Last week I preached on Joshua 6, The Battle of Jericho. The more I study and preach God’s Word, the more I learn how deep you can drill it for truth. With every sermon I preach, I am forced to emphasize one part of the text, one verse, or one them at the expense of another. Deciding what to emphasize is difficult as it means certain death (-cide) to whatever you choose not to emphasize.
Joshua 6 is no exception. I could have preached six unique sermons out of this one chapter, all emphasizing a different and equally powerful truth. As I personally have heard a hundred sermons over my life asking, “What is your Jericho?”, focusing on God’s victory over impossible odds, I choose instead to focus on God’s Holiness. Of course, if you are really going to hit God’s Holiness than you are required to really hit man’s sin. This can often end up sounding like a fire and brimstone type of sermon that will either empty your church or empty people’s hearts of their self-righteous pride. That should probably be the desire response to every sermon.
When you are left to choose between God’s Power and God’s Holiness, there really is no way to lose. But, I thought I’d list five other ways that I might preach Joshua 6 should I ever get the opportunity again:
1. Big Damn Wall: A sermon focusing on that ONE BIG thing that is impossible without God. Life presents us difficult trials that, from our perspective, seem hopeless. God puts us there so that we will have to depend on Him. Trials are not always suffering, but that place you don’t want to be because its difficult to move, change, or decide.
2. Blood on my Hands: A sermon focusing on the fact that God made the warriors complete the fight. In essence, God wants men to see firsthand the idolatry that sin causes and the brutality required to expunge it.
3. A Citizen of Jericho: Though I touched on this in 2nd service, this sermon would focus on the reality that I am a “Jerichoian” in this story. The sin is not out in the world…it is in my heart.
4. Shut up and March: When Brent Rood came and preached about wilderness, he spoke about silence. What he said was that if you can still talk, whether it is to complain, argue, or even explain–then you are not probably in wilderness yet. Wilderness is where you have nothing BUT God, where you march silently because everything else has failed. Silence is not only demanded by God, that we might experience his presence, but it is even used by God to “force” us to follow.
5. I am a prostitute: This sermon would focus on the fact that God saved a prostitute–someone who sleeps with a lot of men. If you think about it, God could have used a myriad of occupations in this story, but this is the one he perfectly chose. In view of books like Hosea, and much of the Old Testament, the choice makes sense as a perfect description of idolators like you and me. Jesus is the perfect husband but, the truth is, we sleep with a lot of saviors instead of Him.
Regardless of the title and focus, all of the sermons preach the same thing–Jesus. In short summary: I am bad. Jesus is good. I worship me. Jesus wants me to worship Him. I am want to kill God because I am dead in my sin. Jesus saves me by submitting to death and gives me new life through his resurrection. I still struggle with sin in this foreign land. Jesus still fights until He comes to bring me home. Amen.