Amazing: God’s Power Over Nature (Joshua 1-4)


–          Recently in my travels I stayed a few days at a friend’s house. My friend Will lives in the country –Dittmer,MO– where there is little to no ambient light coming through the windows at night. However, his house has a little device that probably many of you do, a night light sensor. The night light is attached to the power outlet but is on a sensor, detecting movement. So, when you walk into the room the power to the light is available. If no one walks into the room the light does not come on because the power is not accessed – the power is available, it is just not accessed.

  • Likewise, you may not be aware of it, but God’s power is always available. We may not be accessing His power because we are not walking where the power can be accessed.
  • Perhaps your circumstances are dark and having trouble. God is calling you to know and experience His power.

Psalm 147:5 “Great is our Lord and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure.” 

Exodus 14:31 “When Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and believed in Him” (cf. Deut 26:8; 1Sam 2:10; Neh 1:10; )

1 Chronicles 29:11-12 “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom and You are exalted as head over all. Riches and honor come from You and You are the ruler of everything. In Your hand are power and might, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all.”

Psalm 68:35 “God, You are awe-inspiring in Your sanctuaries. The God of Israel gives power and strength to His people. May God be praised!”

  •  Amazing: God’s Power on Display is about helping you see God clearly and access His power. It comes by grace through faith in the gospel (1Cor 1:18; Eph 3:20; Php 3:10; Col 1:11; 1Thess 1:5; 2Tim 1:7; 2Pet 1:3; Rev 4:11, 19:1) resulting in repentance of sin & self-sufficiency, trusting God to work in your life. These messages will not be about what you should be doing or offer simplistic steps to feeling good about yourself – but they will present a picture of the greatness and goodness of God that informs our being and therefore our doing.

**Like Olympic athlete standing on gold medal platform hearing his/her national anthem played and begins to tear. A child asks, “Are you having fun?” Well, it is fun but it’s so much more as a fulfillment of life purpose and calling. God is calling us to experience grace and glory, something that no one/thing else can provide.

Job 38 – 41; 42:1-6 “Then Job answered the Lord and said: ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know…I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

EXAMINE: Joshua 1 – 4            3 principles of God’s power

God’s power comes through His promise (Joshua 1:1-9)

God rescued Israel from slavery to the Egyptians and guided them to enter Canaan – the Promised Land. God showed them His power through the plagues and deliverance through the Red Sea. God spoke and revealed to them His word to obey and find joy in the land (Deut 6:24-25). God guided them through Moses even though the people raged & rebelled against leadership. After Moses, God led them through Joshua and continued His promise. Notice the power and purpose of God’s promise…

–          Promise of a place (vv.2-5)

“arise, go over this Jordan and into the land that I am giving…”

ð     God has a place for you.

–         In His body: Ephesians 2:19 “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God”

–          In His eternal kingdom: John 14:3 “I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

–          Promise of presence (v.5-9)[1]

“as I was with Moses so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you”
“for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

ð     God’s presence wants to be with you

Many people say, wouldn’t it be nice if Jesus were right beside me?

–          Question? Jesus can answer

–          Hungry? Jesus provides food & leftovers

–          Sick? Jesus heals

–          Friend dies? Jesus can resurrect

–          Cat dies? Jesus helps you dig grave (sorry, he doesn’t like cats J)

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping an oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:6-9)

▪          His promise is Himself: “a people for his treasured possession…the Lord set his love on you and chose you”

  • All of Him for all of me

▪         Purpose of God’s Power & Promises is not to bring us subjective comfort but to bring us into saving connection with Jesus Christ and calling in His kingdom.

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”

Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (1Cor 1:18; Eph 3:20; Php 3:10; Col 1:11; 1Thess 1:5; 2Tim 1:7; 2Pet 1:3; Rev 4:11, 19:1) 

      Where are the Joshua’s today, men of courage and leadership for God’s kingdom?

God’s power comes through our faith in His plan (Joshua 3:14-17)

Later as the Israelites planned to enterCanaan, the Lord gave them a plan. God told Joshua that the priests were lead the people carrying the ark of the covenant, which represented God’s presence. In addition there were to be one man from each of the 12 tribes to enter the water. Upon standing together in theJordan Riverthe waters would part for the whole nation to walk through on dry ground. It required faith in God’s power through His promise and plan.

The Bible reminds us that God’s power is limitless. He has control over everything, including nature.

Amos 4:13 “He is here: the One who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals His thoughts to man, the One who makes the dawn out of darkness and strides on the heights of the earth. Yahweh, the God of Hosts, is His name.” 

Isaiah 40:26 “Look up and see: who created these? He brings out the starry host by number; He calls all of them by name. Because of His great power and strength, not one of them is missing.

Jeremiah 32:17 “Oh Lord God! You Yourself made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and with Your outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You!” (cf. 10:6; 10:12; 51:15)

Luke 8:25 speaking of Jesus, “Who then is this that he commands even winds and water and they obey him?”

As we consider a God who has power over nature:

ð     If we are His child, we can rest in the palm of His grace

ð     If we do not belong to Him, we must bow or we will bend to His judgment

ð     We can have praying faith – not puny faith that we say “If…” and “but” NOR presumptive faith that we say “I want…” and “Give me…”

○       A praying faith is one that expects and anticipates God’s power to work

○       Could you imagine the Israelites, whom have seen God’s amazing power and standing on the edge of the land God promised them AND YET not acting in faith?

  • SPBC, God is leading us to new opportunities to enter a new place, experience His power and advance His kingdom. God is calling you to put one foot in front of the other by faith. He will not steer a parked car, nor will His wind move us along unless we open the sail. We must prepare, pray and persevere into God’s Mission
    • Loving God
    • Loving Others
    • Leading Generations


One last principle is that God’s power must be celebrated continually (Joshua 4:4-7).

After all the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, the Lord told Joshua to tell the same 12 tribe leaders to each pick up a stone and create a memorial. It would serve as a faith reminder to future generations of God’s power, presence and plan for them as a people.

Today, our memorial stone is the gospel. It is the cross and the resurrection which we celebrate through the elements of the Lord’s Supper.


Philippians 3:7-10 “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness that depends on faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection and may share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection of the dead.”

Psalm 78:4, 6-7  “We will not hide them from their children but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord and His might, and the wonders that He has done…that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn and arise and tell them to their children so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God but keep his commandments.”

[1] Some background ideas and illustrations from J.D. Greear’s sermon series “Presence”.

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