Don McClure Teaches / LA Conference

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Worship & Obedience: The Path to God’s Blessing

Story by Jim Culhane
Photos by Keith Durflinger

Earlier this year, many gathered at the Calvary Chapel Association's Los Angeles Pastors + Leaders Regional Conference at Calvary Chapel Downey, CA. The theme of the two-day event was “Strong & Courageous”, based on Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

                  

This teaching summary comes from Joshua 5 and 6, brought by Pastor Don McClure of the Calvary Chapel Association Leadership Council and Calvary Way ministry. Using Joshua and the Israelites taking the city of Jericho as an example, he shares that God desires worship and obedience from us before He blesses us.

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A team leads many from Calvary Chapels in worship at the CCA Los Angeles Pastors + Leaders Regional Conference.

Don McClure, Calvary Chapel Association—Joshua 5-6

Joshua had been set aside by God 40 years earlier for this battle of Jericho, when his heart churned and longed to fight. But God wanted to teach him something fresh—the battle of the heart. “There’s only one real battle that’s going on in life,” declared Pastor Don McClure. We think it’s our list of life things we go through, but God only sees the battle of us being conformed to His image, being drawn to Him more and more.

There’s no doubt that Joshua was a godly, spiritual man. He was part of the 12 spies that went into Canaan 40 years earlier. They had seen the land and the houses the Israelites hadn’t built, the flocks they hadn’t raised. It was like paradise in front of them and there for Israel’s taking. God put the other nations there to build it all.

But the inhabitants of the land were giants; 10 of the spies said, “We don’t stand a chance.” The Israelites believed the bad report, but it didn’t change the hearts of Joshua or Caleb. Joshua was filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom—he had been set aside by God to take over for Moses.

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Pastor Don McClure of the Calvary Chapel Association teaches on Joshua 5-6 at the Los Angeles Regional Conference. He shares with the audience how we, like Joshua, can be victorious through worship and obedience to God.

When Moses died, God told Joshua to take the land. All of the weight that had been on Moses’ shoulders for four decades was directly shifted over to Joshua. He found it easy to trust God before, but at this point the Lord is a little obscured. Joshua had Jericho on his mind for 40 years, and now the city was front and center. Forty years prior, Joshua had fought in the battle with Amalek, and Israel prevailed. No matter what strategy Joshua used during the battle, the battle was really being decided on the mountaintop with Moses, on whether a rod was held up. But now, Joshua was in charge.

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” Joshua 5:13-14

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Karyn Johnson, wife of Senior Pastor Jeff Johnson of Calvary Chapel Downey, CA, leads the women’s breakout session during Don’s teaching at the two-day event entitled “Strong and Courageous”.

Joshua knelt before the face of his Commander, as the Lord said that the place Joshua stood was holy ground. Joshua had always been a worshiper, but now the worship was more intense. This is what God is always teaching all of us. Worship has always been the same in the Old and New Testaments.

God gave to Joshua the city of Jericho, its king, and the mighty men of valor. It was a gift. But real worship is always being tested. Really laying down our life before God and asking, What do You want offered? What do You want sacrificed? The test of real worship is that something dies and is responded to in obedience—something God wants us to do. God will always want worship followed by obedience.

Sometimes we say, Lord, I’ll do whatever You want to. I’ll give You my life, every bit of it. Fortunately, the Lord is so graceful. When our kids say they will never do something again, we don’t call them a liar and say, “You’re gonna do it in a week and I’ll spank you again.” No, you say, “That’s good, Johnny. Let’s see how it goes. I’m proud of you.” They’re trying, but they’re lying through their teeth.

                  

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The Bible says, “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22b). God gave Joshua what could arguably be considered the most ridiculous battle plan in the Bible. The Ark of the Covenant, the priests, and the army were to walk around the city making no noise for six days—absolutely quiet. God required sheer obedience in their silence. We all want the blessings: the milk and honey, olives, and vineyards. However, Don has found that the ones who get them do through worship and obedience—not disobedience, which is never rewarded.

The first day the Israelites walked around Jericho, each having to be silent, their hearts had to be beating out of their chests. They were to keep their eyes on God and do what He told them. At the end of the day, what was the toll? Nobody died. The next day, they had to do the same thing. On the second day, the enemy knew they were coming. On the third day, the enemy knew these people were really idiots. On the fourth day, the enemy knew the Israelites were wearing themselves out wandering around the city. Fifth day, nothing happened, and the Israelites began to wonder if God was with them. But through those days, obedience happened. God took the walls of Jericho down on the seventh day when the trumpets blew, and the people shouted. The city of Jericho was a gift to Israel for their worship and obedience.

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Worship leader Steven Loo from CC Santa Fe Springs, CA, guides conference participants in honoring the Lord during the event.

God has so much that He wants to give to us, but unfortunately, Don sees some people who at times think that what they want is gained, not gifted. They want to do it in their own strength, will, and behavior—natural human stuff. It never works. It may give them a temporary “I got it done” feeling, but it never gives the real victory that is in Christ, in a life that has been transformed in His presence. That’s when God smiles: Worship and obedience, you won. Jericho was nothing. It was never about Jericho. God just used Jericho to get from Israel what He hadn’t received from them.

Pastor Don concluded, “When you say, Lord, what do You want? You’re my Leader. I want to be obedient to whatever You have, He will bless you, I promise you.”
                  

Watch Don McClure's teaching on Joshua Chapters 5-6 in its entirety at: Don McClure / CCA LA Conference 2022

                  

 

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All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2022 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.