- What does the future hold? This question is one that often haunts our minds, and especially in this time of uncertainty! So we stand here today, aware of past, and asking - what does the future hold for our us individually? For us as a church?
- This question is best faced by looking at the Israelites journey into Canaan. I feel we need to look here because in a strange way, I feel we are standing on the banks of our Jordan preparing to cross-over into our Canaan. The question is - will we be ready to enter?
- Josh 1:1-9
- Isrealite journey started over 40 years ago when Moses presented himself to Pharoah. 9 times God sent a sign to Egypt and 9 times the Pharoah had promised release and then relented.
- Finally after 13 months of this the last plague comes and the firstborn of all Egypt was taken.
- The Israelites are freed then pursued and God has finally released them to become the nation He has wanted them to be. Instead of taking them straight into the land God decides to take them on a training exercise. They go down to Sinai, where they spend a year receiving the ten commandments and learning to trust God.
- The time finally comes and God leadss them to Kadesh Barnea. Here they are met with great failure. Joshua and 11 other spies are sent into the promised land. They come back and 10 of the 12 say, "we can't do it, we're like grasshoppers". There is no courage, no strength, no faith, no trust, only fear - fear of change, fear of failure, fear of enemies. The result - they failed. Their punishment - 40 years of wandering in an area smaller than the state of South Carolina. For 40 years they walk in a circle. Imagine - there's the beach, there's Georgia, there's the mountains, - oh, look there's the beach again, there's Georgia, there's the mountains, and on and on.
- But God used this time as a training time - He taught the Israelites trust. They learned to rely on Him for everything.
- At the end of the time in the wilderness (40 years) Moses is taken from them, and 2.5 million people stand on the banks of the Jordan looking over in the promised land. The Jordan is in full flood and God says, trust me it's time to step into the water.
- Some people make the mistake of thinking that the land was just in this small generational landscape, but don't forget Gen 12:5-9
- God has been preparing this very day for 685 years!
- In our passage we see one promise and one obligation as we stand on the banks of our Jordan
God has prepared our future
He has prepared every step
- By virtue we should not go haphazzard but listening to God
He has considered our enemies
- We find daily that we are in an uphill battle against some people. They don't want to hear the Gospel, they would just as soon put you down as build you up, but don't worry about them, God has considered them
He is going with us
- Therefore we are instructed to be strong and courageous
- חָזַק which the root word means "to grow firm". The picture God is giving Joshua is not, be strong when the situation arises, but continually grow strong together. Grow dependent upon me together. It's a process, not a one-time condition.
- אִמַץ which literally translates - "be bold and alert". Again, a process, always on the lookout for where God is moving, and if He is with us, then we should see it quite often.
Our obligation is to listen to God
Standing for the truth
- Again, being strong and courageous - growing intimate with the very Words of God
Unwavering in our committment to God
- The indication is that a wavering committment will have devastating results (v.8). After they conquer Jericho, they come up against Ai and a small community holds back the Israelite army. Why? They quickly wavered in their committment.
He is always with us
- Again we read the promise - I am with you wherever you go.
- So we are at an exciting time in the life of this church. We get to be led by God into the next chapter.
- It is good to glory in the past and think of the good 'ole days, but it's more important to think of what's next, and how are poised to enter into Canaan?