Summary: Today, we find ourselves having "crossed over" so to speak into a new year.
NAVIGATING THE NEW YEAR
Today we’re going to begin a 4 part series of messages that I’ve titled "Navigating the New Year."
I’m going to ask you to join me in the book of Joshua, chapter 4. Before we read our text, let me bring you up to date as to the history of Joshua and the Israelites prior to this point in time.
Moses had died, and Joshua now stands as the leader of God’s chosen people. Joshua’s instructions from the Lord were to "arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel."
God instructed Joshua further and said, "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you..."
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."
So Joshua started out his journey toward the land of Canaan with God’s promise of protection and preservation.
As chapter 3 opens, we find the Israelites camped out on the bank of the Jordan. After three days, being led by the priests and the ark of the covenant, the Jews miraculously crossed the swelling Jordan on dry ground.
This brings us to our text in Joshua 4:19.
Today, we find ourselves having "crossed over" so to speak into a new year. Like the children of Israel, we find ourselves venturing into unchartered territory. Never before have we been where we are today in terms of time. Like many who followed Joshua into Canaan, we’re not sure what lies ahead for us in the year 2001.
Let me share a story with you and then we’ll get into the message.
The story is about a man by the name of Larry Walters, a 33-year-old man who decided he wanted to see his neighborhood from a new perspective. So, he went down to the local army surplus store and bought forty-five used weather balloons.
That afternoon he strapped himself into a lawn chair, to which several of his friends tied the now helium-filled used weather balloons. He took with him, something to drink, a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, and a BB gun, figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.
Walters, who assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet in the air, was caught off guard when the chair soared more than 11,000 feet into the sky--smack into the middle of the air traffic pattern at Los Angeles International Airport. Because he was too frightened to shoot any of the balloons, he stayed airborne for more than two hours, and forced the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon.
Soon after he was safely grounded and cited by the police, reporters asked him three questions:
"Were you scared? "Yes."
"Would you do it again? "No.
"Why did you do it?" "Because you can’t just sit there."
When it comes to the year 2001, we can’t just sit there. A new year means a new journey. It means new opportunities, new possibilities, new adventures.
Having never passed this way before, the newest inhabitants of Canaan were not sure what to expect, but they too knew that they couldn’t just sit there. As I see it, there are three things which occur in Joshua 5 that need to occur in each of our lives if we are to Navigate the New Year successfully.
I. PUT AWAY THE CURSE
A. Joshua 5:2-3, 8-9
B. Look again at the Lord’s words in verse 9, "...This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you..."
C. What was the "reproach of Egypt?"
D. Exodus 32:12
E. The "reproach of Egypt" had to do with the Israelites failure to inherit the Promised Land. Because of their rebellion against God, the Lord made them wonder around in the wilderness for forty years, and all the while, the Egyptians mocked them and ridiculed them.
F. But by crossing the Jordan and renewing the rite of circumcision, the Israelites were showing to their enemies that indeed God was back in the camp and they were back on track.
G. I don’t know what resolutions you made at the beginning of last year, but no doubt many of you made plans, and did so sincerely, to do some things differently in the year 2000.
H. Perhaps you set out with a new resolve to do some great things for God and to claim all that God had for you, only to be disappointed and defeated.
I. Now, here you are 7 days into the year 2001, and in your heart you want to start again, in your heart you want this year to be different than the last, but like the Egyptians, the devil has come along and he’s mocked you and ridiculed you and convinced you that it’s no use.