were the development of his private life. Then as a mature man, he experienced years of public life, public service. It’s during his mature years that he received the baton from Moses, that the changing of the guard took place, and he became Moses’ successor, the leader of God’s people.

Now as an old man as we’ve seen him in the most recent sessions, he is passing the baton to the next generation, and Joshua passes off the scene. We read just in two verses, “Joshua the servant of the Lord, died, being 110 years of age, and he was buried at Timnath-serah” (Joshua 24:29 paraphrased).

That’s it. He’s gone. He’s not even mentioned by name in the great Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith. Now Jericho is mentioned, and so there’s a reference to him. But he serves God’s purpose in his lifetime, his generation, and then he is gone.

But having passed off the scene, he leaves a huge mark. He left a mark on his generation. He left a mark on the next generation. And he has left a mark on countless generations beyond his own including ours today. Our lives have been impacted through the life of this faithful servant of the Lord. Because he was faithful, we’re being challenged to be faithful.

Don’t underestimate how God may want to use your faithful life for generations to come.

  • Are you growing?
  • Are you maturing?
  • Are you moving through the seasons of life?

Now we’re all getting older whether we want to or not. That we don’t have a choice about. But you know the sad thing is that there are some people who are eighty years old who are still spiritually young. We’re supposed to move from spiritual youth to spiritual maturity to spiritual old age. There should be a progression, a growth, a maturity. Are you fulfilling God’s purpose for this season of your life?

Well as we wrap up this series, I want to just point out a handful of characteristics and qualities in Joshua’s life that most stand out to me and have impacted my life the most. There are others I could list. I’m just picking and choosing some here, but I hope this will be an encouragement summary to you.

First of all it’s his servant’s heart, the servant of the Lord. He didn’t aspire to be known as anything more than that. He realized that was the highest calling. Remember that a faithful servant makes an effective leader.

And then Joshua was not self-seeking or self-promoting. The Scripture says that after Moses’ death the Lord exalted Joshua. Joshua didn’t put himself into that position.

I got an email yesterday from a woman saying, “How did you become a public speaker and what would you suggest that I do to become one?”

Well, I’m sure this woman’s heart is to be used of the Lord and to serve Him; I don’t know her. But if I were to answer that email personally, what I would say is, “Don’t worry about it. Don’t promote yourself. Seek to serve and let the Lord determine when and where and how He wants to use you in His time.”

I never aspired to write books. I never aspired to have a radio program. God knows I did not aspire to have to do 260 new programs every year; it’s a huge challenge. I didn’t seek this out. I didn’t aspire to be a public speaker. I sought to serve the Lord where He had me when I was eight years old when I was asked to teach a Sunday school class for the first time when our teacher had to be gone.

And I said, “Yes, I’ll do that.” As God opened doors and opportunities, I tried to walk through them and be faithful. That’s all God calls us to do—to walk into the opportunities He gives us and to be faithful servants. Joshua was not self-seeking or self-promoting.

He was a learner, another evidence of the humility of this great man. He learned from the example of others. He saw Moses blow it by striking the rock when God said speak to the rock. He saw the consequences. Don’t you think that marked Joshua’s life for the rest of his life? Don’t you think he took obedience more seriously because he learned from the mistakes of others?

He saw that Moses died. Joshua was around when that happened. He had to realize, "Joshua, you're going to die too." He learned from the lives of others. He took seriously the things that God had told Moses and applied them to His own life for the rest of his own life. How important it is for us to take counsel from godly, older people, and then to pass it on to the next generation.

Joshua was secure in who God made him, in his role, and God's calling in his life. Deuteronomy 34 tells us there was none like Moses before or since. Now how would you like to be the one called to be the successor to that man? Kind of the way I felt when Revive Our Hearts was asked to be the successor program to Elisabeth Elliot’s Gateway to Joy.

I’ve shared this in this series earlier on. I said Elisabeth Elliot left a huge footprint. This was a great woman of God, and I could not fill her shoes. The freeing thing for me was to realize that I didn’t have to, that God didn’t call me to be Elisabeth Elliot. I thank the Lord for her. I’ve been greatly influence by her life. But God called me to be Nancy Leigh DeMoss. God called Joshua to be Joshua, and God calls you to be you. Don’t compare yourself to others.

We've each been chosen by God for a specific time, a specific season, a specific role, and our calling is just to fill it faithfully.

Then I’ve mentioned this numerous times through this series, but Joshua had such a huge respect and love for the Word of God, the law of God from the time he was a young man to the time he was an old man. He learned to meditate on the Word of God day and night.

And then his dependence on the presence of God. God said, “I will be with you,” and Joshua believed it. Having the presence of God he didn’t need anything else. That was enough for him to go into battle to be faithful. He knew he couldn’t make it on his own, but he knew he could make it with God.

Then we see the courage and the faith of this man. Over and over again we’ve seen it. He believed God. As a result, that gave him freedom from fear. Fear was replaced with faith.

I think that’s probably the biggest thing that has happened in my heart through this study is that fears that I was really wrestling with about our ministry have been replaced with faith. Now my circumstances are still challenging, but there’s faith that God is bigger than the giants.

Then we’ve seen that Joshua fully followed the Lord. That is said of him and of Caleb numerous times. He was wholehearted in his following of the Lord. I’m reminded of that servant of the Lord, William Borden. If you don’t know the story of his life, it’s one you ought to read.

