Overcoming the Obstacles, Part 3
Psalm 46:10 is a Bible verse that both challenges and strengthens me.
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth! NKJV
When circumstances in my life or in the world around me seem intimidating, this verse challenges me to slow down, focus on the Lord, and trust His unfailing Word and nature. When my heart is at rest in God and I am confidently abiding in His presence, I know that He is God almighty and that nothing is impossible with Him. He will be exalted in the nations!
The wording “be still” literally means to cease from striving. It means to let go and relax, to turn down the volume of the world, and listen to the quiet whisper of God. It is getting still and coming into a place of rest. It means waiting or abiding in His Presence. The result is that you will know He is God.
I will examine this concept of intimacy and trust in this article by continuing our study of Joshua. From a young age, Joshua learned the importance of being still in God’s presence.
In the last two articles, I have examined the principles behind Joshua’s success at possessing promised inheritance from Josh. 1:1-11.
Forty years prior, God invited Israel to possess their inheritance in the Promised Land. Fear and unbelief robbed a generation, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb.
During those same forty years, Joshua and Caleb developed within themselves a victorious mindset. They stayed close to God, continued to believe His promise, and encouraged a future generation to believe.
Forty years later, Moses passes on, and God directs Joshua to cross a flooded Jordan River despite the circumstances.
The Lord told Joshua three times in Josh. 1 to “be strong and of good courage.” The phrase “be strong” is from the Hebrew châzaq, which means courageous, valiant, manly, strengthened, established, firm, fortified, obstinate, and mighty.
God was not only giving Joshua instructions on how to be strong (Jos. 1:8-9), but the command to “be strong and courageous” also imparted the strength and courage he needed to obey and realize the promise. God gave a “grace” to Joshua in His command. God’s word, released by the Spirit, releases God’s grace and power to do the impossible.
Grace is more than forgiveness; it empowers you to be who you are not. You are becoming like Christ because of the power of the Holy Spirit, who is the agent of grace. Grace infuses life and power within you to become your identity and to do what God has asked you to do.
Overcoming the Obstacles: Principles from Joshua’s Success
Why did Joshua succeed? What were the key factors that enabled him to overcome the obstacles in his way?
Joshua’s heart attitude provides the answer. God formed Joshua’s perspective, and challenges did not hinder his perception of the promises. He wasn’t swayed by bad news or circumstances, nor did he allow unforgiveness, judgment, and bitterness to affect his heart attitude or perspective.
An understanding of God and His promises is the difference between what happens for some people and what does not happen for others. Your success is in God, His Word, and how you apply His promises.
Circumstances do not dictate whether you have victory; your perception and faith do. Like Joshua and Caleb, you are nurturing a victory inside of you—if you have the confidence to trust God through the journey. Those who accomplish remarkable things and live extraordinary lives allow God to form their internal reality and perception of life.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will examine factors behind Joshua’s success, which provide principles to overcoming obstacles and fulfilling your dreams. Today, God is Your Strength.
God is Your Strength
Twice the Bible makes this wonderful, all-inclusive statement: “for all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27 NASB, cf. Matt. 19:26). Note the preposition with. To you, all things are possible, with God.
Your strength and ability to overcome obstacles is a result of your relationship with God—apart from Him, you are limited in your ability to address life’s challenges.
Joshua entered Canaan triumphantly because he knew God and trusted His promises, not because he had a great army—they were descendants of slaves. God told Joshua,
“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon, I have given you.” (Josh. 1:3 NKJV) Notice that the promise is past tense. God expected Joshua to act on what He had revealed, knowing that God had already gone before him and would be with him.
Like Joshua, God expects you and me to believe and act upon what He has revealed to us, in both His written Word and Holy Spirit revelation. Because God is with us always, He has the right to ask the impossible of us—He is our strength and source. Obstacles move, and those who trust in and rely solely upon God receive His inheritance.
Our lives are hidden in Christ. He is the vine, we are the branches—our ability to bear fruit and possess God’s promises depends on our dependence upon Jesus and His Greatness. If God be for us, who can be against us?! Rest in God alone!
Joshua knew the Lord intimately (Exod. 33:7-11).
