Summary: In the desert, they were pressing toward a goal they could only dream of; in the Promised Land, they actually began to believe God for greater things! They were no longer satisfied with survival…now they wanted to succeed.
A FRESH ENCOUNTER WITH GOD
Two weeks ago, we opened the book of Joshua and found great promises that God had for us. Promises that would bring us through difficult days. We read of how Joshua was told by God to rise up and cross the Jordan. To cross that river that seemed like such a challenge. We read how God called on the people of Israel to trust Him and to move forward despite the loss of their leader, Moses.
In those words, we found the great promises that God had for Joshua and the nation of Israel. Even in the midst of their suffering, even in the midst of the trouble, God had a plan for them. God had a way out.
Last week, we continued in the book of Joshua and read how God promised them that they would cross that river on dry ground. Think about that, on dry ground. God promised them that as they faced that challenge, that river that was overflowing its banks, that He would deliver them. That he would stop those waters from flowing so they could cross unharmed.
We talked about HOW they would cross the Jordan. We focused on one phrase that gave us great hope, NOT I, BUT CHRIST. Within those words we find the answer to how we make it through the crises that we face in life. We find the answers to life’s problems, we find the path to cross that river. NOT I, BUT CHRIST.
Acts 16:31 “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” In Christ, we find all of the comfort, peace and deliverance that we could ever hope for. And those simple words, NOT I, BUT CHRIST, are all we need to cling to when we face our trials in life. I know this personally through the past few weeks, as I can assure you that there is no way I could have made it though these past few weeks without simply putting my trust in Him.
Today, we’re going to move a bit farther in Joshua. We talked about how God called them to cross the river, we talked about HOW they were to cross the river. Today, we’re going to talk about WHY? Why is it so important for us to move forward in God’s plan? Why is it so important for us to cross this river? Why is it important for us to trust God to take us through the valleys in our lives? We know that in Christ, we have the answer of how, but what is the answer to the question, WHY?
The answer to WHY is also found within this powerful book of Joshua. Turn with me to the 5th chapter of Joshua. Here, we begin reading of what happened once the children of Israel got to the other side of the Jordan. They had finally set foot in Canaan. The land of milk and honey, the land that God had promised to them for so very long. They were beginning to see the culmination of a 40 year journey.
A journey that many did not survive. A journey that only TWO of the men of fighting age survived! The only two people who survived the entire forty years were Joshua and Caleb, the two men who returned from the spy mission and told the Israelites that the enemy was strong, but that they could take them! (Numbers 13:30) They had seen so many of their brothers and sisters die in that wilderness. So many that had turned their backs on God had lost their lives in that wilderness. Moses had died. But yet, they forged ahead, ever trusting in God to deliver on His promise.
And now, that day had arrived. They were now standing in the land that God had promised them. They were now in the promised land. And what happened once they arrived in that promised land? What happened now that they were standing on the other side of the Jordan?
Josh. 5:10 Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. 11 And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. 12 Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year.
Why is this significant? Because God now had a new provision for His children. You see, for 40 years, these people had been eating Manna.
Ex 16:35 And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.