At the end of his life, he died while he was on his way to the mission field to serve the Lord. In the flyleaf of his Bible, three phrases were found: “no reserves, no retreats, no regrets.” I think that summarizes the life of Joshua wholehearted fully following the Lord not with half a heart but with all of his heart.

Then we see a man who was obedient to the Lord even when it didn’t make sense. Joshua 11 verse 15 summarizes this. It says, “Just as the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses.”

What a track record. What a thing to be said of us that he left nothing undone of all God had told him to do.

Then we’ve talked about this sense of continuity and connectedness that Joshua had both to previous generation and to future generations. He took the baton from Moses and realized he had a responsibility to take in to his generation the truths that he had learned from Moses. But then he realized he also had a responsibility to pass those truths on to the next generation.

I’m reminded that our lives are part of God’s greater, bigger, grand, eternal plan. We are not isolated in our own point in time. We’re part of God’s great kingdom plan and agenda.

But we stand in the line of a great host of saints who’ve gone before us, who’ve been faithful—the Joshuas, the Abrahams, the Moses, the Davids. We stand in their line, and we stand before others yet to come, should the Lord tarry. That’s why we need to be careful not to break the chain, not to break the link, but to receive what they have given and to pass it on to the next generation.

I think one of the greatest compliments to Joshua is found in Joshua 24 verse 31 that says that "Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel."

Then we read in Judges chapter 1, verse 1: “After the death of Joshua, the people of Israel inquired of the Lord.”

Isn’t that great? They couldn’t ask Joshua anymore, but they knew who to ask. They knew where to go for direction when they were facing their next battle because they had seen Joshua do it so many times himself.

  • After your death will your children inquire of the Lord?
  • Will those who’ve been influenced by your life, will they be influenced to seek the Lord because they’ve seen you do it?

Then we’ve seen Joshua’s perseverance, never deterred by failure, long-haul faithfulness. You know that seven-year conquest that he participated in while he was in his 90s was longer than either of the first or the second World Wars.

Here’s a man who was in it over the long haul; a man who stayed in the race all the way to the finish line. No retirement mindset in Joshua; no settling back to the end of his life. To the very end he was vigilant in his calling. He was vigilant in relation to his burden for the people of God.

Now I don’t care what age you are, at any age—young, older, or old—you always have to be watchful, always have to guard our relationship with the Lord. Remember to fear Him, to love Him, to worship Him, to remember His faithfulness.

Remember, the work is never finished. It’s not over until it’s over. There will always be issues to deal with. We can never take spiritual retirement, never afford to sit back and coast, but always be pursuing the Lord until the end of our lives.

Well, I see in Joshua a God-centered life, a steadfast life and a life that perhaps most importantly points us to Jesus. Jesus, Joshua. What does the name Joshua mean? God is salvation.

His life points us to Christ who is the captain of our salvation. When we go with Him in His presence and under his lordship, we cannot be defeated.

I want to close by reading two passages from the book of Joshua, the first from chapter 1, the first nine verses. I took these verses early on in this study and memorized them and spent many months meditating on them. I just think they’re a good summary. Then I’ll read a verse from the end of the book as well.

Here in the early part of his ministry we read in Joshua 1:1:

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses" (verses 1-3).

"No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.

"Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause these people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.

"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written. For then you [Joshua or you Nancy if you will meditate in God’s Word day and night and do what it says then you] will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Now Joshua received those promises early in his ministry life when he was just receiving the baton. What did he have to say at the point that he was passing the baton off decades later?

Joshua chapter 23 verse 14:

And now I am about to go the way of all the earth [I’m about to die], and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; Not one of them has failed.

God said, “I’ll be with you. You’ll overcome.”

And Joshua said, “Lord, I’ll take You at Your word. I’ll do what You said. I’ll meditate on Your Word. I’ll obey it. I’ll believe You. I’ll walk by faith, and I will trust that You will keep Your word.”

Then we have his testimony at the end of his life. God did keep His word. God kept all His promises. Not one word that God said to us has failed. Not one word that God has said to you or to me will fail.

So be strong. Be courageous. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be dismayed. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Leslie Basham: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss, wrapping up our in-depth study of Joshua. That’s a great final reminder, encouraging all of us to be faithful to what the Lord has called us to without fear. You can hear all the archives of the Joshua series at ReviveOurHearts.com. Or find out how to order the series on the life of Joshua as a CD set. Get that info at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Christmas will be here before you know it. This season, we want to help keep your mind focused on Jesus. Nancy’s brand new piano CD is full of songs about coming to the Lord and adoring Him. That’s why it’s called Come Adore. This CD will help you keep your mind set on Jesus in the middle of a busy season.

We’d like to send you a copy—one per household—when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts here in November. Your gift means a lot—it helps us continue helping women thrive in Christ. When you donate online, you’ll see a checkbox to let you request the CD, Come Adore. The web address is ReviveOurHearts.com, or ask for Come Adore when you call 1–800–569–5959.

Do you know that Jesus appears throughout the Bible? In the Psalms? The Prophets? Tomorrow, Nancy will help you focus on Christ in the Old and New Testaments in a creative presentation. It will help you take a fresh look at the wonder of your Savior. Please be back, for Revive Our Hearts.

 Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

 

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