Teaching Series
Grow Strong
Wednesday—Growing Why?

Series: Grow Strong

Sermon: Growing Why?

Speaker: Japhet De Oliveira

Writer: Japhet De Oliveira

Refresh: Begin today in prayer. Ask God for understanding through the Holy Spirit.

Read: Joshua 9-10 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.

Reflect: I recall in an interview I once had where they asked me what was the most humbling experience I have ever had. That is a great question, since you have to quickly decide which moment in your life you should share—realizing that the best moments are those you’ve learned the most from. You hope that you learned a lesson from those embarrassing moments! The older we get, the more we tend to hope that we will have fewer embarrassing moments. We tend to imagine that our experiences have helped us be more aware of the traps that lie ahead and we hope to avoid them. I recall years ago, when I was working in England, a group of young men effectively ran a Ponzi scheme at several Churches. Thankfully, if memory serves me right, it did not last more than a year, but several members and pastors lost their life savings. That incident was more than embarrassing; the deceit had lingering effects.

When the people of Israel found out that they had been deceived by the Hivites, it had deep lingering effects. Joshua at this stage in his life, with all his experience, felt duped and embarrassed. How did this happen? The story tells us that it was not because their experience did not give them enough warnings, but because they chose not to ask God for wisdom (Joshua 9:14). They chose not to connect with God over this matter. Contrast this first story with Joshua 10, when Joshua consults God and faces the five kings who see that he is creating a wedge with Israel between the north and south. These five kings had gained all their power from Egypt. This means, to some extent, that Joshua is battling Egypt one more time. But this time, with courage and wisdom from God, he will overcome. There is a moment when Joshua asks his soldiers to place their feet on the necks of the captured Kings (Joshua 10:24). Having lost everything in the previous chapter, he wants to re-assert that there is victory. There is strength in the symbol. As we know ourselves from he many symbolic rituals perform, from valentine’s to birthdays to the opening of Sabbath and the celebration of communion, symbols are important. The significance is in what they represent.

Recalibrate: What was the last difficult thing you did made easier because of the advice from someone else?

Respond: Pray for the wisdom to listen to Jesus.

Research: Read Joshua chapter 11 and research the significance of the horses and chariots.

Live Wonder (ages 0–3): Share with your child how we learn sometimes by making mistakes. When we learned to walk we had to fall many times, but others helped us to not give up. Remind your child that learning is so much more fun with help than by yourself.

Live Adventure (ages 4–11): Ever had someone laugh at you? It is pretty rough to fail at something. To mess up in a game or share something and have your friends tease you about it. Jesus wants us to remember that no matter how bad a day might be, He is always with us. He believes in us. So today, see if there is someone who needs to be looked out for and be a friend to them.

Live Purpose (ages 12–16): On our own or with someone? Which would you prefer? It depends on the activity, right? The Bible is full of stories, like the two today where Jesus is encouraging us to stay connected to Him always. He can play the role of silent partner or open partner. But Jesus just wants to be part of your life. What could you share with Him today?

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