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Summary: Do we spend too much time trying to resurrect what God has already taken from us? The children of Israel face the tough decision to go forth! What about you?

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ARE YOU WILLING TO GO FORTH?

JOSHUA 1: 1-5.

ONE OF THE MATCHLESS POINTS OF GENIUS AND BEAUTY OF THE BIBLE IS FOUND IN ITS CAPACITY TO BE PROFOUNDLY SIMPLE. THIS IS TO SAY, OFTEN THE BIBLE SPEAKS IN SIMPLE LANGUAGE AND IN A SIMPLE WAY TO MANY OF THE COMPLEX AND MULTIFACETED ISSUES, DEEP AND PROFOUND MYSTERIES AND GREAT CHALLENGING QUESTIONS, WHICH LEAVE OUR INTELLECTS SEARCHING AND GROPING. THE BIBLE HAS AN UNUSUAL SIMPLICITY. IT OFTEN SAYS WHAT IT WANTS TO SAY, IN SUCH A CLEAR AND EASY WAY THAT IF YOU ARE NOT CAREFUL, YOU WILL BE SO UNMOVED AND UNIMPRESSED THAT YOU WILL FAIL TO SEE THE DEEPER MEANING WHICH OFTEN LIES WITHIN THOSE WORDS. WHEN ELIJAH FLED FROM JEZEBEL IN FEAR TO MOUNT HOREB, HE EXPECTED GOD TO COME AS SOME GREAT CATACLYSMIC AND CATASTROPHIC FORCE IN WIND EARTHQUAKE AND FIRE, BUT GOD CAME TO HIM SIMPY AS A STILL AND SMALL VOICE THAT ASKED A SIMPLE BUT SEARCHING QUESTION..”WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE, ELIJAH”? AFTER DAVID HAD CAUSED THE DEATH OF URIAH THE HUSABND OF BATHSHEBA, THE PROPHET CORNERED HIM NOT WITH ANY FINE POINTS OF LEGAL JURISPRUDENCE, BUT WITH A SIMPLE PARABLE ABOUT A RICH MAN AND A POOR MAN AND HOW THE POOR MAN ONLY HAD ONE LAMB, AND TREATED IT AS IF IT WERE FAMILY, BUT THE RICH MAN HAD MANY. THE RICH MAN ORDERED THE POOR MAN’S LAMB TO BE KILLED TO SERVE AN OUT OF TOWN GUEST. AND DAVID THOUGHT THAT WAS CRUEL AND SELFISH. IT WAS SIMPLE LANGUAGE BUT VERY REVEALING! WHEN NICODEMOUS CAME TO THE MASTER WITH THE PROBLEM OF UNFULFILLED RELIGION, THE MASTER DID NOT SEARCH THE MISHNAH OR ANY OF THE RABINICAL WRITINGS, RATHER,HE SPOKE TO NICODEMUS IN SIMPLE LANGUAGE…HE SIMPLY SAID. YOUR PROBLEM NOCODEMUS, IS THAT YOU NEED TO BE BORN AGAIN. IT WAS SO SIMPLE, THAT NICODEMUS ALMOST MISSED THE POINT. HOW CAN T HAT BE. JESUS HAD TO EXPLAIN THAT ONE MUST BE BORN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD. WHEN THE STORY IS TOLD OF A PRODIGAL SON, WHO AFTER LEAVING HOME, LOST ALL HE HAD IT BRINGS OUT SIMPLE TRUTHS. HOW DID HE ARRIVE AT THOSE TRUTHS? THE WORD SIMPLY SAYS….”HE CAME TO HIMSELF”….. IN A HOG PEN ONE DAY, AND RETURNED TO HIS FATHER’S FORGIVENESS. AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE HEAVENLY FATHER’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, THE PRODIGAL SON WAS ACCEPTED BY A LOVING FATHER. WHEN JESUS SPOKE OF HIS MISSION ON EARTH…..AND OF THE INCARNATION, AND OF THE COMPASSION BEHIND HIS PURPOSE…HE SIMPLY SAID “I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD, AND I KNOW MY SHEEP, AND MY SHEEP KNOW ME.” IT WAS IN SIMPLE LANGUAGE. WHEN OUR SPIRITS ARE LOW, AND OUR MINDS CONFUSED, OUR HEARTS BURDENED, OUR SOULS WEARY, GOD OFTEN SPEAKS A WORD OF PERSISTENCE IN SIMPLE TERMS. AND WHEN WE WONDER HOW WE SHALL PERSIST, GOD SPEAKS A WORD OF ASSURANCE! THE MESSAGE FROM OUR TEXT IS A CASE IN POINT. GOD SPOKE THE WORDS OF OUR TEXT TO JOSHUA AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL……THE CHILDREN OF PROMISE WERE IN THE MISDST OF EXPLORING AN ENTIRELY NEW HORIZON. THEY WERE SOMEWHAT DISCOURAGED FOR YOU SEE, MOSES WAS DEAD. MOSES WHO HAD BEEN THE ONE MAN COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO CONFRONT EGPYT’S POWER STRUCTURE AND ARMED WITH NOTHING BUT AN EDIT FROM GOD WHO CALLED HIMSELF “I AM”, AND A STAFF GAVE A DIRECTIVE TO PHAROAH IN SIMPLE TERMS TO “LET MY PEOPLE GO”. BUT NOW