From a young age, Joshua’s worldview was anchored in God and His promises. He was not swayed by the news or circumstances. This came as he learned to wait in God’s presence—his mind was renewed and the impossible became probable.
Joshua learned how to abide in God’s presence and glory. He learned how to position himself to hear God’s voice and follow God’s commands.
There are few of us who have the “right circumstances,” but faith develops through relationship with God, by remaining in Him.
To overcome the obstacles of life, know intimately who God is to access His goodness & grace and be a person marked by His presence. God invites us in James 4:8 to “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” NKJV
As a body of believers, we want to cultivate a culture of pursuit of God’s presence as normal. But keep in mind we are pursuing Jesus, not just answers to prayer or revival!
As I said earlier, we are instructed in Psalm 46:10 to “Be still, and know that I am God.” The wording “be still” literally means to cease from striving. It means to let go and relax, to turn down the volume of the world, and listen to the quiet whisper of God. It is getting still and coming into a place of rest. It means waiting or abiding in His Presence. The result is that you will know He is God.
The word “know,” is from the Hebrew yada. It is an experiential knowledge of God. It is the same word used in Genesis when we read that “Adam knew Eve.” Yada signifies that it is not just being still and knowing intellectually about God. It is being still and knowing God experientially. You will experience God. You will know the Presence of God.
As we focus our heart, spirit, soul, mind, and body (the whole person) on His manifest Presence, we become oblivious to the natural physical world around us. The key is where your focus is— on the things of God or on things of this world.
Bible reading and prayer are not enough. We must take time alone with Him, not asking for anything but more of Him, more of His fullness, more of His presence in our lives. God releases power through us as we dwell in intimacy with Him.
Isaiah 64:4 says God “acts for the one who waits for Him.” The Amplified version states, “God…who works and shows Himself active on behalf of him who earnestly waits for Him.” He is waiting on us to wait on Him.
Experiencing the intimate presence of the Lord will radically change your life. People describe His manifest presence in different ways. For some, it is lightness, peace, or weeping. To others, it is heat, electricity, or shaking.
Learning that God is your strength and how to abide in Him is the difference between what occurs for some people and what does not happen for others. Your success is in God, His Word, and how you apply His promises for yourself—not in your circumstances. It comes from abiding in Him, in His presence. (see Exod. 33:11)
Many feel worried and fearful today because of the pandemic and finances. Many are troubled by national events and uncertainty. Combine these with global concerns, and many are unsettled. But we are citizens of a greater kingdom, an increasing kingdom that is greater than pandemics, famines, societal issues, or government leaders. The Lord is inviting us to wait in His presence, to tune out from the world and refocus on Him.
How to Seek or Wait in God’s Presence
First, get into a private place. If possible, be routine about it. Get comfortable. Have a journal ready. For extended sessions, I will lie on the floor and rest in His presence in my home office.
Second, open with prayer. Thank the Lord for His presence and for being with you. I like to use the Lord’s prayer, as a model, to invite His presence and prepare my heart (I share this in my newest book Our Eyes are On You). I invite His kingdom, His rule to come. I forgive as needed and truly repent as the Holy Spirit leads. Then I thank God for His kingdom, His power, and the supremacy of Christ.
Third, I like to worship to two or three directional praise and worship songs focused upon Jesus. I follow up with light, quiet instrumental worship to stay in a flow of worship as I keep my spirit directed to the Lord. I tune my spirit to the Holy Spirit, I “watch” and “listen” to what He may reveal. Sometimes He brings me back to previous words, visions, or promises in the Bible to begin to direct me.
Lastly, I do not rush; I wait patiently upon the Lord. I allow God to meet with me as He chooses. I record important impressions, words, and visions He gives and test them relative to the Word. If it is something directional, I seek others for confirmation starting with my wife, Carolyn.
Intimacy with God is the simple means by which we access living in the miraculous. Spending time in His manifest Presence is the discipline we must develop to access all that God has for us. And the cumulative effect deepens His presence, or anointing, upon our life to function as He leads in the gifts and supernatural.
I will continue this series, Overcoming the Obstacles, next week by looking at the importance of believing God’s promises. Have a great week!
For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message, “Overcoming the Obstacles, Part 3”
 James Strong, A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009), 38.