Read time: 3m 45s
Intro: When God brought Israel to the edge of the Promised-Land, they sent in scouts who returned with a message that filled Israel with “dread and fear.” (1:28-29) But now, what they had felt because of their enemies, God promises that the enemies would feel because of them:
Deuteronomy 2:25 “This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you on the peoples who are under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.”
Notice: It was a message that melted Israel’s hearts with fear (1:28; cf. Num 13:32). And it is a report that makes the nations tremble.
Review: Remember Your Good News
We sin and will keep sinning, and struggle and will keep struggling. But the Spirit in the Gospel wants us to hear this: we have the power. We have the truth, the light, the life.
All satan, temptation, fear, lies, can do to us is remove something. Lies have no power over truth—lies can only remove truths in order to create a confusing haze. Darkness has no power over light—darkness is only the absence of light. And death has no power over life—death only describes the state of life-removed.
Jesus says, “All power in heaven and on earth belongs to Me!” The darkness is not creative, generative, powerful; it has no life in itself. Remember this: your God is the I-AM-I-AM. He is the source, the generator, the creator, the fountain, the river, the waterfall; He has all life in Himself—He supplies seed for sowing and bread for food; He gives the growth. (2 Cor 9:10; 1 Cor 3:6) And He is Jesus.
What Wins: The Report
We don’t fight back the enemies with shenanigans like charms, shawls, hard work, special juice, etc. What fights for us? What wins for us? “This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you on the peoples…who shall hear the report of you.”
The “Report” is the News about what our God has done for us (cf. Josh 9:8). It’s the Gospel! You are not fearsome, but the Gospel is. No lie can out-shout the plain-spoken truth of Jesus. No darkness can withstand a candle of Gospel truth. No death can strangle a word of Jesus’ life.
This Report fills our enemies with trembling and anguish. Shouldn’t it fill us with peace and courage? “Be strong and very courageous.” (Josh 1:9)
Did You Read The Report?
We live in a deluge of words: newsletters, emails, magazines, reports, books, articles, posts, tweets. How long has it been since someone asked you, “Hey, did you read that book I lent you, article I sent you, post I tweeted about?” And how many times have you said, “Not yet”?
What’s another report, in this mountain of advice, opinions, lists? It’s disheartening. But how much trouble has been caused by a report that should be on the top of the stack getting shuffled to the bottom? The Report of what God has done in Christ is a critical piece of news. Isn’t it?
But The Report does nothing for us if our only concern is our immediate physical comfort or our immediate financial anxiety. It only benefits us if we intend to “enter the land”, if we intend to make disciples, if we intend to deal with our wounds and shame, if we intend to fight back against the darkness in our souls and in our worlds and in the world. Then The Report is the thunder of thousands of drums, the sharp trumpet of our King’s unqualified victory, and His banner snapping the doom of every one of His enemies.
If we mean to taste the milk and honey of the riches of God’s grace, then The Report is our armor, our sword and shield. (Eph 6:11-17) But if we intend to keep wandering the wilderness and living on manna, then The Report does us little good.
Tremble No More
Instead of filling our hearts with courage, knowing that our enemies tremble in the shade of His King, The Report lays underneath a stack of “10 signs of…” and “Five secrets to…” and “How to know if…” And the lies of fear and dread fill our ears instead. We tremble.
Listen to The Report. Live from the abundance of grace. Be strong and very courageous.
Let the other guys tremble.
Here we go.
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations." (Matthew 28:18-19)