Moses is Dead, Now What?
Text: Joshua 1:1-11
You have to go back to Deuteronomy to see what preceded this situation. Moses knows his time is about done. So, he recounts for the children of Israel all God has done for them - victories so great and marvelous; provision so miraculous and timely; deliverance so awesome and incredible. (Red Sea crossing, Waters of Meribah, the manna and quail, victory over the Amalekites and others, His guiding Presence among them) Moses reminds them of their faithlessness; of how the rebelled against God; sinned against the Creator; worshipped other gods. Moses comes to the end and blesses them. Then he commissions Joshua in Deuteronomy 34:6 (lays his hands on him) and dies.
This is a history of God moving and working in and through His people. It is a history much like the ministry here the last 6 years.
Illustration: Our congregation: 2006 – doubled in size; almost 50% of congregation volunteered at PK; 2007 – doubled again, with largest number of baptism in church history. We reached an average over 100 persons, we had multiple ethnicities and denominational backgrounds, in the midst of near tragedy God forged a new sense of unity among us. We restored to fellowship one who had been disciplined by the church 10-15 years prior, we began initial plans to expand the facilities. We literally had people knocking on the doors to get in to get saved, many were driving by and simply were compelled by God to come in. As we internally adjusted to handle the growth God gave, Satan got a foothold to cause some to leave, but God used the time as a time of restoring peace and unity and to build the work anew. As we entered 2008, God began the process of rebuilding the Body of Christ here again. God blessed again mightily and when reached new heights again. Satan again fought as best he could and some succumbed to the his influence and we saw some leave, but God was at work and used it to prune the branches to make a healthier stronger leadership for and members of the church. He began building again the body here.
Even as we neared completion of the construction in late 2008, we saw Satan attempt to destroy what God was doing and God built a solid foundation for a decision of the greatest magnitude that would take place in late 2009 – the decision to merge. We merged in 2010, success, some successes, new members, food pantry, new ministries, etc.
II. Inherit the land (v. 6)
A. The land is God’s possession to give.
The land had been promised to them as an inheritance.
B. They just had to go get it – they had to step out in faith.
Based on what God had done previously, they could step out with confidence that He would accomplish all that He said. Just as we have seen in the past God do amazing things in our lives and in the life of His church, we can step in confidence because of His faithfulness and His ability to accomplish what He says He will do.
III. Obey the Lord (v. 7)
A. Obedience means to not stray from what the Lord has required of you
Do not go to the right or the left – the way is narrow
Illustration: Includes not only God’s written commands but God’s individual calling. If you compromise on what God has called you to do or be, you have strayed.
Quote: Gallup, Inc., studied more than 250,000 successful professionals and concluded that the highest levels of achievement come when people are matched with activities that use their strengths. Though this principle seems obvious, Gallup discovered that it is rarely applied.
B. There is the promise of success when you are obedient God’s way
Illustration: Two men were riding a bicycle built for two when they came to a steep hill. It took a great deal of struggle for the men to complete what proved to be a very steep climb. When they got to the top, the guy in front said, "Man, that was a hard climb!" The guy in back responded, "Yes it was. And if I hadn't kept the brakes on all the way we would have rolled down backwards."
Illustration: The reason most Christians do not live a successful life is because they compromise on their obedience. They obey to a point. As if there is some magical or mystical “just enough” line to cross over. God does not require part-time obedience but a full-time commitment. How about a part-time commitment to a full-time job? How about a part-time commitment to your spouse? Or your children? Can you really expect any real or significant success? Then why only a part-time (or even a past time) commitment to the Lord and His work? If the work of God is to continue with success here, it will require a full-time commitment – a commitment of time, energy and resources (spiritual, material and financial.) Anything less is unworthy of the name of Jesus Christ and is quite simply disobedience.
IV. Meditate on the Word (v. 8)
A. Read the Word of God seeking understanding
Genesis 15:4 - Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
Deuteronomy 30:14-16 - No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. Mark 4:33 - With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand
B. Read the Word of God seeking relevance
Illustration: Parable of the sower – the seed is the Word of God, the fertile soil is the one who receives it and puts it into practice.
V. Do not be discouraged (v. 9)
A. See this time as an opportunity to do what will give God glory
1) Rumors – gossip - misconceptions
Illustration: Kevin was a very inventive guy and he was always trying out new things. One day he wanted to see just how fast a bicycle could go before it went out of control. He pedaled as fast as he could and got the bike up to thirty miles-per-hour. He was sure it could go twice as fast. So he asked his friend, Eric, who owned an old Mustang, if he could tie his bike to the bumper of his car to test his theory. His friend agreed. So Kevin tied his bike to the back of the car and instructed Eric, "I'll ring my bell once if I want you to go faster, twice if I want you to maintain speed, and repeatedly if I want you to slow down." With that, off they went. Things were going pretty well with Eric slowly increasing his speed until he was doing well over sixty miles per hour. Kevin and his bike was handling the speed just fine. Suddenly, a black Corvette pulled up beside them revving its engine. Eric forgot all about Kevin tied to the back of the Mustang and started racing the Corvette. Down the road sat Deputy Todd in his police cruiser. He heard the cars coming long before radar flashed one hundred and five miles-per-hour. He called headquarters and said, "You guys aren't going to believe this, but there's a Corvette and a Mustang racing out here on Highway 3, and right behind them there's a guy on a bike ringing his bell and waving his arms like crazy trying to pass them!"
– rumors against the pastor and the church; blame; judgments against members; political and power plays.
2) Godliness – seek God’s direction; make decisions that will honor God and profit the Kingdom.
B. If you are faithful to follow God’s will, He will bring you success. But even if you do not, if you are the child of God, He will be with you.