MOSES WAS DEAD. THE SAME MOSES WHOM GOD HAD USED TO SECURE ISRAEL’S EMANCIPATION FROM EGYPT AND HAD GUIDED THE PEOPLE FOR FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, THE MOSES, WHOSE PRAYERS HAD BROUGHT THEM MANNA FROM HEAVEN, WHEN THEY WERE HUNGRY AND WATER FROM A ROCK WHEN THEY WERE THIRSTY. THAT MOSES..WAS NOW DEAD! MOSES WAS WITH THEM WHEN ALL SEEMED LOST AS PHARAOAH’S ARMY CHARGED FROM BEHIND, AND THE RED SEA APPEARED NOT AS A BEAUTIFUL BODY OF WATER, BUT AS A WATERY GRAVE IN FRONT OF THEM. THEN, MOSES HAD STRETCHED FORTH HIS STAFF AND GOD CAUSED THE WATERS TO BE ROLLED BACK AND A DIVINELY ORDERED WIND DRIED THE OCEAN BOTTOM TO MAKE AN INTERSTATE FOR THE CHILDREN TO PASS SAFELY THRU. THAT MOSES WAS DEAD! MOSES WHO HAD GONE UP ON THE MOUNTAIN AND TALKED WITH GOD WHILE THE REST OF THE ISRAELITES STOOD BACK, FEARING THAT EVEN IF THEY TOUCHED THE MOUNTAIN THEY WOULD DIE….THE SAME MOSES, WHOM THE ISRAELITES LEARNED TO LOOK TO AND LEAN UPON IN TIMES OF CRISIS, WHO TOWERED BEFORE THEM AS A PILLAR OF STRENGTH,. THAT MOSES WAS NOW DEAD. LOSING MOSES WAS BAD ENOUGH, BUT IT WAS AT A CRITICAL STAGE IN THEIR HISTORY, IT OCCURRED AT THE TURNING POINT OF A PEOPLE’S LIFE AND THAT MAGNIFIED THE LOSS. THE CHLDREN OF ISRAEL WERE ABOUT TO EMBARK ON A NEW JOURNEY TOWARDS FREEDOM THEY WERE ON THEIR 2ND PHASE. THEY STOOD LOKING OVER THE JORDAN.AND FOUND THEMSELVES STANDING BETWEEN THE SLAVERY OF EGYPT AND THE FREEDOM OF CANAAN. BUT LIKE MANY OF US TODAY……..THEY KNEW BETTER THAN TO GO BACK TO EGYPT. WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT “LOOKING BACK” AND TRYING TO GO FORWARD! FOR 40 YEARS, ISRAEL HAD JOURNEYED A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE THROUGH THE WILDERNESS BUT NOT BECAUSE THEY WERE FOLLOWING THEIR LEADER. QUITE THE OPPOSITE WAS TRUE, IT WAS BECAUSE OF A FAILING FAITH, THEY REFUSED TO OBEY GOD AND TO CONQUER CANAAN. SO GOD CONDEMNED THEM TO WANDERING. NOW THE GENERATIONS OF DISOBEDIENT SERVANTS HAD DIED OUT, AND ONLY TWO PEOPLE REMAINED WHO EXPERIENCED EGYPTIAN SLAVERY AND LIVED TO ENTER THE PROMISED LAND. (POINT: DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME WANDERING IN THE WILDERNESS OF INDECISION). NOW THE NEW GENERATION WAS READY TO CROSS THE JORDAN AND POSSESS THE LAND. HAVING DISTINGUISHED HIMSELF AS A MAN OF FAITH AND COURAGE, JOSHUA, ALONG WITH CALAB WERE THE ONLY ONES WHO HAD THOUGHT THEY COULD CONQUER THE LAND 40 YEARS EARLIER (NUMBERS 13:30 –14:9.) JOSHUA WAS CHOSEN TO BE MOSES’ SUCCESSOR. HE WAS A BRILLIANT MILITARY LEADER AND A STRONG SPRIITUAL INFLUENCE. THERE WERE CHALLENGES TO BE MET, BATTLES TO BE WON, STRUGGLES TO BE DEALT WITH. THEIR MANTEL OF GRIEF WAS HEAVY, BUT NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY GRIEVED, THE TRUTH IS, THEY COULDN’T BRING MOSES BACK. AFTER ALL THEIR MOURNING, AND CRYING, AND THROWING ACCOLADES UPON HIM,..HE WAS STILL DEAD! MOSES WAS DEAD, BUT GOD IS STILL ALIVE. SO THEY COULD LIFT UP THEIR HEADS AND LOOK AROUND THEM . THERE WAS STILL A JOB TO BE DONE HERE, A CHARGE TO BE KEPT. A RESPONSIBILITY TO BE DISCHARGED. SO THEY HAD TO GET UP FROM WHERE THEY WERE AND GO FORTH! THE LAND HAS YET TO BE CONQUERED. THE WILDERNESS HAD YET TO BE CLEARED. THE CITIES HAVE TO BE ESTABLISHED. AND THIS IS WHAT WAS PROMISED TO THEM: “THAT EVE;RY PLACE THAT THE SOLES OF YOUR FEET SHALL TREAD UPON WILL BE YOURS.” EVERY PIECE OF LAND THAT YOUR EYES SHALL REST UPON FROM THE RISING OF THE SUN TO THE GOING DOWN OF THE SAME WILL BE YOURS. NO MAN SHALL BE ABLE TO STAND AGAINST YOU ALL THE DAYS OF YOUR LIFE. SO ARISE AND GO ON.


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